Tag Archives: Emmy Award

What’s it like to walk the red carpet?

oscars-red-carpetHe has strolled down many red carpets in his celebrated career. At the Writers Guild Awards, the Tony Awards, the Emmy Awards, the Venice Film Festival, and the Oscars. He wrote the screenplay for Hacksaw Ridge, nominated Best Picture for this year’s Academy Awards.

The world will be watching the Oscar ceremony this Sunday, and gawk at the parade of celebrities as they strut the red carpet beforehand. What’s it like to march down that crimson pathway with all eyes and cameras tracking your every step? For playwright Robert Schenkkan, author of our upcoming world premiere Building the Wall, the carpet is not always magic. Particularly if you’re a writer.

venice-red-carpet-pro

Robert Schenkkan at the Venice Film Festival

“The clusterfuck of a red carpet is always where the writer is reminded of his or her place in the food chain, ” admits Schenkkan. “You are absolutely the most important person in the universe, until anybody else steps on the red carpet — then you’re just chopped liver. You can see the heads snap and the cameras snap, and whoever you’re talking to, their eyes are immediately doing the Hollywood over-your-shoulder shuffle. This is something one is used to, but it’s a humbling experience, always.”

Another other-worldly aspect of Award nights are the gifting lounges, where vendors shower talent with free offerings that vary from high-end beauty products to fine wines to elegant clothing to free travel packages at exotic resort islands. For Schenkkan, the touring of gift salons is a strange ritual unto itself.

“You have to make an appointment, and then you’re assigned a guide who walks you through this bizarre bazaar of products and services, ” he explains. “These things are really kind of entertaining in their own way. There’s a whole formality to it. But again, there’s the reminder of where you are in the food chain, particularly as a writer.”

Robert remembers one incident in particular. “Many years ago when I did this, there was a resort island package. I’m a scuba diver, so I’m always interested in that. They have to artfully, discreetly explain that while they would love to gift you with this, actually they have to reserve it for somebody more important than you. It’s a little weird.”

The ups and downs of a Hollywood screenwriter. Thankfully, unlike the film industry, playwrights in the American theatre are held in much higher esteem. And few are held higher than Robert Schenkkan. Which is one of the many reasons why we are so honored to be premiering his newest play at the Fountain Theatre.

Now, Robert, on Opening Night of Building the Wall at the Fountain, don’t expect any fancy gift lounges offering you a scuba diving vacation package on an exotic island resort. But we’re happy to offer you a free snorkel.

Unless, of course, someone more important wants it.

Building the Wall opens March 18 at the Fountain Theatre.

Quotes in this post originally appeared in Written By, the magazine of the Writers Guild of America, West.  

 

 

 

 

 

New Play by Jane Anderson Brings Joan of Arc and Her Mom to Vibrant Life at Fountain Theatre

Jane Anderson

Here’s a special treat for Fountain Folk: get an inside peek at a new play written by a nationally acclaimed and award-winning playwright, screenwriter and director.  This Sunday at 2pm, as part of our ‘Open Stage’ festival of guest events, the Fountain will host a reading of Mother of the Maid written and directed by Jane Anderson.

joanbanner-300x193Jane’s new play, Mother of the Maid, is the tale of Joan of Arc, as seen through the eyes of her mom who is doing her very best to accept the fact that her daughter is different. The reading features Jenny O’Hara, Mathew Gottleib, Sophie Ullett, Jack Kutcher, Markie Post, Gabrielle Sunday, Corinne Shor

Born in the Bay Area of Northern California in 1954, Jane Anderson discovered her drive for show business early on. After a few years in college, Anderson moved to New York City to pursue an acting career. In 1975 she was cast in the Off-Broadway premiere of David Mamet’s breakout play, Sexual Perversity in Chicago.

Besides acting, Anderson also worked as a stand-up comedian. It was during the creation of her routines that she discovered her passion for writing. She moved to Los Angeles in the early 1980s, earning her livelihood writing for film and television. The Challenger space shuttle disaster inspired her to write her first play, Defying Gravity. Her next play, The Baby Dance, tackled the subject of adoption. Her plays have been produced Off-Broadway and in theaters around the country, including Arena Stage, Actors Theater of Louisville, The McCarter Theater, Long Wharf, ACT, the Geffen Theater and The Pasadena Playhouse. Her published plays: Looking for Normal, The Baby Dance, Defying Gravity, Smart Choices for the New Century, Lynette at 3AM and The Last Time We Saw Her. The Quality of Life, premiered at the Geffen Playhouse and was directed by Ms. Anderson.

For her first feature screenplay, Anderson wrote a romantic comedy called It Could Happen to You about a policeman and a waitress who receives his winning lottery ticket as a tip.

While Anderson and her partner, Tess Ayers, were in the process of adopting their son, Raphael, she got word that her play The Baby Dance was to be made into a TV-movie. When actress-producer Jodie Foster offered her the chance to direct, Anderson took the opportunity to work on the story that so closely paralleled her own life. The movie adaptation, which starred Laura Dern and Stockard Channing, won a Peabody Award, a Golden Globe nomination and three Emmy nominations for best writing and made-for-TV film.

Jane Anderson

Jane Anderson

Anderson’s next foray into balancing her theatre work with film came when HBO wanted to adapt her play Looking for Normal (which won the 2001 Ovation Award for Best New Play) into a movie. The movie, titled Normal, told the story of a father who confesses to his family his desire for a sex change operation. The moving film received three Golden Globe nominations, six Emmy nominations, while Anderson herself scored nominations from both the Writers and Directors guilds for best writing and directing.

Anderson continued to write for HBO, and the ground-breaking work on their The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom, which stared Holly Hunter, gained her an Emmy, a PEN Award and Writers Guild Award for best teleplay.

Vanessa Redgrave in Anderson's "If These Walls Could Talk"

Vanessa Redgrave in Anderson’s “If These Walls Could Talk”

Anderson wrote the TV movies When Billie Beat Bobby, starring Holly Hunter, and the Emmy-nominated first episode of  If These Walls Could Talk II, staring Vanessa Redgrave. However, even with her busy Hollywood schedule, Jane’s theater work (including Food & ShelterSmart Choices for the New CenturyLynette at 3AM, and The Last Time We Saw Her) have had runs Off-Broadway and in regional theaters all over the country, including Actors Theater of Louisville, Williamstown, McCarter Theater, Long Wharf and Pasadena Playhouse.

Anderson made her feature film directorial debut with 2005’s The Prize Winner of DefianceOhio, the story of a 1950s housewife who writes advertising jingles to help keep her family afloat. Continuing the theme of advertising, she joined the team of writers of the critically acclaimed AMC series Mad Men for the show’s second season.

Jane resides in Los Angeles with Tess and Raphael, where she continues to write for both stage and screen.

Join us this Sunday at 2pm! Be part of the creative process in the development of an exciting new play at the Fountain Theatre.

To reserve your seat and more info: Click Here Now