2022 SDC Directing Initiative Submission Guide

To enter the SDC Directing Program, each student will prepare a theoretical production pitch for one scene/play from the list published on the National KCACTF website:

https://www.kennedy-center.org/education/opportunities-for-artists/pre-professional-artist-training/kcactf/directing/

All entrants for the 2022 and 2023 Regional Festivals will prepare one from the list of thirteen scenes below, selected by the 2020 and 2021 SDC Fellows.

Monsters We Create by Georgina Escobar (New Play Exchange)
Monsters We Create is a story of love and hope tied together with a strikingly poignant call to action. The playwright uses Latinx Futurity and Sci-Fem sensibilities to bring us the perseverance and creativity of the border region. This work feels like a comic book about my home. It is a much needed, more complete look at “Vox Populi” the voice of the people.” – Sarah Curtis, 2021 Region 6 SDC Fellow

Chasing Gods (Choose Scene 1 or Scene 2) by Paris Crayton III (New Play Exchange)
“Set in 2016, three weeks after the Pulse nightclub shooting, Chasing Gods asks how an African American Baptist family with different ideas about faith and religion find love and aim to come together when tragedy, religion, and death create divides between their own personal morals and identities. Through love and pain, they strive to find each other in a wilderness of divisions. They, like America, are lost and don’t know how to be found. I had read an earlier iteration of this play and have seen some intriguing rewrites in this draft that further demonstrate to me the talent of Paris as a playwright and theater artist. This play also sheds light onto the human spectrum during and after trauma. There are so many opportunities to explore humanity through this piece and I am so excited to see it on its feet. Although the horror of Pulse shattered our world five years ago, discrimination continues in many forms against members of the LGBTQ+ community. This play cracks open a discussion and exploration at the center of this world, 5 years ago, from a perspective we may not expect: the family of a pastor who’s controversial words further shook the community in Orlando.” – Rainah Gregory, Region 4 2021 SDC Fellow

Significant Other by Joshua Harmon (Concord Theatricals)
“I wanted to submit a scene from Joshua Harmon’s Significant Other, specifically the second of three bachelorette parties. The scene presents Jordan, a gay man, struggling with the societal expectations of marriage through the wedding’s (and subsequent changing relationships) of his three best friends. This scene presents the unique challenge of overlapping dialogue at the end, and Jordan’s reaction to it all.” – Matthew Pezzulich, Region 2 2021 SDC Fellow

Pass Over by Antoinette Nwandu (Concord Theatricals)
“This contemporary riff on Waiting for Godot replaces the use of black trauma with black miracles. Moses and Kitch decide that the only way off the block is to “pass over” through death. Before killing each other, an officer stops the men to abuse them. Moses performs a miracle that expels the officer’s plague from his body.” – Isabel Rodriguez, Region 8 2020 SDC Co-Fellow

Snow in Midsummer by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig (Bloomsbury Publishing)
“This modern adaptation of a Chinese classic play explores society’s betrayal to women and its desensitization to death. Dou Yi is sentenced to death the next day, and during her passionate speech where she places a curse on her village, Dou Yi is fatally shot by an impatient officer. The scene ends with officers and civilians surrounding her dead body, joking about marrying women, cooking food, and climate change.” – Isabel Rodriguez, Region 8 2020 SDC Co-Fellow

Doctor Voynich and Her Children (Choose Scene 1 or Scene 2) by Leanna Keyes (Bloomsbury Publishing, The Methuen Drama Book of Trans Plays)
“This ‘prediction’ is set in America years after reproductive health care has been made illegal. Doctor Voynich and her apprentice Fade travel the countryside in a converted ambulance dispensing harmless herbs by day and providing family planning services by night. Fade tries to help local youth Hannah complete her abortion, using forbidden knowledge from an ancient manuscript, before her mother and the sheriff can nail them for the ‘attempted murder of an unborn person.’ This play about mothers and daughters is poetic, sexy, vulgar, queer, and a little too real. Doctor Voynich and Her Children provides an excellent opportunity for young directors who are eager to tackle a bold and exposed script. The two scenes included feature unique challenges for creating an environment and tone of the overall post-apocalyptic world while finding nuanced moments of hope and connection. There is lots of space in this script for an ambitious director to explore and stage their own creative ideas and make a powerful statement about love, authority, and bodily autonomy.” – Erin White, Region 7 2021 SDC Fellow

Sanctuary City by Martyna Majok (New Play Exchange)
Sanctuary City is a play that asks us what we’re willing to sacrifice for someone we love. Simultaneously, it offers a beautiful study of intersectionality. This scene selection, arguably the climax of the play, is chilling for me to read because I empathize with each character immensely. Martyna Majok’s ability to write authentic, vulnerable relationships through dramatic action steeped in humor is exactly the reason an emerging director should explore this piece. The way she writes and formats this script offers directors and actors many opportunities for unique, inspired choices.” – Oliver Mayes, Region 5 2020 SDC Fellow

querencia by Benjamin Benne (New Play Exchange)
querencia is a queer Latinx coming-of-age story, written with care and brutal honesty by Benne. The beauty and magic of finding oneself is sprinkled throughout the framework of the piece, so is the (mental, at times physical) jarring reality of what it means to come out in a Latinx household. The characters and their reactions are so tangible to the Latinx experience, at times I felt like I was at my Tia’s house listening to her and my mother chismear.” – Ana Zambrana, Region 2020 SDC Fellow

The Sea Gals by Maiya Corral (script acquired for
restricted use for SDC only from Kelly Quinnett by emailing kellyq@uidaho.edu)
“I want to give ownership of Chekhov’s canon back to those who have never had it.” – Maiya Corral, Region 7 SDC Fellow Alum

She Kills Monsters by Qui Ngyuen (Concord Theatricals)
“This play is so much fun! It embraces and celebrates diversity in all its forms within the text and descriptions and allows for lots of creative expression by way of casting, staging, costumes, music, etc. It would certainly be a challenge for directors who choose it, but would give them the opportunity to show off their own unique voice and style.” – Caity Petterson, Region 8 2020 SDC Co-Fellow

Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage (Dramatist Play Service)
“I’ve had the gift of reading and seeing this play performed live, and it is beautiful in its sentiment as well as in its full-of-life, complex characters, heartbreaking storyline, and simply in the compassion it must evoke in its audiences. This particular section gives the director an opportunity to explore intimacy and tension, emotional height and depth, and nuanced, complex conflict.” – Caity Petterson, Region 8 2020 SDC Co-Fellow

Required SDC Directing Application Materials:

It is important to note that no material should include any information that identifies the school you attend. Although none of the respondents are associated with any of the participating institutions, we ask that you omit this information to maintain equity, fairness, and impartiality.

To apply for the SDC Directing Initiative students will submit the following four things:

  1. Resume that focuses on your experience and training as a director (PDF)
  2. Statement of Interest addressing your interest in the SDC Directing Initiative and what you hope to achieve and learn through involvement in the process. (PDF)
  3. Video Pitch for your production and concept – see below for details. (video link)
  4. Director’s Book – see below for details. (PDF)

Conceptual Directing Material Guidelines

  • Pre-Recorded Video Pitch for your Conceptual Production (10 minutes).
    • The first 5 minutes: Present your ideal production to the respondents (they will be familiar with your play). Within the five minutes, answer the following:  1) Who are you? 2) What play did you choose?  3) Why does this play need to be done RIGHT NOW? 4) Why are you the artist to do this play, and what will you, specifically, bring to the production? 5) What does your ideal production look/feel/sound like?  Other questions if you want them: What space do you want to do the play in? What is your big wish for the production? What impact do you want your production to have? How can you succinctly tell the story of this play?
    • The second 5 minutes: Present your 5 minute emotional and visceral response to the play using images, music, collage, vision boards, short film, other persons, things – anything which will help you express your connection with the play. This is for you to use all your creativity to reflect the heart and soul of the piece and to further support and reflect your deep analysis of the whole play.
    • Video Submission Format:  Upload your video to YouTube or a similar video hosting service, and be sure to set the privacy settings to “Public – anyone can view” or “Unlisted – anyone with the link can view.”
  • Your Director’s Book 
    • Director’s Statement  Provides the personal, analytical, and intuitive framework for the scene. It is a combination of script analysis, research, creativity, and personal connection to the text.  The statement should address the themes, images, and specific lines of text that guide the director’s work, including the context of the scene; where/how the scene fits into the play.
    • Play Analysis
      • Identification: List title of play, name of author, and date of writing, first production, or both. Feel free to include any relevant research or dramaturgical work that informed your process.
      • Plot: Briefly describe any significant previous action that occurs before the scene begins. Describe the major event(s) of the scene. Describe the scene’s basic conflict in a concrete sense (example:  Edna wants Joe to join the striking cab drivers but Joe is afraid). Describe how this scene’s basic conflict integrates with the basic conflict of the play in an abstract sense (example:  Edna and Joe’s conflict reflects the basic conflict of Waiting for Lefty which is an exploration of the struggle of the working class against capitalist greed… etc., etc.).
      • Character: List the characters, and provide an overall character objective and an objective for the scene. Identify the obstacles between the characters and each of their objectives in the scene. How/do the characters change over the course of the scene?
    • Vision / Concept: What is the importance of the scene to the play as a whole?  How does this scene reveal, highlight, detail, or expand upon one or more of the ideas that the playwright hopes to communicate to her/his audience?  (This asks you to identify at least one of the playwright’s ideas or purposes in writing the play.)
    • Spectacle / Design: List a series of imagistic words that capture your aesthetic sense of the scene’s look and “feel” of the play. These words might include colors, textures, ornamentation, relevant metaphoric images, light, and shadow, composition, degree of detail, etc.

Submissions must include the four items above,
and are due no later than 11:59 PM January 15th, 2022.  

SUBMIT MATERIALS HERE

Please note that all written material should be submitted as a PDF, and that your video will be shared with a limited number of people registered with the KCACTF Region 1 festival: your fellow SDC directing candidates and the SDC respondents.

Mentorship note:  If you have a faculty mentor, great!  Letters of recommendation are no longer necessary to apply to the SDC Directing Initiative, but you can list your mentor on the submission form.  If you do not have a directing mentor but would like some mentorship,  please e-mail us below and we will try to pair you with a director at another institution.

Feel free to direct any questions to:

Thomas B. Costello, Chair of Region 1 SDC Directing Initiative
Region1.Directing@gmail.com