The Twin Stars is now available on Amazon!!! The ebook is offered at a special discount price of $0.99 for the first three days only, so grab it while you can!
I’m exhausted, overwhelmed, happy, and grateful. Seriously, I feel like I’ve just given birth. This was not an easy book to write, as it dredged up a lot of emotional stuff for me related to OCD, but I’m so glad I stuck with it, as working on it has been a source of joy during a challenging, uncertain, and difficult year in which I had some very low moments. Huge thanks to all my advance reviewers, beta readers, my publisher Titan1Studios, and everyone who has helped me launch this novel. I'm beyond grateful.
Here's a link to a short interview I did with Buell Brown of Stage Explorations, in which I talk about the book, my inspiration for it, and what I hope readers get out of it. Check it out!
The Twin Stars launches on Amazon in one week!!!
In the meantime, advance review copies of the novel are garnering some very nice reviews, including this one from Kirkus:
"The Lucasfilm-esque milieu, blending magic with exobiology, astrophysics, and a painless layering of multiculturalism, is a tantalizing one. Portman adds a layer of emotion via Olive’s struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety, which impinges on the storyline in a more meaningful way than just checking a box in the character mental health problems column. YA readers raised on various permutations of the superhero mythos should be enthralled by the Coseema/Olive dichotomy in this metafictional series opener."
Read the full review here.
My first novel, The Twin Stars, will be published this July! My publisher and I are seeking advance reviewers; if you'd like to be part of our ARC team, just email me. A limited number of print ARCs are available, or you can opt for a digital version. Don't miss your chance to read The Twin Stars before anyone else!
Warm weather is here again (I love it!!!) While I've been a bit lax in updating my website, I've been keeping busy. In addition to coproducing a wonderful virtual anthology of short plays called the Fresh Baked Pears One-Act Festival, I've been teaching, writing, and revising my novel The Twin Stars in preparation for its publication. (Stay tuned for more about that--we should have a cover and a publication date soon!)
Highlights of the past several months include:
-Virtual readings of La Fee Verte (Best Medicine Rep) and Dead People (The Pear Theatre).
-Virtual productions of two short plays -- Red Star, Blue Star and The More Things Change -- as part of "Love in the Time of COVID," presented by St. Peter's Players.
-My short comedy Auto-Incorrect was performed at Red Phoenix Theatres and Holden Street Theatres in Australia, meaning my work has now been performed in four countries on three continents!
Coming up this summer:
-My ten-minute comedy Wheel of Fortuna will be part of Pear Slices at the Pear Theatre.
-My ten-minute drama Obsession will be part of Talking It Out, a virtual play festival in support of mental health awareness. Ticket link here.
-TBD. My debut novel The Twin Stars will be published by TITAN1STUDIOS.
To say it's been a strange and challenging year is a big understatement, but I'm not sure how else to put it. I'm grateful that my family is safe and healthy, and that I've been able to maintain my theatre career through virtual productions and readings. I'm keeping busy teaching online classes, working on new plays and a young adult novel set on Mars, helping my son with distance learning, caring for my baby daughter (who woke up twice while I was writing this late-night/early-morning post), and being politically involved.
HOW IS IT SEPTEMBER.
This year feels interminable and fleeting all at once.
Some highlights of the past couple of months include:
-Innovative virtual readings of Ageless by Four Walls Theater and Santa Monica Repertory Theatre.
-A fun virtual reading of Coffee Lady by Awesome Theatre (a full on-stage production is planned for next year).
-An immersive virtual production of The Emeryville Horror by Same Boat Theater Collective.
-Bellona, or the Mother of All Bombs was chosen as Best Dramatic Monologue in the Avalonia 7 Theatre Festival. A filmed presentation is forthcoming.
-Mister the Bear was made into a beautiful short film directed by Sila Agavale as part of the Tens Show at the Hive Collaborative. The film was voted into the grand prize round and nominated for favorite dramatic screenplay. It's viewable here.
Coming up this fall, I'm excited to announce a couple of play readings. These are both VIRTUAL:
-September 14 at 7 PM EST/4 PM PST: La Fee Verte at Best Medicine Rep, Gaithersburg, MD. Click here for more information.
-Weekend of November 13 (date/time TBA): Dead People at the Pear Theatre, Mountain View, CA.
(This is a brand-new full-length version of my one-act play formerly titled Ferryman.)
Finally, in a first for me, I received a request for a script from the U.S. Army! Exposure will be performed in October at the U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz, Kaiserslautern, Germany.
Until next time...stay safe and keep creating!
It's been quite a month.
As I shelter in place, do my best to homeschool my kindergartner while caring for his baby sister, and worry about an uncertain future, I'm immensely grateful for the virtual theatre projects I have coming up. They're keeping me sane. I'm in awe of the adaptability and perseverance of this art form, and grateful to all the actors, directors, and producers who are putting things together via Zoom and other online platforms.
Here are some of the projects I'm looking forward to in May.
Two Virtual Readings for AGELESS
May is a big month for my speculative drama AGELESS! On Friday, May 1, Four Walls Theater will present a reading via Zoom, streamed on Facebook. A portion of ticket sales, which are pay-what-you-can, will go to Meals on Wheels America. Four Walls is a brand-new company focused exclusively on virtual plays, and AGELESS is its inaugural presentation. Check them out on Facebook and Twitter - @FourTheater.
On Saturday, May 16, Santa Monica Repertory Theater will present a virtual reading of AGELESS as part of their #bravenewworld festival. In addition to the reading, the festival features a one-act playwriting workshop taught by artistic director Tanya White, a panel discussion that will include myself and Jennifer Haley, author of the outstanding sci-fi-play THE NETHER, and more. It's just $25 for a festival pass. Check out SMRT's website (linked above) to register, and follow @SantaMonicaRep on Twitter.
EXPOSURE at the Pear Theatre
My comedy EXPOSURE, part of Pear Slices 2020, will now be presented digitally, along with seven other short plays:
An eclectic variety of stories and settings, rich characters and surprising plot twists will occupy the Pear stage, brought to life with a single cast of versatile actors. This annual short play showcase is a Pear audience favorite: amusing, intriguing, and inspiring.
Visit the Pear's website to learn more and register, and follow the Pear on Twitter: @PearTheatre.
Welp. Best-laid plans, right?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a couple of my upcoming theatre events have been cancelled/postponed:
-The staged reading of LA FEE VERTE at Best Medicine Rep has been indefinitely postponed. Click here to donate and help them out. Click here to read LA FEE VERTE on the New Play Exchange.
-Same Boat Theater Collective's production of THE EMERYVILLE HORROR has been moved to July 2020.
As of this moment, upcoming productions of EXPOSURE (despite the name, it has nothing to do with viruses!) and COFFEE LADY have not been postponed, but so much right now is uncertain. It's possible they will have to happen later, or in a different format, than currently planned.
On the positive side...
Theatre artists (and artists in general) are incredibly persistent, resourceful, and resilient. (We have to be, with all the rejections we get! :D ) Theatre has been around since the dawn of humankind, and I have no doubt it will overcome this, as difficult and devastating as it has been for so many of us. In the meantime, I'm keeping busy. I am honored to be included in this article in the LA Times about playwrights teaching online classes. You can learn more about the class and register here. I've also got a couple of new plays in the works, along with a new YA novel.
Keep writing! Support one another! <3
As we count down to midnight, I'm excited about a few projects coming up in early 2020!
Best Medicine Rep will present a staged reading of my full-length comedy about absinthe, LA FEE VERTE, on March 22 in Gaithersburg, MD. I'm hoping to fly out and attend!
When France bans absinthe in 1914, struggling poet Marmion fears he will lose his only source of inspiration. He authors a petition against the ban, aided by Denis, a depressed bartender who drinks absinthe in order to hallucinate his deceased fiancée. But Marmion’s brother, a parish priest with his own secret absinthe addiction, is dead-set against the petition and determined to stop them. As the three men’s agendas clash, each must learn the source of his own dependence on “La Fée Verte."
THE EMERYVILLE HORROR, a full-length drama by the playwrights of Same Boat Theater Collective, will premiere at Potrero Stage in San Francisco, April 23-May 3.
"The Emeryville Horror" is about the effects of climate change and environmental degradation on underprivileged populations in the Bay Area. The play, collaboratively written by SBTC playwrights in consultation with diverse local communities, concerns the mysterious disappearance of the city of Emeryville, piece by piece.
EXPOSURE, my 10-minute comedy, will be part of Pear Slices 2020 at the Pear Theatre, running May 8-24. This is the second of my short plays to be produced by the Pear following a staged reading at Red Bull Theater in NYC.
A king attempts to leave his infant nephew to die of exposure on a hillside, but a passing shepherd has seen this story before. A spoof on a classical trope.
COFFEE LADY, a 50-min one-act comedy commissioned by San Francisco's Awesome Theatre, will be produced Thursday nights June 4-July 24. This play, inspired by Stella Liebeck and her lawsuit against McDonald's in the early 1990s, was a lot of fun to write, and combines silliness with some serious themes about consumer safety, corporate greed, and family and sisterhood. Also there are a lot of coffee puns.
Joanne had high hopes after graduating; now she has student loan debt, an unpaid internship and a fast-food job at McCarby’s. Out of desperation, Joanne, her sister Char, and their co-worker Pete hatch a plot inspired by “The McDonalds Coffee Lady” story. Problem is, the story they know is wrong.
Exposure, a ten-minute comedy, is part of Red Bull Theater's 2019 Short New Play Festival -- THE EVIL PLAYS.
Sometime in the mythical past on a warm summer night, a king attempts to leave his infant nephew on a hillside to die of exposure, but a nearby shepherd is having none of it.
Hear me talk about why I enjoy writing plays based on classical stories!