A Minute with a Person of “Substance”


Bree O’Connor and her team of performance artists have been working all through the pandemic to create new opportunities and projects so that when the doors begin to open (as rumor has it they are now entertaining the notion), they are ready to expand minds and open hearts to what’s going on around us through the powerful medium of theatre.

The first project on their agenda is The PS Writers’ Room, a collaborative writing workshop is now in a pilot-testing phase where writers get practical experience pitching and choosing projects and building a successful writers room of their own including navigating the culture of the room, organizing work flow, setting goals, brainstorming, managing expectations and meeting goals. This collaborative, peer-to-peer learning environment is sponsored by Final Draft. Final Draft, A Cast & Crew Company, has published Final Draft® software –the number one screenwriting application in the world –- for 30 years. Final Draft automatically paginates and formats your script to industry standards, allowing writers to focus on what they do best – writing scripts. Used by such industry giants as J.J. Abrams, James Cameron and Aaron Sorkin, Final Draft software is the professional’s choice and the entertainment industry standard. In addition to its flagship software product, Final Draft offers the annual Big Break® Contest, a screenwriting competition that launches careers and awards over $100,000 in cash and prizes. Final Draft also offers Final Draft Mobile for iPhone and iPad, making creativity truly portable. To learn more about Final Draft and its products and services, visit www.finaldraft.com

Following that is the PS Writers’ Groups, which has spent this past year fostering developmental readings of Mr. & Mrs. Garbo by Raphael Perahia, Barometric Pressure by Bree O’Connor, Passing and Failing in Paradise by Tori Barron, Setting the Sky on Fire by Niki Hatzidis, and currently, Lauren Lindsey White’s new play CAM (which will be having a reading later this spring) is expanding. Writers’ Groups are currently operating online but will slowly phase in a hybrid model of online and IRL sessions to accommodate playwrights and screenwriters outside of NYC.

Congratulations to Writers’ Group Member, Jacqueline Reason for her essay “House Parties,” receiving First Prize in the Writing Black Joy competition in celebration of Boston’s Black Joy Day.

One-on-one writing/project development coaching is also available, providing practical and artistic assistance to creators putting up their own work. Whether you are writing a novel, screenplay, play or a solo project, our facilitators can help you with everything from organizing your material to going deeper with your character work to helping you find and strengthen your unique voice. 

PS will also be sponsoring Zoom performances and readings; the return of their writer’s networking event, Pithy Party, a series of collaborative projects with Infinite Variety Productions, and other classes, workshops, and a new residency project all coming this fall.

For all of these groups and projects, please contact artisticdirector@playfulsubstance.com for further details. 

To arrange interviews or articles with the company of Playful Substance, contact jmcommnet@gmail.com

Stage and screen actress, Genevieve Myers, was thrilled to speak about Playful Substance … pre- and post-lockdown.

So Playful Substance is back! What made you choose now to return?

I love the support, and creative freedom I feel when I work with Playful Substance. It feels like this playground of possibilities and encouragement for artists. I also feel like I’m free to grow and learn how to be the best artist I can be when I work with Playful Substance. 

How have you – and your members – fared during lock-down and pandemic?

The pandemic has bene difficult as an actor, but what I love about actors is we always find a way to fulfill our purpose. Its been difficult not being able to perform in front of people to feel their energy and their reaction to what we are offering them on the stage, but even being able to create things virtually has been super fun. Right now I’m workshopping a new play called Underground Astronauts through Playful Substance in collaboration with Infinite Variety, and right now it may be different than walking into a rehearsal space and hugging everyone and playing around with the material, but its still nice to be able to create a space where we can create a story and be in the creative flow with one another. Thats something I love about Playful Substance- we always find a way. And our company leaders, such as Bree, are always so motivating and inspiring that it makes it easy to want to be a team player in the company to create something special. 

What can we expect to see in the future?

A lot of really fantastic original work. Work that educates and relates. Collaborations and events that will help the company grow as well as help artists and different communities grow and have their stories heard. 

What do you think the new artistic climate will be post-Covid?

I think the artistic climate will be relatable, raw, truthful, daring, and fresh. 

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