On Monday, April 23, in honor of William Shakespeare’s 448th birthday, the Black Women Playwrights’ Group (BWPG) of Washington, DC, will launch a new series of play excerpts called 12Tweets@12Noon.
Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from April 23 until May 18, the writers of BWPG will deliver thought-provoking, spicy scenes via Twitter, each in twelve consecutive lines.
The Twitter community is invited to comment on characters and plot, and to add their own twist to the 12Tweets@12Noon series — in 140 characters or less, of course — @BLKWMPLYWRIGHTS. Their followers can also suggest a theme song to fit each espresso shot of a scene!
The series is created by the Black Women Playwrights’ Group; a service and advocacy group for women writers of color nationwide. BWPG Executive Director Karen Evans observed, “We are looking for a way to share our members’ work with a wider audience while creating stories that would maintain our presence in the cyber world, and that’s how 12Tweets@12Noon was born. When we thought about Twitter as a platform, the challenge was on. Not only are we able to hit the 140 character mark, but also tell rich stories from the soul that hold together, even in this succinct form.”
12Tweets@12Noon is not the first cyber adventure from BWPG.
In February 2012 at Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, DC, BWPG officially launched the BWPG Cyber Narrative Project, a project that partners technology students at Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Technology Center – Global with playwrights of color. This is the first comprehensive project in which regional theaters nationwide explore how the dynamic of live performance can be extended to online audiences.
For this project, BWPG gathered theaters around the country, which, in turn, chose top-notch playwrights for productions in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. Playwrights include Pulitzer Prize and McArthur award-winning playwright Lynn Nottage, and Kristoffer Diaz, The New York Times Playwright of the Year. The playwrights are creating digital bonus materials for the theater productions. Online, theatergoers will interact with the plays’ characters and themes before, during, and after the performance. Content developed so far includes a video game, text messages from the characters during the performance, and interactive web sites on which the audience can continue the conversation with the characters.
There are ten partners in the BWPG Cyber Narrative Project: Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Technology Center – Global, Pittsburgh; About Face Theatre, Chicago; Dallas Theater Center, Dallas; The Geffen Playhouse, Los Angeles; The Goodman Theatre, Chicago; Hip Hop Theater Festival, New York; Intersectin for the Arts, San Francisco; The Movement Theatre Company, New York; Penumbra Theatre, Minneapolis; Victory Gardens, Chicago; and Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Washington, DC. The project is made possible by the generous support of Bloomberg BNA, The Dreyfus Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Bill and Louisa Newlin, and Nick Olcott.