Been working on this a few days... a second pair of eyes or 200 would be great.
Dear Lit Manager,
Thrust suddenly into the seat of power, can a woman prove herself a capable leader, in spite of a cabinet of skeptical men, and elude the bloodlust that has plagued her predecessors before being forced to capitulate under pressure? A fresh adaptation of a 2500 year old tale, Clytemnestra follows a queen’s rocky rise from tragedy to triumph.
A two act play with a running time of approximately 140 minutes, Clytemnestra has received two staged readings in NYC (Wings Theatre and Shetler Studios), calls for 8-10 actors, and its three locations can easily be performed on a unit set. I believe the soul of this woman’s heartbreaking tale is securely in place and needs but the body, blood and breath that only a bold and visionary theatre can provide, to bring it to life.
Attached for your consideration, please find the synopsis, character breakdown, ten page dialogue sample and a SASP. I hope that what you read will not only intrigue you, but lure you into the tangled web of this oft-maligned character. I look forward to hearing from you. For your convenience, I may be reached by email at Me@gmail.com or by phone at 217.675.5403.
Your letter is first a communication tool -- as written it takes a paragraph before you tell me the most essential information about your play (as far as me thinking like a literary manager) -- I need to know length, genre, and title -- preferably in the first sentence.
Leave the sizzle for the second paragraph -- load your first paragraph with the steak. In a business office (and that's what a literary office is) the time it takes to get to the steak in your letter may have me putting it down instead of continuing.
After I see the steak I'm either primed to know more -- continuing on to the sizzle -- or I already know this play isn't right for my theater this season. In addition, I get a sense that you as a person care about how your letter and play spend my time.
In the first paragraph the essentials are title, genre, length (full, one act, 10-minute), new or produced, basic requirements.
What you've got here works, I just think it could be presented in a more effective order.
I also think you could use a little more about why this play for this theater -- or this play for this century -- or something that lets me know why you think this play is important to do now -- or what made you write it in the first place.
Put a little bit of you in the letter. Yeah, it's about the play, but your letter is also an opportunity to let the people on he receiving end know that you are a super great person with whom to collaborate on a project -- because when you're talking about a new play, the playwright is going to be in the room with everyone -- and a theater seeks collaborators. Let your letter communicate that aspect of the process.
Last edited on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 10:32 pm by katoagogo
Thank you so very much, .... I must actually thank you twice: 1) for the website advice that I found on your site and 2) for your feedback. Well, here's take 2:
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Dear Literary Manager,
I am writing to submit my play, Clytemnestra, for your consideration for its World Premier production. The full length adaptation calls for 8-10 actors, is approximately 140 minutes long and its two locations can easily be created on a unit set.
With [Theatre’s name] history of creating exciting theatre for its audiences and the company’s stated interest in adaptations of classic works, I believe Clytemnestra is a perfect fit. The play has received two developmental staged readings in NYC, at the Wings Theatre and Shetler Studios and thanks, in no small part to the current political climate where we’re seeing a world dogged by war whose old methods of operating are being challenged by revolutionary new ideas of leadership and power, the play feels most timely.
In my adaptation of the tale of Agamemnon, I ask if a woman, thrust suddenly into the seat of power, can prove herself a capable leader despite a cabinet of skeptical men, whether she can elude the bloodlust that plagued her predecessors or if she’ll be forced to capitulate under pressure. To find out the answers, you must read the play.
As for me, I’m an actor/writer who is currently an MFA in Acting Candidate at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and I hold a BA in Drama from the University of California, Irvine. I’ve written plays of various themes but am particularly interested in the reclaiming of ancient tales and their examination through the lens of contemporary storytelling.
Attached for your consideration, please find the synopsis, character breakdown, ten page dialogue sample and a SASP. I hope that what you read will not only intrigue you, but lure you into the tangled web of this oft-maligned woman. I look forward to hearing from you. For your convenience, I may be reached by email at Scooby@gmail.com or by phone at ....
This is small, but I'd change "The full length adaptation " -- which entails that you have both a full-length version and a shorter version -- with "This full-length version" which entails that you've got a single version.
Yes, Katoagogo's site is wonderful and chock full of good info, isn't it? Thanks again to kato.
The second letter is terrific. A couple of things however:
This phrase "history of creating exciting theatre" is over-used to me. Think of a better more original phrase. Everyone thinks they are creating "exciting theatre."
Next I would cut the word "revolutionary." Off the top of my head I think of "original" or "alternate." "Alternate new ideas of leadership." "Transformative new ideas of leadership." You can come up with something. Revolutionary is over-used as well.
Also, I recommend Clytemnestra CAPITALIZED and in bold to make the title stick out on the page.
In this phrase I would use a semi-colon skeptical men; whether
in media res
Is there any way you can tease them with the idea double casting to lower the amount of actors needed? In hard economic times they always look for ways to cut costs.
On a personal note I have been helping an actor with an audition the last two months doing Clytemnestra as one of her pieces. We worked it so she would actually get a good laugh. Takes them all by surprise!