Clay & Water 2022

Information for Dramaturg Applicants


Clay & Water 2022 is Clamour Theatre Company’s fourth annual Playwrights’ Retreat & New Play Reading Series. The first two retreats were held live and in-person in Green Cove Springs, Florida. Like so many events during the pandemic, the third retreat was conducted virtually. Given the low vaccination rate in our county, we have reluctantly decided that Clay & Water 2022 will also be virtual.

The upside of that is, since we are unable to provide the selected playwrights with a week away from their ordinary lives to focus on their writing, we again plan to provide each writer the opportunity to work with a dramaturg. The 2022 Retreat will be held Feb 11 – Feb 27, but interactions will mostly take place in the evenings and on weekends. All via Zoom.

Selected dramaturgs will receive $200 each for their participation.

Dramaturg’s Scope of Work and Duties

The DRAMATURG will support the PLAY with the usual and customary dramaturgical services that DRAMATURG, director, playwright, and THEATRE deem necessary. Job responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Dramaturgical Zoom meeting between DRAMATURG and playwright at a mutually convenient time on Saturday, February 12, 2021 or Sunday, February 13, 2021.
  • Attendance at a private (actors, playwright, dramaturg, and Clamour staff) Zoom reading of the PLAY, followed by another dramaturgical Zoom meeting between DRAMATURG and playwright. Both private Zoom reading and dramaturgical Zoom meeting to be scheduled at a mutually convenient time between Tuesday, February 15, 2021 and Sunday, February 20, 2021.
  • Attendance at a public Zoom reading of the PLAY to be scheduled between Thursday evening, February 24 and Sunday, February 27, followed by a Zoom meeting, email or phone call summarizing any last dramaturgical thoughts, scheduled at a later date at the DRAMATURG’S discretion .
  • DRAMATURG is welcome but not required to attend these additional Zoom events:
    — Friday, February 11, evening – Welcome Dinner (participants to provide their own food)
    — Friday, February 18, evening – Group Cocktail hour
    — Wednesday, February 23, evening – Group Cocktail hour

Additional Information

More information about the overall schedule is available on the page outlining the guidelines for playwright applicants and can be found here: Clay & Water 2022 guidelines (scroll down for the red “Requirements & Schedule” link)

Playwrights’ bios can be found at the event page:  Clay & Water 2022

Plays and Playwrights needing Dramaturgs

Plays are listed below in alphabetical order by title. Synopses, writer’s development goals, and dramaturg preference are available under each play (simply click the red plus sign next to each heading to expand that section).

by Shashone Lambert Short

When a 60-something year old married couple, Allen and Trish, plan their very special party for a very special occasion, they were unaware of just how much drama a party could bring. But they soon find out when their night of celebration quickly turns into a test of their love for each other and for life.

  1. I was able to hear it out loud (informal reading).  There were climactic and emotional moments missed.  I am not sure if I am properly conveying through the words the tone or emotions of the scene, or if it was simply read by actors who did not put the work in to understand their characters or the moments.
  2. Since it’s a two person play, I want to ensure that there are no dull or unnecessary moments that slow down the momentum of the play.  I want to ensure that it is engaging throughout.
  3. I want to make sure that each character and their needs are clearly defined and the words written for them do not sound like the other character should or would say them.
  4. Open to make necessary rewrites as seen fit by a professional opinion.

African-American, over 40 years old, if possible.

by Erin Considine

Isabella is losing herself to Alzheimer’s. Her communication comes in repetitive stops and starts, leaving her children to untangle the roots of their past in order to make some weighted decisions about their future. Is a fresh start possible when old growth has been gnarled and broken away?

Family Tree was developed as part of the Carey Perloff Fellowship, and just had a first reading (on Zoom) with The Road Theatre.  This script is ready for strong rewrites, with actors and a dramaturg involved.

If a dramaturg had specific experience with dementia, or a deep understanding of the sibling relationships formed in abusive situations, that background would be helpful. What I would really hope for would be:

1. Someone who isn’t afraid to be direct about what is or isn’t working. I’d rather get a note than have a part of my script not work.

2. I would really love someone who understands the humor and love in this kind of family. The siblings snipe, but that’s mostly humor used as a coping mechanism. Even the mother jokes her way through the script. These three people love, love, love each other. I don’t want to work with someone who wants to “heighten the stakes” at the cost of those relationships. This is ultimately a play about healing and moving forward.

by Dave Osmundsen

When William Johansson, age 46, is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, he reunites with his former student Franklin, who is also autistic. Over the course of several weeks, the two help each other navigate a complex and challenging world that doesn’t always attempt to understand different modes of intellectual and emotional processing.

I wrote this play to explore a relationship between someone who received an autism diagnosis late in life and someone who has always known they were autistic. Currently, I think the play accomplishes this goal with the relationship between William and Franklin. For the next step of revisions, my goal is to explore and deepen the peripheral relationships, particularly that of William and his wife, Vivian. In exploring how their relationship is impacted by how they live with their disabilities (she is legally blind), my goal is to clarify why she decides to leave him towards the beginning of the play, and why she ultimately decides it’s better for them to not stay together. What are both of them gaining and losing by separating? How does their separation impact other areas of William’s life, particularly his relationship with Franklin? What does Vivian ultimately want for herself? I hope that deepening this relationship will unlock and strengthen the emotional core and arc of the play as a whole.

— I recently did a new draft of The Gift of BS  which cuts the intermission. Does the play build sufficiently without an intermission? Is there still room for the audience to breathe, since the intermission came before some very intense moments in the play?
— It has been pointed to me that the two autistic characters either have, or have mentioned, violent tendencies (born out of emotional dysregulation), which imbalances them against the neurotypical characters. I have tried to address this imbalance in the new draft, but I’m still wondering how this “imbalance” impacts how the audience views the autistic characters vs. the neurotypical characters? Is it clear that emotional dysregulation is the root of their “violence”?

I would like someone with experience working with neurodivergent artists and/or who is neurodivergent themselves, if possible. I have no preference in terms of age, race, or gender.

by Leah Roth Barsanti

Daphne’s roommates are probably going to change the world. Ryn’s a surgeon: she saves lives. Massie volunteers overseas in global crisis zones: she also saves lives. And Daphne… Daphne tried to bake cookies the other day. It didn’t go well. In fact, nothing that Daphne has tried has EVER gone well. That is… until she buys her first succulent and realizes that plants just might be “her thing.” What starts as a hobby for Daphne soon becomes an obsession, maybe even her small way of doing something positive for the world? This modern myth about eco-warriors and indoor gardening asks whether it’s possible to find a passion without letting it consume you.

During Clay & Water, I would like to work on the changing dynamic of Apollo and Daphne’s relationship throughout this play. Getting inside of a plant’s head/ trying to figure out the motivations of a non-human character has been one of the most exciting and challenging aspects of working on this play. I am currently reading a lot about the life of plants, and there’s so much that I want to infuse into this piece!

It would be fantastic if I could work with a millennial woman! Bonus if she likes plants.

by Ty Halton

A year after a sudden accident turned her world upside down, Aurora, a recovering addict, must reconnect with her daughter, a has-been soccer prodigy with a traumatic brain injury and a temper, before they become completely estranged. But how can one connect with another person before they can connect with themself? How far will a mother go to feel a connection with her child again?

My goals at this point in the revision process include working on subtext (rather than being so on the nose in some places) in addition to fleshing out Myle’s character a bit more, because he still falls a bit flat for me.

I don’t have any preference toward age or gender, but I would prefer to work with a POC on this script.

How to Apply

Please send an email introducing yourself both professionally and personally. Please tell us which playwright and play you would like to work with and why you think you would be a good fit. Include any questions you might have.

Email: Elaine Smith,

Deadline: January 3,  2022, 5 pm EST