Theatre without a net. Wait…

Several weeknds ago, I flew without a net, theatre-wise.

I was asked to be a director for one of the six short plays presented as part of 24-Hour Theatre Project at Theatre Charlotte. This is a special theatre boot camp event where, in the course of one 24 hour period, a play is written, cast and fully produced on stage. Typically, the rehearsal process alone takes a full 3-4 weeks or more for a non-musical, just as a point of comparison.

Anyone that is familiar with theatre knows that one of the most thrilling things about it is that it is live, so there is always an element of excitement connected to the performance. And because it is live, any number of things can happen during the course of a performance that are COMPLETELY UNPLANNED, adding an element of unknown for everyone involved, including the audience. It is, technically, acting without a net. But, those of us that participate on a regular basis have many different rituals and tricks that we utilize in attempt to control the chaos that eventually becomes the art. So a theatre project where all of the existing givens are now variable unknowns is pretty darn unnerving. And somewhat intimidating. Included in these unknowns, by the way, was the overall theme of the plays. The writers themselves didn’t even get that piece of info until 8pm on the night they were to start writing against their 12 hour deadline.

Anyone that has ever worked with me on any project knows that I work to conquer and control the variable unknowns that live and lurk in my theatre world.
As an actor, I check and double-check props and costume pieces prior to a show, even though there are typically additional people tasked with doing this. I create lists of my clothing changes and props needed between my scenes, print out copies and post at all stage entrances and exits. I figure out my ‘plan B’ for the times that the prop phone doesn’t ring, an actor doesn’t enter or drops a line, or drops a glass, etc. I do love rehearsal, and have been known to schedule extra time for work outside of the original set schedule. When I step on stage I forget all that planning and let it go, but these organizational items provide structure for my process.
As an independent theatre producer, my planning takes on a whole other level. Typically, I pick my pieces over 2 years in advance, and secure any producing partners, funding and sponsors. I cast and hire tech personnel as much as a year in advance of the project. I even pre-purchase costume pieces, props, and opening night gifts if I see something that I think will work within the confines and themes of the show. I work from tabbed and divided notebooks, keeping track of it all as I go. I have been told, repeatedly, in my producing career that I set deadlines for things “too early”. But I start early and consider myself a practical realist; something inevitably will happen that is unexpected and if everything else is already tied up, decided upon and generally done, then there is time to deal with the unknown surprise issue(s). Yes, I know: this means I plan for the surprise. But, it is how I prefer to work and it feels practical to me.

So you can understand why being a part of something like the 24-Hour Theatre Project should send me into override. And I am guessing Ron Law, Executive Director at Theatre Charlotte and a project partner of mine for three years running considered this about me as well, but asked me to be a part of this project anyway- for which I am very grateful. I was surprised, to say the least, at my personal reaction to all of this. Instead of feeling nervous, I found it all absolutely exhilarating. The whole thing became about quickly identifying and utilizing the opportunities that were immediately presenting themselves. I got lucky, and was gifted with an incredibly witty, well written and workable piece which I later found out was written by Charlotte Magazine writer Jenn Grabenstetter. Bonus: It had a well placed twist of a punchline about a timely topic. The actors were game to ‘mine the funny’ into comedy bits that really worked well with the structure; and here I learned something. As a director, there is nothing better than coming up with what you perceive as a funny bit, watching actors execute it perfectly and then having it kill in front of an audience. The entire process felt like it was somehow on organic fast forward! When the actors got up to do their one and only performance that evening, they took it to the next level, and as I sat on the back row in the dark of the theatre with my fellow directors at the jumping off point, I felt really proud of all the unbelievable work that everyone had done in that one 24 hour period.

I am currently working on development of several brand new theatre projects about all of which I am very excited. The collaborations are ones that I have been thinking about and working toward for some time now. The juggling should prove to be interesting because they are all very unique pieces at different stages of development. I certainly don’t have it all figured out yet-but strangely, that’s not bothering me this time around. I am now flying without a net… and I think I like it.

Great Docs about Art and Artists

Thanks to my friend, local Charlotte filmmaker and documentarian April Denee, I recently found myself on a documentary viewing kick. I watched a lot of great docs-all about art, artists and collectors, and have been recommending this list often because the stories are both interesting, thoughtfully told and worthy of discussion. So, I am going to use this opportunity to post these docs in the order in which I viewed them and write a short blurb about each. I watched them all on Netflix on Demand, but they are all widely available on iTunes and other outlets as well.

Love to hear what you think!

Exit thru the Gift Shop- Banksy’s Oscar Nominated doc on street art and artist that asks the question “What is Art? ”
Art of the Steal- Controversial relocation to move Barnes Art Collection to Philly.
A Man Named Pearl- Inspiring story of self-taught topiary artist Pearl Fryar from my homestate of South Carolina.
Herb and Dorothy- How a librarian and postal worker became NYC’s biggest art collectors.
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work- Joan Rivers broke many barriers for women and comics.

And check out April’s current project, Busk, on Charlotte street artists here :

Wildacres Residency Awarded to Donna Scott Productions for Summer 2011

donna scott productions
is excited to announce the award of a 2011 residency at Wildacres for creative work and development of two new theatre projects. The residency will take place in August 2011 at Wildacres Conference Center in Little Switzerland, NC.

The Wildacres Residency Program began in 1999 and over the past twelve years has hosted approximately 290 writers, artists, and musicians. Wildacres chooses 25 artists each year for residency awards.

Aphasia Screening Schedule

Aphasia on tour with Carl McIntyre : Spring/Summer 2011
**All events are private hires unless noted**

March 1 UNC-Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
March 31 West Va Speech & Hearing Convention Flatwoods, WVA
April 13/14 East Carolina University Greenville, NC
April 18/19 Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN (April 18, Public Event**)
April 21 Emerson University/Spaulding Hospital Boston, MA
April 26 Northeast AHEC/ Appalachian University Boone, NC
May 3 Southeast AHEC Stroke Convention Greensboro, NC
May 21 Rogers C. Peace Rehab Greenville, SC
June 11 TBA
June 14-16 TBA
June 24-26 TBA

To book a screening of Aphasia please go to for more information

Aphasia chosen as Official Selection of Big Bear Lake International Film Festival in California

For Immediate Release

For more information or for interviews please contact
Donna Scott,

Aphasia chosen as Official Selection of Big Bear Lake International Film Festival in California

Aphasia will screen September 2010

CHARLOTTE, N.C. July 30, 2010 … The short film Aphasia has been chosen as an Official Selection of the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival and will be shown in Big Bear, CA in September 2010.

Aphasia was written by Jim Gloster, a Charlotte, NC director, actor and writer. Gloster wanted to capture the story of his friend, actor Carl McIntyre who suffered a massive stroke in 2005 at just 44 years of age. As a result, McIntyre lives with aphasia, an acquired communication disorder that impairs a person’s ability to process language but does not affect intelligence.

Aphasia is a double dose of reality told in narrative form. Carl stars as himself and portrays his life story in a powerful and nuanced performance. Aphasia uses comedy and pathos to raise awareness about aphasia and provide hope and inspiration to anyone working to overcome obstacles in their lives. The film recounts McIntyre’s first person experience during the stroke, his recovery and his struggle with his inability to communicate.
The film was shot in Charlotte, NC with approximately 100 crew members rotating through the eight day shoot. There are 33 speaking roles and roughly 35 cast extras that were used at different times. Most of them had had worked with Carl previously or knew of him, his career and his story.
“Aphasia was the perfect way for us to use our art to bring something positive and far-reaching out of a tragic situation. And what better example to encourage anyone that has encountered a disability in life than to have Carl actually play himself in the movie? What Carl wanted to do most is act again, and Jim’s script has given him the opportunity to do that, while simultaneously providing a way for him to encourage others to do the same,” said Donna Scott, Executive Producer.
The production team of Jim Gloster, Chuck Bludsworth, Tonya Bludsworth and Donna Scott formed Little Word Films to produce Aphasia, in Charlotte. Little Word Films has partnered with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences on this project.
Aphasia was also chosen as an official selection of the Prince Edward Island International Film Festival in Canada and was screened there in July. To learn more about the Carl McIntyre Aphasia Project, please check out our website and social media pages: and fan us as ‘Aphasia the Movie’ on face book.
More than 100,000 Americans develop the disorder annually. Aphasia affects about one million Americans, or 1 in 300 people. It is more common than Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy, however, most people have never heard of aphasia. While the most common cause is stroke, aphasia can also result from head injury, brain tumor or other neurological causes. To learn more, go to:


donna scott productions annouces June 2010 production: The Dixie Swim Club

For Immediate release
April 25, 2010
Contact: Donna Scott
Office: 704-366-7965

donna scott productions announces 2010 show: The Dixie Swim Club

The producer and creator of both The Body Chronicles (awards: Creative Loafing Best Original Show and Metrolina Theatre Association Best Special Event) and The Fairy Tale Chronicles (awards: Metrolina Theatre Association Outstanding Original Play), donna scott productions is excited to announce the June 2010 Charlotte premiere production of The Dixie Swim Club by North Carolina playwrights Nicholas Hope, Jessie Jones and Jamie Wooten.

The Dixie Swim Club follows five college friends on their annual beach trip to the Outer Banks and focuses on four of those weekends while spanning a period of thirty-three years. Sheree, the spunky team captain, desperately tries to maintain her organized and ‘perfect’ life, and continues to be the group’s leader. Dinah, the wise-cracking overachiever, is a career dynamo in stark contrast to the frustrations of her personal life; Lexie, pampered and outspoken, is determined to hold on to her looks and youth as long as possible. The self-deprecating and acerbic Vernadette, acutely aware of the dark cloud that hovers over her life, has decided to just give in and embrace the chaos. And sweet, eager-to-please Sister Jeri Neal enters with a surprise that sends her life down the road not taken. As their lives unfold and the years pass, these women increasingly rely on one another, through advice and raucous repartee, to get through the challenges (men, sex, marriage, parenting, divorce, and aging) that life flings at them. The Dixie Swim Club is the story of five unforgettable women – a hilarious and touching comedy about friendships that last forever. Tonya Bludsworth, Stephanie Dipaolo, Chandler McIntyre, Donna Scott and Sheila Snow Proctor comprise the cast; Polly Adkins will make her Charlotte directing debut.

The Dixie Swim Club is a project in a continued partnership with Theater Charlotte and Ron Law, Executive Director at Theatre Charlotte. The Dixie Swim Club will be presented at Theatre Charlotte, 501 Queens Road, and will open June 10, 2010 and run thru June 26, 2010. Tickets are $24 adult, $20 senior and $10 student and can be purchased at; group discounts available.