Room for two more

Common Play Factory is planning another Virtual Play Reading event for Spring 2021 (to be livestreamed on our Facebook page) and would love to consider a couple more short plays to round out our program.

We are looking for writers who have work that they would like to hear read by our participating actors as an aid to continued to development of a script. There is no fee to submit your script, but as this event will be produced without formal funding, we are also unable to pay any royalty at this time.

Preference is given to resident playwrights of Northeast Pennsylvania, although we are happy to consider work from anywhere in the world.

Please inquire at for more information or send us your work (30 minutes or shorter) in a .pdf document with relevant information about your experience as a writer.

Although there is no deadline to submit, the program will be set as soon as we identify the scripts which best complete this Spring’s program.

We are always open to hearing from playwrights who would like to collaborate with Common Play Factory in the future.


The Mountain We Conquer

Our debut livestream program to be broadcast on Saturday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. will feature readings of Mark’s new short play, titled “Our Love is Here to Stay: I Need You Like I Need a Hole in the Head,” and Alicia Grega’s “Grip,” an absurd dark comedy in which exhausted woman goes to drastic measures to challenge her privileged sister’s aloofness while on a much-needed vacation.

Cast includes Deirdre (Lynch) Navin, Heather Burdick, Eric Lutz, Kimmie Leff, and Tim McDermott.

Born out of the ashes of the Jason Miller Playwrights’ Project which Alicia coordinated as a program of Scranton Public Theatre for five years, Common Play Factory has been limited in what we’ve been able to produce by a lack of resources (space, funding). It’s hard to bring new collaborators in when you don’t know what or where is next.

But now here we are in the middle of this pandemic even those with a homebase are not able to gather there. Virtual production spaces are not the theatres we’ve loved for so many years and can’t wait to get back to, but they are a means by which we can continue to practice our craft, as writers and actors and designers and story weavers.

This is what we can do right now with what we have.

We’ll let you know more as the next couple of weeks evolves.


Fall LiveStream Experiment

Common Play Factory has decided to livestream a reading of at least one short play and hopefully two this October.

If it goes well and seems like a cool solution until we can occupy public spaces together again then we’d like to do more, specifically in service to the arts community in Northeast Pennsylvania. But hey – we’re open minded and would rather tear down walls than arbitrarily segregate folx.

We have roles for at least two women to start. A script is available for you to read. And we are interested in looking at small cast, short plays that you think could work well in a virtual reading situation. (Find and watch a Zoom play if you haven’t yet – the more ideas the merrier).

Send an email at if you want to play with us!

Writing Exercises from the Royal Court

Playwright Rachel De-lahay (The Westbridge, Routes, Amazon’s The Feed) shares tips for staying on track and how to keep writing when you feel overwhelmed on this post from the Royal Court Theatre.

I especially love these simple logic exercises she adapted from a course by Leo Butler.

                A is in a room. enters, A stands… write

                A and B are sat. A laughs, B stays silent. stops… write

                A and B enter a room to find C stood. B turns to leave. A stops them… write

Like any practice, the most important thing is when you find you’ve lapsed, start again. Let’s make this a productive summer!


Running Lines debut

On the premiere episode of Running Lines, on Electric City Television hosts Alicia Grega and Mark Zdancewicz welcome guests Eric Lutz and David Parmalee from The Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre’s recent production of King Lear to discuss the challenges and thrills of producing Shakespeare in the 21st century and why his 400-year-old plays continue to receive more productions in the U.S. than the work of any other playwright.

Topics you’d like to see covered on future episodes?

Contact us at

In TV, we get a second take

Mark Zdancewicz and I plunged into the wonderfully evolving world of public access television with the newly refreshed Electric City Television this past month.
Running Lines will soon air monthly on Comcast public access channel 19 and programs will also be available on YouTube.

Our plan is to create “evergreen” programs that hold up after topical tie-ins have passed. Shakespeare is still the most produced playwright in the U.S. so it made sense to start with Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre’s production of King Lear that ran the last weekend of January and first weekend of February.
Our professional camera crew shot the entire three and a half hour production.


As the show was lit for the audience and not for cameras there are dark scenes the cameras could not do justice. It’s my understanding that the amazing Mary Frances Jackson is going to edit together a highlights reel and possibly insert key moments of footage from the show into our Running Lines interview with director David Parmalee and actor Eric Lutz who played Edmund.

If you already peeked at the photos below you may have noticed that Eric isn’t at the table but Deirdre Navin (Goneril) is. That’s because we had to shoot the first episode twice.  Everyone thought the volunteer working sound knew what he was doing but … while the pictures were pretty the overmodulated sound recorded was unsalvagable. My mic was hot the whole time and Mark laughs a lot louder than he speaks. Deirdre’s mic was too low. Fortunately, David was able to return for a second take and while Deirdre couldn’t make the reshoot, Eric was able to join us at the table.

We’ll let you know when the episode is out of post-production and available to view. And please, let us know what you think and any ideas you might have for future episodes.

For March, we’ll talk about women in the theater, tying into Women’s History Month and the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, guaranteeing women’s suffrage. April’s episode will focus on poetry.

Catch you on the tube!

All images by Electric City Television.

Let’s brainstorm

Dear local theatre friends,

Let’s say, theoretically for now, that there was soon to be a local theatre (and poetry/performance) related talk show on ECTV public access television.

Episodes would be aired with multiple potential encores so while specific productions could be promoted to an extent, program content requires “evergreen” relevance.

In other words, if people were to catch an episode after a mentioned production had come and gone, the conversation would still retain value and interest to viewers.

Specific emphases would be placed on new, original work and the challenges of production/presentation/reaching audience in NEPA now, in this decade as it evolves. Work in the public domain is also of special interest as recording rights are not an issue.

Let’s say Alicia Grega and Mark Zdancewicz could be the hosts of this show shot in a new ECTV studio with the potential of location shooting if/when it makes sense. There could be a new episode every month, maybe.

What are you working on in this coming year that we want to know about? What discussions with whom would you like to see?

Any other thoughts or ideas?

Thanks for letting me pick your brains!