Bridgette Dutta Portman, along with Elizabeth Flanagan, is coproducer of PlayOffs 2017. She told us a bit about herself and her involvement in the process of production.
Can you tell us a bit about your background and experience? How did you get into this aspect of theatre?
I'm normally a playwright, and never really thought about producing until PCSF needed someone to stage Sheherezade's Last Tales back in 2015. Together with Jerome Joseph Gentes, I volunteered to give it a try. How hard could it be? (Famous last words of all who stumble into new ventures ill-prepared but enthusiastic.) That was a baptism of fire. But despite feeling like I had no idea what I was doing most of the time, we ended up winning a TBA award for Outstanding Production of an Anthology. I went on to co-produce PlayOffs 2016 last year. I think it's been extremely valuable for me as a playwright to involve myself in other aspects of play production. I've learned an incredible amount about what it takes to put on a play and I think I've come away with a greater appreciation for the needs and perspectives of actors, directors, and designers.
Have you been involved with PCSF before? How?
I've been a PCSF member playwright since about 2010, when PCSF gave me my first staged reading of a full-length play (The Widow of Sisyphus). I've been on the board of PCSF since 2012 and currently serve as its president.
What is your favorite part of what you do? What is the most challenging thing about what you do?
Like any sort of project management, and it can sometimes be a challenge to coordinate the schedules, wants, and needs of a big team of people. There are always unforeseen complications--this year, for instance, the fires in Napa affected a couple of our actors and necessitated changes in our rehearsal schedule. But my favorite part is probably actually the production and design team meetings, where people share their ideas and I'm blown away by their creativity. I like assisting with building and painting the set. I also love seeing it all finally come together on stage and hearing people say "great show!"
What other theatre projects do you have coming up?
My full-length play Ageless will have its world premiere with Quantum Dragon Theatre, Dec. 1-9 at the Phoenix Theatre (414 Mason). It's a play set in a future world where aging has been all but eradicated--people take a pill to stay eternally youthful. When my protagonist Marin decides to age naturally, she has to face the social repercussions of that choice, along with her mother's resentment. It's a play about mothers and daughters, aging and mortality, and facing our fears. Check out more at https://www.quantumdragon.org/ageless and please come see it!
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself?
PCSF has done so much for me in terms of helping me launch my career as a playwright. It's a great organization. We have some amazingly talented writers, not to mention our actors, directors and designers, and I can't wait to show you what they've come up with this year. Please join us!
Get your tickets for PlayOffs 2017 here!