First Draft

First Draft, Chicago Dramatists bi-Monthly meetings of Network Members, stands as a core essential of the Network Playwright Program. Members meet on the second and fourth Monday of every month, where they read and critique one another’s work in a safe, peer-setting, guided by a theater professional. Each session, a new full-length play from a member is read for an invited audience. Readings are free and open to the public, and seating is first come, first served. Donations are welcome.

Due to COVID-19, we have moved all events to Zoom, an online platform.  If you are interested in attending, you may email First Draft Coordinator Matt Tassell to be put on the list. Email him at:

Our next First Draft will be Monday, April 13. Featured will be Neill Shanahan’s play Lighthouse Beach.

Neill Shanahan

About The Play…

“The wounds of the mother are passed on to the daughter.”

Claire cites this line from Ingmar Bergman’s Autumn Sonata to her mother, Kristine. It goes to the heart of their long, painful alienation. Lighthouse Beach begins with the devastating culmination of Kristine’s longing and solitude and, in reverse time, traces its history through pivotal events.

Both are highly talented and successful in their professional careers, but pay a high price. Both are haunted by the memory of Jeremy, Claire’s father, a high school English teacher, who was far more romantic and fun-loving than Kristine. Michael, Kristine’s boss and lover, pushes Kristine in the other direction, toward fulfilling her potential as a world-class neurosurgeon. Kristine becomes increasingly and tragically conflicted.

7:00 PM, Monday, April 13, 2020