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A Tale of a Modern Buddha, by Tanya Shaffer and Vienna Teng
Tanya Shaffer
1,629 Facebook Friends
San Francisco, California
United States
3 Team Members

Year-end Update:

We are extremely grateful to all who have helped us reach the $20,000 benchmark so early in our campaign.  Does that mean we’re done?  No way!  Our overall budget goal for this production is $80,000. We came into this campaign with $35,000. That means that, after meeting our $20,000 benchmark, we still have another $25,000 to raise before we reach our larger goal. The more of that we can raise here, the more we can focus our efforts this year on further refining the piece rather than on raising more funds. We can also put some resources toward related goals like making a high-quality recording which can help ensure a life for this piece far beyond the initial production.  Thank you so much for your help on this journey, and please continue to contribute generously and to spread the word far and wide. We want this story and this music to go viral.  Happy 2012!

The Project

What if the Buddha were a woman?  What if she were alive today?  How would the world view her life and teachings differently?

"The Fourth Messenger" is a captivating new musical by playwright/lyricist Tanya Shaffer and composer Vienna Teng, loosely inspired by the life of the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. In our contemporary re-imagining, the "awakened one" is a woman - a world-famous guru with a mysterious past, known to her followers as Mama Sid. When a young woman arrives at her ashram and starts asking questions, Mama Sid is forced to confront her youthful actions and their consequences. At once epic and intimate, comic and profound, "The Fourth Messenger" investigates what it means to be both enlightened and human. Vienna Teng's addictive melodies and subtle, intricate harmonies add depth and resonance that linger long after the lights go down.

The Journey
Producing this musical is the culmination of a long-held dream. From the germ of inspiration over fourteen years ago, to the afternoon in 2006 when Tanya and Vienna sat down in a cafe in San Francisco's Cannery district to discuss a potential collaboration, to the moment you sit reading these words, we've been through our own epic journey of creation and development.  The family of artists who've contributed their time and talent as actors, directors, stage managers, dramaturges, and musicians now numbers close to fifty, not to mention the hundreds of audience members who've viewed our work-in-progress and shared their impressions and ideas. It's time for the world premiere!

Eight months ago, we made the decision to raise $80,000 to produce a four- to six-week run of "The Fourth Messenger" in the San Francisco Bay Area in early 2013. We hosted our first fundraiser in July and raised $35,000 in contributions, bringing us almost half-way to our long-term goal.

The Pitch, the Match, the Promise
We've set the goal for this phase of our campaign at $20,000.  A generous donor has stepped forward with a promise to match your contributions dollar for dollar until that goal is met.  That means that if you pledge $10, we get $20, if you pledge $50, we get $100, and onward and upward! The donor will deposit the matching grant every time we pass a $1000 benchmark, so you can watch online as our tally grows. Since we are fiscally sponsored, all gifts are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.

Please help us make this vision a reality. In exchange for your contribution, you will receive the fun, one-of-a-kind perks listed in the sidebar, as well as our promise to bring this work to the stage with all the color and magic and vitality it deserves. We will employ professional artists and use all the resources at our disposal to bring this story and this music to the widest possible audience.  Look below for a quick breakdown of how the money will be spent.

Every gift is deeply appreciated. Every gift makes a difference. Every gift is tax-deductible.  Thank you for helping us realize our dream.  

What Else You Can Do
Share, share, share! Sharing your enthusiasm for this project via email, Facebook, Twitter, phone, and good ol' word of mouth is a gift to us that keeps on giving.  Please help us go viral with this project by getting the word out on the streets!

Quick 'n Dirty Budget Breakdown

Salaries - Artistic, Technical, Front of House: 60%
9-12 actors â€¢ 4 musicians â€¢ Director â€¢ Music Director â€¢ Orchestrator â€¢ Choreographer â€¢ Designers (Set, Lighting, Costumes, Props) â€¢ Playwright and Composer Royalties â€¢ Stage Manager â€¢ House Manager â€¢ Technical Director â€¢ Carpenter(s) â€¢ Light and Sound Board Operators â€¢ Running Crew

Rental Costs : 15%
Performance Space â€¢ Rehearsal Space

Materials: 7%
Set Materials â€¢ Costume Materials â€¢ Prop Materials

Publicity: 15%
Publicist â€¢ Photographer â€¢ Poster/ Flyer/ Postcard Design and Printing â€¢ Bulk Mailing Costs â€¢ Paid Listings/Advertisements â€¢ Postering Service â€¢ Website Design and Maintenance

Other: 3%
Box Office Services â€¢ Audio Recording â€¢ Video Recording â€¢ Script Copying â€¢ Ticket and Program Printing

Our Team
Tanya Shaffer's (playwright/lyricist) plays have been produced at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, San Diego Repertory Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, TheatreWorks, and the Eureka Theatre, and have toured to more than 40 cities nationwide.  Her solo show "Let My Enemy Live Long!" ran for six sold-out months in the Bay Area and was awarded a Bay Area Theatre Critics Award. Her play 'Baby Taj,' which premiered in 2005, was selected by the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News, and the Oakland Tribune as one of the Top Ten Shows of the Year and nominated for a National Theatre Critics Association Steinberg Award for the best play to premiere that year outside of New York City.  She's also the author of the critically acclaimed travel memoir, "Somebody's Heart is Burning: A Woman Wanderer in Africa," which was profiled in Vogue and USA Today and selected by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the Best Books of the Year.  She's currently a resident playwright at Playwrights Foundation. Visit her online: tanyashaffer.com.

Find This Campaign On
raised by 278 people in 2 months
186% funded
No time left
Verified Nonprofit
$20,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on February 4, 2012
In partnership with
Select a Perk
  • $10USD
    Amacca = Well-wisher

    Eternal gratitude, your name on our website, and a personalized thank-you sent by email or posted to your Facebook page! (fully tax-deductible)

    9 claimed
  • $25USD
    Kalyna = Friend

    All of the above, plus your name in the program and a hand-written thank you card signed by Tanya and Vienna! (fully tax-deductible)

    96 claimed
  • $50USD
    Pattika = Donor

    All that, plus a pair of tickets for opening week! (amount over $30 is tax-deductible)

    66 claimed
  • $100USD
    rammana = Supporter

    All that, plus a full CD of music from "The Fourth Messenger" following production! (amount over $35 is tax-deductible)

    70 claimed
  • $250USD
    Dyaka = Patron

    All that, plus a backstage tour, a signed copy of Tanya's book "Somebody's Heart is Burning," and 4 additional tickets for any performance! (amount over $100 is tax-deductible)

    11 claimed
  • $500USD
    Pariccajanaka = Benefactor

    All that, plus a poster signed by the entire company and an invitation to an exclusive VIP reception with the artists! (amount over $125 is tax-deductible)

    6 claimed
  • $1,000USD
    Nissaya = Cornerstone

    All that, plus a copy of the script and score, signed by Tanya and Vienna, and a Skype conference of up to one hour with Tanya and Vienna, in which we are happy to discuss matters of your choosing! (amount over $135 is tax-deductible)

    2 claimed
  • $5,000USD
    Uppādetar = Producer

    All that, plus a dinner out with Tanya and Vienna (instead of the Skype conference), and a full set of signed Vienna Teng CD's, and signed copies of Tanya's published book and play! (amount over $230 is tax-deductible)

    2 claimed
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