First-year MFA Playwright Eryn Elyse McVay’s new short play The Weight of It All will be performed as a “splash” piece at the 2021 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Region 7. A “splash” piece has the actors rehearse the play separately from each other and then not meet each other until the performance! The Region 7 festival runs February 17-20, 2021.
As the call for the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award goes out for 2021, we’re reminded that the pandemic preempted a post about 2020 MFA alum Olivia Matthews, whose play Absentia was the 2020 student award winner. Furthermore, current third-year MFA Skye Robinson Hillis‘s play Bury the Rest was runner up in the 2020 competition. Congratulations to both!
STUDENT CONTEST WINNER 2020
ABSENTIA by Olivia Matthews: After living in the secluded Florida woods for eight years with only her overprotective father and pet rabbit Robyn, 20-year-old Esther Harris longs to be reunited with her long-lost mother. Meanwhile, only miles away, Diana Baines gathers with her community to mourn the loss of her young daughter, Neoma. When Esther’s father kills her beloved Robyn, she flees from their cabin and returns to her hometown, turning Diana’s grief on its head. Soon, their lives collide as Esther learns more and more of how everyone around her has moved on in her absence. And as she is haunted by a mysterious death from her path, Esther must fight to reclaim her space and identity in her old home.
STUDENT HONORABLE MENTION
BURY THE REST by Skye Robinson Hillis: Following the death of their 17-year-old daughter Lucy in a mass high school shooting, friendly exes Margot and Colin find themselves at a moral impasse. Colin’s position as a Republican U.S. Senator makes it difficult for Margot and the rest of the family to reconcile the root of their grief with his continued support of the NRA. As Margot and Colin intertwine themselves during the grieving process, their relationship takes a dark turn that leaves Colin’s new wife Laura on the outside and their remaining daughter Samantha to navigate this brave new world on her own. Each member of the family tumbles deeper into the cavernous rabbit hole of devastation, loneliness, and anger while Lucy, inexplicably caught between the living and the dead, must confront the truths of her short life while facing the terrifying looming reality that is her death. As they navigate the intimacies of their reforged relationship and rebuild themselves as a family, it may in fact be Lucy who decides their fate.
THE JANE CHAMBERS AWARD recognizes new feminist plays and performance texts created by women and genderqueer writers for the stage that present a feminist perspective and contain significant opportunities for female performers. We welcome plays that experiment with form and/or that feature non-binary characters. This annual award, established in 1984, is given in memory of lesbian playwright Jane Chambers who, through her plays A Late Snow, Last Summer at Bluefish Cove, My Blue Heaven, Kudzu, & The Quintessential Image, became a major feminist voice in American theatre. Sponsored by the Women and Theatre Program (WTP) with the Association for Theater in Higher Education, the Jane Chambers winner receives $250 and a
reading at the WTP Conference.
What does it mean if something is home cooked? Is it a comfort? A burden? Is it time well spent with the family and friends, or is it take out and TV? Are there specific rules that make something uniquely home cooked? Let’s find out! In this week’s Madness, we will combine 6 playwrights, a handful of creativity, a dash of ego, and a few sweet burns to explore what it means for something to be home cooked. Friday, 1/29 at 6:00 p.m. EST. Produced by 2nd-year playwright, Klae Bainter.
How to attend Madness this spring (2021):
- Virtual seating for the Zoom-show will be limited; as always, admittance is first come, first served.
- The show starts at 6:00 pm, and the Madness Zoom-link will be posted on relevant Fridays between 5:50 and 6:00 pm via the OHIO School of Theater Facebook page and Twitter.
- To make sure you get admitted, watch for the Zoom-link to appear on Facebook or Twitter and click through to enter the lobby immediately. Your Zoom-link is specific to you — sharing with others means you won’t be able to see the show.
- Shows are planned for the following Fridays: 1/29, 2/12, 2/26, 3/12, 3/26, 4/9. Typically, Madness runs around 50 minutes in length.
More about Madness at https://ohioplaywriting.org/madness/.
Jeffry Chastang’s play Dauphin Island is on fire! It was recently at AlabamaShakes and now will be apart of Detroit Repertory Theater’s 2017/18 season.
The play will run at Detroit Rep, Jan 11th to March 18th, 2018 and will be its Midwest Premiere! For more details click here. Congrats Jeff!! Very exciting to see this beautiful, haunting play get so much recognition!
More about the play:
Suspicion and fascination dovetail when (en route from Detroit to a new job on Alabama’s Dauphin Island) Selwyn Tate interrupts the self-imposed isolation of Kendra in the piney woods–dramatizing the risks involved when two displaced souls intertwine.
Go see it at Detroit Rep!!
More about Jeff
Jeffry Chastang Michigan-born Jeffry Chastang received his MFA in Playwriting from Ohio University. His thesis play Dauphin Island reached semifinalist status with the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference selection committee. Jeffry was the recipient of the Kennedy Center Roger L. Stevens Award for his first play Full Circle, which was produced by Detroit’s Plowshares Theater Company. Plowshares also produced his second play …Continued Warm, which was named Best New Play by the Oakland Press. He was commissioned by the Alabama Shakespeare Festival (ASF) to write Blood Divided, a play marking the sesquicentennial of the Civil War in Montgomery, Alabama. Blood Divided also received an Edgerton Foundation New Plays Award. Jeffry’s play Preparations was developed in ASF’s Southern Writers Project. As an actor Jeffry’s professional credits include Fences, The Old Settler and A Soldier’s Play.
Tyler Whidden has a new book of short plays, many of which were written at OU through madness! You can purchase the book through Amazon by clicking here. The collection is entitled “F*** it!” cause Tyler is edgy.
More about the collection: F*CK IT is a collection of mundane situations made exceptional. This collection of stories will introduce you to characters who jump into the water no matter how cold. They’re daring, mouthy, and they really don’t give a f*ck. Inspired by politics, history, social awkwardness, injustice, or just good ol’ sexy sex times. This is not theater for your grandmother. Unless Nana likes dick jokes. Multiple Characters. Various ages & genders. Any race. Whatever.
Congrats Tyler!! This is a great edgy gift for your more mysterious, brooding friends who your not sure what they actually like! Get it today!
More about Tyler
Tyler Whidden was born and raised in Cleveland, OH where he grew up the least-talented son of a hockey-first family. After earning his BFA in Playwriting at Ohio University, he began a tragic career as a stand-up comic based out of Seattle, WA. As a comedian, Tyler was labeled by critics and fans alike as, “hilarious,” “tragic,” and “probably stoned.”
After years of toiling on the road, he moved to Chicago where he returned to theater, studying and working with Victory Gardens and the Neo-Futurists theaters among many others.
He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College and worked as Director of Education with the great Ensemble Theatre of Cleveland.
His play Dancing With N.E.D. has seen productions in New Jersey, Ohio, and Washington. His family-friendly farce, The Unofficial Almost True Campfire Tales of Put-in-Bay was commissioned by the Put-in-Bay Arts Council as part of their Bicentennial Celebration of the Battle of Lake Erie in the Summer of 2013 and his one-act play, Detour, was part of the “Truck Stop Plays” production in Chicago.
He is the 2015 – 2016 recipient of the prestigious Anthony Trisolini Named Fellowship and 2016 graduate of the MFA Playwriting program at Ohio University under Charles Smith and Erik Ramsey. 2016 also saw the premier of his play, Occupation: Dad, as part of the 21st Annual Seabury Quinn, Jr. Playwrights Festival.
Recent alum and overall friendly dude Aaron James Johnson is part of the Inaugural Detroit Playwrights Lab and they have a showing of short plays Friday, July 14th! The facebook event says: Seven 10-minute plays and excerpts from plays written by some of Metro Detroit’s finest up-and-coming playwrights. Join us for an unforgettable evening of original theater. Doors open at 6:30 pm. Free admission! And free, enclosed parking is adjacent to the theater.
I facebook messaged him and he gave me more dets!! Aaron said-“My play Step-nasty is being directed by Harold Hogan and I’m directing An Old Neighbor by Sean Paraventi.”
Now if I were you, I would get your butt down to the theater cause who can resist a play called Step Nasty written by an OU alum?? I think no one!
Friday, July 14th, 7pm
More about Aaron
Aaron Johnson hails from the land of cheese in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He received his Bachelor of the Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he majored in English with an Emphasis in Creative Writing and in Theatre and Drama. While not officially specializing in playwriting in his undergrad, Aaron took the only playwriting course offered twice and completed his creative writing thesis as a play instead of fiction or poetry writing which the school usually requires. During his time at UW-Madison, Aaron completed three full length plays, multiple One-Acts, and numerous short plays which were all workshopped and some eventually produced at the university in staged readings. In his Theatre and Drama major he specialized in props and was props master for a number of university shows including Ti-Jean and his Brothers and Eurydice. Working his summers during college as a technical writer, Aaron decided to take a year off from school and work full time but the call of academia was too much for him to resist though as he is currently pursuing his MFA in Playwriting from Ohio University. Aaron’s writing tends to take the complex and unnoticed topics of today’s culture and bring them to light by using them to create dramatic conflict and then ultimate understanding. Using these undiscovered topics and coupling them with a realistic style will grow people’s curiosity and actively induce them to gain knowledge about today’s world.
Recent alum Catherine Weingarten has a reading of her trashy summer camp play “Are You Ready to Get PAMPERED!?” Saturday, July 15th at 6pm in Brooklyn. The reading is produced by Off With Her Head Productions and it’s apart of their Uncorseted Reading Series which promotes new plays about women and female empowerment. The reading also features OU BFA acting alum Leah Kistler!
Check it out if your in NYC!
More about the play:
For a long time Hester has lain awake at night, excited about the summer she can follow her mother’s footsteps and become a Pampered Camp counselor! The only problem is that Lake Pampered is a popular-fun-sexy exclusive all girl’s summer camp and Hester is a loser! The play was inspired by Catherine Weingarten’s experience as a summer camp counselor. The play asks messy questions about girl culture and expectations we put on young women to get hotter as Hester struggles to find her own in a pampered, prideful, popular and sexy world.
SAT JULY 15TH AT 6PM. CAFE FORTE. CROWN HEIGHTS.
More about Catherine
Catherine Weingarten is currently pursuing her MFA in Playwriting at Ohio University, studying under Charles Smith and Erik Ramsey. She graduated from Bennington College in 2013 studying under Sherry Kramer. She has taken workshops in playwriting with Samuel D. Hunter, Kara Lee Corthon and Branden Jacob-Jenkins. Catherine’s summer camp play “Are You Ready to Get PAMPERED!?” had a reading at 59E59 with Less than Rent and also was part of Dixon Place’s Bingo Lounge. Some of her other plays include: Pineapple Upside Down Cake (KCACTF:national semi-finalist), Janis and the Big BAD World (Semi-finalist at Wide Eyed Productions), A Roller Rink Temptation (NOLA Fringe), This Car Trip Suckss ( Piper Theater Productions Emerging Artist Reading Series), Karate Hottie (OU Seabury Quinn Play Fest) Love Potion Number Slut (Tiny Rhino) and You Looked Hot When You Stole that Dress from Walmart (Fresh Fruit Festival.) She has been involved with Abingdon Playwrights Group as well as New Perspective’s Women’s Work Short Play Lab. She is the recipient of the Scott McPherson award given to a graduate playwright at Ohio University that is a kind and supportive collaborator in the program. catherine-weingarten.squarespace.com
OU Alum Sarah Bowden has been up to some exciting stuff in Chicago! Check out her play “Tin Noses” in the Chicago Theater Marathon on July 23rd at 11am! Congrats Sarah!! Woooot!
More about the play:
TIN NOSES is an exploration of representation, disability, Hollywood, and superhero action figures. When movie star Max is cast as a wounded World War I vet in an upcoming prestige pic, he must learn how to perform disability for the camera. Who better to help shape his physicality than ex-flame and hotshot choreographer Hannah? And her colleague Austin, who lost the role to Max, and who lives with spastic hemiplegia. Yup, this won’t get awkward at all.
Here is some info on the Marathon:
The Chicago Theatre Marathon is a weekend-long, marathon event celebrating the diversity of the Chicagoland theatre community. The Marathon aims to acknowledge the variety of characteristics and categories of identity that make individuals unique, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender or gender expression, socio-economic status, age, physical, mental and learning abilities, religious beliefs and political views. Additionally, this year’s rallying cry will be “I am Indomitable,” and will reflect on how artists in Chicago can fully embody that word. This curated series will provide a platform to recognize the uniqueness of individuals, populations, groups and their experiences while cultivating a sense of commonality and shared goals for our community.
11 am on Sunday,July 23rd-
The Chicago Theatre Marathon will take place at the new home of Strawdog Theatre Company, at 1802 W Berenice Ave, Chicago, IL 60613. There are two performance spaces: The black box theatre and the lobby.
More about Sarah
Sarah Bowden is a teaching artist, whose plays have been produced in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Toronto, and Stockholm. Her work has been developed and presented by the Painted Bride Art Center, the Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre, the Nylon Fusion Theatre, Monkeyman Productions, the Greenhouse Theater Center, the Chicago Madness Collective, and Ohio University. Her full-length The Magnificent Masked Hearing Aid was listed as a semi-finalist in several theatre festivals, including the Capital Repertory Next Act! New Play Summit, the Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte’s nuVoices Festival, the Activate Midwest New Play Festival and the Elgin Cultural Commission Page to Stage Program. The script received Honorable Mention in the American Blues Theater Blue Ink Playwriting Award. Sarah has won the White-Howells English Prize for Drama and the Margaret W. Baker Prize for Fiction, was a finalist in the Route 66 Theatre Test Drive Workshop, and a semi-finalist for the Stage Left Theatre Playwright Residency. She has developed her work as a finalist in the International Thespian Festival’s Playworks program. She has completed internships with Chicago Dramatists, Northlight Theatre, Arden Theatre Company, the Wilma Theater, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and the Adirondack Theatre Festival. Sarah holds an M.F.A. in Playwriting from Ohio University and B.A. in directing and creative writing from Beloit College, and teaches theatre and composition at Benedictine University and Prairie State College.
Recent alum Jeffry Chastang’s new play Under Ceege, will be featured in the “Southern Writer’s Project” this May 12th-14th! The Southern Writers Project through Alabama Shakespeare Festival has supported Jeffs work in the past, including the development of his thesis play at OU, Dauphin Island!
Congrats Jeff! Check it out if your in Alabama!
Get more info here
Read this exclusive blog by SWP about Jeff!
Scott Mcpherson’s beloved play “Marvin’s Room” will be playing at the Roundabout theater this June! Janeane Garofalo just joined the cast and the play will also feature Celia Weston and Lili Taylor!!
Here is more about the play from the Roundabout Website:
“Roundabout Theatre Company presents the Broadway premiere of Marvin’s Room, Scott McPherson’s award-winning, wildly funny play about the laughter that can shine through life’s darkest moments. Anne Kauffman (Marjorie Prime, Maple and Vine) directs.
Estranged sisters Lee and Bessie have never seen eye to eye. Lee is a single mother who’s been busy raising her troubled teenage son, Hank. Bessie’s got her hands full with their elderly father and his soap opera-obsessed sister. When Bessie is diagnosed with leukemia, the two women reunite for the first time in 18 years. Are Lee’s good intentions and wig-styling skills enough to make up for her long absence? Can Bessie help Hank finally feel at home somewhere… or at least keep him from burning her house down? Can these almost-strangers become a family in time to make plans, make amends, and maybe make a trip to Disney World?
Exploring an unsentimental reality with hope, compassion and a dose of wonderfully absurd humor, Marvin’s Room is a life-affirming reminder of the gift we give ourselves when we love unconditionally.
First preview: June 8, 2017
Opening Night: June 29, 2017
Click here for more info
More about Janeane Garofalo
Janeane Garofalo is an American actress, stand-up comedian, and writer. Garofalo began her career as a stand-up comedian and became a cast member on the The Ben Stiller Show, The Larry Sanders Show, and Saturday Night Live, then appeared in more than 50 movies, with leading or major roles in The Truth About Cats and Dogs, Wet Hot American Summer, The Matchmaker, Reality Bites, Steal This Movie!, Clay Pigeons, Sweethearts, Mystery Men, and The Independent, among numerous others. She has also been a series regular on television programs such as Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, 24, and Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce.