Second-year MFA playwright, Rachel Bykowski, starts off Madness in 2016 by producing “Resolution” Madness this week.
The Madness show is January 15th, 11pm, in the Hahne Black Box theater. Admission is free. We recommend you get there 45 to 60 minutes ahead of time to assure yourself a seat.
For more information about Madness this spring semester, check out our Madness page.
Rachel Bykowski was born and raised in Chicago. She writes plays that examine the masks people wear to conceal their true identities to blend into society and explores the repercussions when the masks are ripped off. Her work often includes proactive female characters that raise awareness to issues surrounding women. Rachel received her BFA in Playwriting from The Theatre School of DePaul University. Her playwriting credits include her full length plays: Original Recipe produced by DePaul University; staged reading of Got to Kill Bitch presented by Cock and Bull Theatre in Chicago; and staged reading of Glory vs. The Wolves presented by 20% Theatre Company Chicago and hosted by Women and Children First Bookstore as part of an event to raise awareness about rape culture. Her one act plays include: The Best Three Minutes of My Life produced by Bradley University; Break-Up Court andPay Phone produced by 20% Theatre Company Chicago; The Invisible Onesproduced by Fury Theatre in Chicago; and She Sings For You produced and published by Commedia Beauregard in Chicago. Rachel is also a proud company member of 20% Theatre Company Chicago. She is very excited to continue her writing career and pursuing her MFA in Playwriting under the tutelage of Ohio University. For more information about Rachel, please visit her website at www.rachelbykowski.com.
She uses a famous August Wilson quote about “colorblind” casting as a jumping off point:
Colorblind casting is an aberrant idea that has never had any validity other than as a tool of the Cultural Imperialist who views their American Culture, rooted in the icons of European Culture, as beyond reproach in its perfection. It is inconceivable to them that life could be lived and even enriched without knowing Shakespeare or Mozart. Their gods, their manners, their being is the only true and correct representation of humankind.
Philana argues that often “colorblind'” casting often ignores an actor’s color rather than bring additional meaning to the character and story. “(It) comes to mean that the actor, cast, and audience are essentially pretending the actor is white,” she says. Philana asks her fellow playwrights to expand and explore what “colorblind” means. “What happens when someone is denied part of his or her identity? What are the consequences? What are the benefits?” Playwrights are free to incorporate these questions, but not necessarily apply them to color/racial identity.
Show is October 23rd, 11pm, in the Hahne Black Box theater. Admission is free. We recommend you get there 45 to 60 minutes ahead of time to assure yourself a seat.
For more information about Madness this fall semester, check out our Madness page.
Philana Omorotionmwan was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She uses writing to create images that explore the the intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality. Her short plays have been produced at Ensemble Studio Theater, Manhattan Theatre Source, and Berkeley Rep. Her poems have been published in New Delta Review and African American Review. Philana earned her BA from Stanford University and is excited to be pursing an MFA here at OU. You can find out more about her work at philanaplays.weebly.com.
From their site: The World Policy Institute, cited by Foreign Policy magazine and the University of Pennsylvania as among the world’s leading think tanks, identifies critical emerging global issues in an interdependent world and gives voice to compelling new global perspectives and innovative policy solutions.
Bilodeau is an alumnus of Ohio University. She is in the middle of a very ambitious project, The Arctic Cycle, whose goal is to write eight plays set in eight different countries whose borders extend into the Arctic Circle.
Third year MFA playwright, Neal Adelman ’14, will have a reading of his play, PONTIACS, in Chicago, Tuesday, November 11th at the Greenhouse Theater. It is directed by Andrew Peters, and the cast includes: Mélisa Breiner-Sanders, Clinton Campbell, Elise Randall, Michael Stock, Greg Wenz.
Adelman is in his 3rd year in the MFA program, and PONTIACS last had a reading last April at the 2014 Seabury Quinn Jr. Playwrights Festival on campus. He had a one-act play, 1100 CHILI DOGS, OR 1985: THE YEAR BELINDA CARLISLE CAME TO OKLAHOMA, that was produced in Chicago last summer as part of the night of one-act plays, 10-4: The Truck Stop Plays.
The OU alum’s play, FORWARD, is a part of Bilodeau’s “Arctic Cycle.”
Synopsis of Forward from Bilodeau’s website:
Forward began in October 2011 with Chantal’s participation in the Arctic Circle (thearcticcircle.org) program, a two-week sailing expedition around the Svalbard Archipelago, located halfway between Norway and the North Pole.
Moving backwards from present-day Norway to 1895, when Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen established a record for sailing closest to the North Pole, Forwardpresents a poetic history of climate change and looks at how a spirit of innovation propelled Norwegians through three major events of the 20th century: the conquest of the North, the discovery of oil, and the onset of climate change. The play looks at a series of seemingly unrelated characters confronting small, day-to-day challenges, and making choices that seemed innocent at the time but turned out to be important markers in History.
Akavit Theater produces plays about the “five Nordic countries—harnessing the force of the glacier, in its powerful seeming stillness, the volcano, in its sudden white-hot eruption, and the arctic silence in between—we strive to find the universal through the voices of the Nordic world.”
The reading is at BOHO Theater at 7016 N. Glenwood Ave by the Heartland Cafe.
Mark Chrisler, Ohio MFA Alum, opened his play, THE ART OF PAINTING, in Chicago this past weekend with his theater company, Found Objects Theatre. It’s running with another one-act, Chris Bower’s Notes to Molly, and the evening is billed as “Painting Molly.”
OU Professor Erik Ramsey found this video interview by Atlantic Monthly author Ta-Nehisi Coates. He offers some great advice on writing, and dealing with stress when writing, and finding breakthroughs. (It’s six minutes and worth watching.)
Dolan wrote “Moraine” during his first year in the Ohio MFA Playwriting program, and had a reading at the 2014 Seabury Festival at Ohio University in the spring.
MORAINE synopsis: Fighting time and the most brutal Chicago winter in recent memory, Mark attempts to keep his ad-hoc collection of friends from disintegrating in the face of illness, ambition, and betrayal. Moraine is a play about family, brand awareness, and ice cream that’s so goddamn good it’ll make you cry.
The reading features two recent Ohio BFA alumni, Becky Markert and Emily Page Auwaerter. Becky is reprising her role as “Mackenzie.” Emily played the “Nurse” in an earlier classroom reading, and is reading stage directions.
Bianca Sams (MFA ’14) was named a finalist at the Playwright Foundation “Bay Area Playwrights Festival” for her play BATTLE CRY. There were 20 finalists out of 500 submissions.
From their site: “The Bay Area Playwrights Festival supports the development of six full-length plays annually: five selected from our annual open submission process to reflect the outstanding quality, diversity, and daring for which the Festival is known, and the sixth play a Producing Partnership that offers developmental resources to a play advancing toward production.”
SYNOPSIS: BATTLE CRY is inspired by the life and travails of an unsung hero in the Black Civil Rights Movement named Claudette Colvin. At 15, Claudette refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus 9 months prior to Rosa Parks’ arrest. BATTLE CRY tells the personal story of a naïve but passionate 15-year-old girl whose impact on the world has been left out of history books. The play looks at issues of class, ethnicity, and behind the scenes politics in the fight for Civil Rights in America while also highlighting Claudette’s personal courage in the face of injustice.
DEVELOPMENT HISTORY/AWARDS FOR BATTLE CRY:
Ohio University MFA Workshop (3x)
Seabury Quinn Festival of New Plays – Staged Reading
Tides Theater SF as part of DGA Footlights reading Series
Marrietta University Black History Month Event – Staged Reading
Kennedy Center ACTF – Lorraine Hansberry Award (2nd pl) and Rosa Parks Award (2nd pl)
ATHE – Jane Chambers Student Playwright Award (2nd pl)
The Playwright Foundation – Bay Area Playwright Festival (finalist)