Seabury Quinn, Jr.
Performed online, April 22nd, 23rd, & 24th, 2021
For reservations and information related to the thesis productions, click here:
Be Head by third-year playwright John Hendel
The Martha Mitchell Effect by third-year playwright Skye Robinson Hillis
SCHEDULE — all times eastern
(Click the title to watch the performance)
Thursday, April 22nd
12:30 p.m. – A Woog Among the Waves by first-year playwright Steven Strafford
Cancer sucks, and family….well, family is difficult. Steph has cancer, and she’s taken her father in who shows signs of dementia. But given that her dad has always been untrustworthy, she isn’t so sure he’s telling the truth. In fact, if she can prove her dad is faking, she thinks she might just have a plan to cure her illness. But before that can happen, she must contend with her mom’s botched birthday party, an absent husband, and a deconstructed Cole Porter musical that arrives in her living room.
Sarah Saho – Steph
Brennan Gallagher – Johnny
Courtney Abbott – Deb
DeVanté Malone – Brian
Hannah Woodside – Nora
KeShawn Mellon – Alan
Ian Kenyon – Sean
Director: E. B. Smith
Mentors: Laura Jacqmin, Martine Kei Green-Rogers, Tamara Winters
4:30 p.m. – To Be a Starfish by first-year playwright Wendy-Marie Martin
Growing up, Em’s Mama told her they were both starfish that had to return to the sea. Then she committed suicide and left Em on her own to figure out how. Now an adult, Em decides to avoid her mother’s fate by leaving the men in her life behind. This choice puts her on the wrong end of a gun whose bullet begins the longest day of her life. With help from her maternal ancestors, Em searches for a way to break the cycle of oppression she’s inherited. Will she find a way to set them all—herself included—free?
Hannah McCauley – Em
Meghan Garber – Mama, et al.
Michael Dias – Hank
Seth Eggenschwiller – Doyle
Director: Sarah Elizabeth Yorke
Mentors: Julie Felise Dubiner, Heather Helinsky, Martine Kei-Green-Rogers
Friday, April 23rd
4:00 p.m. – A Perfect Day Away by second-year playwright Klae Bainter
Things to do on a perfect day…
Make a list Talk about hot dog ends.
- Deal with the ever-present shame of a serious regret that keeps me homebound.
- Go outside.
- Find my cat.
**Special Note from the playwright and director:
“There is potentially triggering subject matter in this play.
If you would like a list of topics, please contact Klae.
Some warnings may contain plot spoilers… Hey.
Contact Klae Bainter at firstname.lastname@example.org”**
Philip Matthews – Dylan
Aaron Gates – Delivery Guy
Director: Roberto Di Donato
Mentors: Martine Kei Green-Rogers, Jacquelyn Reingold, Tamara Winters
8:00 p.m. – Be Head* by third-year playwright John Hendel
Directed by David Haugen
Hear ye, hear ye, and huzzah! The king has been executed! Allegra, a peasant, has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join the new Revolutionary Council. All she must do is eradicate the monarchial spirit by destroying the king’s head. But Allegra’s ambitions and desire to be heard make sharing power difficult, especially with the daffy elites who lopped the king’s head off. Through dreams, necromancy, and the occasional iambic pentameter, Be Head explores whether any old time is the right time for revolution.
Mentors: Aaron Carter, Martine Kei Green-Rogers, Crystal Skillman
*This thesis presentation partially fulfills the requirements for the Master of Fine Arts in Playwriting. Please see the Be Head website for further information on its cast and production team.
Saturday, April 24th
12:00 p.m. – what the Gods gave me by first-year playwright Eryn Elyse McVay
Miles from any civilization, on a barren stretch of cold wilderness, lies Nevermoore Inn, home to Bedelia, her twin daughters, and her niece Victoria. Once a generation, a disposable outsider is brought to the closed family of women in order to ensure their prosperity and survival. But as Victoria grows more restless with her isolated existence, she begins to dream of life beyond Nevermoore’s walls, encouraged by outsider Henrik. As Henrik and Victoria’s fates become intertwined and Bedelia’s way of life is threatened, the family reaches a sticking point between tradition and the promise of the future.
Kari Willenbrink – Victoria
Manda Neal – Bedelia
Makaila McColley – Sophie
Gillian Abrams – Margaret
Alec Ring – Henrik
Director: Corey Ragan
Mentors: Aaron Carter, Julie Felise Dubiner, Martine Kei Green-Rogers
4:00 p.m. – All to Bear in Heaven by second-year playwright Ivan Mosley
After their patriarch’s death, the women of the Allison family give all his belongings to his illegitimate son, Kimborough Mandy, as their father requested in his will. When the youngest Allison child, Lovie, withholds her father’s first Bible from her half-brother, she sparks a struggle for ownership that reveals hidden grudges between the Allisons and the Mandys. Will she give it back to restore peace?
Lexie Tillery – Lovie
Ayana Johnson – Olive
Rikkí Cupe – Viola
Cas Felt – Vashti
Taylor Roberts – Robin
Avery LaMar Pope – Kimborough
Director: Kezia Waters
Mentors: Aaron Carter, Martine Kei Green-Rogers, Stacey Rose
8:00 p.m. – The Martha Mitchell Effect* by third-year playwright Skye Robinson Hillis
Directed by Andrea J. Dymond
Dramaturgy by Emily Prince
In his infamous interview with David Frost, Richard Nixon said that “without Martha Mitchell, there would be no Watergate.” And yet the name Martha Mitchell, once ubiquitous, has faded into the background of history. Bringing her story to the forefront, The Martha Mitchell Effect illustrates the world of the courageous women involved in breaking the Watergate scandal and explores their lasting impact on this country today.
Mentors: Aaron Carter, Martine Kei Green-Rogers, Julie Felise Dubiner
*This thesis presentation partially fulfills the requirements for the Master of Fine Arts in Playwriting. Please see the The Martha Mitchell Effect website for further information on its cast and production team.
(Click the names for more information)
Klae Bainter (2nd year) is a Seattle based playwright. His work uses poetic language to examine the grotesque nature of people, their values, and the spaces they hold sacred. He developed work with Cleveland Drafts Literary Festival (2018), and even did a little performing with Manhattan Project (Cleveland, Ohio) His play “Bullshit” was part of the 2019 NEOMFA Playwrights Festival at Convergence Continuum (Cleveland, Ohio) He received his BA (cum laude) in English Literature, with a Creative Writing focus from the University of Washington. Currently, he lives in Athens, Ohio, with an obnoxious orange cat.
John Hendel (3rd year) (he/him) is a playwright most recently from Los Angeles. His plays include Pulling Off Procreation (Or Is It Wrong to Keep Fucking if the Baby Starts Crying?) (2013 Cincinnati Fringe Festival, winner: Founders’ Pick of the Fringe), Wearhorse (2014 Hollywood Fringe Festival), “Fame Confusions” and “The Greatest Play Ever (If You Don’t Think So, You’re a Basket of Farts)” (NY Artists Unlimited International Cringe Fest, 2009 and 2010, respectively). He has twice been a PlayLab writer at the Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez, AK. His work online includes his 64 Plays in 64 Days project, as well as writing about movies and television. He received his Playwriting BFA from Ohio University.
Wendy-Marie Martin (1st year) is a scholar/artist pursuing her PhD in Interdisciplinary Arts/Theater as well as her MFA in Playwriting at Ohio University. Her areas of research include intersectional feminist theatre and 20th/21st century American women playwrights. Over the past twenty years, Wendy-Marie has taught, directed, and performed in Europe and the U.S. Her work has been produced in Germany, The Netherlands, Australia, Japan, Ireland, and the U.S and published by Smith & Krauss, Theatrefolk, and YouthPLAYS. Wendy-Marie is the Creator/Coordinator of the Performance Corner for OU’s International Women’s Art Exhibit and Co-Producer of the Trans [Plays] of Remembrance Festival. She is Ohio University’s nominee for the Mid-Western Association of Graduate Schools Excellence in Teaching Award as well as a recipient of the School of Interdisciplinary Arts Siegfred Teaching award and the OU Arnold Allyship Award. Wendy-Marie is also a 2020-21 WGSS Barbara E. Allushuski Graduate Fellow and a member of the Dramatists Guild.
Eryn Elyse McVay (1st year) (she/her) is a Pacific Northwestern playwright who earned her BA in Theatre from Western Washington University where she concentrated on Playwriting and Acting. For her work How Sweet The Sound Eryn has been honored to be a semi-finalist for the Eugene O’Neill 2019 New Playwrights Conference, the 2019 National Partners of American Theatre Region 7 Selection for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, a semi-finalist for the International Wolfe Prize from UNC’s PlayMakers Repertory Theater, and received recognition in Distinguished Achievement from KCACTF for their National Undergraduate Playwriting Award in both 2018 and 2019. Eryn was invited to participate in the inaugural Strait Plays Professional Retreat where she developed her ten-minute play “Jeremiah’s Creeping Arm,” and most recently saw her new Zoom play “the weight of it all” performed at the Region 7 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.
Ivan Mosley (2nd year) is a playwright and dramaturg from North Carolina. He graduated from Wake Forest University with a BA in Theatre. His play Evelyn & His Brothers was selected as a semifinalist for the 2018 Bay Area Playwrights Festival. He is a proud alumnus of the Kennedy Center Summer Playwrights Intensive and the Advanced Playwriting Program at the National Theatre Institute. He has developed his plays at the Greensboro Playwrights Forum, the John F. Kennedy Center, the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, the Ring Theatre and Route 66 Theatre Company. He has served as the dramaturg for The Sting of White Roses by Angelica Cheri, The Right Reverend Dupree in Exile by Jackie Alexander and Objects in the Mirror by Charles Smith.
Skye Robinson Hillis (3rd year) (she/her) is a playwright/director/teacher/dramaturg based in Chicago. A two time semi-finalist for the Princess Grace Award, her work has been seen at the Kennedy Center’s ACTF, Creede Repertory, The Route 66 Theatre Company, Chicago Dramatists, A Red Orchid Theatre, Piven Theatre Workshop, Artistic Home, Columbia College, and the City of Chicago’s In the Works Play Lab at the Pritzker Pavillion in Millennium Park. Her play And Vaster was awarded a residency at the New Works Lab at Stratford in 2015, winner of the 2015 Ashland New Plays Festival, and winner of the Holland New Voices Award at the Great Plains Theatre Conference in 2017. As a director/dramaturg, she has worked for Hartford Stage, Goodman Theatre, Court Theatre, A Red Orchid, Remy Bumppo, Stage Left, and more. Her other plays include Bury the Rest, Escape Velocity, The Ordinariness of Everything Else, The Running Mate, Into Place, and Selfish.
Steven Strafford (1st year) is an actor and playwright originally from Brooklyn, NY. As an adult, he has called Chicago and NYC home. He currently resides in Athens, Ohio. He is the author and performer of the critically acclaimed, award-winning Methtacular! which he has performed across the country at LORT theaters, universities and LGBTQ spaces. Recently, the show was filmed at Steppenwolf Theatre’s 1700 Space. He is also the author of Small Jokes About Monsters which received productions in Houston (nominated for Houston Theatre Award for Outstanding New Play) Sioux City, and in Chicago at 16th Street Theater. It also had workshops at Portland Stage Company and at Route 66 Theater Company. His play Mona Q: Age 38 received workshops with Route 66 Theatre Company and 16th Street Theater. His short plays, “Use Your Noodles” and “The Breakup Play” have been produced a few times each. As an actor he has appeared on stage on Broadway, national tours, international tours; and at Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Portland Stage Company and other regional theaters across America. He has appeared in movies, on TV, and in national commercials. Methtacular! was included in an anthology of solo plays from Opus Books. His essay, “College Dreams” was published in the book, The Anatomy of Silence.
SCOTT MCPHERESON AWARD
In 2000, George Sherman, retired Ohio University professor emeritus of theater, established an endowment to create the Scott McPherson Playwriting Award to honor the all-too-brief life of OU graduate, Scott McPherson. Scott, who graduated from OU in 1981, was a renowned actor and playwright. He is best known for his critically acclaimed, award-winning play, Marvin’s Room.
Scott, who died of AIDS in 1992, often spoke eloquently, both in his writing and in interviews of the personal and familial ravages of chronic illness and the need for loving support and connection with lovers, family, and friends. Upon establishment of the award, George Sherman wrote, “Scott was the least envious, most generous, amusing and supportive friend you could hope to have even if you happened to be another writer. He had his own ambitions, of course, but they never depended on someone else’s failure. He was there to support and encourage, if that’s what you needed; critique, if that’s what you requested, but always in a way that encouraged; therefore, it seems fitting and appropriate that an award designed to encourage new young talent should be made in his name, accomplishing the twin goals of remembering him for what he did and, as significantly, for who he was, and hopefully, through this award, who he shall continue to be.”
Marvin’s Room was first produced by the Goodman Theatre in 1990. It has also been produced at the Hartford Stage in Hartford, Connecticut, Playwrights Horizons and Minetta Lane in New York City, and at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. It received the Drama Desk Award, the Oppenheimer Award, the Obie Drama Award, the John Whiting Foundation Award for Writing, the Joseph Jefferson Award, and the Outer Critics Circle Award. It was also made into a major motion picture starring Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, and Hume Cronyn. He finished the screenplay only weeks before he died.
Recipient of the 2021 Scott McPherson Playwriting Award
Previous Scott McPherson Playwriting Award Winners
2019 Jean Egdorf
2018 Jordan Ramirez Puckett
2017 Cristina Luzárraga
2016 Catherine Weingarten
2015 Neal Adelman
2014 Bianca Sams
2013 Anthony Ellison
2012 Jeremy Sony
2011 Leean Kim Torske
2010 Jason Half
2009 David Mitchell Robinson
2008 Dana Lynn Formby
2007 Nicholas Sgouros
2006 Joseph Gallo
2005 Merri Biechler
2004 Aaron Carter
2003 John Ray Sheline
2002 Qui Nguyen
2001 Steven Svoboda