Ten-Minute Play Festival Program

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Ten-Minute Play Festival Program

Region IV Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival
2019 Ten-Minute Play Festival
Saturday, Feb 9 – 10:30am

Production Stage Manager: Francesca Foster


Fretting Over Lentils by Laura Pickard
Director: Lily Webb
Stage Manager: Emily Cameron
Dramaturgs: Arielle Vaughan & Tanier Dutton

Trent………………………………………………………………………. Tyshawn Gooden
Alice………………………………………………………………………. Samantha Derosa
TV Voices…………………………………………………………………….. Hope Phillips
Stage directions read by Hope Phillips

Dramaturg’s Note:

In July 2016, Officer Jonathan Aledda shot Miami mental health therapist, Charles Kinsey. After one of Kinsey’s patients wandered from his group home with a toy truck, Kinsey sat the man down on the pavement to de-escalate. Officer Aledda, who was responding to a call about a potentially suicidal individual in the area, witnessed the two men and mistook the toy truck as a gun. Kinsey complied with Aledda’s request to put his hands up but was unable to get his non-verbal autistic patient to respond. Despite confirmation that the patient was not armed, Aledda discharged his gun, wounding Kinsey in the thigh. He was not given any medical attention until an ambulance arrived. This incident rests at the heart of Laura Pickard’s Fretting Over Lentils and frames how its characters Trent and Alice perceive the world.

Since its genesis in 2012, the Black Lives Matter movement has advocated for the safety and voices of young black men. Following the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown, American culture continues to turn its attention to the systematic racism of the law enforcement and justice systems. Brown’s death exposed the excessive force police officers use when engaged with people of color. But what happens when the victim of police brutality is disabled? In September 2017, Magdiel Sanchez, who is deaf, was killed by Oklahoma City police officers. Despite several bystanders informing police that he was deaf, police officers failed to establish communication with him and fired half a dozen shots, killing him.

In a sea of ableist media, Fretting Over Lentils provides insight into the lives of American Sign Language speakers and addresses the struggles they may face. Inspired by an interview with Matt Maxey from the advocacy group DEAFinitely Dope, Pickard’s play reminds us that though deaf individuals may have challenges, their lives are not lacking. Set against the emerging Black Lives Matter movement, it thoughtfully promotes understanding and a desire to bridge the gap of miscommunication. According to the National Association for the Deaf, over 48 million Americans are deaf or hard of hearing, and African Americans are half as likely to experience hearing loss as the white population. Because of this intersectionality between race and disability, their potential for victimization increases. This play reminds us that the impetus for effective communication cannot rest solely in the hands of the deaf community, but rather the culture that puts them in danger. The hearing community must bear this burden in solidarity.

To advocate, visit https://www.startasl.com/ for free beginner ASL lessons. For an immediate guide to help bridge the communication gap, visit https://www.meriahnichols.com/best-deaf-apps/, which contains a list of apps that can be used to communicate with ASL speakers in real time via phone, text, or in person.

Arielle Vaughan & Tanier Dutton, Production Dramaturgs

 


Oh, Brother, Where Aren’t Thou? by Jake Hunsbusher

Director: Brian Wittenberg
Stage Manager: Mahala Johnson
Dramaturg: Karen Licari

 Jerry…………………………………………………………………………. Jared Lewchuck
Derek…………………………………………………………………………….. Aaron Gray
Stage directions read by Amberlin McCormick

Dramaturg’s Note:

Nobody can get on your nerves like a brother can.

Playwright Jake Hunsbusher explores the special relationships that occur within the family in his short comedic play, Oh Brother Where Aren’t Thou?. A graduate student of the University of Georgia, Jake highly values the comedy in our day-to-day lives. He says, “brotherhood is a little like being stranded on a raft in the middle of the ocean, and you’re tied to some weirdo who doesn’t speak your language. But hey, you love that raft weirdo!” Director Brian Wittenberg compares the play to Sam Shepard’s True West– two brothers with completely opposite personalities, connected only by the fact that they are family.

Oh Brother Where Aren’t Thou illuminates some of the harder parts of being in a family. Sibling rivalry is present in many of our lives, but we may not realize the extent to which it affects our character. Tough love isn’t easy to take, but it’s usually just what we need to hear.

Though sometimes we may not understand the seemingly alien behaviors of our family members, we choose to accept them. Those relationships, despite the occasional craziness, are what get us through the hard times and help us become the people we want to be.

Karen Licari, Production Dramaturg

 


 

Two in the Room by Kimberly Patterson

Director: Camilla Almond
Stage Manager: Rita Pearson-Daley
Dramaturg: Rebecca Weaver

Cameron………………………………………………………………………… Sean Golson
Kiley………………………………………………………………………………. Nunna Noe
Stage directions read by Amberlin McCormick

Dramaturg’s Note:

Nobody Can Hear Us

“No one knew that the people who were missing had stopped breathing long before any of us had even known that a code red had been called. No one could comprehend the devastating aftermath, or how far this would reach, or where this would go.”

-Emma Gonzalez, March for Our Lives

Ever since the infamous school shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, measures have been taken to minimize the number of school shootings. Nationally, courts and senates debated on what measures should be taken to deter similar events; those measures included metal detectors, the ban on backpacks, security officers, and school drills which were implemented in K-12 schools across the country. Despite these efforts, the United States has experienced an increase in school shootings. In 2018, there were 82 recorded incidents throughout the nation. Furthermore, the U.S. has had 57 times as many school shootings as other major industrialized countries combined, with 288 incidents since 2009 compared to France’s two incidents. These phenomena have left America with an endless debate on gun regulation.

One of the most predominant incidents, which has recently incited protests and sit-ins, is the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. This catastrophe is what sparked Kimberly Patterson to write Two in the Room. Living near Parkland and teaching at a local high school deeply inspired Patterson to address the innocence and vulnerability of teenage students. The fear and uncertainty that would consume someone during such a life-threatening event caused her to question how children would even process something so horribly real.

Patterson’s Two in the Room takes us inside the classroom during a harrowing event. The playwright hopes to provide a closer look at how children act in the moment of pure terror when faced with something that should only happen in nightmares. How does one process an event like this? Will they be okay despite surviving the spray of bullets? If so, will it happen again and what can we do about it? To quote survivor, Emma Gonzalez, “Fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job”.

Rebecca Weaver, Production Dramaturg

 


 

Vox Populi by Matheson Wynnemer

Director: Cailin Hurley
Stage Manager: Shelby Sims
Dramaturgs: Hessy Sanders & Noah Ezell

 

Narrator………………………………………………………………….. Matthew Suwalski
Nana……………………………………………………………………………….. Haley Ray
Man……………………………………………………………………….. Brennan Amonett
Young Woman…………………………………………………………….. Ashley Wooten
Teenager…………………………………………………………………… Amber Coleman
Girl…………………………………………………………………………….. Faith Webster
Young Man……………………………………………………………….. Nelson Meredith
Boy………………………………………………………………………………… Eric Hylko
Stage directions read by Townsend Reynolds

Dramaturg’s Note:

Audience Members,

What is the importance of a written letter in the Digital Age? Letters are private. Letters are intimate. Words written on paper have weight. But, what about the letters that are never sent? Through Vox Populi, which means voice of the people, we can read those letters and hear the stories that were never told.

This new play by Math Wynnemer asks us to explore an unfinished dialogue or tap into a once-possible relationship. By placing on the stage the stories that never saw the light of day, we are reminded of the power of an individual’s story. We are also compelled to wonder why these letters were never sent.

Through reflecting on these letters we begin to recognize the human desire to be heard. We all want to be heard and we all deserve a witness. This play allows us to take comfort in the idea that even though we may not know it someone is listening to us. It also assures us that someone cares.

In 1998, an archeologist found a heartbreaking letter written by a pregnant 16th-century woman from Korea addressing the father of her unborn child. At the close of the letter the woman laments “You are just in another place, and not in such a deep grief as I am. There is no limit and end to my sorrows that I write roughly. Please look closely at this letter and come to me in my dreams […] there is no limit to what I want to say and I stop here.” Though the subject matter is melancholy, similar to Vox Populi, this letter is full of hope showing us that there are people who care and someone does want to hear your story -even if they live hundreds of years after you. When you leave the theatre today ask yourself: who can you listen to? Whose story can you make heard? Everyone deserves a witness.

Regards,
Hessy Sanders and Noah Ezell, Production Dramaturgs

 


 

The Ultimate Field Trip by John Norton

Director: Lamar Hardy
Stage Manager: Lauren Koval
Dramaturg: Mary Grace von Thron

 

Scott……………………………………………………………………….. Gregory Gilligan
Holly……………………………………………………………………… Victoria Highsmith
Tim……………………………………………………………………………… Jon Wampler
News Anchor/Ronald Reagan ………………………………………. Garrison Stallings
Reporter………………………………………………………………….. Sabrina D’Andrea
Mission Control……………………………………………………………… Hunter Moore
Stage directions read by Sabrina D’Andrea and Hunter Moore

Dramaturg’s Note:

Similar to the JFK assassination, the September 11th attacks, and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the Challenger explosion is one of those moments in history where the vast majority of people remember where they were, what they were doing, and their wide range of emotions they felt as the tragedy unfolded. Everyone that witnessed the tragedy, either in person or on television, felt a tremendous amount of grief and loss for the families of the fallen astronauts. One of the lives lost in the Challenger explosion was Christa McAuliffe, a high school history teacher from New Hampshire who was chosen to be the first teacher in space. Several of her students traveled down to Cape Canaveral to show their support for her and cheer her on.  This play, which focuses on the students of Christa McAuliffe moments after the shuttle explosion, displays the gamut of emotions felt on that day. We feel their anguish. Their disbelief. Their anger. Their shock.  We see each student’s natural defense mechanism on full display. Their emotions and defense reactions are not just reflective solely on the student’s initial response from that day, but to anybody that witnessed, as Ronald Reagan said in his address to the nation, the “last time we saw them as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of Earth.”

Mary Grace von Thron, Production Dramaturg

 


 

Ashes to Dust by Kate Leslie

Director: Lynette Adames
Stage Manager: Tori Sheriff Goubert
Dramaturg: Lisa Fakir

Meredith…………………………………………………………………………. Deja Culver
Anne……………………………………………………………………………. Peyton Rowe
Hattie……………………………………………………………………….. Nidalas Madden
Stage directions read by Jazmine Curry

Dramaturg’s Note:

I’ll Drink to That

How would you create a comedy out of something that is not funny? Well, creating that comedy may present a challenge to some, but not to Kate Leslie. In 2017, this jovial playwright from Mississippi created Ashes to Dust as a result of one of several writing challenges issued by her colleagues from the Red Theatre in Chicago. They were given the prompt, in this particular challenge, to write a farce involving an odd place that comedy, would by all accounts, be in poor taste. Kate chose a car and the ashes of a dead person as her inspiration for this dark comedy.

Hattie, Meredith and Anne are characters in this play that have taken grief a little too far. Hattie has lost her father and neither of her daughters seem to understand that she is grieving. The comedic genius of this piece is the discovery that these women could exist in any family. The dialogue is reminiscent of any conversation held between family members struggling to deal with how to handle the death of loved ones.

Kate has written several short plays and most notable to date is “The Love Code.” This piece has been workshopped at the Hollins-Mill Mountain Winter Festival of New Work in January. She continues to write dark comedies with passion and creativity utilizing her life experiences and family relationships as inspiration. Kate Leslie aspires to share her work with the theatre community and bring a little comic relief to the stage for all of us to enjoy!

Lisa Fakir, Production Dramaturg

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