FutureFest, an annual festival of previously unproduced plays sponsored by the Dayton Playhouse, will take place July 27-29. This event is nationally recognized as a premier event in the playwrighting community and is the largest effort of its kind sponsored by a community theatre.
“Each year we read hundreds of previously unproduced plays submitted by writers in the United States and often around the world,” said Brian Sharp, chairman of the Dayton Playhouse board. “We narrow the selection to the top 6 plays and we bring those playwrights to Dayton for an in-depth weekend. The plays are produced by Dayton Playhouse volunteers, half as staged readings and half as fully staged productions during the weekend. After each presentation, the writing is critiqued by professional adjudicators from major theatre communities across the country. All of this is shared by our audience members, who also participate in the adjudication. The weekend also includes lots of social interaction with playwrights, actors and adjudicators and makes for a very stimulating theatre event.”
This year’s finalists include:
A Political Woman by Joel Fishbane of Quebec, Canada, also a finalist in 2010 for Short Story Long. This play will be directed by Cynthia Karns and will be fully staged at 8 p.m. on Friday.
As a debate rages in the Canadian parliament over universal suffrage, young Maggie Shand slowly becomes instrumental to her husband’s political life. But she soon realizes that her newfound political influence has a price – one she may not be willing to pay. Inspired by the play “what every woman knows” by J.M. Barrie, a political woman is at once a historical comedy and an exploration of a crucial time in gender politics with echoes that are all too relevant in the modern day.
Provenance by Daniel J. Weber of Great Neck, New York. This play will be a staged reading Saturday at 10 a.m. and will be directed by David Shough.
Provenance – lives and breathes in the world of wine. Yet it is emphatically not a play about wine. Rather, the cultivation of wine serves as an overarching metaphor for the history of change and growth that affects each character on stage. Like the mysterious champagne in question, four characters are trapped inside their own personal histories. The only way out: personal reinvention. Change becomes an act of survival. But how far will a person bend the truth to escape his or her past? What are the consequences? In this explosive examination of history and identity, secrets, like lies, are impossible to contain.
Nureyev’s Eyes written by David Rush of Murphysboro, Illinois whose play Estelle Singerman was the festival winner in 2006. This play will be directed by Annie Pesch and will be a staged reading 3 p.m. on Saturday.
During the 70s, Jamie Wyeth (son of Andrew) painted a series of works of Rudolf Nureyev, the dancer. The play examines what their relationship may have been like, how they passed through good and bad times and ultimately changed each other.
Curve by Sam Havens of Houston, Texas. This play will be directed by Jim Lockwood and will be fully staged on Saturday at 8 p.m.
In this witty, provocative play about truth and illusion, unrelenting rain pours down outside the Connecticut home of Dakin Abernathy. Inside, Dakin and his neighbor, Ted Mueller, engage in a verbal joust where nothing is as it seems. Or is it? Dakin, a noted film noir director, accuses Ted of having killed his own wife. Ted protests, yet as morning spins into afternoon and a thunderous evening, he begins to believe that he might, indeed, be a murderer. Dakin’s wife, Angela, complicates events with her flaky personality, and their daughter, Lana Veronica, comes home for the weekend saying she is in trouble with the law. Events escalate and secrets are revealed until the play itself suggests one of Dakin’s film noir classics, complete with dark music, ominous lighting and swirling fog.
Excavation by Robert Barron of Newburgh, NY. This play will be directed by Nancy Campbell and will be a staged reading at 10 a.m. on Sunday
Excavation – is a journey into the past to unlock the future. A widowed father who works as a security guard at New York’s American Museum of Natural History struggles to reach his mute seven year old son, who is fading away from grief over his mother’s death. Meanwhile, a parallel story takes place on the Southwest corner of England in the 1800s, as one of the first paleontologists, Mary Anning, struggles for her own survival as she scours the shorelines for whispers and vestiges of worlds gone by…
This Rough Magic written by Richard Manley of New York City, who was a festival finalist in 2009 for his play Quietus. The play will be directed by Gayle Smith and will be fully staged at 3 p.m. on Sunday.
I believe that Americans are by and large a lonely people. Our productivity and medication and social media notwithstanding, many of us struggle to make sense of things, to find a sustainable balance between melancholy and hope. Joy, when it comes, is often momentary, and must be savored. In my work, I celebrate those who fight to maintain equilibrium. This Rough Magic takes place a few years from now, when overcoming loneliness and feeling loved are no less of a problem, but when technology offers more solutions to those who can afford them.
Adjudicators for FutureFest 2012 are returnees David Finkle, writer for the Huffington Post; playwright and dramaturg at Chicago Dramatists, Rob Koon; Helen Sneed, president Helen Sneed Consulting; and Eleanore Speert, past publications director at Dramatists Play Service, Inc. They will be joined by playwright and Ohio regional representative to the Dramatists Guild, Faye Sholiton, whose play The Interview won the festival in 1997.
Weekend passes for the entire festival are available for $95. Tickets to individual performances are $18. All tickets may be purchased at www.daytonplayhouse.org, or by calling the Dayton Playhouse box office at 937-424-8477. The Dayton Playhouse is located at, 1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave., Dayton, OH 45414.
(submitted by Dayton Playhouse)