Encore Michigan

Theatre NOVA’s Playwrights Festival 10/23-27 is garden for Wilde Awards

News September 26, 2019 Encore Staff

ANN ARBOR, Mich.–Theatre NOVA, Ann Arbor’s professional theatre with an exclusive focus on new plays and playwrights, presents their semi-annual Michigan Playwrights Festival, now in its fifth year. Four new full-length plays and five 10-minute plays, all by Michigan playwrights, will be given readings October 23-27, 2019.

Theatre NOVA focuses on new plays and new playwrights and is dedicated to working with new and local playwrights to help them develop their craft and to offer brand new plays for audiences. The theatre created the Michigan Playwrights Festival to nurture Michigan playwrights and to develop full-length plays for future seasons.

Plays that were products of Michigan Playwrights Festivals that have received their world premieres at Theatre NOVA include “Mazel Tov, John Lennon” (Wilde Award for Best New Script) by David Wells, “Resisting” (Wilde Award for Best Original Production) by David Wells, “Mrs. Fifty Bakes a Pie” by Linda Ramsay Detherage, “Clutter” (Wilde Award for Best New Script) by Brian Cox, “Irrational” (Wilde Award for Best New Script) by R. MacKenzie Lewis and David Wells, “Katherine” by Kim Carney, “Spin” by Emilio Rodriguez, and “Bird” by Kristin Hanratty.


Schedule of the October 2019 Michigan Playwrights Festival:

An Evening of 10-Minute Plays, Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 8:00 pm

Can We Talk?” by H (V. Holman): A boy has a heart to heart with his parents about something he knows will break their heart. 
“The Flight Mates” by Mounir Bendahmane: Unexpected healing occurs when two strangers strike up a random conversation on an airplane.  
“The Garden and Back” by Aliyah Rose Kiesler and Haley J. Cook: A woman navigates a strained relationship with her father as she battles mental illness and struggles to find self-acceptance. 
“Keep Talking, I’m Listening” by Patrick Clement: A couple comes together to celebrate their relationship.
“So Close to Magic” by H (V. Holman): A guy and a girl who’ve never met consider a meeting. 
“Mistress Chelsea” by Sarah Elisabeth Brown: A butch daddy asks a femme top to join an open relationship. 

“The Lion’s Share” by Catherine Zudak, Thursday, Oct. 24 at 8:00 pm

In the world of Ancient Rome, Leonis, a reluctant Gladiator, yearns to buy his freedom. His crooked, but endearing, promoter, Fatima, is willing to let him go if the price is right. When Silex, a boy eager for fame, agrees to help Leonis beat all comers, the trio set in motion a clash between the old Roman values of courage and honesty and the very modern notion that only greed is good. Directed by Tyler Calhoun, “The Lion’s Share” features Miles Bond, Hugh M. Duneghy II, Emily Levickas and Jean Pilon.

Catherine Zudak (Playwright)is a writer, storyteller, producer, and actor. Her short plays have appeared in festivals throughout Southeast Michigan including, The Play’s the Thing (A2CT), The Detroit Fringe, Living on the Edge (Actors’) and The Playwright’s Festival (OCC). From Around Here Productions staged her full-length play, “Virtues” in 2015. In the past few years, Ms. Zudak has written and performed stories for Heaven Spot, HERSay, MOMS, Snapshots, and Story Night. She has produced independent shows including “Broken,” “In the Room,” and “The Know Gun Show.”

“Dear Camp” by Lisa MacDonald, Friday, Oct. 25 at 8:00 pm

A recently widowed woman finds a journal when she and three friends come together to clear out her husband’s hunting camp to prepare the property for sale. Amid hilarity and poignancy, secrets are revealed, and old hurts are re-infected. Directed by Terie Spencer, “Dear Camp” features Jan Cartwright, Amy Lauter, Eric Nogas, Kez Settle, Jim Snideman, and Jeannine Thompson.

Lisa MacDonald (Playwright) has been involved in the Eastern Upper Peninsula Fine Arts Center as both an actor and stagehand since retiring from teaching mathematics. Credits include “The Odd Couple, Female Version” and “Into the Woods.” She and her husband, Michael, call Drummond Island home, where they live with a big, red dog named Conn. Lisa also enjoys playing the flute and painting and looks forward to the U.P. summers filled with gardening, boating, and playing bad golf. When they’re not traveling or staying at their hunting camp, they welcome their three sons and two grandchildren to their home overlooking Potagannissing Bay.

“Silo Tree” by Sam Collier, Saturday, Oct. 26 at 8:00 pm

Lailah guides souls through her house to the world of the dead. Lou and Wiley meet up again after ten years. The coywolves run in the night. Silo Tree is a pause on the bridge, a collection of lives in liminal space, and a memory that rolls forward as its surface is blown backward by the wind. Directed by Michelle Resnick, “Silo Tree” features K Edmonds, Jowi Estava, Alexander Lind, Patrick O’Lear, Jenna Kellie Pittman, Sara Rose, and Nick Rowley.

Sam Collier (Playwright) is a playwright, poet, and theatre artist. Her other plays include “A Hundred Circling Camps” (2018 Goodman Playwrights Unit commission) and “Daisy Violet the Bitch Beast King” (2018 U.C. Davis Ground & Field Festival; 2018 Valdez Last Frontier Theatre Conference). Her poems have been published in The Puritan, Iron Horse Literary Review, Mortar Magazine and elsewhere. As the Writer-in-Residence with the National Writers Series, she teaches for Front Street Writers, a high school creative writing program in Traverse City. MFA: Iowa Playwrights Workshop.

“Blight” by R. D. Wakeman, Sunday, Oct. 27 at 2:00 pm

Nanny’s existence inside the isolated mansion is becoming increasingly peculiar. The baby in her charge may be her own, people and possessions disappear, spies are everywhere, and strange men knock at the door. She might escape with the travelling circus, if not for rumours of “Blight.” Nanny must find her own way out of absurdity –as we all must. Directed by Nathan Corliss, “Blight” features Eric Corliss, Lindsey Corliss, Michael Corliss, Mathew De Lisle, Christine Doulette, and Beth Duey

R.D. Wakeman (Playwright) began playwriting after completing a B.A. (theatre) and MA (literature). Her short works have been performed in Michigan, Illinois, London, Newcastle and Norwich (U.K.). Her full-length play “Sea Change” won a staged reading at Panndora’s Box, California and “Abandoned” received their honorable mention. Ms. Wakeman won the Heartland Theatre Contest and was a finalist in both the Nancy Weil and Alfred P. Kernodle contests. “Men in White Coats” is published in the AHRC-funded art journal, Bodies of Work. Her collaborative artwork has been exhibited in the U.K., the U.S., and most recently at the 2019 Los Angeles Art show.

The Michigan Playwrights Festival will run Oct. 23-27, 2019 at Theatre NOVA (410 W. Huron, Ann Arbor), a downtown performance space. Showtimes are 8:00 pm Wednesday through Saturday, and Sunday at 2:00 pm Theatre NOVA features free parking for patrons, as well as quick access to the city’s restaurants, bars, bakeries, and coffee shops.

Tickets are $10 for each full-length play reading and Pay What You Can for the Evening of 10-Minutes Plays. Festival passes good for all five events are $30. Theatre NOVA also continues its commitment to making theatre accessible by offering pay-what-you-can tickets for those who need them for all readings. For advance tickets or more info, visit TheatreNOVA.org or buy them in person at the box office one hour before show time. 

Theatre NOVA is Ann Arbor’s resident professional theatre company. Its mission is to raise awareness of the value and excitement of new plays and new playwrights in a diverse and expanding audience and to provide resources and outlets for playwrights to develop their craft, by importing, exporting, and developing new plays and playwrights.


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