Castillo Announces Mario Fratti-Fred Newman Political Play Reading Series

The Castillo Theatre (Dan Friedman, artistic director, Diane Stiles, managing director) is presenting three winning scripts from the 2011 Mario Fratti-Fred Newman Political Playwriting Contest, selected from over 150 entries including from U.S., Italy , New Zealand, Africa and the UK. The plays are being directed by distinguished theatre professionals. They will be presented on Monday, August 1, 8, 22 at 7:00 p.m. The winners of the 2011 Mario Fratti-Fred Newman Political Playwriting contest are:

August 1 - Women and Guns by Steve Gold, directed by Robert Bruce McIntosh
Almost five hundred American women have been killed in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan; this is the story of one of them. After joining the Marines as a way out of poverty, Tiffany Hansen finds herself in combat in Iraq. While her boyfriend worries, powerless to protect her, Tiffany deals with the realities of war.

August 8 - Counting Skunks by Lavinia Roberts, directed by David F. Chapman
What can you do when the traditional family fails you? You can create a new kind of family. Gracie, a high school senior in Parsons, Kansas, flees her abusive father to live with her older half-sister, only to find her sister living in a compromised situation. This is the story of a tenacious teenage girl on a winding road to finding dignity and love.

August 22 - Rising by Carolyn Nur Wistrand, directed by Imani
Based on true stories, Rising tells the story of American men and women, Black and white, discovering the costs of freedom. On the eve of the Emancipation Proclamation, Helen Bruce, a free African American schoolteacher from Baltimore, begins teaching a night class for slave women on an island in South Carolina recently liberated by the Union Army. As they learn to read and write, the women struggle with what it might be like to be free in a re-imagined America.

Performances are on Monday evenings; August 1, 8, 22 at 7:00 p.m. at the Castillo Theatre, 543 West 42nd Street (between 10th & 11th Avenue). Tickets are $10 for adults, students and seniors. Special package price of $25 for all 3 playreadings. Group rates are available. Tickets can be purchased through the Castillo Box Office at 212-941-1234 or go to



Steve Gold (Women and Guns) is a native New Yorker who wrote his first play while serving as an artistic apprentice with the Seventh Sign Theater Company in the late 1980s. In 1991, he formed the Enigma Theatre Company, an outlet for producing new work by emerging playwrights. In addition to productions of his plays at Enigma, his work has been seen at The Heights Players in Brooklyn, and at the AEA Theatre. Steve's dark comedy, Our Kind of People, is currently in development with Stageplays Theatre Company. He also served for years as a theatre critic for the Off Off Broadway Review (OOBR).

Lavinia Roberts (Counting Skunks) has published several plays and her work has been produced across the country. Her plays have been selected for various festivals including the One Act Play Festival at the Stone Soup Theatre in Seattle, the Bloomington Playwrights Project's 2010 AwareFest: A Green World, and the City Theatre of Independence Children's Original Works Festival in Independence, Missouri. Her full-length play Little Scholar was produced with the Los Angeles Women's Theatre Project in November 2010. Lavinia has also worked as a teaching artist in both fine art and theatre, and has a BFA from the University of Kansas.

Carolyn Nur Wistrand (Rising) has had plays staged with The Negro Ensemble Company, New Perspectives Theatre, Love Creek Productions and others in New York City as well as theatres in LA, Chicago and Atlanta. In 2007 she adapted Nawaal El Saadawi's novel Woman at Point Zero for the stage, and collaborated with the South African poet and activist Dennis Brutus on a dramatic staging of his poem Sirens, Knuckles, and Boots. Published plays include Beauty in Black Performance: Plays for African American Youth, Ida B. 'n The Lynching Tree, Second Coming, Mean Molly, Before the Spanish Came, and Táhirih. She is a faculty member in the Department of Africana Studies, University of Michigan-Flint.


David F. Chapman (Counting Skunks) is a Chicago-born director and teacher who has made theatre in many places. Recent credits include Jesse Alick's No Poem No Song at the Kraine, Crossing the Straits at Metropolis Opera Project, Bekah Brunstetter's Hey Brother for Playwrights Realm, Anna Moench's Halo/Titanic for Old Vic / New Voices in London. Awards include: Fulbright to Hungary, Luce Scholarship to Vietnam, MTC Directing Fellowship, Drama League Fellowship.

Imani (Rising) won an Audelco Award for Dr. May Edward Chinn in 2010, which premiered at the Castillo Theatre and will be performed at the National Black Theatre Festival in August. Also this season, Imani made her debut as Producer/Director of the Langston Hughes Tribute, Adventures of Langston at Sea, at the Schomberg. Other directing credits include: Shirley Chisholm, (Woodie King's NBTC/Castillo Theatre) and Hot Methuselah, River Crosses Rivers. As Artistic Director of RACCA's Seaport Salon, she has produced/directed such projects as Pearl Cleage's Convergence. Imani is known for such groundbreaking work as her male take on For Colored Girls... and the provocative Rough Draft Of My Life at P.S.122.

Rob McIntosh (Women and Guns) is the founder and Artistic Director of Theater Garden, he has also served as the Artistic Director of the City Lights Youth Theatre, and the Theatre and Film Program Director for the Children's Aid Society. Directing credits include: Liberty, the Musical (Hester/Wozunk Productions), Grapes of Wrath, The Laramie Project, The Crucible, Metamorphoses, Somebody in America (City Lights Youth Theatre) Lady of Copper, Road to Freedom, Enough for All, First Lady, (Theater Garden), Next Year in Jerusalem (The WorkShop Theatre Co.) and Scrooge and Marley (Barefoot Theatre Co.)


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