BPF Continues Season XXXII with New Play Reading Marathon Today

The Baltimore Playwrights Festival continues its Thirty-Second Season with a play-reading marathon today, January 26, 2013 at The Vagabond Players, 806 S. Broadway, Baltimore, Md. Starting at 11:00 a.m., plays to be read are Someone Close to You by Melissa Borgerding, followed at 1:00 p.m. by Playful Poe by The Playwrights Group of Baltimore, and at 3:00 p.m. by Spring Chickens by Dennis Martin. After each reading there will be a discussion of the script with the playwright, director and actors. The event is free, and the general public is encouraged to attend.

Ben, the protagonist of Someone Close to You, by Melissa Borgerding, has always had a complicated relationship with his free-spirited mother, Helen, dating all the way back to his unconventional childhood on a commune in Western Massachusetts. Now, upon news of Helen's stage IV cancer diagnosis, Ben and his wife, Christine, travel to rural New Mexico to convince his estranged mother to seek treatment. But considering the former flower child's strong moral stance against plastics, pharmaceutical companies, cell phones, capitalism and chemicals of all types-the task will not be easy. As mother and son clash over Helen's eccentric lifestyle and their own wildly different memories of the past, a terrifying episode from years ago is dragged back into the light. Mother and son must confront the fateful event that tore them apart and determine whether their fragile relationship is worth resuscitating.

Melissa Borgerding is the senior copywriter for the in-house advertising department of a Baltimore-based company as well as a freelance web writer. She earned her BA in English Literature from Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, VA, and her MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA, where she also served as an adjunct faculty member before becoming homesick for her native Baltimore. She currently lives near Hampden.

Written by members of the Playwrights Group of Baltimore, Playful Poe is a cycle of short plays inspired by different short stories of Baltimore's greatest writer: Edgar Allen Poe. Romances, thrillers, satires, and sci-fi all find their place in this Poe medley. Team Building, by Brent Englar, explores the perils of competition with a mysterious cat. In Oolong Tea Benefits, by Rich Espey, computer chips are lost until they aren't. The One Where the Monkey Gets Away, by Amy Bernstein, features prima donnas, human and simian. In Headlong Into the Abyss, by Susan Middaugh, desperate victims ponder the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The Tell Tale Cell, by Kevin Kostic, pits a squabbling political couple against mysterious sound interferences. During The Bibliophile, by John Conley, tenure politics and sherry meet murder. And last, but not least, Brad Pitt and the Pendulums, by Andrew Hager, celebrates an odd romance where the line between seducer and seduced becomes increasingly jagged.

The Playwrights Group of Baltimore is an association of playwrights who meet bi-monthly at Loyola University Maryland to share works in progress and develop group theatrical projects. Brent Englar's first epic tale, "A Tale of Five Kittens," was written at the ripe age of ten. Rich Espey teaches science at the Park School and is a multi-time BPF laureate. Amy Bernstein is a long-time non-fiction writer who has discovered playwriting in mid-life. Susan Middaugh has been writing plays since 1990 and is a member of the Dramatists Guild. Kevin Kostic's plays have been produced throughout the region, including the BPF productions Passport and Unraveled on the Gravel. John Conley is a Jesuit priest and holds the Knott Chair of Philosophy at Loyola Maryland University. Andrew Hager teaches social studies at Ridgeway Public School in Lutherville.

In Spring Chickens, by Dennis Martin, we meet Gladys Krenshaw, a 74 year old grandmother who has recently fallen and broken her hip and collarbone. Her recently divorced daughter, Maddie Hopewell, moves in, becoming her caretaker, taking time off from her own job and personal life. Maddie's gay son, Brandon, who in recent months has lost both his job and his boyfriend, lives in the basement. Enter Felicia Bossman, Gladys' lifelong friend, who has a zest for life and a perpetual free spirit. With her persistently positive attitude and constant prodding, Felicia brings the family out of their deep depression and convinces them to move on with their lives.

Dennis S. Martin, born in Buford, GA, and a Veteran of the Vietnam War, currently resides in Baltimore with his wife of 41 years. He has written numerous plays, five of which have previously received readings as part of the BPF, as well as three novels, and over 1,200 poems which are available in 11 collections online.

The Baltimore Playwrights Festival has presented over 282 productions by 173 playwrights at 27 different theaters. Our mission is to provide an environment that nurtures the talents of Maryland and DC playwrights through public readings, discussions, critiques and workshopping of new plays. Our summer season is devoted to the presentation of these newly developed works to area audiences in cooperation with local area theaters. We are a volunteer-operated 501(c)3 organization, and welcome any and all participation. Get Involved! Become a Member! Further information can be found at www.baltplayfest.org.

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