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Wayne State University Presents The Louise Heck-Rabi Dramatic Playwriting One-Act Festival

Wayne State University Presents The Louise Heck-Rabi Dramatic Playwriting One-Act Festival

The Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance, part of the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts at Wayne State University, and the Department of English, part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, present the 2019 Louis Heck-Rabi Dramatic Playwriting One-Act Festival from February 1-3.

Since 2000, the Studio Theatre at the Hilberry has hosted the Louise Heck-Rabi Dramatic Playwriting One-Act Festival, encouraging young playwrights to submit their original works. Each year, six to seven semi-finalists are chosen out of all submissions. The plays are then read at a workshop during the fall semester where they are adjudicated by judges. Three finalists win a scholarship as well as the opportunity to produce their play in front of a live audience, working with a student director and student performers to realize their productions on the stage.

"I was an oddly inspiring experience and to see that it has all paid off, with so many people supporting it...really means a lot to me" says Joe Gaskill, one of the playwrights in the Heck-Rabi Festival.

The 2019 Louis Heck-Rabi Dramatic Playwriting One-Act Festival finalists are "Woodhull" by Sarah Summerwell, "Unethical" by Joe Gaskill, and "Pettycoats" by Matthew Smith. "Woodhull" is a dark comedy set in Brooklyn, in which two siblings struggle with consequences stemming from mental illness and addiction. An unexpected visit from a mutual friend brings news that forces the family to question their faith in an individual's ability to change. "Unethical" is a drama inspired by true events, exploring the first rule of ethics in psychology: do no harm. At least, that's what Jason Crane was taught. But when he conducts a disturbing experiment revolving around the emotion of disgust, he leaves everyone involved traumatized and finds himself accused of unethical behavior. Though when confronted, Jason is unfazed and maintains that he's done nothing wrong. Is Jason a sociopath? Is he simply avoiding responsibility? Or may he have a point to what he's done? "Pettycoats" is loosely based on a newspaper article from 1792 called "The Petticoat Duelists" and explores what playwright Matthew Smith sees as a lack of stage combat opportunities for women.

Public performances take place at the Studio Theatre at the Hilberry (4743 Cass Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201) on the Wayne State University campus on Friday, Feb. 1 at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 2 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 3 at 3 p.m. Tickets to the public performance are $5. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling the box office at 313-577-2972. Additional fee of $2 per ticket and $4 per order apply when purchasing tickets online. The Box Office is located in the lobby of the Hilberry Theatre and is open Tuesday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Wayne State University is one of the nation's pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit

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From This Author Marika O'Hara

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