Maine Playwrights Festival Selections Announced

Acorn Productions, a non-profit organization dedicated to nurturing and developing the Southern Maine community of performing artists, has selected the scripts for this year's twelfth annual Maine Playwrights Festival (MPF).

The authors whose works are featured in this year's event include a number of newcomers to the MPF as well as a number of returning playwrights, many of whom have had scripts included in multiple editions of the state's largest incubator for new plays by local playwrights. The 2013 edition of the MPF includes a staged reading of a ful-length play, two evenings of short plays in rotating repertory, the return of the popular "Take Two" evening of two-minute plays, expanded to include monologues this year, and yet another adrenhaline-filled 24-Hour Portland Theater Project. The list of selected plays and playwrights, along with a short description of each piece, appears below. Performances of the MPF take place at the St. Lawrence Arts Center from April 25 to May 5, 2013.

Over the course of the last eleven years, the Maine Playwrights Festival has presented hundreds of scripts and dozens of staged reading at a number of venues in the Greater Portland area. The plays are selected each season by an open call that is issued in the fall, and any Maine-based playwright may submit their work. Acorn received over 75 submissions for this year's festival, and the final list of selections was created by a reading committee comprised of USM Faculty Member Assunta Kent, Dramatic Repertory Company's Artistic Director Keith Powell Beyland, and Acorn's Producing Director Michael Levine.

The MPF not only showcases the talents of many local playwrights, but also the craft of directors and actors from many different theater companies in the area. This year's edition of the MPF features a number of guest directors from the community who join Acorn's Producing Director Michael Levine in bringing these world premiere pieces to life. This year's MPF directors are Al D'Andrea, Artistic Director of Snowlion Repertory Company, Wil Kilroy, USM Theater Professor, Michael Rafkin, director, actor, and playwright, Liz Rollins, director, actress & educator, Reba Short, Artistic Director of the Children's Theater of Maine, and Ella Wrenn, Company Manager at Portland Stage Company. Acorn is currently finalizing the cast and production calendar for this year's festival, and a complete schedule will be available in mid-March.


FULL LENGTH PLAY (staged reading)

WANT/NOT, by Cullen McGough
Stranded in a trailer park on the edge of Cape Canaveral, and wrapped up in a complicated affair with her space-nut father-in-law, ElLen Mackenzie is torn between the needs of her young daughter and the needs of her heart.


RADICALS, by Carolyn Gage
Sexual tensions fuse with political agendas as women in the anti-Vietnam War movement cross minefields of repressed emotion, and the action builds to a violent climax as the war comes home.


CAT SCRATCH, by Megan Tripaldi
A woman and her beau discuss the annoyances of owning a cat that plots against you

A comic look at speed dating through the lens of two people who are initially reluctant participants

DELESTAGE, by Delvyn Case
A young man and his wife take desperate actions with potential life-threatening consequences to save their lives and family in the deprivation of the Democratic Republic of Congo

HOLLY BELLE, by Sarah Paget
A woman who is stuck in her grief encounters someone who is proof personified that life goes on and one can choose to live in the moment

After spending a 6-month polar night secluded in an Arctic lab, a climate scientist and a polar bear expert make a grim discovery

Two men who have known one another since high school discover the limits of what one friend can say to another

ROPE TRICK, by Michael Tooher
Two characters in a play attempt to escape an overbearing playwright

SLUNKER FISH, by Roger Clark Van Deusen
Two fishermen discuss their relationship to their catch

STEL, by Charlie Cole
Sometimes breaking up happens a little bit at a time

ZENO'S ARROW, by David Susman
Love endures - even when it's mathematically impossible


A WHALE OF A TALE, by Harlan Baker
A man is convinced to make a donation to a cause he knows nothing about

BABY STEPS, by David Susman
To procreate or not to procreate - that is the question

IN COUNSELING, by Jennifer Reck
A couple realizes their faith in their marriage counselor is misplaced

LORD WINECRUST, by Lynne Cullen
While walking through the forest, innocent Britta is menaced by the terrible Lord Winecrust...or is she?

MESSAGE, by David Susman
Sometimes a voicemail message can reveal more about a relationship than you think

SMALL TOWN, by Jennifer Reck
A woman discovers that her romantic interest has issues

STARTING OVER, by Patricia Mew
Two characters spar with one another for control of their encounter


FEE, by Jonathan Potter
A man explores the unusual financial customs of the Maine Playwrights Festival

FIRE AWAY, by Jefferson Navicky
A father realizes that his son isn't taking the son's mother's death quite as well as he thought the son would

HALO, by HAl Cohen
A physician's personal fall from grace

THE SOLDIER'S SPEECH, by Michael Tooher
A young homeless veteran reflects on his cowardice


DELVYN C. CASE, JR. is Director of Drama of First Baptist Church of Portland. Has won a number of playwrighting awards and his plays have been produced at several festivals including the Maine Playwrights Festival. His play Kabul Screams was produced Off-Off Broadway in October 2012 as part of the Samuel French Short Play Festival. He is published by Drama Source and member of the Dramatists Guild of America and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.

HAL J. COHEN is a physician, actor and writer.

CHARLIE COLE has seen 36 flash fiction pieces published in "e-zines" in the last 18 months. Stel is his first produced play. He is a resident of Windham.

LYNNE CULLEN is a visual artist, storyteller, playwright and musician. Several of her short plays have appeared in the Maine Playwrights' Festival. Lynne loves the old legends and folktales, and produces Seanachie Nights, a monthly evening of music and stories from Europe and the Celtic tradition.

CAROLYN GAGE is a playwright, performer, director, and activist. The author of nine books on lesbian theatre and sixty-five plays, musicals, and one-woman shows, she specializes in non-traditional roles for women, especially those reclaiming famous lesbians whose stories have been distorted or erased from history. She has won the Maine Literary Award in Drama, and her collection of plays The Second Coming of Joan of Arc and Selected Plays won the Lambda Literary Award in Drama, the top LGBT book award in the US.

DAN HADLEY has since appeared in several staged readings at the Stonington Opera House: The Laramie Project, Riot Act and White Lilacs, plus performances in 10 Deer Isle Cabin Fever productions. A student of John Cariani in a 2011 Opera House playwriting workshop, Date Night... is Dan's second play, premiering at the Opera House on Valentine's Day 2012, with Dan and his wife Diane de Grasse performing.

MICHAEL KIMBALL has written many plays, novels, and screenplays. He serves on the faculty of the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing Program (USM), in Maine. His new comedy Duck and Cover will be presented at the Acorn Studio Theater from May 31 to June 16.

CULLEN MCGOUGH is a local Portland playwright with a deep interest in "theater of the now". His plays have appeared before at the Maine Playwright's Festival including Nyafat (2012) and The Last Fish in the Sea (2011). Cullen is a found member of "The Crowbait Club", a local writer's monthly deathmatch, and a student of Acorn Studio's ongoing writing classes.

Patricia Mew's work is being included for the second time in the MPF. She performed with Naked Shakespeare from 2007-2012 (Wine Bar, Richard II, Cymbeline, All's Well on the Waterfront) and has worked with other companies including Lorem Ipsum (Mother, Blood Wedding), Freeport Community Players (Lillian Troy, I Hate Hamlet), Add VERB Productions and Lucid Stage. In addition, during its first two years, she co-produced the 24-Hour Portland Theater Project.

JEFFERSON NAVICKY's plays have recently appeared in The Boston Theater Marathon, Port Fringe '12 and multiple times in The Maine Playwrights Festival. He received a Good Idea Grant through The Maine Arts Commission for his six-play cycle, Redwing Solitaire. Other writing has recently appeared in Smokelong Quarterly, The Belfast Poetry Festival and The First Line. He teaches English at Southern Maine Community College.

Sarah PageT's career centered around writing for financial services companies. She has written poems, personal essays and short stories, some of which have been published. Holly Belle is Sarah's first play. Sarah lives in Stonington, plays in a steel band and loves to sail.

BRUCE PRATT's novel The Serpents of Blissfull was published from Mountain State Press in April 2011. His poetry collection Boreal, is available from Antrim House Books, and his short fiction, poetry, and drama have appeared in dozens of journals in the United States, Canada, Europe, and won numerous awards. Pratt's short play Electrolysis was performed at the 2008 Maine Short Play Festival, and was included in the 2nd Annual Northern Writes Festival. Another short play Polygamy appeared in Literal Latte in 2009. Barter, a one-act play, was included in the 2010 Maine Play Festival and The Northern Writes Festival, where it won the audience choice award. His play Wednesday was featured in the 2001 0-60 Longwood Play Festival in Virginia, and won an audience choice award at Northern Writes in 2011. He lives with his wife Janet in Eddington, Maine.

JENNIFER RECK studied at Bard College and Cornell University and has worked in academic, corporate and non-profit settings in Washington, DC, the Netherlands and Maine for more than 15 years in medical communications, publishing and health policy. She began writing plays in 2011 and is happy to have her first plays staged at the 2013 Maine Playwright's Festival.

DAVID SUSMAN's essays and short stories have appeared in various print and online journals, including "Fourth Genre," "Cumberland River Review," "JMWW," and "Blood Orange Review." As a novice playwright, he studies with Playwrights' Platform, a Boston-area collective of theater professionals, where several of his short works have received public readings. This year's Maine Playwrights Festival marks the first time that his plays are being fully staged.

MICHAEL TOOHER Short works originally produced in the MPF in years past include In A Clearing Quiet, now I lay me down to sleep, Hush Money and Size Matters. Full length works include The Tree of the Methodists, The Waiting Room, pudding and Hangman. His full length drama The Perfect Sameness of Our Days was recently awarded the 2012 Playwriting Award by Hidden River Arts of Philadelphia. His full length comedy, Iceland, was a featured play in Penobscot Theatre's 2012 Northern Writes Festival, was named best play from Maine in Portland Stage's 2010 Clauder Competition and was a featured play in the 2011 Maine Playwright's Festival.

MEGAN TRIPALDI, a recent graduate of the University of Southern Maine has plays published in the Words and Images literary journal and the Out and Allied Anthology from AddVERB Productions. She most recently appeared on stage as Myra/Sally in Sam Shepard's Chicago presented by The Seeing Space, Millie the Mouse in The Biggest Little House in the Forest at the Children's Museum and Theatre, Kathy in Woyzek and Laurie in The Tall Reunion at the 2012 Portland Fringe Festival, and M'Lynn in Steel Magnolias at USM for which she won an Irene Ryan Nomination.

ROGER VAN DEUSEN has been active, both professionally and otherwise, in film, television, and theater for over 35 years.

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