Invited Shows & Short Play Festival Set For KCACTF 4/14-18

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announces four invited productions and the Short Play Festival as part of the 41st annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF), April 14-18, 2009. Selected participants from eight regional festivals held in January and February at colleges and universities across the country are invited to showcase their talents at the nation's center for the performing arts, to be considered for scholarships and awards and to participate in master classes with some of the best artists in their field.

Developed by Roger L. Stevens, Kennedy Center Founding Chairman, the KCACTF is dedicated to encouraging, recognizing and celebrating the finest and most diverse work produced in college and university theater programs. The eight regional festivals and national festival provide an opportunity for college and university theater departments to present their work, especially new or student-written work, and to receive outside assessment. Since its establishment in 1969, the KCACTF has reached more than 17.5 million theatergoers, students and teachers nationwide.

A comprehensive list of scholarship and award finalists will be announced shortly. Information about the invited productions, Short Play Festival and Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships appears below.


This year, the National Selection Team chose four productions to receive all-expenses paid trips to the Kennedy Center to be showcased at the National Festival. This year's National Selection Team, which saw 54 productions appearing at the eight regional festivals, consisted of Kaleta Brown (professor emeritus of theater, Cypress College, National Committee Represetative), Cathy Norgren (University at Buffalo, Design and Technology Representative), and Steve Reynolds, (Wittenberg University, National Playwriting Program Representative). KCACTF Artistic Director Gregg Henry attends each production with the National Selection Team.
A list of the four invited productions and the alternates follows. Performance schedule and ticket information appear on the final page.
La Bête by David Hirson, Grove City College

This 1991 Molière-inspired comedy, written in iambic pentameter and set in 17th century France, pits dignified, stuffy Elomire, the head of the royal court-sponsored theater troupe, against the foppish, frivolous street entertainer Valere, whom the troupe's patron, Prince Conti, wishes them to bring aboard. Despite Elomire's violent objections, the company is forced to perform one of Valere's own plays, which results in dramatic changes to the future of the company itself.

The Revenger's Tragedy by Jim Wren and Joe Sturgeon, freely adapted from the original text by Thomas Middleton, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

The Revenger's Tragedy is a Jacobean tragedy re-imagined as a bloody homage to modern era female action thrillers. Set in a modern underworld, the play opens with the wedding celebration of a mysterious woman, Vi. The party is brutally interrupted by the Duke and his men, ending in a blood bath that Vi survives. The story then jumps ahead four years as Vi exacts revenge on behalf of her love by destroying everything and everyone surrounding the Duke. She will stop at nothing. A classic play that channels Quentin Tarantino and Truffaut's The Bride Wore Black.
Tongues by Joseph Chaikin and Sam Shepard, California State University-East Bay, in association with Dandelion Dancetheater

Tongues is a movement and music theater event performed with a multi-racial, intergenerational, physically integrated cast of dancers, actors and musicians - with and without disabilities - and investigates a flood of memories, emotions and insights during one man's last moments of life.
House of Several Stories by A. John Boulanger, Texas State University, in association with The Search Party

Recipient of the National Student Playwriting Award

Thanksgiving isn't what it used to be in this absurdist comedy about a dysfunctional family and their unusual guests. The family's stories (whether true, false, or borrowed) help them fill the vacuums in our lives caused by death, loss, and dysfunction.

Alternates to the National Festival

Nosferatu adapted for stage by Christopher Clark from the film by F. W. Murnau, Utah Valley University

Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind, Rowan University


The KCACTF 11th Annual Short Play Festival includes four of the national finalists of the John Cauble Award for Best Short Play and the National Finalists of the KCACTF Ten-Minute Play Award. Awards will be announced following the performance of House of Several Stories on Saturday, April 18, 2009.

The John Cauble Short Play Awards Program recognizes outstanding one-act plays. Each of the national finalists has his or her work presented at the National Festival and one of the national finalists receives a $1,000 prize.
This year's National Finalists of the John Cauble Award for Outstanding Short Play are:

Aporia by Paul David Young, The New School
Hard Rain by Steven Barkhimer, Boston University
We'll Always Have Paris by Jeremy Frazier, University of Central Missouri
War Paint by Benjamin Graber, University of Nebraska-Omaha
Dead in the Kitchen by Jaime Cruz, University of Wyoming
Each of the eight KCACTF Regional Festivals typically receives 120 Ten-Minute Play submissions and up to 10 of those are presented at each Regional Festival. One playwright will receive a cash award of $1,000.

This year's National Finalists of the KCACTF Ten-Minute Play Award are:

Mermaids by Jessica Huang, University of Missouri
Gun Metal Blue Bar by Kristopher Frithjof Peterson, Western Michigan University
Trainwhistles by Briandaniel Oglesby, University of California, Riverside
Armed with Peanut Butter by Dana Formby, Ohio University


For over 35 years, the Kennedy Center Education Department has provided quality arts experiences through performances, residencies, workshops, conferences, career development programs, symposia, and on-line and print resources. In the past year, the Center's education programs have directly impacted more than 11 million people across the nation. The mission of the Education Department is to foster understanding of and participation in the performing arts through exemplary programs and performances for diverse populations of all ages that represent the unique cultural life and heritage of the United States. For more information, visit the Center's web site at


Theater at the Kennedy Center is presented with the generous support of Stephen and Christine Schwarzman.
The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival is sponsored by The U.S. Department of Education; Dr. Gerald and Paula McNichols Foundation; The Kennedy Center Corporate Fund; and The National Committee for the Performing Arts.
For more information about the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, please visit


All performances are recommended for mature audiences only

La Bête

Tuesday, April 14, 7:30pm

Kennedy Center Family Theater

Tickets $10
The Revenger's Tragedy

Wednesday, April 15, 7:30pm

Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

Tickets $10

Thursday, April 16, 7:30pm and Friday, April 17, 11:00am

Kennedy Center Family Theater

Tickets $10
House of Several Stories

The National Student Playwriting Award

Saturday, April 18, 7:30pm

Kennedy Center Family Theater

Tickets $10


Dead in the Kitchen

Tuesday, April 14, 10:00pm

Kennedy Center Millennium Stage South

Free admission, no tickets required

Aporia, We'll Always Have Paris, Mermaids, Gun Metal Blue Bar,

Trainwhistles, and Armed with Peanut Butter

Friday, April 17, 7:30pm

Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

Tickets $10
War Paint

Saturday, April 18, 5:00pm

Kennedy Center Terrace Gallery

Free admission, no tickets required


The Michael Kanin Playwriting Awards Showcase

Selections from these award-winning plays featuring a cast of Washington D.C. actors.

Wednesday, April 15, 4:30pm

Kennedy Center Family Theater

Free admission, no tickets required

Tennis in Nablus by Ismail Khalidi, New York University

A concert reading

Winner, Quest for Peace Playwriting Award and Runner-Up, Mark Twain Prize for Comic Playwriting.

Thursday, April 17, 9:30pm,

Kennedy Center Millennium Stage North

Free admission, no tickets required

The Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Auditions

Saturday, April 18, 1:00pm

Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

Tickets $20


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