This spring enjoy thought-provoking literary theatre from your easy chair. Old Pueblo Playwrights' 30th Annual New Play Festival features staged-readings of original works by Tucson authors. Stream it FREE for the first time on YouTube in May.
"OPP's New Play Festival will again showcase Tucson's amazing wealth of local talent," said President John Vornholt. "Our monologues and multi-character scripts will make you laugh, cry—and view the pandemic, Black Lives Matter, marital fidelity, and more from a new perspective. During quarantine, our members were at work honing their playwriting chops and tech skills to adapt to theatre's new virtual habitat, resulting in a peer-reviewed lineup that will appeal to short-attention spans or those preferring a more immersive experience."
A best-selling author, actor, playwright, director, screenwriter, and journalist, Vornholt co-founded Imagination Theatre, winner of the 2021 Tucson Fringe's Best Local Show award for "Puppy Pawdemic."
Old Pueblo Playwrights' 30th Annual New Play Festival
May 1-31, 2021
YouTube Old Pueblo Playwrights channel
"Quarantine Poem"—OPP member playwright Gavin Kayner performs this monologue by E. Reid Gilbert.
"Confronting Delusions of Self-Sufficiency"—Dave Parke performs this monologue by Sheldon Metz.
"The Letter"—Meagan Jones plays EMILIA in this monologue by Cheri Newton; voiceover by Michael Mears as CECIL. In the 1920s Cornish arts colony of Lamorna Cove (England), Emilia receives an unexpected letter that changes her life, and those of her four teenage children, forever.
"Nana and Paige"—Regina Ford directed this one-act by Debra Vassallo. Nancy Ekstrum is NANA; Kira McNeill, PAIGE; Diana Ouradnik, MELISSA; and Richard Chomps Thompson, OFFICER JOHNSON; Linda Swanson was technical director. It's May 2020. Quarantined by her daughter for Covid, Nana's going stir-crazy. Her granddaughter, Paige, a high-school senior, can't stand missing out on all the fun. Nana and Paige devise a plan to fly the coop and join a Black Lives Matter march. Will they succeed?
"Zoom Intervention"—David Zinke wrote and directed this one-act. Renata Rauschen is JANET; David Youngerman, JIM; Eric Quesenberry, JASON; and Sydney Flynn, THE ANNOUNCER. A dysfunctional family hold a family Zoom meeting to try to communicate with their sullen and anti-social son during Covid, but things are not as they seem.
E. Reid Gilbert
A former Fulbright scholar, Gilbert is associate professor emeritus of theatre at The Ohio State University. The former minister and National Theatre Conference member founded and directed The Wisconsin Mime Theatre and School, taught acting at Kentucky and Tennessee colleges, and directed West Virginia's Valley Ridge Theatre. He has published eight books, written 14 theatre and production scripts, and directed 40-plus plays. He didn't begin writing seriously until his 80s when his slave-era drama, "Ellen Craft—Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom" (directed by OPP's Edward Donald Young) was read at the 2019 OPP New Play Festival and produced by The Community Players.
Metz is an award-winning director and set designer whose love of theatre began at six (as Hansel opposite Gretel in Chicago). He has directed and designed hundreds of plays and sets in LA, New York, Tucson, and served on the board of several LA theatres. He founded theatre associations in LA and New York; served as producing director for LA's Playwrights Kitchen Ensemble; taught acting and directing workshops; and was make-up artist to dozens of celebrities. A founding OPP member, he led Tucson's Beowulf Alley Theatre's Old Time Radio Theatre Company and served on their Artistic Development Committee; and co-founded the Alliance Performance Center of Tucson and Tucson Alliance of Dramatic Artists with John Vornholt.
Newton is an award-winning screenwriter, script consultant, and copywriter whose play, "The Letter," made it to the penultimate round of Kenneth Branagh's 2020 New Play Contest at Windsor Fringe (England).
She was a semifinalist at the Moondance International Film Festival for a screenplay and a documentary short, and her screenplay, "Mudlarks," placed in the top 20 percentile of the 2015 Academy Nicholl Fellowships. She has produced and edited films for the University of Arizona and local businesses; blogged for Contents Interiors as Freeway, a sophisticated canine with an eye for design; and worked internationally in disaster relief, development, and cross-cultural exchange. She writes for Tucson Home and Garden and The Desert Leaf, and has a master's degree in American media and popular culture with an emphasis in screenwriting from Arizona State University.
Words and stories have always mattered to Vassallo who worked as a child welfare worker in Laredo (Texas), a child development specialist in Sydney (Australia), and a school counselor in Salem (Oregon). After retirement, she studied playwriting with Matthew Zrebski at Portland Center Stage then wrote "Prima Donna" and "Ready, Set, Go!" Now a resident of Salem (Oregon) and Green Valley (Arizona), she wrote "Nana and Paige" in response to the challenges of the past year.
Zinke has performed with Tucson's Beowulf Alley Theatre Company, Community Players, Festival Repertory Theatre, Live Theatre Workshop, Red Barn Theatre Company, Speak the Speech Theater, and Studio Connections. The native Wisconsinite (polite-speak for "Cheesehead") is a member of the Tucson Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) and secretary of Old Pueblo Playwrights. He studied theatre and dramatic arts at the University of Arizona and Pima Community College. This is his debut as a playwright.
May 1-31, 2021
YouTube/Old Pueblo Playwrights channel
No tickets or reservations needed. Admission is FREE.
Stay tuned to our YouTube channel and Facebook page for info about post-performance audience talkbacks.
Old Pueblo Playwrights, a Tucson nonprofit, aims to inspire professional and aspiring writers of any age, race, religion, gender, ethnicity, or political persuasion to create new works for stage, film, radio, or TV. The public is invited to enjoy and critique original member work any Monday at 7 pm via ZOOM.
OPP is supported by member dues, ticket sales, and the generosity of such organizations as the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Visit us on Facebook at Old Pueblo Playwrights.
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