by Andrew Black

I was fortunate when I taught my first class in playwriting at the Indiana Writers Center. I had three bright female students who did good work. I had provided a theme for which I asked them to develop a short ten-minute play. The plays were good. And, coincidentally, Indy Fringe was getting ready to produce a festival of short plays by women. We submitted the plays as a “package” and got into the fest.   The playwrights went from concept to production in about six months.

Rarely do aspiring playwrights have this kind of opportunity. Successive students have asked me several times if we could do a showcase of their work. I always reply positively, if neutrally, because I know that putting together a showcase is an incredible amount of work, but not a task I am interested in pursuing. I have my own writing to do, as well as my teaching. I am not a producer, nor do I care to be.

 Then, one of my students who asked the inevitable question about a showcase was part of the Indy Fringe production team. (Her name is Elise Lockwood.) She had written a short and very funny play about a woman who is trying to convince her own vagina to be more responsive to a male suitor. I was enthusiastic about seeing this comedy on stage and even better, Elise had the infrastructure to create a showcase without my having to do it myself!   Pay dirt!

I reached out to all former students and solicited short plays for what would be called the Short Play Festival, co-produced by the Indiana Writers Center and Indy Fringe. We received many wonderful submissions. The only challenge at this point was selecting six plays out of the strong work I received.

 Once the selections were made, Elise had identified six theater companies in Indy who would take on the task of casting, rehearsing and preparing the plays for performance. A creative jigsaw puzzle whose various pieces will now be assembled at the Indy Fringe Theater on Friday and Saturday, April 17 and 18.

The playwrights whose work will be featured include Elise as well as Jerry Holt, Louis Janeira, Stacy Post, Stacey Katz and Enid Cokinos. The plays range from the ribald (Elise’s lady parts play) to the serious (Stacey’s play about a young girl coming to terms with her mother’s mental illness).  I have a short piece to frame the evening, posing a dramatic question to be answered by the other plays themselves.

We encourage all members and friends of the Indiana Writers Center to show their support of this project (and find out more about our playwriting program) by coming to the event. If you want to buy tickets, advanced purchase is advised. The event is likely to sell out!

Go to http://www.indyfringe.org/ and click on tickets and times. You can order for the Short Play Festival from that website.

 

 

Written by Indiana Writers Center — April 02, 2015

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