ANN ARBOR – ZOOM PLAY SERIES: Fifteen Short Plays in Five Nights
Theatre NOVA, Ann Arbor’s professional theatre with an exclusive focus on new plays and playwrights, has been forced to postpone two Michigan Playwrights Festivals since the shutdown. This fall they will present a new festival of plays online, with plays written exclusively for the Zoom format.
Fifteen juried plays written specifically to be presented on Zoom will be performed live (on Zoom), October 7-11 at 8pm and will also be available for streaming after the performances. Three different new short plays each night will be performed live online (no mask required) over the course of five nights.
In early July, Theatre NOVA sent out a call for submissions for ten-minute plays that were written for Zoom. The NOVA Artistic Directors (Diane Hill, Carla Milarch and David Wolber) received 35 plays and from that pool chose 15 plays that they found compelling and that worked well in the Zoom format.
Tickets are $5 per person per evening, or $20 for a festival pass which admits ticket holders to all 15 plays during the five nights of performances. Prior to the event, ticket holders will receive a link to click on to view. Purchase tickets online at www.TheatreNova.org. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. All proceeds benefit Theatre NOVA’s ongoing efforts to stay alive through the pandemic.
Schedule of Plays:
Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020
“Werewolves of London (Arkansas)” by Marilyn Zerlak
When Jack accidentally links on to his wife’s Zoom meeting, he is surprised to discover that her friends (and his wife), are not what they seem to be. Directed by Michelle Resnick. Featuring Meghan VanArsdalen, Charles Wolf, Nicole Marie Hunt, and Alex Lind.
“All in the Family Tree” by Laura Ratto
A granddaughter discovers that her deceased grandparents have been having the time of their lives in the online family tree she created. Directed by Michelle Resnick. Featuring Sarah Burcon, Margaret Gilkes, Chadwick D’Aigle, and Jim Snideman.
“Done is Done” by Hank Greenspan
Two days after his burial, Lou surprises his son, David, by showing up in a Zoom room. He announces that he is in Hell; he wants an “appeal” or a “second opinion.” It turns out that Lou had been in a kind of hell even when he was alive. Just as he left his daughter, Ellie, out of his will, he, effectively, left himself out as well. Directed by Michelle Resnick. Featuring Mike Olsem and Dan Morrison.
Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020
“Death to the Zombies” by Laurie Tanner
A theatre company rehearses for a reading on Zoom during the Coronavirus pandemic. Their relationships behind the scenes and major historical upheavals intersect with the theme of the play, which is that zombies exist within all of us and compel us to move forward, fighting.
Directed by Shelby Seeley. Featuring Hananiah Wiggins, Sarah Gunter, Cameron Graham, and Parker Stephen Nolan.
“The Big Day” by Catherine Zudak
Chiara, the maid of honor, is hosting a Zoom meeting to plan a bachelorette party for her good friend, Alya. She reluctantly includes the groom’s best friend, Reece, who also happens to be good friends with the best man, her boyfriend. When Chiara accuses Reece of trying to sabotage the party planning Reece reluctantly shares an unexpected twist on the big day. Directed by Shelby Seeley. Featuring Nathalie Estiverne, Emma Doyle, and Anna Grace Rath Howard.
“Graven Images” by Stephanie Buckley
“Graven Images” presents what happens if an online class steals a little bit of each of its students’ souls—forcing them to spend all of eternity together in Zoom. Directed by Shelby Seeley. Featuring Lexxus Glaze, Monte LeGrant, James Wohlfert, Delshawn Akpan, Ali Ghannam, David Liskow, and Amanda Buchalter.
Friday, Oct. 9, 2020
“Meet Cute Medium” by Donna Warfield
Online speed dating with a supernatural twist. Directed by Diane Hill. Featuring Jeremy Kucharek and Vicki Morgan.
“A Hero Of Our Time, 2020” by Cleavon Smith
Two young, inner city activists try to prepare for a speech that one of them is giving at a rally the next day until a little spider scares the piss out of one of them. Directed by Diane Hill. Featuring Nate John-Mark and Emilio Rodriguez.
“Book’d” by Rachel Keown Burke
Three women get together for a virtual wine-and-cheese-and-book-discu
Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020
“Matching” by Isabella Waldron
When Mother-and-daughter Connie and Jess Zoom from across the country try to set Connie up with a Match.com account, they are forced to reconsider what it means to parent and what it means to love.
Directed by Carla Milarch. Featuring Diane Hill and Meghan VanArsdalen.
“Go, Seniors” by Cary Gitter
Two high schoolers lament the loss of their senior year to coronavirus—and a surprise prom revelation ensues. A poignant comedy about not getting to say goodbye. Directed by Carla Milarch. Featuring Jackson Abohasira.
“Dutch Baby” by Rachel Keown Burke
Two former roommates zoom for the first time in years. Reconnecting in a sardonic but sincere way. Directed by Carla Milarch. Featuring Sarah Stevens.
Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020
“Working Remotely” by Cary Gitter
A manager calls up her employee to fire him (remotely), but he winds up turning the conversation on its head. A lighthearted comedy about the virtual workplace. Directed by Terie Spencer.
“River’s Message” by Conrad A. Panganiban
On the eve of their University’s Final Examinations, Kennedy creates a Facebook App to help her best friend, River, communicate with her mom who has recently passed away. “River’s Message” explores the line between life and death over a Wi-Fi connection. Directed by Rachel Keown Burke.
“We’re Here Now” by Jeffrey Lo
A young couple, one in California, one in Italy – are stuck waiting for the pandemic to end. They were so close to reaching a new milestone in their relationship and now have to wait it out before taking the next step… or will they? A sweet comedy about love in the times of coronavirus. Directed by Joe Bailey.
Stephanie Buckley is an English and Theater Arts teacher who started writing plays that celebrate the talents of her students. Her Zoom plays, “Graven Images” and “Zoom for the Holidays,” a collection about Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, are published by Eldridge Plays and Musicals. Stephanie’s monologue, “Formal Night,” is part of Stage Partners’ STRANDED: VIEWS FROM QUARANTINE, a perform-from-home monologue play. Her one-act, “The Woman’s Land Army,” will appear in Stage Partners’ “It’s Her Say: A Collection of Plays with Strong Female Characters by Awesome Female Drama Teachers.”
Rachel Keown Burke is a Playwright, Screenwriter, and Director. She attended the North Carolina School of the Arts School of Filmmaking, and after graduating in 2008, moved to Los Angeles where she worked as a camera assistant, briefly as a writer’s assistant, and various odd jobs in order to keep herself alive in California. She now resides in Chelsea, Michigan with her husband and daughter. In 2019, she was selected for The Mitten Lab Playwriting Residency, where she workshopped her full-length play, “Lois Bipolar and the Esoteric Scotch Tapes” with producer Rachel Sussman and director Katherine Carter.
Cary Gitter is a playwright and screenwriter. His play “The Sabbath Girl” ran Off Broadway at 59E59 Theaters in 2020, following its premiere at Penguin Rep Theatre in Stony Point, NY, in 2019. His play “How My Grandparents Fell in Love” was a New York Times Critic’s Pick as part of the Ensemble Studio Theatre’s 36th Marathon of One-Act Plays and aired on public radio’s Playing on Air. His plays have also been developed at the Berkshire Playwrights Lab, the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, the Jewish Ensemble Theatre, and New Jersey Repertory Company.
Henry Greenspan is a psychologist, oral historian, and playwright at the University of Michigan Residential College (emeritus). His plays include REMNANTS, first produced for radio and distributed to NPR stations across the US As a stage play, REMNANTS has been presented at more than 300 venues worldwide and received more than a dozen festival and broadcast awards. Recent plays include “The Perfect Game,” “Death / Play, or the Mad Jester of the Warsaw Ghetto,” “The Stall,” and “Done is Done.”
Jeffrey Lo is a Filipino-American playwright and director based in the Bay Area. He is the recipient of the 2014 Leigh Weimers Emerging Artist Award, the 2012 Emerging Artist Laureate by Arts Council Silicon Valley and Theatre Bay Area Director’s TITAN Award. His plays have been produced and workshopped at The BindleStiff Studio, City Lights Theatre Company and Custom Made Theatre Company. His play “Writing Fragments Home” was a finalist for the Bay Area Playwright’s Conference and a semi-finalist for the O’Neill Playwright’s Conference. In addition to his work in theatre he works as an educator and advocate for issues of Equity, Diversity. He is the Director Community Partnerships and Casting Director at the Tony Award Winning TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, a graduate of the Multicultural Arts Leadership Institute and alumnus of the UC Irvine Drama Department.
Conrad A. Panganiban is a San Francisco Bay Area playwright. His plays include “Welga,” “Inay’s Wedding Dress,” “The Perfect American,” and “Esperanza Means Hope.” Conrad’s work has been produced and/or developed by Bindlestiff Studio (San Francisco, CA), CIRCA Pintig (Chicago, IL), MaArte Theatre Collective (San Diego, CA), San Francisco Playhouse, and the Sinag-tala Filipino Theatrical Performing Arts Association (Sacramento, CA). Awards include: James Milton Highsmith Award Winner (SFSU), National Ten-Minute Play Festival Finalist (Actors Theatre of Louisville), and Bay Area Playwrights Festival Semi-Finalist (Playwrights Foundation). Member Dramatist Guild of America and Theatre Bay Area. MFA, San Francisco State University.
Laura Ratto was inspired to delve into playwriting after performing in several staged play readings at her local community theater. “All in the Family Tree” was born out of her interest in genealogy and the longing to communicate with her deceased ancestors. An avid reader and writer, she lives in South Florida with her family.
Cleavon Smith is the resident playwright at TheatreFIRST in Berkeley, CA. His credits include “The Last Sermon of Sister Imani” as well as the one-act, “Just One Day” featured in the Theatre Bay Area award-winning anthology production “Between Us.” Coming this fall are TheatreFIRST’s release of his digital story, “Affinity,” as well as the audio drama, “The Flats,” written in collaboration with Lauren Gunderson and Jonathan Spector to open the Aurora Theatre Company’s 2020-21 season.
Laurie Tanner is an actor and a playwright living in South Florida. A former middle school teacher with a Masters in education, she has been active in the South Florida theatre scene for the past five years. She is currently working on a number of plays, including one that explores the identity of the Dark Lady in Shakespeare’s works.
Isabella Waldron is an emerging playwright/actress, currently based in Portland, Oregon. Her work centers on intergenerational stories and ferocious women. In quarantine times, Isabella’s writing might have been seen on the first episode of “Our Digital Stories” or as a finalist in Mixily Presents The Classics: Reimagined. She recently wrote a musical in one night with the 24 Hour Plays 2020 Nationals Cohort. Other plays include “Jawbone,” “Things I Never Told the Stars,” and “Gentle, Angry Women.” Isabella is an alum of the National Theatre Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center. In addition to writing and acting, Isabella is also a poet, pianist and baker.
Donna Warfield began as a professional actress and used that knowledge to segue into playwriting, something she enjoys enormously. A selection of her plays include: “It’s a Stretch,” “She’s Off Her Rocker,” “Windy Day,” “Lady in Waiting,” “Cork Floats,” “Second Chance,” “Following Protocol,” “Disney Day, A Ferry Tale,” “The Doorman,” “Adrift,” “RSVP” (a short form musical written in collaboration with Arianna Rose and Aden Kent Ramsey), “Transitions,” a finalist at Fantasy Theatre Factory with public reading TBD, a production of “Two Women,” also TBD; and coming soon as a Zoom presentation, “Silver Lining.”
Marilyn Zerlak is a member of the Farmington Players Barn Theater, where she has produced, assistant-directed and run sound. She also finds inspiration and is challenged by their script-writing group, the Barn Scribes. Marilyn’s play “True Confessions” was performed at the Players’ Inaugural One Act Festival in June 2019 and marked the first performance of one of her works. Since then, other works brought to stage include “There’s No Place Like Nome” and “Navigating the Heart.” Marilyn is a self-employed graphic designer living in Farmington Hills and enjoys reading, travel, watercolor and Zumba.
Catherine Zudak is a writer, producer and storyteller in Ann Arbor. Her short plays have appeared in festivals throughout SE Michigan including The Play’s the Thing (A2CT), The Detroit Fringe, Living on the Edge (Actors’) and The Playwright’s Festival (OCC). Theatre Nova read “Lion’s Share” for the Michigan Playwrights Festival in 2019. In the past few years, Ms. Zudak has written and performed stories for Heaven Spot, HERSay, MOMS, Snapshots, and Story Night. She has produced independent shows including “Broken” and “The Know Gun Show.”
Theatre NOVA is Ann Arbor’s resident professional theatre company. Its mission is to raise awareness of the value and excitement of new plays and playwrights and provide resources for playwrights to develop their craft by importing, exporting, and developing new work.