Kudos for Essential Theatre Playwriting Award Winners Karla Jennings and Lauren Gunderson

The Essential Theatre wants to congratulate Atlanta playwright Karla Jennings on winning the Pillars Playwriting Prize for her script “The Smiles.” This award is sponsored by the Creative Writing Program in the Department of English, Speech and Journalism at Georgia College and State University. Karla will receive an honorarium of $2,000.00 and her play will be produced at the College.

The Essential Theatre chose Karla’s play “Images In Smoke” for production in 2000, making it the second winner of our annual competition for Georgia playwrights (though we weren’t officially calling it the Essential Theatre Playwriting Award yet). That production was named by Creative Loafing’s Curt Holman as being one of the fifteen best shows of that year.

Karla went on to win the Playwrights First Award (given by New York’s National Arts Club) for her play “The Ruby Vector.” We wish her all the best in her continued success.

In more good news for Essential Playwrights, Lauren Gunderson (winner of the 2001 and 2004 Essential Theatre Playwriting Awards, for “Parts They Call Deep” and “Background”) just had the World Premiere of her play “Emilie” at the very prestigious South Coast Repertory in California. Congratulations to Lauren as well!

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2009 Essential Theatre New Play Festival

Sunday, July 5
7:00pm Food For Fish

Monday, July 6

8:00pm Food For Fish

Tuesday, July 7

Wednesday, July 8

Thursday, July 9

Friday, July 10
8:00pm Ice Glen

Saturday, July 11
8:00pm Food For Fish

Sunday, July 12
7:00pm Ice

Monday, July 13

Tuesday, July 14

Wednesday, July 15
8:00pm Jim Crow and the Rhythm Darlings

Thursday, July 16
8:00pm Jim Crow and the Rhythm Darlings

Friday, July 17
8:00pm Food For Fish

Saturday, July 18
8:00pm Jim Crow and the Rhythm Darlings

Sunday, July 19
2:00pm Jim Crow and the Rhythm Darlings
7:00pm Food For Fish

Monday, July 20
8:00pm Ice Glen

Tuesday, July 21

Wednesday, July 22

Thursday, July 23

Friday, July 24
8:00pm Jim Crow and the Rhythm Darlings

Saturday, July 25
2:00pm Jim Crow and the Rhythm Darlings
8:00pm Ice Glen

Sunday, July 26

2:00pm Food For Fish
7:00pm Ice Glen

Monday, July 27
8:00pm Jim Crow and the Rhythm Darlings

Tuesday, July 28
8:00pm Food For Fish

Wednesday, July 29
8:00pm Ice Glen

Thursday, July 30
8:00pm Jim Crow and the Rhythm Darlings

Friday, July 31
8:00pm Ice Glen

Saturday, August 1, 2009
2:00pm Jim Crow and the Rhythm Darlings
8:00pm Food for Fish

Sunday, August 2,

Jim Crow and the Rhythm Darlings

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Audition Announcement

The Essential Theatre will be holding their general auditions for 2009 on Monday, March 9, from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. These will be for the three productions in their 2009 Power Plays Festival, to be presented in repertory from July 5 – August 2 in the Actor’s Express space. We are looking for Non-Union performers; all roles will be stipend-paid.

The three plays being presented will be:

ICE GLEN by Joan Ackermann, a romantic period drama about a poet who does not want her work published, and the editor who tries to persuade her otherwise.
GRAYSON, a butler in his fifties, kindly, gracious.
DENBY, in his twenties, lively and engaging, with the temperament of a child.
MRS. ROSWELL, Irish cook in her fifties, warm, blunt.
SARAH HARDING, a poet in her thirties, e arthy, fiery.
DULCE BAINBRIDGE, a widow in her thirties, pretty, genteel.
PETER WOODBURN, an editor in his forties, handsome, intellectual.

FOOD FOR FISH by Adam Szymkowicz, a melancholy comedy about longing. Some roles are designed to be portrayed by performers of the opposite sex.
BOBBIE, a writer, passionate and lonely young man.
BARBARA, thirties for forties, agoraphobic (to be played by a man).
ALICE, twenties or thirties, scientist.
SYLVIA, twenties, reporter.
DEXTER, thirties or forties, husband to Barbara (to be played by a woman).
SASHA, twenties or thirties, also plays several different women and men.

JIM CROW AND THE RHYTHM DARLINGS by Vynnie Meli. Drama about an all-female jazz band touring the Deep South during World War Two.
PEGGY, African-American woman in her twenties or thirties.
VI, African-American woman in her twenties or thirties.
BLANCHE, Jewish woman in her twenties or thirties.
JEROME, African-American man in his thirties or forties.
POLICEMAN, a white man.

(Please note – while JIM CROW deals with racial issues and will be cast according to the racial types listed above, both FOOD FOR FISH and ICE GLEN will be open to non-traditional casting.)

The auditions will be held in the “Blue Room” lounge of Horizon Theatre. That’s a room at the bottom of the stairs, on the basement level of the building that Hori zon Theatre is located in, at 1083 Austin Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30307. For directions, visit http://www.horizontheatre.com/boxoffice.htm. Please prepare two contrasting monologues with a total running time of not more than 4 minutes.

To make audition appointments, call 404-212-0815 or e-mail pmhardy@aol.com.


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2009 Power Plays Festival Lineup

The 2009 Essential Theatre Power Plays includes our Playwriting Award Winner, JIM CROW AND THE RHYTHM DARLINGS by Vinnie Meli, as well as ICE GLEN by Joan Ackermann.  She’s a playwright who’s been produced around the country for some years now – Horizon did her play THE BATTING CAGE a few years back.  This one’s a romantic drama, set in 1919, about a reclusive poetess who does not want her poems published, and the editor to tries to persuade her otherwise.  That may sound rather dry and dusty, but it’s immensely charming, touching and very funny.

  • “Beautifully written…a story of nature and change.” —Talkin’ Broadway.
  • “A lovely play which will leave you with a lot to think about.” —CurtainUp.
  • “Funny, moving and witty.” —Metroland (Boston).

The third play is FOOD FOR FISH, by Adam Szymkowwicz   It’s hard to describe – The New York Times put it well in their review:  “Fabulously weird and weirdly fabulous.”  I’d call it a melancholy comedy about longing.  Three NYC sisters wish they could return to New Jersey (there’s a lot of Chekhov vibes in the play); a young writer prowls around the city, looking for lonely single women to kiss on street corners; a twentyish female scientist goes on dates with a different man every night, while during the day she works to isolate the human gene that makes people fall in love – she wants to control it, so you can choose who you fall in love with.  There’s also some characters designed to be played by actors of the opposite sex – men playing women, and vice versa.  This isn’t for drag-show comedy, but it does allow for some interestingly comical shifts in our perspectives on what men and women are supposed to be like.  Like I said, hard to describe, but it’s funny and quirky and could also be beautiful – my favorite kind of play.

Peter Hardy

READING: Plagued, A Love Story by Vynnie Meli

Plagued A Love Story
Book and lyrics by Vynnie Meli [2009 Essential Theatre Playwriting Award Winner]
Music by Casey Filiaci
Directed by Susan Reid
Cinderella celebrates her 20th anniversary to a man who isn’t always so charming. And Cinderella’s daughter, Dust Bunny, takes on an even greater challenge: the Bubonic Plague. Dust Bunny has to say goodbye to the handsome chronicler, and any chance of finding a cure, when her Queen Grandmother forces her to marry a rich old Prince. Fairy Godmother comes out of retirement in sunny south Florida to convince Dust Bunny she doesn’t have to wait for someone else to turn her life into a fairy tale. The princess uses a little ingenuity to defy the Queen, get the boy, and save the world.

Monday Feb. 16th at 7:30
The Academy Theatre
119 Center Street, Avondale Estates, Georgia 30002

Free to WTP or Pay What You Can.
These readings are to help playwrights gain insight into the development of their plays with the help of you, the invited audience, providing feedback on your experience with the script, and rough music, as produced in a concert reading.


Artistic Director Peter Hardy lectures at Emory’s Brave New Works program

On Feburary 5, Essential Theatre’s Artistic Director Peter Hardy took part in a panel discussion on new play development, along with celebrated national authors Thomas Gibbons and Joseph Skibell. This was for a theatre class at Emory University and was connected to Brave New Works, a new play development program that is presented by Theatre Emory every two years, bringing in playwrights from around the country.