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The Flint Community Players, in service, honor, and celebration of the Flint Community and the greater theatrical Community in the State of Michigan, will be holding a Playwriting Competition. This Playwriting Competition will be held in order to celebrate new/ up-and-coming playwrights, and their plays, in the Flint Community and in the State of Michigan. We wish to encourage playwriting as a discipline of theatre, and to promote the production of new and original works on community stages.
The Contest is open to residents of the State of Michigan.
A Playwright may submit one or more plays for the registration fee of $20.00 each.
The focus is on traditional format, full-length plays. Scripts for Children’s Theatre, Musicals, and One-Acts under an hour will not be accepted.
Plays must be new/original works that have not been previously published or produced professionally. Plays adapted from existing public domain works will be accepted.
The Contest Administrator will start receiving entries on October 1, 2015 and continue until the deadline of January 1, 2016.
Contest winners will be announced no later than April 2, 2016 with awards as follows: 1st prize – $300.00, 2nd prize – $200.00, 3rd prize – $100.00
Flint Community Players may produce a winning play at its discretion.
Please visit www.flintcommunityplayers.com for complete rules and submission guidelines.
Contest Queries to: email@example.com
Reviewed by Joseph Michael Mishler
If you ever wondered what would happen to Shakespeare’s Hamlet if someone took a different approach, I recommend Clio Cast and Crew’s current production of Barbecuing Hamlet by Pat Cook. They opened their 2015-2016 Season with a strong performance.
Barbecuing Hamlet was a nonstop series of crazy, goofy scenes as an outside director is hired by a small town theatre group to direct Hamlet. The director arrives on the scene to discover that the theatre is set in an old funeral home and the local arts council has very different ideas about producing plays. Pat Cook has written 150 plays and says, “Everyone has a story to tell.”
Theatre directors would appreciate the problems of the outside director. If you’ve ever directed a show, you could relate to this one easily. Very few people showed up at auditions to fill the 30 plus characters. Those who did show up weren’t the most talented folks in the world, but the show must on. Eventually, the arts council changes the rules and they join the cast. The Hamlet production goes in a very different direction. Even the set was not Shakespearian, but was instead an Old West town. Good old Hamlet finally gets what he deserves.
Director Jon Coggins put together a very talented cast. It is tough to play a bad actor. This show requires great timing and concentration, because it is a bit confusing as they go back and forth. But the entire cast was energetic, and gave a well-played performance.
Clio Cast and Crew newcomer Mary Whitt played Margo Daly, the new director. They better hang on to her. She took the role after the original lead became ill. Whitt has stage presence and a strong voice. She played the part very convincingly. She was a match for everyone on stage, and we enjoyed her performance. She used the whistle Sarge gave to her effectively.
Dave Turner played Sarge. In the show he was the backstage go to guy who seems to know everything, just as all sergeants do. He had great presence and a good sense of timing. He provided numerous laughs throughout. The director even tried to get him into Hamlet, but he wouldn’t bite. That is not to say he didn’t make a few well-timed and hilarious entrances.
Tamara, the head of the arts council, was played by Jane McMillan. She was the voice of reason and calmness on the council. She gave a very good performance and kept the rowdies on the council in line. She was always an optimist and an idea person, even if the off the wall ideas were way out of the box.
JR Nunley played Hope Halliday, who was supposed to direct the play but didn’t get enough votes. It would have been interesting if the director had put Hope in a dress. Nunley was a joy to watch on stage as he always does the many little things that give a play depth. Director Coggins played Duncan O’Toole, also on the council. Coggins was strong in this role; we loved his John Wayne impression during the Hamlet scenes. The Duke would have been proud of Jon the Pilgrim. Becky Coggins played Marybeth Lumpkin, the secretary of the council. She is a lost soul that Becky played very well.
Other notables include Doug Yerian, Sandy Turner, Shane Wachowicz, Steve Yerian, Andrea Wilkerson, and Melanie Marcus. They comprised the Hamlet cast. They were a hoot and brought great energy to the stage. They delighted the audience with swordplay, pizzas, Charley horses, overdone or oddly delivered lines and more. They made it look easy. The ashes of Donnelly, the guy who gave the group the theatre, also made his presence known. He even made a very dramatic entrance when he was dumped all over the floor. Even the Hamlet skull performed dramatically. Well, it bounced nicely several times.
The very old cowboy music during the pre-show really set the tone for the play. Some of those tunes were older than any of the actors, maybe even some people in the audience. We kept waiting for the six shooters and guitars to appear. We loved the combination “Chorus Line” music throughout the play and the Broadway music. Of course the show ended with “Happy Trails To You”. Very appropriate. Roy and Dale would have been pleased.
The scene changes needed to be smoothed out quieted down and sped up. The collapsing table crashing to the floor didn’t help their cause. We hope they get the hang of it.
If you love to laugh, this show is for you. You may even gain some new insight into Hamlet. Shakespeare, we are certain, would approve of that. Even the program contained some very interesting and out of the box bios. We give the cast and crew a standing ovation.
Barbecuing Hamlet runs from September 25- through October 4th, 2015. Friday and Saturday shows start at 7:30PM, and Sunday shows start at 2:30PM. Tickets can be purchased by calling 810-687-2588 or online at wwwcliocastandcrew.com. The theatre is located at 2220 W. Vienna Rd.
Reviewed by Helen S. Bas
The Kearsley Park Players opened their final production of the season Thursday, and it proved to be a magnificent homage to Oscar Wilde, a nineteenth century Irish playwright who lived and worked in England.
The Importance of Being Earnest was written late in Wilde’s short life, at the height of his career. Indeed, he became one of London’s most popular playwrights in the 1890s. It is a tragedy that he died at age 46 in 1900, only five years after Earnest premiered. Opening as it did in the tail end of the Victorian Era, the play is full of righteous indignation, snobby references to society, and loads of comic relief.
Earnest (or Ernest, depending on where you read it) Worthing (played by James Cech) and his friend-when-it-suits-him Algernon Moncrief (Justin Wetenhall) each have imaginary companions of a sort that allow them to disappear from their lives for a time. For Worthing it’s an oddball brother; for Moncrief it’s an ailing friend.
Add a couple of love interests, an uppity aunt and a few other characters and you have a recipe for satiric comedy that bounces from person to person. Cech and Wetenhall deserve kudos for their portrayal of these self-centered young Brits, who lust after Gwendolyn (Ella J. Thorp) and Cecily (Kristen Carter), respectively.
Gwendolyn’s stuffy mother, Lady Bracknell (Shelli McCormick), who also happens to be Algernon’s stuffy aunt, thinks Earnest is not good enough for her daughter, and Earnest, who happens to be Cecily’s guardian, thinks Algernon is not good enough for her.
The plot thickens mightily what with all the deception, game-playing and the fact that the young women each think the name “Earnest” is the only proper one for a suitor.
This good ensemble cast is rounded out by a couple of servants, Lane (Victor Galea) and Merriman (Ian Thomas), Cecily’s teacher Miss Prism (Laura Friesen) and Rev. Dr. Chasuble (Brian Haggard). The actors play well off one another, each highlighting the others. Secrets and deceptions are revealed, and the laughs build faster as the play comes to a satisfying end.
It’s hard to pick out any one actor in such a good ensemble. The cast made good use of gestures, posture, facial expression and generous eye rolling along with well-delivered lines. Director Kay Kelly, who also did costumes and set design, deserves a big pat on the back for this one, as do stage manager Crystal Dillard, assistant to the director Kendra Carlock, technical director Dave Johnson, and costumers Elaine Kay and Laura Williams.
Algernon munches his way through the whole play, and we understand that Elaine Kay is the baker of the delicious-looking edible props.
Overall, this production of Earnest is up to par with every other excellent production by the Kearsley Park Players. Keep it up, guys, and we look forward to next season.
The Importance of Being Earnest continues through the weekend in the Opera House at Crossroads Village in Genesee Township. Performances are tonight and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased before each performance at the Village entrance. For more information during weekday business hours, call 810-736-7100 ext. 6 or visit www.kearsleyparkplayers.com
Reviewed by Kathleen Kirby
Flint Community Players chose a vintage comedy/farce to open their 87th season Thursday. With this year focused on travel, French playwright Marc Camoletti’s sixties-era comedy Boeing, Boeing has been nicely translated by Beverly Cross and Francis Evans. Slapstick situations reign, and this troupe is well armed to deliver it.
Set in Paris, Bernard (Mark Vukelich) is an American businessman with a penchant for pretty ladies. He has zeroed in on three airline hostesses (as he refers to them), and has ostensibly become engaged to marry each of them. His system involves a complicated juggling of flight schedules in order to have only one fiancé in town at a time. These best laid plans will send him reeling before it’s over.
Vukelich first portrays Bernard as cool, calm and in charge as he hurries Gloria (Dominique Hinde) through breakfast to catch her TWA flight. His long-suffering maid Berthe (Christina Bradford) is directed to prepare lunch for Gabriella (Tomoko Miller) who will be stopping over for only a few hours between Alitalia flights, and to expect Gretchen (Karla Froehlich) for dinner when her Lufthansa flight arrives that evening.
It is easy to see early on that this situation must soon begin to unravel. More complications set in with the arrival of Robert (Nick Weiss), Bernard’s old school chum just arrived in France from Wisconsin. Robert bumbles about trying to stay on top of the constantly changing scenarios. Weiss seemed contrived at first Thursday, but settled in nicely as the play progressed.
As for the ladies, while each has her own temperament and persona, each clearly wants to settle down and be married. They could easily be one-dimensional repeats of each other, but they manage to avoid that trap. Dialect is one factor that stands out in this production. Miller’s Italian delivery rivals Froehlich’s German in that they have both have command of the dialect without sacrificing clarity. Miller also exudes an over-the-top enthusiasm in the role. She is bright, loud and in love with Bernard.
Froehlich’s temper flares when she finds Robert instead of Bernard in the apartment but her sensual nature emerges also. Her extreme interest in Robert makes for an interesting juxtaposition that she handles nicely.
Then there’s Hinde who has her ducks all in a row with marriage at the end of the road. No matter how it will turn out for her, she is clearly and charmingly in charge.
As the outliers in this tale, Weiss and Bradford are a dynamic duo. Bradford, playing Berthe as a combination of servant, accomplice and philosopher, succeeds in keeping the proverbial balls in the air and in adding amusing continuity to the sham, while Weiss’s bombastic naiveté both muddles things and ultimately provides solutions.
Jesse Glenn’s set is well suited for this zany romp. It is filled with doors and levels allowing Director Rusty Jordan to craft interesting scenes including one not unlike the carnival game of Follow the Ball when all the gals arrive at once!
Okay, this script may sound like a frivolous and even predictable plot, and it is – but it is also a well-choreographed dance that is fun to watch unfold. The troupe is cohesive and comical and, may we say, deserving of a larger audience than was on hand Thursday.
Boeing Boeing continues at Tom & Bea Nobles Performance Hall, 2462 S. Ballenger Hwy. Flint MI. with performances Sept. 11, 12, 18, 19 at 7:30 pm and Sept. 13 & 20 at 2:30 pm. For more information and tickets contact the box office at 810-441-9302 or online at www.flintcommunityplayers.com
Reviewed by Shelly L. Hoffman
Summer in these parts is usually a quiet time for theatre, but this summer we have seen an absolute boon in not only the number of shows being staged in Genesee County, but also in the quality of the productions on offer. Flint Youth Theatre’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream adds to the now burgeoning list of great theatre experiences to be had this season.
Arguably, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is Shakespeare’s most accessible and humorous play which makes it a fitting choice for a youth theatre’s foray into the canon. Director Jeremy Winchester’s staging, with its inspired adaptation, stellar performances, elaborate setting, imaginative and meticulous costumes, enchanting music, and brilliant technical aspects, amounts to one stellar production that is not to be missed.
Where to start?! We’ll take it from the top. Winchester has slightly adapted Shakespeare’s tale of a quartet of young lovers, as well as a band of rude mechanicals mounting a play for the Duke, Theseus, upon his marriage to Hippolyta, and of a fairyland ruled over by a feuding couple. Customarily, it begins with young Hermia being brought by her father to the Duke in order to force her to wed Demetrius whom she does not love. Defying her father, she pledges her love to Lysander and, as such, is sentenced to die or become a nun if she doesn’t change her mind. Hermia and Lysander flee into the forest where they are joined by Demetrius who is pursued by the spurned Helena. Meanwhile, a group of workers from the town are casting a play they hope to perform for the Duke. In Winchester’s production, he has switched the order of the presentation. Instead of beginning with the somber pleas of love and the sentencing of Hermia, we first meet the mechanicals. This is a clever change, as the audience is immediately drawn in by the comedy and it clearly pronounces “This is going to be very funny.” We like to think if Shakespeare were given a re-write for today’s audience, he, too, would choose to present it in this order. Winchester has also altered the impetus for the feud between the fairy king and queen, as well as eliminating a character or two, and cutting some lines. Most of this is for the better, but we do lament some of the missing pieces.
This show is filled with top-notch performances. And, what’s so stunning about that is the exceedingly capable work, performing Shakespeare, no less, of the student-actors. Winchester is to be commended for not only casting young people in these demanding roles but for guiding them in their command of the text. Leading this group is Layla Meillier as Hermia. She exhibits bewitching skill in the gamut of emotions she displays and so ably controls. Her fear as she faces Theseus is palpable. George Lieber (Lysander), David A. Guster (Demetrius), and Jennifer Lynn (Helena) are equally up to the task of conveying the Bard’s words in such a way that we never once doubt they understand every line they deliver.
It’s almost a given the mechanicals will be good for some side-splitting laughs and, indeed, they are. This band of tradesmen vying to present their “tragical tale”, Pyramus and Thisbe, at the Duke’s wedding, is directed by Mistress Quince (Brittany Reed). Reed is a calming presence as she deadpans her way through correcting pronunciation and keeping egos in check. Her compatriots include Robin Starveling (LaTroy Childress), Francis Flute (Matt Coggins), Nick Bottom (Mark Gmazel), Snug (Chazz Irwin), and Tom Snout (Marwan Prince). They each bring a unique charm to the stage as both their characters and their character’s characters. Coggins’ falsetto “Thisbe” is particularly hilarious and Gmazel delights as the weaver, as the ass he is turned into, and as “Pyramus.” He takes many risks in his portrayal and they pay off handsomely.
In the forest, where the fairies roam, more students are used to dance and sing their way around, with great effect, as they serve the fairy queen, Titania (Deirdre S. Baker, who is double-cast as Hippolyta). The highlight here, and perhaps of the whole play, is the camaraderie between the king, Oberon (Anthony Guest, also cast as Theseus) and his servant Puck (Dan Gerics, also cast as Hermia’s father, Egeus). They are absolutely comedic in their Dumb and Dumber interpretation. Guest is equal parts resplendent and amusing, and Gerics brings a lighthearted lovability to Puck. They play off one another fantastically.
Midsummer’s staging is a visual feast that requires two venues to pull off. That’s right, the audience moves from one space to another. A simple raised staging area in the center of one of the studios, which creates a “theatre-in-the-square”, serves the opening two scenes. Then, the audience is beckoned by Winchester to follow into the Elgood Theatre where they are greeted by Gene Oliver’s breathtaking scenic design of the fairies’ forest. Seats have been removed to create more playing area, colorful ribbons hang from above, and a downed tree trunk serves as a footbridge. Doug Mueller’s lighting adds to the beauty and enchantment.
Adam M. Dill’s costume design is luscious and, perhaps, one of the most accomplished we have ever seen. The Athenian garb is splendid and rich, the mechanicals are comically anachronistic, and the fairies are ethereal. The most magnificent costumes are those of Oberon and Puck. Oberon is a stag, with tree-branch horns and a leaf-covered cloak (that Guest uses well) and Puck is a satyr, complete with cloven hooves (and Gerics moves beautifully in this get-up).
And the music! Dan Gerics has composed and designed music for this production and it is glorious. Whether it is the fairies playing percussive instruments or simple, yet effective, recorded ambient noises to bring out the sounds of a forest, the sound always perfectly suits the action.
This is also a technical marvel. We have often heard people say that it’s a good thing when the technical aspects of a show aren’t mentioned in a review; it means they did nothing to draw negative attention! However, we appreciate the amount of work that goes into something of this magnitude and congratulate Nicole Broughton on expertly stage managing this production. It was flawless.
Midsummer almost always pleases, but Flint Youth Theatre’s tendering is a substantial piece that blends every element just wonderfully.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream continues at the Elgood Theatre, in rotation with The Cat in the Hat, as part of FYT’s “SummerStage” series, Saturday, August 15, Thursday, August 20, Friday, August 21, and Sunday, August 23 at 2:00 pm and on Saturday, August 22 at 7:00 pm. Tickets range in price from $12 – $16 in advance and $14 – $18 day-of-show, and can be purchased in-person or by visiting http://tickets.thewhiting.com/single/PSDetail.aspx?psn=6432.