The Florida Playwrights Festival will be held at the Florida Studio Theatre (FST) the first three weeks of August. The festival continues the Sarasota Festival of New Plays, which started in May.
This year's fest will feature two full-length plays, The Velveteen Undertow and You Can't Win 'Em All, and the winners of the Florida Shorts Contest.
The Velveteen Undertow (Aug. 5 & 21) by playwright Michael McKeever, is a modern day look at love, faith and business. Sam Templar, a businessman, and Max Love, a Christian recording artist, are trapped at a motel together. Max's mother and Sam's would-be love, Nonnie, acts as a mother figure, seductress, and referee. Chaos takes over though, when Auntie La, the founder of the Faith Now Cable Network, joins the group.
The cast includes Kim Crows (Auntie La), John Jacobsen (Sam Templar), Monica Kennedy (Nonnie Love), Steve Mountan (Jerome), and Adam Ratner (Max Love). Gail Garrison is the director. The technical staff includes John Jacobsen (line producer), Melissa Kiger (stage manager), and David Krugh (technical director).
McKeever's 37 Postcards was the centerpiece of the festival last year. Artistic director Richard Hopkins said in a statement that McKeever is, "a rare playwright who knows how to find humor in truth and truth in humor." McKeever's other plays include The Sound You Hear, Don't Tell the Tsar and his war drama The Garden of Hannah List, which he won the Carbonell Award for. You Can't Win 'Em All (Aug. 13) will be the second production at the festival. Written by Charles Aye, the killer comedy focuses on the murder of a famous and beloved doctor. Upon further investigation, a detective finds the doctor's reputation may be in question.
The cast for the show includes Philip Alexander (Carl), Sherri Cox (Marcy/Maria), Jack Eddleman (Herb/Chief), Gene Jones (Detective), Dan Higgs (Harold/Cop), Patti O'Burg (Dorothy/Alice), and Liz Palmer (Caroline/Tech). Brian Richmond directs. The creative team includes Paul Sticklin (line producer), Jeffrey E. Salzbuerg (lighting design), Marcella Beckwith (costumes), Jennifer L. Boris (stage manager), and David Krugh (technical director).
Aye, a former computer programmer who retired in 1992, swore he would never look at another computer in his life. But when he decided to return to writing, he went back on his promise and bought a PC. You Can't Win marks Aye's full-length debut at FST.
Finishing off the FST fest is Florida Shorts 2000: Living on the Line (Aug. 20). The plays in the production are the winners of the Florida Shorts Contest, in which dramatists submitted their five-pages-or-less plays. This year's 17 winning entries will comprise the two-hour show. With the popularity of reality-based TV, the theme of the presentation is very topical: the duality of personal vs. public life.
The Velveteen Undertow will perform on Aug. 5 and Aug. 21, You Can't Win 'Em All will play on Aug. 13, and Florida Shorts 2000: Living on the Line will run on Aug. 20. Tickets can be ordered by calling the box office at (941) 366-9000. More information can be found at the Florida Studio Theatre website, at www.fst2000.org.
-- by Ernio Hernandez
and Daniel Fischer