LOS ANGELES -- Ten winning plays have been staged, over four nights, in the Blank Theatre Company's eighth annual Young Playwrights Festival, ending its run June 28. The last three occur today and tomorrow.
The Festival, which opened June 6, is a national competition which produces the work of eight to 12 teenage playwrights each year. Since its inception, the Festival has produced more than 70 plays by fledgling playwrights. Last year's winning play Boy, by 18-year-old Beth Bigler, was nominated for an L.A. Weekly Award for One-Act Playwriting. Bigler has another play in the festival this year -- the last in which she'll be able to compete.
Up tonight and tomorrow, June 27-28 are Fat Boy by Dance Aoki (dir. Charlie Stratton), Absolutely by Molly Lambert (dir. Gordon Hunt) and Volunteers by Erik Carabasi (dir. Anita Khanzadian).
This year's other winners includedd:
June 6-7: No Shoes Allowed on the Fifth Floor by Brianna Tyson (dir. Jessica Kubzansky) and Devil's Advocate by JoSelle Vanderhooft (dir. Mary-Pat Green & Pamela Grace). June 13-14: The One Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty-Fourth Time by Adam Chanzit (dir. Steve Muscarella), Sylvia, Mabel & Fred by Beth Bigler (dir. Nora Dunn) and Dining With Aphrodite by Liza Kaplan (dir. Austin Winsburg).
June 20-21: The Why by Victor Kaufold (dir. Daniel Henning) and The Next To Last Ride of Jeremy Strohmeyer by Travis Perkins (dir. Loni Peristere).
The rules for the competition are: playwrights must be 19 years of age or younger on April 1, 2000; the original plays and musicals can be of any length on any subject matter, but must be legible. Pages must be numbered and submitted unbound; submissions must have been postmarked by April 1, 2000, limit of three plays per person. All plays must include a cover sheet with the play's title, playwright's name, date of birth, school (if any), home address and home phone number.
Each nominated play is assigned a mentor who helps the writer hone his work for performance. Past mentors have included the aforementioned Nora Dunn (of "Saturday Night Live" fame), Terrence McNally, Jack Heifner, Constance M. Burge and Garry Marshall, among others. After rewrites, the playwrights are able to see their works performed by industry professionals in fully-staged workshop productions.
For more information, check out the company's website at www.theblank.com or contact Chritopher Steele, Festival producer, at (323) 662-7734.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent
and David Lefkowitz