Best Scene STAGE PLAY Reading of VENGEANCE OF THE SHREW, by Bree Katz

Genre: History, Comedy

Tired of sixteenth-century gender relations, Kate from The Taming of the Shrew recruits Lady Macbeth, the Wife of Bath, Frankenstein’s Monster, and other canonical characters to drive literature into the 21st century.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Sean Ballantyne
Kate: Carina Cojeen
Petruchio: Peter Nelson
Shylock: Kris Hagen
Dr. Frankenstein: Mike Ruderman
Wife of Bath: Val Cole

Get to know the writer:

What is your play about?

The Vengeance of the Shrew is about classic literary characters – including The Taming of the Shrew’s Kate, The Merchant of Venice’s Shylock, Lady Macbeth, the Wife of Bath, and Frankenstein’s Monster – who are tired of their canonical lot and decide to shake up the established order.

What genres does your play fall under?

Vengeance is a farcical comedy.

Why should this play be made into a show?

In addition to being thigh-slappingly hilarious (in my admittedly biased opinion!), my play tackles the question of how to fit beloved literary figures and the settings they inhabit and make them relevant to the 21st century – and it’s told through their perspective.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Modern Shakespeare!

What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

I watched the original Star Wars trilogy so many times, my mother had to re-record them due to fears of me wearing out the VHS tapes they were on.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I started working on this play ten years ago.

How many stories have you written?

I have lost track of how many stories I’ve typed out – I’ve written first drafts of several novels, screenplays, and television pilots, and I’ve polished the ones I kept coming back to re-read (after all, if I want to read it again, someone else will want to read it the first time!).

What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

Bruce Springsteen’s “Backstreets.” Born to Run was the first album I remember listening to in full as a child, and that song as well as “Jungleland” amaze me with their composition and the raw power of their lyrics every time.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

I was in school for most of the time I was writing it, and I have a very limited ability to multitask. I completed it in fits and starts.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I am an avid skier in the winter and a climber of 14,000-foot mountains in the summer. I have summitted 22 fourteeners: 21 in Colorado plus California’s Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the U.S. south of Alaska.

What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

I’d gotten a notification that my play’s logline had been selected to receive special attention for the submission. The feedback I received was thoughtful and informative.

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Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

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Best Scene STAGE PLAY Reading of LOOKING FOR REDFEATHER, by Linda Collison

Genre: Coming of Stage, Drama

Three troubled runaways meet up by chance on the road — but it ain’t Jack Kerouac’s road trip!

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Val Cole
Ramie: Nick Wicht
Chas: Mike Ruderman

Get to know the writer:

What is your play about? 

Looking for Redfeather is about coming of age on the road in America in the 21st century.  A boy on a father quest meets up by chance with two other runaway teens on the road to Denver. He has two weeks to find his father, an Apache named Redfeather.

What genres does your play fall under?

Drama/coming-of-age/humor/musical

Why should this play be made into a show? 

 

Looking for Redfeather is about growing up in America in the 21st century. It encompasses contemporary issues such as functionally dysfunctional families, friendship, American myths and legends, substance use and abuse, learning disabilities, the fictionalized past and present of Native Americans – specifically Apaches.

How would you describe this script in two words?  

Vibrant, adaptable

What movie have you seen the most times in your life? 

 

Tombstone (Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer)

How long have you been working on this screenplay?  

About three years. Adapted from the novel, written in 2007, and published in 2013.

How many stories have you written? 

Impossible to say! I’ve been writing stories all my life.  I have seven published novels and numerous published stories, articles and essays.  I have only written a few plays, though I love theater.

What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?) 

The one I’m singing along with at the moment. Seriously, it’s impossible to name one.  Music is the most powerful art form there is, and a universal language. OK, I’ll pick one that leaps to mind: As a writer, I admire Mark Knopfler’s Sailing to Philadelphia, as much for the lyrics as for his fine guitar playing.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay? 

I found it challenging to adapt my own novel to the stage.  The dialogue is strong and the heart of the story is there but I knew the plot was episodic, rambling, and in need of condensing. But I felt the story is malleable enough to be interpreted and re-interpreted by directors and young actors, following characters’ lead. This story is character driven, yet open to interpretation.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about? 

Music, travel, art, adventure, road trips, environmental theater, reading, learning… Writing is how I connect with myself and with others; it’s how I make sense of life.

What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

I have always been positively challenged by writing contests; I’ve entered many and won a few. I’ve learned from them all.  Contests give me a deadline – and a purpose – to finish the project in a timely manner. A contest compels me to do my best work, and quickly. It keeps me from over-editing because a story is never perfect, it’s never finished to my satisfaction. Each time I rewrite it, it’s a slightly different story. It has grown and changed, a living thing.

That being said, my work requires many rounds of editing! I wanted professional feedback on this script to discover its strengths and weaknesses, its possibilities for production. I was very pleased with the detailed initial feedback I received and am incorporating some of the suggestions on the next iteration.  Thank you for the critique and the suggestions – and for the impetus to finish the script and send it in!  

 

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Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

STAGE PLAY CONTEST – Deadline September 5th

I think I watched the whole video performance of my play with a smile on my face. I’ll have to watch it again to be more objective. DEAR ACTORS – thank you! I’m so thrilled with your performances, you don’t know how happy you have made me.
– Gina Surles, Playwright

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Stephen M. Hunt – August 2016 Stage Play Winning Writer

TWO MERCHANTS OF VENICE Stage Play
Written by Stephen M. Hunt
Read 10 Questions with the writers

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Becky Shrimpton
SHYLOCK – Lorne_Hiro
PORTIA – Susan Wilson
ANTONIO – Stephen Flett
BASSANIO – David Strauss
GRATIANO – Rais Muoi
LORENZO/LANCELOT – Adam McNamara
NERISSA/SALLY – Laura Darby
JESSICA/SOPHIE – Victoria Urquhart

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: History, Drama

A radical adaptation of The Merchant of Venice that in the main rearranges Shakespeare’s text to turn the main themes on their head and to tell a very different story for 21st century audiences.

 

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Best Scene from DEATH SURPRISES THE EXECUTIONER Stage Play by E. Thomalen

Watch the August 2016 Winning Stage Play Reading. 

DEATH SURPRISES THE EXECUTIONER Stage Play by E. Thomalen

SYNOPSIS:

Genre: History, Drama, War

The play opens and closes with scenes from the gulag where two prisoners discuss the relationship of leaders to followers. The central story of the play is about the rise and unexpected fall of Lavrenti P. Beria, the Soviet Minister of the Interior and State Security as well as master of the gulag system.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Holly Sarchfield
VASILY – Kris Hagen
ALEXI – Geoff Mays

Get to know the winning writer: 

1. What is your stage play about?

Death Surprises the Executioner takes place in the former Soviet Union during the purges of the 1930’s to the death of Stalin in 1953. It is a play that examines the relationship of leaders to the people in revolutionary times such as we now see in the Middle East and North Africa. It opens with an allegorical story told to a fellow inmate by a petty former aristocrat and teacher, now in a gulag, that frames the events that follow.

2. Why should this play be produced?

Revolutionary societies are always with us and we have a poor understanding of them. Such societies end up under the leadership of the Robespierres and Stalins and the people who carry out their orders.

3. How would you describe this play in two words?

Terrifyingly enlightening

4. What TV show do you keep watching over and over again?

Doctor Zhivago, On the Beach

5. How long have you been working on this play?

10 years, but also all my life

6. How many stories have you written?

15-20

7. What motivated you to write this play?

Though the topic has long been on my mind and was a major theme of the 20th century, it became focused upon again as we watched the revolutions unfold in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. As Hegel has said what we learn about history is that nobody learns anything from history.

8. What obstacles did you face to finish this play?

My struggles with the play was to pull together a lot of material and to be aa true to that material as I could be. The risk was to include too much and lose control of the narrative.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I love the theater because of the freedom it gives the audience to imagine and reflect. I also love poetry, ballet, classical music and art.

10. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Never give up, listen to yourself.

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Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

Stage Play Reading – TWO MERCHANTS OF VENICE by Stephen M Hunt

Watch the August 2016 Winning Stage Play Winner.

TWO MERCHANTS OF VENICE  by Stephen M  Hunt

 

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR – Becky Shrimpton
SHYLOCK – Lorne_Hiro
PORTIA – Susan Wilson
ANTONIO – Stephen Flett
BASSANIO – David Strauss
GRATIANO – Rais Muoi
LORENZO/LANCELOT – Adam McNamara
NERISSA/SALLY – Laura Darby
JESSICA/SOPHIE – Victoria Urquhart

Get to know the winning writer:

1. What is your stage play about?

Two Merchants is a radical adaptation of The Merchant of Venice

2. Why should this play be produced?

This adaptation is unique and groundbreaking because switching around the lines of the original delivers a story with real bite for 21st century audiences that deals with feminism, anti-Semitism and homophobia.

3. How would you describe this play in two words?

Promotes inclusiveness.

4. What TV show do you keep watching over and over again?

“Lie To Me” starring Tim Roth.

5. How long have you been working on this play?

I wrote the first version in 1998 and have striven ever since to improve it.

6. How many stories have you written?

6 plays, 5 feature screenplays and 10 short screenplays.

7. What motivated you to write this play?

I’ve seen many productions (films and stage plays) of The Merchant of Venice and found them all hugely dissatisfying because they’re always an Elizabethan mish-mash of not very funny comedy that clashes with crucially important social themes.

8. What obstacles did you face to finish this play?

The biggest and most enjoyable challenge was an extremely close study of The Merchant of Venice to select lines that I could take from one character and give to another to tell a seamless, familiar yet radically different story.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Family.

10. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

Not every piece I’ve submitted to WildSound has met with their ecstatic acclaim but their inspirational feedback has been really beneficial. Consequently, they’ve produced for me readings of (1) this Shakespeare adaptation, (2) a short WWII screenplay, (3) a short screenplay about Death falling in love and (4) a one-page comedy screenplay.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Enter competitions like WildSound that will put your work “out there”. After the WildSound reading of my fantasy about Death falling in love, that screenplay was selected for production and begins filming on location in Maine, later this year.

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Director/Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editor: John Johnson

Deadline TODAY: STAGE PLAY Festival. Get play performed by actors. FULL FEEDBACK

Deadline: STAGE PLAY Festival. Get play performed by actors. FULL FEEDBACK

Click here to submit:
http://www.wildsound.ca/play_contest.html

WINNERS get their stageplay read at the Writing Festival.

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Excellent, excellent feedback. Thanks so much.
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