The two winning plays in the Northeast IN Playwright Festival continue their run at the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre through June 7. The one-act plays, "Is This Seat Taken?" and "Touch & Go," were written by Fort Wayne residents Bob Alhersmeyer and myself, respectively, and are presented together, directed by Civic Theatre Executive/Artistic Director Phillip Colglazier.
Bob is no stranger to the Civic stage, having appeared in numerous shows and winning Anthony Awards for his performances. His play, "Is This Seat Taken?" introduces socially-awkward Thomas, who is diving into the dating pool for the first time in 20 years. He meets the strikingly beautiful Victoria, and we see how the two become acquainted and learn that there is much more to a situation than meets the eye.
I, however, have never graced the Civic stage, but have written for ... well, forever, it seems. My play, "Touch & Go" centers on India Markham, a young woman whose battle with her inner demon becomes quite a real endeavor as she lies in the balance between life and death. Though her family is present, we see how disconnected they are. Ultimately, everyone in the Markham family must make a conscious choice to reconnect in order to save their family - but can they?
After being named a finalist for the past two years, but never placing in the Playwright Festival competition, I decided to give it a third try - and, as they say, the third time's a charm. Only the first place plays are actually produced, while second and third place plays receive stage readings. As a relative newcomer to writing for the stage, the entire production process was an exciting experience for me.
Auditions were held in late March, and suddenly the play had actors in place. Productions meetings were scheduled around this time, as well, allowing Phillip and the stage managers to plan the more technical aspects of the productions. I attended my first rehearsal in early May, and the only way I could adequately describe it was somewhat surreal. It was amazing to hear all the words, dialogue I'd thought up in my head were now being spoken back to me. Out loud. By real people. Days passed quickly. I attended the final rehearsal, the night before the premier performance, and left awestruck after seeing the actors working on stage, with props and lighting. Everything had come together, and now the words and images that I had only previously known in my mind, were literally right there in front of me, in real life. Amazing.
The plays were performed in conjunction with the 6th Annual NE Indiana Playwright Festival, yet continue for another weekend run June 5-7. If you're looking for a great evening of entertainment, you should go. And I don't say this as one of the playwrights, but as a patron who was blown away by the caliber of talent packed into these two plays. All the actors are top-notch. They bring so much to the stage, evoking laughter and tears from the audience, even a strong sense of identification with the characters.
"Is This Seat Taken?" and "Touch & Go" performed at the Parkview Physician's Group Artslab, 300 E. Main Street - downtown Fort Wayne
Admission: $20, Adults; $18 Seniors; $15 age 23 and under
Friday, June 5, 8pm
Saturday, June 6, 8pm
Sunday, June 7, 2pm
Tickets may be purchased in person at the Arts United Center box office, by phone (260) 424-5220 or online at fwcivic.org