As the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre presents our 8th Annual Festival on Saturday, March 18, I reflect on why this event is important. Our playwrights - Howard Kingkade, David Rousculp and Rebecca Cameron - have crafted hysterical, captivating, intriguing and sensitive moments reflecting on the universal human condition. They have entrusted us, the Civic Theatre staff and volunteer actors, with a part of themselves in hopes of breathing life into their work. We respect the working relationship with all our playwrights, and it is our hope to showcase their art with dignity and utmost attention to detail. All three of the playwrights, directors and actors have been wonderful partners on this journey.
If you are able to join us for the festival, you'll have the opportunity to hear three new plays, each followed by discussions led by Janet Allen, executive artistic director of Indiana Repertory Theatre. Allen will also lead the festival workshop, discussing topics pertinent to being a playwright today. The festival reception, held prior to the 8 p.m. performance of One Foot in the Gravy, provides the opportunity for sharing of ideas among festival actors, directors, playwrights and our audience.
I'd like to share a bit about the winning plays:
One Foot in the Gravy by Howard Kingkade (first place): Fergy, a cultured but jaded middle-aged woman, talks her lover, Ned, into disguising himself as a female nurse in order to care for her wealthy skinflint husband, Frank, who is reportedly on death's doorstep. Tired of waiting for Frank to die, Ned steps into action, which sets off a series of madcap events.
My Dead Clown by David Rousculp (second place): The most admired funeral director in town, Bill is at the top of his game. This perfect world comes to a screeching halt when Bill's wife tragically dies. Bill loses his faith and his will to live. With no hope in sight and struggling to keep his job, a bizarre turn of events happen that brings a dead professional clown to life. Ironically it's this crazy clown that has to save the day and Bill.
The Unpredictability of Fire by Rebecca Cameron (third place): Allie Chapman, a firefighter/paramedic, is seeing to wounded Police Officer Jake Brecker. A spark between the couple grows and flares up as a conflict of interest when Officer Brecker applies for a position at the Fire Academy. A deadly fire leads to an investigation that consumes all involved.
It is an honor to have the opportunity to delve deep within our playwrights' words, creative plots, subtext and imagination. It is an honor not taken lightly due to the all the time, energy and love these playwrights have poured into their scripts - their heart and soul, their "baby." It is not easy to hear others analyze your work, read and interpret what you imagined, what you see and how you see your own script in your head. This is one of the most painstaking, yet rewarding, parts of developing a script for performance; it's the refining of the sculpture, the smoothing out the rough edges.