Weathervane play contest under way
Finalists presented at 8x10 TheatreFest
|Shown during last year’s 8x10 TheatreFest is a scene from “Worth Waiting for,” by Erin Bunting and directed by Jo McGarvey. It won second place and Audience Favorite. Shown is Jo McGarvey and Conor McGarvey.|
|hoto courtesy of Eileen Moushey|
Eileen Moushey, of Kent, is coordinating the contest and event, which will culminate with a weekend of performances of the contest’s eight finalists this summer.
“This is kind of my baby,” said Moushey, who is a playwright and director. “Through the Dramatists resources book I kept seeing these 10-minute play contests, and I was really intrigued.”
Moushey brought the idea to Weathervane Executive Director John Hedges, and he gave her the go-ahead to create a contest and festival there.
After researching events elsewhere, Moushey created the 8x10 TheatreFest and was thrilled when 125 entries from around the country came in for the inaugural year.
“This year, we’re at a pace to exceed that,” she said.
Playwrights are asked to submit their 10-minute (or less) play by May 16. And this year, like last year, they are asked to include in their play a specific prop — a vintage-looking microphone. Attendees at last year’s TheatreFest had a variety of potential props to vote on, and the microphone won, Moushey said.
Writers can do whatever they want with the prop, she added.
“It can be an alien space weapon or just a microphone,” she said.
Once the plays come in, a committee of eight people goes through them and selects those they think are the best. The top-ranked entries are then read aloud with the judges, and from there the eight best are selected for the festival, Moushey said.
“With some of them, you really can’t tell [how good they are] until you’ve read them aloud,” she said. “There was one that had not made the top 10, but after we read it, we just loved it and it ended up becoming a finalist.”
At the 8x10 TheatreFest, to be held July 13-15 at Weathervane, all eight plays will be presented and cash awards will be given based on the decision of judges in attendance. First place earns $350, second place gets $250, the Audience Favorite is $150 and the runners up will receive $50 each.
“I had no idea if anyone would come to see this, but we had a great turnout and the audience reaction was so positive,” Moushey said of last summer’s festival. “This is something a little different and expands what it is the playhouse does.”
Entries last year came in from all over the country, including many from California and New York, but a local writer came away with the top prize. The first-place winner was Pat Robertell-Hudson, a Silver Lake resident, for “Trips With Grandma.” Another finalist was an 18-year-old girl from Tennessee, who came with her family to the festival to see her work performed, Moushey said.
She added that another finalist’s entry made it into an anthology of the best short plays, with it being noted that the first public performance was at Weathervane.
Weathervane will hold auditions in June for roles in the short plays, Moushey said.
“We’re trying to get as many people involved as possible,” she said. “It’s a good chance for people that have never been in a show before.”
She recommends anyone interested in entering the contest read over the guidelines carefully and get their entry in as soon as possible before the deadline. Those who enter must be 18 or older and a U.S. citizen. A $10 administrative fee per playwright also must be submitted.
For more information, go to www.weathervaneplayhouse.com or call 330-836-2626.
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