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Mark DonahueMark Donahue

Mark Donahue is a member of the Chicago Dramatists Playwrights Network. His play Say Prix Fixe received a staged reading under the direction of Ann Filmer at Chicago Dramatists in June 2008 as part of the Saturday Series and was the runner-up in the 2008 Nancy Weil New Play Search. His play Night Work received a staged reading at CD in July 2007 and was a finalist in the 2007 Weil Play Search. Mark has written music reviews and articles for The Associated Press, the Boston Phoenix, Skyscraper Magazine and Hit It or Quit It Magazine. He’s also had short fiction published by Basta! Magazine in Buffalo, N.Y. A graduate of Xavier University and Syracuse University, Mark lives in Chicago with his wife, the poet Erika Eckart, and works as an editor for Penton Media.

SAY PRIX FIXE

Pearce, a newspaper restaurant critic, has been saddled with Kanter as part of a mentoring program. Used to working alone, Pearce despises the pairing, but Kanter pushes to engage him. She feels her beat has become suffocating. Pearce admits he feels the same way and wants to get out. But as pressure builds that the restaurant industry has discovered his identity, Pearce hides. Kanter confronts him, revealing that she knows his “secret”: He can’t taste. Pearce confesses that he recently went to a restaurant, had a dish and lost his taste. He feels if he returns and orders the same thing, he can get it back and leave the paper for good. Pearce goes back, eats the dish and regains his taste but is fired after his editor discovers he’s been reusing old reviews instead of writing new ones. Weeks later, Kanter finds Pearce at a restaurant working as a waiter — now another one of the industry’s faceless servants.

 

Ivan FullerIvan Fuller

Ivan Fuller is in his 20th year as an associate professor of theatre at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He is the founder and artistic director of the Bare Bodkins Theatre Company, producing summer Shakespeare in Sioux Falls. For the past six summers he has spent time in Russia, leading students on study abroad trips or simply being inspired for his various writing projects. In addition to his work as a director and theatre educator, Ivan is a playwright and is currently in the process of writing a new play about Soviet poet, Olga Berggolts. He has also written and had productions of a long one-act, Sensitive Scar Tissue. Ivan is married and has five children.

 

EATING INTO THE FABRIC

This two-act script is inspired by the true story of Leningrad under siege by the Nazis during World War II. For 900 days the city of Leningrad was virtually cut off from the rest of the world. During one of the harshest winters on record, citizens in Leningrad struggled to survive without heat, running water, electricity and fresh food. Daily bombs dropped on the city, adding to the terror. Despite these horrific conditions, theatre continued, as did many other forms of artistic expression and entertainment. This play focuses on a theatre company struggling to continue rehearsals and performances under the impossible conditions of the siege. It tells the story of Tatiana Astrova (the company’s ingénue), her father (a botanist), her fiancé (serving in the army at the front lines) and the nine other members of the theatre company.

 

Halley Wegryn GrossHalley Wegryn Gross

Halley Wegryn Gross has been involved in theater since the age of sixteen, when she performed in Charles Mee’s, True Love off-Broadway. Since then she has had a successful acting career, having performed in such pieces off-Broadway as Hurlyburly, by David Rabe, starring Ethan Hawke, and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, by Jay Presson Allen, starring Cynthia Nixon. She has had many film and TV appearances, including Julie Taymor’s Across the Universe, Gossip Girl, and Law & Order. She is presently completing her MFA in Dramatic Writing at NYU, and has recently graduated from NYU’s Gallatin School magna cum laude with a degree in comedy writing.

INHERITED

Hubie, 16, must come face to face with the father who rejected her in an effort to help save the life of a half sister she’s never met. Her sister, Dakota, is dying from leukemia and Hubie is the only match. It soon becomes clear that Hubie’s real intent for going through with such a painful procedure is to hopefully find that her dad, Tom, does love her and regrets his abandoning her. He, however, does not. Cannot. Hubie, with the support of her adoptive grandmother, Berta, must negotiate her feelings of rejection and replacement. After Hubie suspects her father cannot love her she threatens to walk away from the procedure. Her father, Tom, and his wife concoct a ruse of love in order to woo Hubie into going through with the only treatment that might save their “actual” daughter. But everything comes crashing down as Hubie discovers the truth.

 

Rich MitchRick Mitchell

Rick Mitchell has written over fifteen full-length plays. In 2008, Through the Roof was presented as a staged reading at Actors Theatre of Louisville, as part of Juneteenth Legacy Theatre's Juneteenth Jamboree. The play was also broadcast throughout Southern California by Pacifica Radio's KPFK-FM (2007). Mitchell's newest drama, Becoming Herman Melville, will be seen in January, 2009 at Metropolitan Playhouse, New York City. His Brecht in L.A., the winner of the 2002 Southwest Theatre Association National New Play Contest, has been published by Intellect Books (UK), as well as in a literary journal, Xcp: Cross Cultural Poetics. Staged readings of the play have been seen at the Orlando Shakespeare Festival's PlayFest '06 and at Literaforum im Brecht-Haus, Berlin, Germany. Other recent plays include Ventriloquist Sex ("Pick of the Week," LA Weekly), and Personality Crisis (2007). Mitchell teaches playwriting at California State University, Northridge, where he is Professor of English.

BRECHT IN L.A.

Set in the U.S. during 1941-1947, features renowned German playwright Bertolt Brecht and the great actor Charles Laughton, who takes one step out of the closet only to find himself compromised by a government operative. In the play, which features a significant amount of comedy, Brecht struggles, with little success, to make it in Hollywood and on Broadway as Hitler marches through Europe, bombs rain on Japan, and the FBI collects information on alleged "subversives." While juggling mistresses, including collaborator Ruth Berlau, Brecht works closely with Laughton on adapting Galileo. The play opens in L.A. and is about to premiere on Broadway, but not before Brecht is called to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee. BRECHT IN L.A. (intentionally) echoes many contemporary themes (there are, for example, striking parallels between HUAC and the Patriot Act) while both incorporating and subverting various "Brechtian" performance elements.

 

Jessica Jill TurnerJessica Jill Turner

Jessica Jill Turner’s plays have been produced in cramped venues throughout New York City. She was co-artistic director of Kiva Theatre Company for seven years. She’s currently on the Board of Directors of tAB (The Arts Bureau - a Brooklyn-based art collective). Playwriting Credits: The Healing Hands of Hatch Lemon (Lion Theater; NYC); Two Reasons to Kill Yourself If You Are/Are Not a Clown (Kiva Theatre Company; NYC – “Outstanding Play” NYC Innovative Award); Entrenched in the Oath (The UnConvention; Kiva Company; Best Ensemble); Wasn't Any Law Could Take Him Alive! (NY Fringe Festival; Theatre for a New City; and Expanded Arts; Outstanding New Voice Award). Her play DEVIANT enjoyed a sold-out run in the 2002 NY Fringe Festival (Kiva Theatre Company). Television credits: Cadillac Falls (Comedy pilot for Twentieth Century Fox) Education: BFA in Theater - NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts MFA in Playwriting - Columbia University

CHARLIE MOOSE MAKES HIS MOVE

Charlie Moose is a morbidly obese novelist who hasn’t moved in months. His best friend, twelve year old Simon, desperately wants him to. See, Simon is a very awkward boy; he gets picked on at school and has an unhealthy obsession with aliens. He secretly suspects that Charlie is an alien and that if he ever moves, Charlie will bring Simon back to his home planet. Simon would like that. He’d be away from the kids at school and his aspiring sociopath of a mother, Nancy. Charlie however, is not an alien, he is simply a man obsessed with a stripper he met long ago. This is a play about imagination and memory, and the dangers of living solely in the space where they converge.