2010 Pittsburgh New Works Festival



Week 1 – September 9 to September 12

The Joy of Theft by James C. McKelly
Heritage Players
The Joy of Theft is a comedy with a conscience chronicling an episode in the life and work of one James Justus. Justus writes a syndicated advice column on ethics — a column that explores the comic complexities of doing the right thing in contemporary American life. Justus receives a letter from “Original Sinthia,” the nom-de-plume of Emily — a widow, nursing-home resident, and serial shoplifter troubled by the captivating satisfaction she derives from the act of stealing. The primary input for Justus’s deliberations regarding Emily’s problem comes from his real-world conversations with his inner circle of friends. But the play also dramatizes a parallel world: Justus’s inner life. Through the tenacious agency of Melody, an imaginary alter-ego who embodies his adventurous moral vision, Justus is able to project himself into Emily’s story. Melody becomes Elizabeth, Emily’s closest friend and confidante; in this way — by visionary proxy — Justus is able to “witness” the two friends’ intimate heart-to-heart talk about Emily’s predicament. What he encounters in this ethical terra incognita compels him to come to terms with the meaning of crime and punishment in lives that defy facile moral categorization — lives like Emily’s, lives like his own, lives like ours.

Call Back by Jim Hinkley
The Theatre Factory
An audition finds an actor and the playwright-director engaged in both professional and personal queries, challenges, generated largely by the aggressive actor seeking a leading role in a new play.

Shaving Lessons and Half-Windsor Knots by F. J. Hartland
CCAC South
As he dresses one morning, a man reflects on the important lessons he learned from his father.

Week 2 – September 16 to September 19

Fetish by Joseph Talarico
Red Masquers
A blind date set up on the internet between two people with foot fetishes leads to lies, revelations, sorrows, and an unlikely connection.

Bread by Randy Gross
McKeesport Little Theater
Ike Stiehl lives in an economically-depressed area of Pennsylvania with his teenage son. Ali Akmed lives by himself in war-ravaged Baghdad. When the two men begin to communicate via the internet, they discover they have more in common than just the tiny bakeries they both are struggling to manage.

Sex with a Mathematician by Pete Barry
Thoreau, NM – A Production Company
In Sex with a Mathematician, two mathematical savants engage in a battle of wits on a torturous and highly improbable blind date.

Week 3 – September 23 to September 26

Salty, Sour, Bitter, Sweet by Paula Martinac
Greensburg Civic Theatre
At her siblings’ insistence, Mimi has agreed to let her aging father move in with her. But she doesn’t realize what she’s getting herself into.

Fine by Butch Maxwell
Summer Company
A two character ten minute comedy depicting the unexpected encounter of two former lovers, in which a startling revelation leaves one of them shattered.

Rhythm of Revenge by Kathleen Conner Combass
Phase 3 Productions
Mary, Barbara, Grace and Abby have been reuniting every year to commemorate their participation in the spectacle lynching of a nomadic black man. This year carries more importance than the others because it marks the twentieth anniversary of the lynching. As the women begin their reunion, individuals seeking revenge interrupt their celebration.

Week 4 – September 30 to October 3

Take Two Aspirin and Call Me in the Morning by Geoffrey Craig
The Rage of the Stage Players
Lily, a playwright, is talking on the phone to the director about her new play. One of the actors calls and then her ex-husband. While switching from one caller to the other, Lily slips, falls and breaks her leg – or something. The remainder of the comedy involves her increasingly exasperating attempts to get an ambulance to take her to the hospital.

Fortune Teller by George J. Bryjak
Baldwin Players
A middle-age man brings his overbearing wife to a fortune teller. ALICE lambasts both husband BEN and fortune teller MADAM VADOMA whom she considers nothing more than a carnival con artist. BEN attempts to curtail his wife’s hostility stating that MADAM VADOMA can tell them if son Frankie – who is serving in a war zone – will return safely. ALICE thinks her husband is a gullible fool and prepares to leave until MADAM VADOMA reveals details of ALICE’S relation with her now deceased sister.

Drop It by Michael Rubino
Cup-a-Jo Productions
“Drop It” is the desperate, pathetic, last-resort plan of an introverted history buff (Kurt) to meet a girl after a 32-month dry spell. The plan is simple: hold up in a coffee shop until a woman drops something, then ride a wave of chivalry to her rescue. Kurt can’t wait on physics forever; he needs the intervention of Rob, his friend and self-proclaimed “shirpa of love,” to guide him up the Mount Everest of Courtship.

Staged Readings

August 22

Mediocre Beings by P. W. Fitz-Randolph
Throughline Theatre Company
A man looks back on his uneventful life and the influences that have brought him to this point in his life.

Wake by Leigh Anne Vrabel
Veronica’s Veil
Wake illuminates one gathering of family and fictive kin during a time of deep sorrow, and reveals the gamut of reactions that cultural changes and the passage of time inspire. Will Norma embrace the world as it is becoming? Or will she cling bitterly to a past that can never return?

Reservations Cancelled by John Zygmunt
Kuntu Repertory Theatre
What’s a girl to do when the handsome man who comes up to your table at the restaurant asks what you want…and he’s not the waiter?

Gentlemen by Colleen Niemi
Pittsburgh New Works Festival
Best friends Jake and Derek know they had a great time last night, if only they could remember it. Their morning-after discussion about clothes, women, physics, and the fake Yolanda is repeatedly interrupted by clothes, women, physics, and the real Yolanda in this very funny farce.

August 29

Sunset by Ruth Pearl
Comtra Theatre
A Naturalistic drama in one act

To Missouri by Bruce Post
Actors Civic Theater (ACT)
Ben sits in a rural courthouse with a Missouri State Trooper awaiting the arrival of the judge to accept payment of his fine for a speeding ticket. The courthouse is fifty miles south of the Interstate where Ben was ticketed. He must pay cash. He has the cash but doesn’t want to use it because he just moved out from his young wife, who asked him to leave, and if he uses the cash he will have to go back to the house to get more. Ben doesn’t want to face his wife again. He is already an emotional wreck. Carl, the trooper, is barely sympathetic. Wendy, the judge, is more so. But Carl thinks there may be more going on here than Ben will admit, and Carl is determined to find out the truth. Is Ben guilty of more than just going eighty-five in a sixty-five mph zone? One set, three characters: two male, one female.

Soft Warm Rain by James Sievert
Stage Right
Tom and Becky, married and from Southern California, are on vacation in Spain. Tom is taking advantage of the situation to look up an old flame, an American woman named Veronique now living in Spain. Tom and Becky agree to meet Veronique for lunch at an outdoor cafe in Valencia. Over lunch, when Tom and Veronique are alone for a moment, Tom reveals that he pines for the “unforgettable days” they spent together, while Veronique says that she has trouble remembering them. Veronique’s partner, a Frenchman named Quentin, joins Tom, Becky and Veronique later for lunch. The encounter does not go well.

This Meeting Will Now Come to Disorder by A. J. Caliendo
Old Schoolhouse Players
A microcosm of petty bureaucracy is explored by looking in on a caucus meeting of the councilpersons in a small Western Pennsylvania community.

Special Awards

Outstanding Production
Shaving Lessons and Half-Windsor Knots
CCAC South

Outstanding Director
Lora Oxenreiter
Shaving Lessons and Half-Windsor Knots
CCAC South

Outstanding Playwright
F. J. Hartland
Shaving Lessons and Half-Windsor Knots
CCAC South

Outstanding Lead Actor
Jim Scriven
Shaving Lessons and Half-Windsor Knots
CCAC South

Outstanding Lead Actress
Maggie Mayer
Rhythm of Revenge
Phase 3 Productions

Outstanding Supporting Actor
Dan Krack
Shaving Lessons and Half-Windsor Knots
CCAC South

Outstanding Supporting Actress
Delilah Brewer-Picart
Rhythm of Revenge
Phase 3 Productions

Lifetime Achievement Award
George Jaber

Front Row Center Award
Bill and Ruth Ann Molloy