Great Barrington, Mass. – In January 2018, Berkshire Playwrights Lab (BPL) presents the second annual Radius Playwrights Festival. Radius Playwrights Festival features new short plays created by local writers—anyone within a 50-mile radius of Great Barrington. BPL will present fully staged readings of the six selected plays in the performance space at Saint James Place located in downtown Great Barrington on Friday, January 26 at 7:00 p.m. and on Saturday January 27 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Tickets go on sale January 2 and are $15 each; they may be purchased at berkshireplaywrightslab.org or at the door. Discounted tickets are available for groups of six or more.
Radius Playwrights Festival invites writers living within 50 miles of Saint James Place in Great Barrington to submit their short play. To keep it open and accessible, this is a blind submission process, and there is no fee; a panel of experts reads all submissions and chooses the plays to be presented and performed by local directors and actors.
The following is a list of the finalists, with playwrights and directors identified, and a brief synopsis of each play:
Pandora Shakes Things Up – by Maizy Scarpa (Canaan, NY)
Directed by Tod Randolph
Performed in verse, this modern myth envisions Pandora as a curious high-school student who rebels against the norms of love and behavior. Maizy’s play Cirque Du Dismay was part of last year’s Radius New Play Festival.
The Audition – by Steve Otfinoski (Sandifield, MA)
Directed by James Warwick
An actor’s unique talent leaves a director wondering if he really understands what it means to be an actor and what their performance can contribute to a show. Steve’s play It’s a Tragedy was presented at last year’s Radius New Play Festival.
The Golden Years – by Joe Starzyk (Brunswick, NY)
Directed by Mike Brady
Mabel and Norman have been together so long that they know everything there is to know about each other. Or do they?
The Kiss – by Anne Undeland (East Chatham, NY)
Directed by Kim Stauffer
A viewing of Rodin’s sculpture The Kiss causes a woman to question the meaning of love, her marriage, and to ask herself “what if?” The Kiss is by Anne Undeland, a member of BPL’s Berkshire Voices writers group.
The Two Bobs – by Barry J. Kaplan (Woodstock, NY)
Directed by Mike Dowling
Bill and Jack are friends who ride the train together. On the way home one evening, they have an enigmatic conversation in which all, and nothing, is revealed.
What’s Little Ax Between Friends – by Joe Starzyk (Brunswick, NY)
Directed by Allyn Burrows
An executioner and his next victim strike up a conversation just moments before the ax falls. Just because your job is to execute someone, doesn’t mean you can’t be friends.
According to BPL Co-Artistic Director Jim Frangione, “with such a wealth of extremely talented local artists, some who make up the ranks of the formidable homegrown cache of local writers, actors, directors and designers, this festival has something for all of us to celebrate.”
Frangione continues, “we look for plays from playwrights of all ages and political stripe and with so many area colleges within the ‘50 mile radius,’ we hope it will bring an exciting diversity of experienced, novice and emerging playwrights to our doorstep for this evening of short plays. The plays are selected via a blind submission process, guaranteeing a level playing field for all, regardless of the level of experience or notoriety. Here’s what this means to our playwrights: the ONLY thing that matters is the quality of your work!”
About Berkshire Playwrights Lab
Berkshire Playwrights Lab (BPL) is a 501(c)(3) theater company headquartered in Great Barrington in western Massachusetts. Founded in 2007, BPL is led by theater professionals Joe Cacaci, Jim Frangione and Matthew Penn. Each founding Artistic Director has worked in theater for at least thirty years as directors, playwrights, actors and producers. They came together out of a recognized need for more theater companies that give writers support and guidance as they develop new work, and for affordable opportunities for audiences to engage with theater. BPL is the only theater company in Berkshire County that focuses exclusively on new play development. It provides emerging and established playwrights with a supportive environment to develop their work while offering local audiences high-quality theater experiences at little or no cost.
The Summer Staged Reading Series, BPL’s signature program, offers staged readings of new plays that are developed in an intense rehearsal process that provides playwrights an opportunity to work closely with a director and professional actors to refine their script through rehearsal, performance and the post-reading audience talkback session. Over the years, BPL has developed a strong following and reputation for excellence. Many of the readings have subsequently been produced at local and regional theaters. In 2017, BPL produced the Fully Staged Production and premiere of Some Old Black Man by James A. Tyler, a play featured in our 2015 series that is now being produced in New York City. The Radius Playwrights Festival, launched in January 2017, features fully staged readings of new, short plays selected through a blind submission process and written by playwrights of all ages and experience levels who have a residence within a 50-mile radius of Great Barrington; the festival utilizes local actors and directors. Writer’s Group/Berkshire Voices was created by and for local residents to provide key support and resources for writers at every stage of their careers; ten to twelve playwrights meet once a week for eight weeks (in three sessions per year) to share new work and offer constructive criticism in a supportive community environment. At the end of each session, Berkshire Voices, a free performance of work created during the session, is shared with the public. For more information, please visit berkshireplaywrightslab.org or call 413.528.2544.