Five finalists have been named in Pride Films and Plays' Great Gay Play Contest for 2013. These five plays will be performed as enhanced staged readings (with movement and design elements) by members of the Artistic Ensemble of Pride Films and Plays during Gay Play Weekend, May 16 to 19, 2013 at Center on Halsted's Hoover-Leppen Theatre, 3656 N. Halsted, Chicago. A full performance schedule for the weekend will be announced in January.
The finalists include Directions For Restoring The Apparently Dead by Martin Casella, The Red Train by B. V. Marshall, Dancing In The Mirror by Perry Ojeda, Forbidden Glass by Kirt Shineman, and Sand Man by G. Williams Zorn. PFP congratulates the finalists and all who entered the contest.
"The quality and variety of the works we read during this contest round was exciting," said PFP's Executive Director David Zak. "The variety of themes being explored and the styles being experimented with bring great hope for the future."
Synopses of the plays and bios of the playwrights:
Directions For Restoring The Apparently Dead by Martin Casella, New York, NY
Two men in their 40s, best friends since childhood, one gay, one straight, make an escape to the north of England after both have experienced life-changing tragedies. As past and present overlap and intersect, they begin to examine the origins of their relationship, and the limits of it as well.
Martin Casella's award-winning plays include The Irish Curse (off-Broadway, London, published by Samuel French); Scituate; Grand Junction; Beautiful Dreamer; Desert Fire; Paydirt; Mates. He was the bookwriter for Play It Cool (off-Broadway; GLAAD, OCC nomination); Saint Heaven; Paper Moon; Happy Holidays; Taking Care Of Mrs. Carroll. A Cal Arts graduate, he also teaches playwriting to LBGTQ kids at NYC's Harvey Milk High School. Member of the Dramatists Guild and WGA. www.martincasella.weebly.com.
The Red Train by B. V. Marshall, Plainfield, NJ
Julian, a young composer, finds his idol drunk in a Parisian café. The older man spews invective and insult instead of wisdom, while both men covet the same waiter. Julian then rejects his idol, his best friend, and everyone else until he faces the emotional turmoil he's helped to create.
Benjamin V. Marshall's plays have earned recognition from HBO New Writers Project, New York's Theatre for a New City, and in play festivals from Alaska to Australia, including Purchasing Power for Chicago's WBEZ radio. Awards: NJ State Council on the Arts, VCCA, and Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. Dramatists Guild.
Dancing In The Mirror by Perry Ojeda, Studio City, CA
Dancing In The Mirror is a drama with original music and dance. Professional dancer Danny Torres, in the twilight of his career, inherits a dance studio from his childhood mentor. Returning to his rural home town in southern Michigan, he must wrestle with the ghosts of his past reopening old wounds with the family he left behind.
Perry Ojeda, writer and actor, received critical acclaim for his first solo performance piece, The Trick, which was presented in New York, Chicago, and Dublin. He has written and produced the webseries "H.A! Homosexuals Anonymous." As an actor, Mr. Ojeda has performed on and off-Broadway, in London's West End, and in television and film. For more info:www.PerryOjeda.com
Forbidden Glass By Kirt Shineman, Peoria, AZ
Forbidden Glass is a story of illicit desires in a foreboding land. When Javad, a gay Iranian, sweet-talks Barry, an American reporter, into helping him get an interview for sanctuary in Turkey, he unravels a tale which has unforeseen consequences. Unluckily, the telling of his tale spills blood, rather than sand.
Kirt Shineman, a full Professor of Communication at Glendale Community College in Glendale, Arizona, has won multiple national and international directing and playwright awards. He is currently working on a play about Faust and Gutenberg titled The Black Art. In 2012, the off-Broadway premiere of Allie Oop's Last Fantastic Day at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre played to sold out audiences. The play was published in 2012 by Original Works Publishing. His play Forbidden Glass (Emerging Artists' Theater, New York City, 2010 and 2011), was an O'Neill Theater Conference semifinalist, and presented PT 2nd Draft Series 2011, and received a staged reading in Palm Springs at Script2Stage2Screen Theater Company, January 2012. In 2012, his 10-minute play monologue, First Person, was performed and filmed by Artists' Path Company. His play Germs and Viruses was a finalist in the FABUM's 2011 Playwright Competition in Washington DC.