2016 PlayLab Playwrights

The Great Plains Theatre Conference, hosted by Metropolitan Community College is proud to announce its 2016 PlayLab Playwrights.

Killing Crazy
Brian Bornstein

Directed by Anthony Clark Kaczmarek

Monday, May 30 at 2 p.m.

Louis Righetti is a prisoner on death row whose competency to be executed is in question due to possible mental illness. As his execution date nears, he receives visits from the psychologist who is conducting his competency evaluation and from the prison chaplain, who offers him spiritual counseling. The play explores the legal, personal, and professional issues involved in executing someone who may not be of sound mind. Is it ethical to kill a crazy person, or is anyone who would kill at least a little bit crazy?

Find out more about Killing Crazy

Frelmetsch the Maneater
Matthew Capodicasa

Directed by Scott Working

Sunday, May 29 at 2 p.m.

On the set of a sci-fi/adventure film, Mel and Jason, two puppeteers, meet for the first time inside of a giant, two-person puppet. They have only five days to sync themselves up in order to create a monstrous villain known as Frelmetsch, and get all of the shots they need before a dismissive producer shuts down the operation in favor of CGI. But as Mel and Jason begin to merge themselves, they also begin to earn a certain respect for their creation, for one another, and the record of this collaboration that will be forever recorded on film.

Find out more about Frelmetsch the Maneater

We Will Not Describe the Conversation
Eugenie Carabatsos

Directed by Danielle Smith

Tuesday, May 31 at 10 a.m.

In Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, he delineates a key moment of the novel—when the protagonist’s sister, Dunya, and his lover, Sonya, discuss Raskolnikov’s crime, murdering an elderly pawnbroker with an axe—in this way, “We will not describe the conversation and the tears of the two girls, and how friendly they became.” This sentence is the inspiration for this play. We Will Not Describe the Conversation is set in the Midwest in the early 1990s. Dani, a massage therapist, is visited in the middle of the night by Sonya, who claims that Dani’s brother, Ross, has committed a heinous crime.

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The Ice Treatment
Nate Eppler

Directed by Eliza Bent

Wednesday, June 1 at 2 p.m.

Left behind on the garbage heap of history and misremembered by everyone (herself included), the world’s most infamous Olympic figure skater struggles to reinvent herself as a screenwriter by pitching the blockbuster screenplay of her own amazing life story and her spectacular triumph over stunning adversity. Armed with an old VHS video camera, two actors she hired off craigslist, plastic fashion dolls, and homemade model ice rinks, she remakes her past by transforming it into the best sports movie you’ve never seen. She’s reclaiming her life story and she isn't going to let facts get in the way of what she knows to be true: She’s the hero.

Find out more about The Ice Treatment

The Violet Sisters
Gina Femia

Directed by Stephanie Jacobson

Sunday May 29 at 2 p.m.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Pam comes home to Red Hook, Brooklyn to attend her father’s funeral. She has not been nor seen her sister in eight years. When she arrives, she is greeted by an angry sister, a dilapidated house and a past that she can’t escape. Despite all of her best intentions, the conversation quickly turns tense and the two sisters are forced to deal with all that they have let slip away, all the words that have been left unsaid for years. A two-person, one set, real time play, The Violet Sisters is a play about forgiving when you cannot bring yourself to forget.

Find out more about The Violet Sisters

Don’t Be Evil
Bennett Fisher

Directed by Jack Zerbe

Sunday, May 29 at 2 p.m.

In this dark comedy about interrogation and innovation, a computer programmer is arrested after the search engine he designs answers “yes” to the question “is the government of the United States evil?” Desperate, he strikes a deal with his captors, agreeing to resign the software in exchange for his freedom. As they work to understand the search engine’s answer and how to change it, both the programmer and his persecutors begin to question their faith, their ability, and whether it is possible to do something good in the service of something evil.

Find out more about Don’t Be Evil

Jeremy Gable

Directed by Roxanne Wach

Tuesday, May 31 at 2 p.m.

Video game development is the only thing Alex Newbauer really knows. She spends all day in her apartment, toiling away on an independently financed game entitled D-Pad that is loosely based on her sister Rachel’s humanitarian work in Brazil. As she engages in discussions with the video game character she has created, she tries to work out the game’s glitches in time for its release date. Alex soon realizes that she needs to re-do the entire game, focusing on the sociopolitical aspects of Rachel’s work. However, a threatening phone call reveals that this news is not received well by the gaming community. Alex is met with a barrage of hateful e-mails, calls and Tweets from a group of gamers who are upset about the new change. And D-Pad quickly becomes a battle not just to make something important, but to make anything at all.

Find out more about D-Pad

Dan Giles

Directed by Ron Zank

Tuesday, May 31 at 2 p.m.

Dean and Mikey are two men who are about to have a baby. Until recently, they both thought that they were ready to settle down. Now, stifled by convention and dreaming of adventure, Dean has doubts that gnaw at him, but he can’t change his mind unless he’s prepared to break Mikey’s heart. Jason and Tyson are two hamsters who are about to have nine babies. Until recently, they both thought that they were male. Now, smothered by affection and longing for escape, Tyson has fears that nibble at her, but she can’t break free unless she’s prepared to silence Jason forever. All this is to say that nobody was planning to eat anyone. Things just got out of hand. Breeders is a comedy about the cozy cage of mainstreamed queerness, the surprising variety of things that can fit in one’s mouth, and the tender savagery of ordinary love.

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Royal Jelly
Paul Cameron Hardy

Directed by Josh Mullady

Monday, May 30 at 4 p.m.

Hernandez, McCoy, and Boz Rawlson, beat cops all three, enjoy a disgusting, rowdy picnic in a field. When Della, a young do-gooder encroaches on their party to plant wildflowers in an effort to help save the world's bee population, the police – ever reactionary – threaten to arrest and tase her. After confiscating and eating her seed bombs (Mistaken for candies), the cops all turn into wildflowers. Della panics, trying to find a way to undo this, while the flowers get pollinate by bees, and witness other (some odd, some mundane) happenings in the field they are now rooted to.

Find out more about Royal Jelly

Snowed In: An Imagining
Paul Hufker

Directed by Samuel Brett Williams

Monday May 30 at 10 a.m.

Edward Snowden is trapped in a small Russian airport. To stave off insanity, he invents a personality for a Russian stapler, and he talks to his cat. But more than this, Snowden seems to be very interested in the Holographic Principle. For the first time since this leak-turned escape ordeal began, the Principle has Snowden’s synapses firing in a pleasing manner. Spacetime becomes appropriately fluid as characters weave their way into and out of Snowden’s airport world. But beyond all this, a black cloud (or a black hole?) is beginning to swallow up the outside world. How does Snowden get out of this one?

Find out more about Snowed In: An Imagining

Meet Murasaki Shikibu Followed by Book Signing, and Other Things
Julia Izumi

Directed by Mia Morris

Monday May 30 at 4 p.m.

Tonight we welcome Murasaki Shikibu in conversation to kick off the book launch of The Tale of Genji, one of the first novels ever written. Like, in the whole world. Granted, the event is over 1000 years late, but to make up for lost time, Lady Murasaki has a lot to say. If you’re lucky, she might even talk about the book. She will take questions and give autographs following the discussion. Priority seating with book purchase. Moderator TBD.

Find out more about Meet Murasaki Shikibu Followed by Book Signing, and Other Things

The Least Worst Place (Formerly Trojan Woman)
Lindsay Joelle

Directed by Bonnie Gill

Monday May 30 at 10 a.m.

A new recruit learns he's destined to become his nation's greatest hero. A mixed--‐ race translator pledges loyalty to her country, but may be leaking classified information over enemy lines. When they meet on a military transport plane, the two soldiers begin a secret love that will pit who they say they are against who the war demands they be. Between late night training simulations, early missions, and a resurrecting bird that may or may not be an omen of doom, Briseis and Achilles' pillow talk reveals two ordinary people falling in love. But how well can you ever know the person sleeping beside you?

Find out more about The Least Worst Place (formerly Trojan Woman)

Erin Lane

Directed by Molly Welsh

Monday, May 30 at 2 p.m.

Sometimes hard work gets you nowhere…

The hopes and dreams of laundry workers crash into each other, then they realize their hopes and dreams aren't necessarily what they want. And there's a talking mouse.

Find out more about Upstairs

King Dick
Christian Levatino

Directed by Lorie Obradovich

Tuesday, May 31 at 10 a.m.

The Manson case is in full swing and Mercury is in retrograde. Christmastime, 1970: The King just spent 100 G’s on gifts, and he’s on the run from Graceland. His kata form cannot be topped. He pops pills like peanut butter bacon banana sandwiches and dreams of Butterfly Flying on Shaoshi Mountain. After a face to face with an American Airlines bathroom oracle, Elvis concocts a scheme to offer the leader of the free world his influential voice in exchange for a new symbol of power. King Dick examines the true events that led Elvis Presley to seek out President Richard Nixon for a Federal AgentatLarge badge. Will Dick Nixon say yes? The future of America depends on The King. This was the last time anyone would be allowed to cold call the President of the United States.

Find out more about King Dick

Sarah Mantell

Directed by M. Michelle Phillips

Monday, May 30 at 10 a.m.

Rachel and Greg have just built a tiny house and now they need somewhere to park it.  When friends offer their yard, the couples become intertwined in ways they never expected. A play about the tiny house movement, surrogacy, folk songs, the Northwest Passage, and the stories we tell and the stories we don’t.

Find out more about Tiny

5 More
Bonnie Metzgar

Directed by Sonia Keffer

Wednesday, June 1 at 2 p.m.

Ruth is 100 years old and can still crack the neck of a bobcat in her bare hands. DJ is 50. They just celebrated their 25th anniversary with Fiona and they’re thinking it’s time for a change. They know all about change. They’re a 5, and 5s are change junkies, especially queer ones. DJ used to be Dory and before that, dorothy jane. One day, a long time ago when dorothy jane’s grandpa died, she had to go live with her great aunt Rahu, who told her she was a 5 while stirring a pot of rib bones on the stove. Now after a fight kept them apart for 25 years, Rahu wants to see her.

Find out more about 5 More

Genne Murphy

Directed by Jody McAuliffe

Tuesday, May 31 at 2 p.m.

Dee is caring for her ailing grandmother, Rita, when she hears a mysterious noise in the abandoned glass factory behind her house. She discovers a lost girl her own age with amnesia – who happens to be 30 feet tall. Dee and the giantess try to figure out who she is, where she came from and their deepening connection to one another. Giantess is a play about complicated bodies, identities, choices, and fate.

Find out more about Giantess

Mamacita and the Negrito
Emilio Rodriguez

Directed by Beth Thompson

Monday, May 30 at 4 p.m.

Mamacita and the Negrito is a fast paced spoken word romance told through poetry and vignettes dealing with a San Francisco couple who fall in love and have a baby in the mid 90’s and their present day child dealing with being unwanted and searching for a love of his own. Desire and destiny collide in this often comedic, often heartbreaking journey of self-discovery and the importance of living “como si mañana fuera ahora (like if tomorrow were right now)”.

Find out more about Mamacita and the Negrito

Tom & Eliza
Celine Song

Directed by Eliza Bent

Monday, May 30 at 2 p.m.

Tom’s mother and father made love, Tom was born, Tom grew up, Tom entered this restaurant, Tom is on a date with Eliza. Eliza’s mother and father made love, Eliza was born, Eliza grew up, Eliza entered this restaurant, Eliza is on a date with Tom. A play about two people marching relentlessly towards the future.

Find out more about Tom & Eliza

Countdown to the Happy Day
Thomas W. Stephens

Directed by TammyRa

Tuesday, May 31 at 10 a.m.

Countdown to the Happy Day is a two-character drama that depicts, in gritty street language and with grim humor, the unlikely involvement of Gertie, thirties/forties and a self-inflicted street person, and Cervin, a hulking fifteen-year old, both of whom are African American. From their initial explosive encounter on a nighttime city street, the two are chary of each other and emotionally combustible. Gertie, a troubled Army vet, resists being drawn into the world of Cervin, a seventh-grade dropout dependent on a bed-bound mother. Their relationship, nonetheless, grows ever more overlaid, complex, and inevitable as Cervin’s needs overwhelm Gertie’s deliberate detachment, forcing her to confront the pain and grief weighing at her core. In the play’s final moments they together chant a “countdown” to a happy day they both so crave and for which they continue waiting.

Find out more about Countdown to the Happy Day

Great White
Deborah Yarchun

Directed by Jeremy Stoll

Wednesday, June 1 at 2 p.m.

Fourteen-year-old Brooke is in trouble. Her sixteen-year-old sister, Ivy, is manic and increasingly violent, and their mother, Gail, refuses to acknowledge the danger. As Brooke struggles to hold her family together, she copes by tracking a great white shark. This leads her to Luis, a troubled fifteen-year-old boy intent on swimming out to meet the shark in the ocean. As their friendship deepens, Brooke becomes increasingly aware of the shark drawing closer in her own life: that her sister, in a manic fit, might kill her. Set in present-day southern Florida, between coastal floods, Great White is a coming-of-age story that explores unremitting love for family, and the consequences of inaction.

Find out more about Great White