Cedar Rapids – One of my favorite annual events is Theatre Cedar Rapids’ Underground New Play Festival. Every year, local playwrights have the opportunity to showcase their work. It’s also a great opportunity for directors and actors will less experience to have a chance to stretch their creative muscles. I also appreciate that it’s a blind submission process. Those deciding which plays are produced do not know who has submitted which play. Here are the selected playwrights and directors:
Before Ever After by Mike Moran, Directed by Mike Moran
A witch teaches a young hero what it means to begin.
Cutting the Cord by Duane Larson, Directed by Zachary Johnson
Fred discovers something sinister lurking beneath the friendly facade of his local cable provider. A dark comedy satirizing our consumerist culture.
The Dictator’s Daughter by Erica Jo Lloyd, Directed by Nathan Shepard
The daughter of a dictator battles with her family legacy.
The Eleventh Chapter by Laura Schmidt, Directed by David Schneider
When adapting a compelling Vietnam nonfiction book into a Broadway play, the daughter of a veteran learns that nothing is as it seemed.
Feeding by Joseph Anderson, Directed by Ken Van Egdon
Tomas, a young man finishing high school, works in a mental health facility. In his day to day, he develops various relationships, including one with an elderly woman who is quite miserable. Tomas comes to the conclusion that she would be happier dead, and assists her in killing herself.
The Five-Fifteen by Erica Jo Lloyd, Directed by Erica Jo Lloyd
Two commuters learn hard lessons about the journey versus the destination.
For the Care and the Control of the Insane by Jen Rouse, Directed by Aaron Canterbury
Hummingbird Girl is an artist going through the process of electroconvulsive therapy. Though the process is standard and she is merely surrounded by doctors and nurses, Hummingbird Girl is plagued by images of hummingbird doctors who are throwbacks to early Victorian alienists. Having experienced disabling anxiety, conflict with her own sexuality, and the death of her second child, she is at the end of her ability to contain her grief. In the midst of treatment, she finds herself surrounded by the spirits of iconic women, engaged in calling upon a saint to come to her aid.
Good-Bye Glinda by Clare Dieter, Directed by Jaime Hein
After dropping Dorothy’s house on The Wicked Witch of the East, we discover that Glinda is in fact smuggling her out of OZ. The two have a brief, yet intimate conversation over a six pack of beer about family and fate.
Home is Where the Heart Is by Taylor James Foster, Directed by Taylor James Foster
Based in the 1800s, a father and daughter look to survive what waits outside their cabin on a cold winter night.
I Put a Spell on You by Clare Dieter, Directed by Rachel Potthoff
Kate and Liam have just broken up when Liam realizes he is now part of a curse, he can’t leave. He decided to help Kate and her exes figure out how to break the curse so they can all get on with their lives.
The Last Rodeo by Ben Lafayette, Directed by K. Michael Moore
As Wesley “The Wizard” Wellington and his longtime friend, Annabelle Pickett reminisce about his glory days as a rodeo legend, they find their memories of the events that brought them together in their youth do not quite align. In the 1950s cowboy country of their youth, will Wesley choose to protect Annabelle from the deep-seated racial hatred that threatens her just around every bend? Can Annabelle help Wesley to realize what it means to truly be a hero? And will their families be able to pick up the pieces when reality comes crashing down around them?
Look for America by Per Wiger, Directed by Janeve West
Samuel Beckett meets Simon and Garfunkel in this play about identity, movement, stasis, and self-determination set on a bus and in the minds of characters that ride it.
Toilet Note by Erica Jo Lloyd, Directed by Luke Brooks
Jason finds a note of apology under his toilet seat when he arrives home after a long trip.
World of Lovelies by Taylor James Foster, Directed by Brian Tanner
Three lost people looking for a reason to exist in a world of depression, self-consciousness, and anxiety.