Sometimes one gets sick of all the playwrights out there trying too hard to be good. How about a little B-grade every once in a while? So maybe it was by unabashedly embracing the bad that The Poorly-Written Play Festival, a one-act by prolific and multiple award-winning local playwright Carolyn Gage, has made it to Off-Off Broadway. After originally appearing in Acorn Productions’ annual Maine Short Play Festival, Poorly-Written has been selected to appear in the 30th Annual Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Original Short Play Festival, in New York City.
Poorly-Written brings together the members of a play festival selection committee. As they peruse the scripts in the Green Room, they proceed to violate every playwrighting tenet in the book, including the abuse of asides, characters who unaccountably change horses in mid-stream, unrealistic set requirements, phony disguises, and mysterious deus-ex-machina strangers.
The cast, which portrays characters which such brazenly derivative names as Loman, Hedda, and Stella, includes locals Keith Anctil, Seth Berner, Muriel Kenderdine, Michele Lee, Natasha Mieszkowski, and Randall Tuttle. The six of them, plus director Mike Levine, will make an epic road trip of their taking of Off-Off Broadway, vanning it down and sofa-crashing with whomever will accept a band of roving actors. They’ll showcase Gage’s work on Friday, June 9, in the Chernuchin Theater at the American Theater of Actors in NYC, and should the play make the finals, the gang will get another night in the Big Apple and reprise their performance on Sunday.
But all of us stuck here in Portland will get our own chance to enjoy Gage’s hyperbolic fiesta of poor playwrighting. Levine’s cast will give a send-off performance at the St. Lawrence on Saturday, June 3, at 9:30 pm. Admission is free, but your generous donation will go toward getting the actors there in one piece.