Playwrights Retreat to Ohio

Information about retreats organized by the Ohio State University Department of Theatre for the International Center for Women Playwrights (ICWP), whose work is archived in Ohio State's Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


A quiet day--playwrights writing away. At night we gathered again with a group of volunteer performers. We started the evening with a reading of Vicki Cheatwood's The Last Time Cooper Took Midge Fishing -- one of the short pieces we'd done readings of for International Woman's Day last March; when we restaged the plays at Ohio State and videotaped them for the playwrights, the performers in Vicki's play weren't available. So since Vicki's here, we decided to start the evening with her terrific short play (more about the staged readings at --click the link 'readings at OSU' to the right)

Here's the cast of The Last Time Cooper Took Midge Fishing, listening attentively to another piece: from left: John Kuhn (Cooper), Cate Blair-Wilhelm (Midge), Tatyana Yassenov (Fish). John's currently playing King Lear at Actors' Theatre, Columbus' free Shakespeare company in Schiller Park, of which he's the Artistic Director--hence the somewhat bushy beard. Tatyana chose an appropriately color and cut for her dress!

reading Mrinalini Kamath's new piece about Orpheus; here OSU students Kyle Jepson and Ryan Britton as Eurydice and Orpheus, and OSU MFA student Kal Poole as Jason; Jane Celehar from the performance group Howling at the Moon and Mary Bonneau listen attentively.

Mrinalini (standing at left) watches the reading; sitting (from left) Bob Pettigrew, volunteer actor; Geralyn Horton; Jo Fell from Howling at the Moon; Carol Shelton, volunteer actor; Ann Alaia Woods; Vicki Cheatwood.

reading Geralyn Horton's Good Practice, a new piece about the clash between the right to die and caregivers seeking to protect those no longer capable of caring for themselves. From left: Kyle Jepson as nurse; Sarah Worthington as a social worker/advocate; Carol Shelton as a strong willed and uncooperative patient ("lying in bed"); Joe Cofer as a security guard; Ryan Britton as the patient's grandson.

Geralyn (over at the right) watches the reading of her play. We also heard Geralyn's new monologue, Mumbet, about the African-American slave whose suit for her rights under the new U.S. Constitution ended slavery legally in Massachusetts in the 1780s; we had four people reading sections of the piece that's intended for a single performer.

And we continue tomorrow, with the added filip that Vicki Cheatwood celebrates a birthday then--so we'll all head out for middle eastern dining after the readings.

Monday, July 30, 2007


The 2007 ICWP Retreat to Ohio has begun! Six playwrights are here, Kathy Coudle King having joined Vicki Cheatwood, Cheryl Conner, Geralyn Horton, Mrinalini Kamath, and Cynthia Wands, all of whom arrived yesterday (or, in Mrinalini's case because of a much-delayed flight, very early this morning). Readings tonight included Geralyn Horton's new one-person piece, commissioned by a Boston performer, about the eighteenth-century slave who successfully sued for her freedom under the rights guaranteed by the new Constitution, thus ending slavery in Massachusetts in the 1780s. In the reading, the narration was split up among two performers, while separate performers read Mrs. Sedgewick, the first successful woman novelist, who wrote about the former slave, and the former slave herself. So one person monologue became a four-part harmony! We also read Cynthia Wands' beginning of a new piece exploring Shakespeare's 'lost years'--written in iambic pentameter! Not bad for a first draft!

here the playwrights watch as Ellen Nickles (in green) and Mary Vade Bon Coeur read a scene from Cynthia's play.

playwrights watch as volunteers read aloud; from left, Joe Cofer, volunteer actor; Mrinalini Kamath; volunteer Peggy Williams; Cheryl Connor; Geralyn Horton; Cynthia Wands; Vicki Cheatwood; Kathy Coudle King.

in the computer lab, Cynthia offers technical help as Geralyn tries to use Windows to print an Apple document.

in the computer lab: Cynthia points to where Geralyn has to click in order to print, while at the right, Vicki discovers a band she likes is playing locally this weekend.

AND--a message tonight from Carolyn Gage via email: "I will be thinking of you all and missing those very productive hours by that lovely, lovely river!