We missed seeing you in person …
America’s great playwright Arthur Miller said, “Playwriting is an oral art; it’s not an art of a writer expecting to be read but a writer expecting to be heard.”
The pandemic changed all our lives in too many ways, some tragic, some merely annoying. Theaters around the world went dark for many months. In that darkness, however, Theatre Odyssey found a way to continue our mission by producing audio versions of plays with actors and directors meeting in clean spaces, masked and then socially distanced, and with equipment sanitized after each use. Beginning in the Fall of 2020, Theatre Odyssey produced its delayed Fifteenth Annual Ten-Minute Play Festival as radio theater. Early in 2021, the Ninth Annual Student Ten-Minute Playwriting Festival was presented in the same way as was the Sixteenth Annual Ten-Minute Play Festival this past May. Mission accomplished.
Please enjoy this encore of the last three Theatre Odyssey festivals with the compliments of a grateful non-profit theater company. Support Theatre Odyssey’s mission if you care to and encourage theater producers to seek out the work of these playwrights for on stage productions and ask those same producers to hire the actors and directors who brought their talents to our ears during the world’s challenging time.
EACH YEAR WE EXPLAIN THAT THE PLAYWRIGHT’S WORDS ARE THE MOST RELEVANT COMPONENT OF THIS FESTIVAL.
In no prior year has that been more important. COVID-19 compelled us to find a new means to present eight plays from writers across Florida, hence “Radio Theatre Odyssey.” However, Murray Chase, Rick Kerby, and Jeffery Kin, our judges for this fifteenth annual festival, read and rated the plays by imagining them as stage productions. Their decision was made prior to the podcast of the festival. So, it was all about the playwrights’ work. As it should be.
BEST PLAY: SINGLE RIDER
Congratulations to Michelle Pascua of Celebration, Florida, who receives the Best Play award of $500 for SINGLE RIDER, where she tells us that rollercoasters are all about ups and downs as can be love. In this absurd comedy, two single riders connect at Disney World — an extraterrestrial adventure about ride-sharing gone awry.
RUNNER-UP: FINDING HELP
Miami Beach resident Marj O’Neill-Butler’s Runner-up play, FINDING HELP, is about a mother and daughter at loggerheads — assisted living or a caregiver? The mother wants to stay put in her own apartment and when the daughter tries to solve the problem, her mother’s attitude is a surprise. Marj received a $300 award.
BEST PLAY: Flying Solo with IBD
Spencer Emerson Opal-Levine is a senior at Pine View. His plays have been produced locally, nationally, and internationally. Loosely based on Spencer’s own experiences living with Crohn’s disease, “Flying Solo with IBD” won the Kennedy Center’s VSA Playwright Discovery award in 2020 but due to COVID-19, had its Washington, DC debut postponed. The play also won Florida Studio Theatre’s 2020 Young Playwrights Festival, but that performance was cancelled for safety reasons as well. Spencer is thrilled that Theatre Odyssey’s Student Ten-Minute Playwriting Competition was switched to a radio format, and he greatly appreciates the theatre’s continued support.
Elaina Bayard is a sophomore at Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School. She’s been interested in writing since she wrote a collection of bad poetry as a Christmas gift for her father in elementary school. When she isn’t busy with school work or daydreaming, she enjoys swimming, playing piano, and ranting about the latest book she’s read to anyone who will listen. She also finds joy in editing for the literary magazine Polyphony Lit.
BEST PLAY: WHITE ANGEL
Keith Whalen is a writer, director, and actor. His short plays have won awards and been produced across the country. This is Keith’s third time selected to be a part of Theatre Odyssey’s Ten Minute Play Festival, having been awarded Runner-Up Winner in both 2018 and 2019 for his plays Cliche and Coming to Town. His play Reflection was a part of Theatre Odyssey’s One-Act Festival in 2018. His play Wonderland was voted Second Place in Carrollwood Players’ One Act Weekend, presented to a socially distanced and masked audience in Tampa in August 2020. Keith is a proud member of The Dramatists Guild.
RUNNER-UP: Dancing in the Elevator
Dorothea Cahan is an acting teacher, a director, a writer of historical fiction and of plays, both comedies and dramas. Her plays have been produced throughout the United States and in the United Kingdom and Mexico. A full-length play, “Hope is the Thing with Feathers”, was nominated for Outstanding Original Writing by The Desert Theatre League. Her play “A Dream of Two Moons” appears in the Smith and Kraus anthology, The Best Ten-Minute Plays of 2020. Three play excerpts are published in S&K’s The Best Monologues of 2020.