Past Br!NK Playwrights

Photo of Artistic Director Suzan FeteReina Hardy

ANNIE JUMP AND THE LIBRARY OF HEAVEN, 2017

I wrote “Annie Jump” in about three days in August, while the Perseids were falling (yes, really).   I was on deadline for a staged reading that I scheduled before I’d written a single page of the script.  This… is not how it usually happens, but man was it fun!As for the idea- years ago, I heard an NPR story about a man who maintained a website inviting aliens to contact him, and it stuck with me. That summer, while researching a different play, I read a science history book called “Coming of Age in the Milky Way” that described a theoretical concept much like the Library of Heaven.  The two ideas sort of collided, then Annie and Althea showed up from who knows where, already sniping at each other, already the best of friends. I sat on the idea for a couple of months until I had the time in my schedule to write it.  It brought together so many things that I've been thinking about for so long, and honestly it felt like a gift.

 

Cast & Crew

Directed by Mallory Metoxen

Featuring Madeleine Farley, Bryce Lord, Ericka Wade, & Rachael Zientek

Photo of Artistic Director Suzan FeteAmanda Petefish-Schrag

THE ENDURANCE OF LIGHT, 2017

Ten years ago, I experienced a loss that countless women before me had already been through, (and countless more women will someday face), – a miscarried pregnancy. I realized in a new way why miscarriage proves such profoundly difficult subject matter.  It sits squarely at the intersection of numerous existentially-anxious issues - sex, death, religion, science, when life begins, and the very definition of life itself.  Yet in the years following my miscarriage, that needling question in the back of my brain, “Can we somehow talk about this?”, became the impetus for writing The Endurance of Light.

As I quickly discovered, grappling with miscarriage in the public sphere requires plunging into uncomfortable collisions headlong.  Exploring these intersections and attempting to reveal their inherent tensions; making them tangible, potent, and accessible, became the heartbeat of the play itself.

 

Cast & Crew

Directed by Suzan Fete

Featuring James Carrington, Flora Coker, Christopher Elst, Reva Fox, Laura Gray & David Sapiro

Photo of Artistic Director Suzan FeteChristine Kallman

Duck, 2016

Is love of a duck enough to get someone committed? As we hear the clock strike eleven, we learn that 78-year-old Eleanor has until noon to come up with evidence that will keep her daughters from moving her to a memory care unit. In flights of memory, Eleanor builds her case, reliving her attempts to prove her husband wrong when he claimed she “has never loved anyone or anything and never will.” But when she chooses to love a duck, it’s not as easy as she had thought. She is left to defend herself in a world where love seems impossible and her actions make us ask what sanity really means.

A one-woman play, DUCK stars Milwaukee legend Flora Coker, directed by RTW Co-Founder Marie Kohler.

Cast & Crew

Directed by Marie Kohler

Featuring Flora Coker

 

Photo of Artistic Director Suzan FeteKathleen Allison Johnson & Gail Sterkel

Ten Thousand Moons From Here, 2016

In the summer of 2011, Jan Levine Thal, Artistic Director of the Kathie Rasmussen Women's Theatre, approached each of us with a commission to write a 30- to 40-minute one-act play for an evening of theater. After batting around ideas, we decided instead to collaborate on one full-length play. The play's story took several wrong turns before we realized we were writing about our desire to create a better world. Our mysterious aliens were already the better society we aspired to be. Our shared sense of humor promised to make the journey entertaining as well as enlightening.

After two public readings months apart and countless drafts, we presented our script to Jan. On June 13, 2013, our play opened at the Bartell Theater in Madison for eight performances, including one talk-back.

Cast & Crew

Directed by Mallory Metoxen

Stage Manager | Paula Gallarino

Dramaturg | Abby Stein

Featuring Libby Amato, Laura Gray, Tim Higgins, Sean Anthony Jackson, Josh Krause, Mary McLellan, Trevor Rees

 

Photo of Artistic Director Suzan FetePhilana Omorotionmwan

Before Evening Comes, 2016

This play began five years ago with the prompt “vaudeville.” For me, that conjured up images of blackface minstrelsy, which I did not want to write about. After a lot of Internet searches, I discovered videos of the acrobatic tap dances of the Nicholas Brothers. Watching them, I started to think about the ways in which being so comfortable and so free in one’s body can be viewed as threatening. Then I began to write.

Though this play started from things completely outside of myself, it also became a very personal work. In the last decade of my grandmother’s life, she saw her eldest son have his leg amputated. I never talked to her about it, but I always wondered how that affected her emotionally. In a lot of ways, this play is an exploration of that.

Some of the questions I’m interested as I develop this play are: What does it mean to choose motherhood as a black woman in 21st century America? How does the government/a militarized police force limit black boys, men, women, and girls from fully being in our bodies? Can artistic expression offer the possibility of freedom from a life of bondage?

Cast & Crew

Directed by Marti Gobel

Stage Manager | Paula Gallarino

Dramaturg | Nabra Nelson

Featuring James Carrington, Marques Causey, Samantha Montgomery, & Ericka Wade

 

Photo of Artistic Director Suzan FeteKatherine Glover

The Sweeter The Crime, 2015

Sometimes I get an idea for a play and then I write that play. Other times, I get an idea, I start writing, I make changes, I get new ideas, I add things, I cut things, and by the time I finish my first draft, it bears almost no resemblance to the seed it came from.

This play is in that second category. The inspiration was the back cover synopsis from an old crime novel that I own but have never actually read: a sickly old man kills someone he's always hated, figuring he'll be dead before the police can catch him -- but then an innocent man is arrested for the crime. I threw in the murder method I'd used in a terrible, never-finished novel I started writing when I was 14, incorporated a false confession, which are more common than I think most people realize, and I had my plot. Then the characters took over. Now I would say the play is more about this family's interpersonal relationships than it is about murder -- and certainly any criminal justice implications are firmly in the background.

Cast & Crew

Directed by Suzan Fete

Stage Manager | Nicole Weigert

Dramaturg | Jake Voss

Featuring Linnéa Koeppel, Joe Picchetti, Phillip Sletteland, Linda Stephens, & Tami Workentin

 

Photo of Artistic Director Suzan FeteKelly McBurnette-Andronicos

The Hall of Final Ruin, 2015

The Hall of Final Ruin is an allegorical representation of my own experiences as an "Anglo" American integrating into a heavily Hispanic and Native American culture. I use the historical lens of 19th century Santa Fe - and the real life of Doña Gertrudis 'La Tules' Barcelo - to interrupt contemporary immigration rhetoric and explore the ways in which this upended view of immigration, in which the white Protestant is "the Other," impacts the Barcelo family.

I designed the play to serve as a reminder of the basic history of the American Southwest, the sequence of events that lead to its inclusion into the Union, and the virtually unknown but critical contributions of Anglo, Hispanic, and Indian women. The play is meant to provoke conversations about the notion of "immigrant/undocumented/illegal," conflicting ideas of femininity and morality, the cost of conquest and colonialism, the value of alternative history, and the peculiar ways religion determines motivations.

Cast & Crew

Directed by Mallory Metoxen

Stage Manager | Nicole Weigert

Dramaturg | Jake Voss

Featuring Deborah Clifton, Alejandra Gonzalez, Joanna Kerner, Kathiamarice Lopez, Michelle Lopez-Rios, & Rána Roman

 

Photo of Artistic Director Suzan FeteJanet Burroway

Parts of Speech, 2014

Though most of Parts of Speech is fiction or fictionalized, it grew out of a powerful memory of my family – my home-designer father, elocution teacher mother, budding journalist brother – in a time when moral values seemed simpler and more rigid. There were Japanese internment camps ten miles from the ranch house where I grew up, but I didn’t learn about them until I was living in England in my thirties.

Governments then as now guard their secrets with ferocious righteousness, and then as now we live with prejudices we don’t even know we have.

Cast & Crew

Directed by Mallory Metoxen

Stage Manager | Nicole Weigert

Featuring Niffer Clarke, Jim Farrell, Reva Fox, Trevor Rees, Ryan Schabach, Sasha Sigel, Phillip Sletteland, & Emily Vitrano

 

Photo of Artistic Director Suzan FeteGwendolyn Rice

The Griots, 2014

To prepare to tell this story, I did a lot of research about the politics of Georgia in the 1930s, the general plight of the rural poor at that time, the Rural Electrification program, FDR’s involvement in Georgia, and the legacy of lynching. I have also read hundreds of actual interviews with former slaves that are now catalogued at the Library of Congress, and some of the subsequent scholarship about the veracity of those documents.

The most intriguing thing about the Writers Project transcripts, I find, is that they have been almost universally discounted by historians as unreliable. In my play The Griots, I began to explore the reasons behind that, along with the power inherent in keeping secrets and writing your own history.

Cast & Crew

Directed by Suzan Fete

Stage Manager | Nicole Weigert

Featuring Libby Amato, Marti Gobel, & Rick Pendzich

 

PAST Br!NK Br!efs Playwrights

Photo of Artistic Director Suzan FeteKelly Bancroft

DID YOU THINK I WOULD FORGET YOU?

Kelly Bancroft lives in Youngstown, Ohio, where she earned her MFA in Creative Writing. Her poetry and prose have appeared in a variety of journals. Two of her one-act plays have been produced in Youngstown and Pittsburgh - ARRIVING AT BESSIE and LOVIE’S SPRING. A short documentary based on ARRIVING AT BESSIE recently won a spot at the Cleveland International Film Festival and was featured on jezebel.com. She is currently working on a full-length play.

A woman goes about her day after learning of the planet's impending doom.

Cast & Crew

Directed by Jake Brockmann, Featuring Shannon Nettesheim

Photo of Artistic Director Suzan FeteClaudia Haas

THE END OF THE ROAD

Claudia has had over 1100 productions in all fifty states and on five continents. Honored with 18 playwriting awards, her works have been developed through the Bonderman Symposium and the William Inge Festival among others. She’s been fortunate to have many of her plays published. She lives in White Bear Lake, MN with ducks in her garden.

Beth and Letia are on a road trip to scatter their late mother’s ashes. But a fork in the road changes their plans. They end up on a road to nowhere with no idea how to back to somewhere.

Cast & Crew

Directed by Catie O'Donnell, Featuring Brittany Curran & Jordan Watson

Photo of Artistic Director Suzan FeteEmma Kiel

TWENTY-SEVEN YEARS

Emma Kiel is a playwright and director from Neenah, Wisconsin. She is currently pursuing her bachelor of arts in drama at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. As a writer, she has had work produced at UWSP and has contributed original work at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The night before her daughter’s wedding, Deborah discovers something that could tear her life and family apart. Twenty minutes before the ceremony, her daughter finds out too. As the big moment approaches, the only thing that’s certain is that nothing will ever be the same.

Cast & Crew

Directed by Erin Eggers, Featuring Shannon Nettesheim, Audwin Short, & Elaine Wyler

Photo of Artistic Director Suzan FeteColleen O'Doherty

BOLD DOROTHY, RETIRED.

Colleen O'Doherty is a writer based out of Omaha, NE. She is currently getting her MFA in play writing at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She teaches creative writing in schools and prisons through the Nebraska Writers Collective. She has had work staged with UNO and Shelterbelt Theater in Omaha, NE. Her poetry has been published in Burnt District. She dedicates her play to all the hard-working teachers and other working-class heroes she knows.

Strong-arm and Indestructible are two superheroes trying to start a superhero non-profit. They initially doubt that Dorothy, a retired teacher, has what it takes to make their team the best. They're about to learn a lesson about true heroism. Can they learn it in time to defeat evil and save the day?

Cast & Crew

Directed by Christopher Elst, Featuring Cara Johnston, Nathanael Press, Elodie Senetra, & Michelle Waide

Photo of Artistic Director Suzan FeteGwendolyn Rice

I HEAR EVERYTHING

Gwendolyn Rice is a professional writer and playwright based in Madison, Wisconsin. Among other freelance projects, she currently reviews theater and performing arts events for Isthmus and The Capital Times, and has also taught playwriting workshops for Children’s Theater of Madison, Renaissance Theaterworks, and the Milwaukee Rep. She is a member of Chicago Dramatists, the American Theater Critics Association, and the Dramatists Guild.

A man with a rare hearing condition is tormented by the sounds of daily life. His refuge is working in a special — very quiet — section of the Newberry Library. Much to his surprise, one day he meets his match, a woman who struggles to be heard.

 

Cast & Crew

Directed by Suzan Fete, Featuring Joe Picchetti

Photo of Artistic Director Suzan FeteKaren Saari

A ROBOT, A CLOWN and a Turban

Karen Saari’s full-length play IN A CLEARING received a staged reading in June at the Last Frontier Theatre Conference, was a 2017 finalist for the ATHE Award for Excellence in Playwriting, and was a 2015 Wisconsin Wrights winner. She’s a frequent writer/raconteur for Madison’s That’s What She Said story-share, member of Playwrights Center and a mother of two.

Spend a day in the life of a robot, a clown and their co-workers in an otherwise mundane office environment. This stew of oddballs will make you laugh and maybe even cheer as they prove that when we have to, anyone can find love and anyone can get along.

Cast & Crew

Directed by Mark Boergers, Featuring Danielle Levings, Nathanael Press, Elodie Senetra, & J. Keegan Siebken

Lillian Schley

DOG HEROES

Lillian Schley’s play VOWS was included in Cooperative Performance Milwaukee’s 2017 One Act Festival and a short film adapted from her play DON’T LEAVE ME HANGING has been shown at film festivals throughout the country.

Two dogs struggle with the effects of sudden Internet fame on their friendship.

 

Cast & Crew

Directed by Mallory Metoxen, Featuring Brittany Curran, Cara Johnston, & Rachel Zembrowski

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Photo of Artistic Director Suzan Fete

Photo of Artistic Director Suzan Fete

Photo of Artistic Director Suzan Fete

Photo of Artistic Director Suzan Fete

Photo of Artistic Director Suzan Fete

Photo of Artistic Director Suzan Fete

Photo of Artistic Director Suzan Fete

Photo of Artistic Director Suzan Fete

Photo of Artistic Director Suzan Fete