Playwrights Local
Professional Theatre


By: Mac Wellman


Show Description:
The Mac Wellman Homecoming Festival is a three-day celebration of a groundbreaking playwright from Cleveland, Ohio, one who is widely recognized as among the most influential voices of the Off-Off-Broadway era. Based for many years in New York, Wellman has authored dozens of plays, with productions spanning throughout North America as well as England, Germany, China, and Japan. In addition, he is regarded as a significant teacher of playwriting, and has impacted many of today’s most important emerging writers from his position as head of the master of fine arts program at Brooklyn College. Mac Wellman is a major figure in American letters and an essential presence in the lineage of playwrights from the Cleveland area.

This is the first Cleveland-based event honoring Mac Wellman, who has been celebrated in numerous other contexts—including the “Horizontal Avalanche” Festival encompassing thirty plays in four cities—but never in his hometown.

Join us in giving long-overdue recognition to one of Northeast Ohio’s most lauded playwriting products.

FEATURED EVENTS
- Productions of Bitter Bierce, Harm’s Way, and The Sandalwood Box
- Staged readings of Cleveland and Sincerity Forever
- New short plays by local writers inspired by Wellman’s exercises
- Panel discussions and audience talkbacks
- Receptions and a festival wrap party
- An exhibit of set models, props, photos, and other production artifacts
- A special Q&A with Mr. Wellman, who will be in attendance!
Tickets and Press


March 23 - March 25

ONGOING THROUGHOUT FESTIVAL

The Michael Schwartz Library (Ground-floor Lobby)

THU 7:30 AM – 10:00 PM; FRI 7:30 AM – 6:00 PM; SAT 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Damnable Artifacts: Production Memorabilia from the Plays of Mac Wellman

Featuring set models, posters, programs, scripts, props, photos, postcards, T-shirts, and vintage reviews from productions spanning the career of playwright Mac Wellman. All items are original artifacts from the collections of lighting/set designer Kyle Chepulis and graphic designer David Prittie (both of the Flea Theater, NYC), director Katherine Owens (Undermain Theatre, Dallas), and director/performer Clyde Simon (convergence-continuum theater, Cleveland).


THURSDAY, MARCH 23

Events at Drinko Hall & Lobby, Cleveland State University

7:30 PM
Staged Reading: Cleveland
Directed by Allan Byrne
Presented by Cleveland State University Department of Theatre & Dance

Cleveland (1986): In the heady days before her prom, young Joan finds it hard to concentrate on anything but the upcoming dance, even as the front porch falls off her house and her mother struggles to unclog the kitchen sink. But soon, their relatively normal lives begin unraveling into alien territory, as Joan makes some startling discoveries about her family and the world.

8:45 PM
Meet & Greet Reception

FRIDAY, MARCH 24


Events at Drinko Hall & Lobby, Cleveland State University

7:30 PM
Production: The Sandalwood Box
Directed by Les Hunter
Presented by Baldwin Wallace University Department of Theatre and Dance

The Sandalwood Box (1996): Student Marsha Gates has lost her voice to the great Unseen, but on her way to speech therapy, she becomes entangled with Professor Claudia Marshall, a mysterious collector of catastrophes. This surreal and unsettling short explores themes of trauma and violence inside a fantastical world that is at once familiar and strange.

8:15 PM
Production: Bitter Bierce
Directed by Christopher Johnston
Presented by Playwrights Local

Bitter Bierce (2003): Journalist. War Veteran. Cynic. Author. Ambrose Bierce invites audiences into the depths of his eventful life, lacing his tale with his sarcastic definitions from “The Devil’s Dictionary.” Rich with history, humor, and tragedy, Bierce tells us the tumultuous story of his life and times, from his experiences in the Civil War and his newspaper career, to his travels and amusing run-ins with famous public figures.

9:30 PM
Reception & Late Show: The Good, the Bad, and Mac: Local Playwrights Do Mac Wellman’s Writing Prompt
Presented by The Manhattan Project – Cleveland Lab

Four all-new, ten-minute “Bad Plays” in a program hosted by Peter J Roth:
Parodying Fiction by Nakanaela Bell, featuring Julia Fisher, Lincoln Weiss, and Tim Collingwood
The Best Play You’ll Ever See, Probably by Kevin Latimer, featuring Jack Schmitt, Evan Zuzik, and Jason Bogdany
Better Than a Day Spent on Fire by Angelo Maneage, featuring Craig A. Webb and Peter J Roth
Draft for My Absolutely Stupendous One-Woman, as Narrated by Moi and Performed by Three Dudes or Whatever by Amanda VanAllen, featuring herself, Kris Leiter, Daniel Dang, and Steven Lampere


SATURDAY, MARCH 25

Morning Events at Music Building Room 311, Cleveland State University

11:30 AM
Panel Discussion: “Mac Wellman’s Breakthroughs as a Playwright, Teacher, and Mentor”


Moderated by Mike Geither, Associate Professor of Playwriting, Cleveland State University

With:
Rob Handel: Associate Professor of Dramatic Writing, Carnegie Mellon University
Les Hunter: Assistant Professor of English, Baldwin Wallace University
Clyde Simon: Artistic Director, convergence-continuum

Afternoon Events at Drinko Hall & Lobby, Cleveland State University

1:00 PM
Staged Reading: Sincerity Forever
Directed by Jeremy Paul
Presented by Theater Ninjas

Sincerity Forever (1990): Two profane aliens have landed in the Southern town of Hillsbottom. Is God watching? Does he care? Is God a He? Mac Wellman addresses these and other questions in this Obie Award–winning play that skewers the social malignancy of ignorance.

2:15 PM
Break & Refreshments

3:00 PM
Production: The Sandalwood Box
Directed by Les Hunter
Presented by Baldwin Wallace University Department of Theatre and Dance

The Sandalwood Box (1996): Student Marsha Gates has lost her voice to the great Unseen, but on her way to speech therapy, she becomes entangled with Professor Claudia Marshall, a mysterious collector of catastrophes. This surreal and unsettling short explores themes of trauma and violence inside a fantastical world that is at once familiar and strange.

3:45 PM
Production: Bitter Bierce
Directed by Christopher Johnston
Presented by Playwrights Local
Bitter Bierce (2003): Journalist. War Veteran. Cynic. Author. Ambrose Bierce invites audiences into the depths of his eventful life, lacing his tale with his sarcastic definitions from “The Devil’s Dictionary.” Rich with history, humor, and tragedy, Bierce tells us the tumultuous story of his life and times, from his experiences in the Civil War and his newspaper career, to his travels and amusing run-ins with famous public figures.

5:00 PM
Playwright Q&A

Evening Events at The Liminis & The Tremont Tap House

8:00 PM
Production: Harm’s Way
Directed by Clyde Simon
Presented by convergence-continuum at The Liminis

Harm’s Way (1978) takes place in a mythical American West where every action is more than it seems. These are the fantastical adventures of Santouche, a very angry person, as he attempts to make sense of his understanding of law and order in a world of other angry persons. The action does not unfold in any specific time or place. However, all the characters drink from the same poisoned well, which is recognizably American and western. The time might be anytime in the last seventy years, or even not impossibly in the next.

9:30 PM
Festival Wrap Party at The Tremont Tap House