Pride Films and Plays is delighted to announce the results of our 2016 LezPlay Contest. From nearly three dozen entries, five finalists have been selected to receive staged readings of their scripts during LezPlay Weekend, which runs October 7-9 at the Hoover-Leppen Theatre of Center on Halsted in Chicago.
LezPlay enhances the visibility and advances the viability of women who write plays, screenplays, and teleplays in which lesbian characters and themes – past, present, and future – play a pivotal role.
Our finalists’ scripts elevate and celebrate dyke drama (and comedy), showcasing Sapphic-centric narratives that spoke loud and queer to our judges. These scripts will be presented as enhanced staged readings, complete with blocking, costuming, and design elements.
Meet the scripts and their scribes
Bold as Love by Geraldine Inoa (full-length play)
Best-selling novelist Vivienne throws a dinner party to charm Yasmin, an ingénue fresh off an Academy Award nomination, into starring in the movie adaptation of her novel. When Eleanor, Vivienne’s girlfriend, gets fired from her job, a night of chaos and disorder ensues. Truths come out from their closets, relationships are tested, and everyone must decide how bold they’ll be to secure the things they love.
Geraldine Inoa is a playwright and activist based in Brooklyn. She is a member of The Public Theater’s 2016-17 Emerging Writers Group. Her play Fragments was a finalist for The Lark’s 2015 Playwrights’ Week. She holds a B.A. from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study.
The Days Are Shorter by Corinne J. Kawecki (full-length play)
Julia believes that recovering her youth is the answer to all of her problems. She’s tried various ways, but her 53 years continue to dog her steps. We meet Julia in her crowded, disheveled bedroom. Many sleepless days and nights have taken her to the precipice of reality. Does Julia need to create a magical life in order to find her soul?
Corinne J. Kawecki has had her one-act plays produced across the country. Her play Short Expanse was a finalist in PFP’s Great Gay Play Contest in 2011. The Days Are Shorter and Free Radicals were semifinalists for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference in 2012 and 2013 respectively. Corinne’s latest full-length play, Civil Wars, received a staged reading at Chicago Dramatists in 2015 and will receive another reading in August. She is a Network Playwright at Chicago Dramatists and a member of the Dramatists Guild.
Fraying Live Wires Tend to Give Off Sparks by Lena Wilson (full-length play)
When college students Adela (straight, driven, a pragmatist) and Carter (gay, kind-hearted, a disaster) find themselves paired up as roommates during a summer in Manhattan, neither girl is completely sure how to act. Freshly laden with emotional baggage, the two spend the summer learning how to heal, how to move forward, and how to properly share a bottle of Pepsi.
Lena Wilson is a twenty-one-year-old graduate of Smith College, where she majored in film and gender studies. When not working retail, freelance writing about TV and film, or playing with her dog, Young Neil, Wilson strives to create worlds and roles for lesbians and otherwise marginalized persons. Fraying Live Wires Tend to Give Off Sparks is her first play.
To Bury a Stranger by Ann L. Gibbs and Judith Allen (short play)
A discreet lesbian couple in Topeka, Kansas, is enlisted to plan the funeral of their reclusive neighbor. While uncovering the details of her life, the couple learns the high price of living in the closet.
Ann L. Gibbs is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Writers Guild, Academy of TV Arts and Sciences, Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights (vice-chair), and Theatre West Repertory Company (Artistic Board). Ann lives with her first-time collaborator and partner of 26 years, Judith Allen, and their rescued terrier, Betty, in Valley Village, CA.
Judith Allen’s credits include plays and monologues presented at the 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival, Theatre West, and Write Act Repertory Theatre. Her plays, Secrets in the Clouds and Marty’s Bromance, are published by ArtAge Publications. She has also received an Honorable Mention in the Jane Chambers National Playwriting Competition. Judith is a member of At Rise: Playwrights, Theatre West, ALAP, and the Dramatists Guild.
Watch Me Burn by Rae Binstock (full-length play)
This is the story of Prometheus “Methe” Graham, a young black firefighter in Harlem who is determined to rely on herself and no one else. But as the heat rises, the stress of her mother’s recent death, her teenage sister’s rebellion, her captain’s doubts, and her community’s disapproval creates a psychic holocaust that threatens to consume her from within.
Rae Binstock was raised in Cambridge, MA, and graduated from Columbia University. Her plays have been produced by organizations such as March Forth Productions, The Fresh Fruit Festival in New York City, and Red Theater Chicago. She is the author of a web series entitled Rejected and Tapes from Jane Street, an upcoming serial podcast. Rae has also received an artistic residency from The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation.
The plays will be directed by some of Chicago’s brightest rising theater artists: Nora Lise Ulrey, Iris Sowlat, Ginneh Jolan, Cordie Nelson and Lexi Saunders.
- Friday, October 7 at 7 pm – Fraying Live Wires Tend to Give Off Sparks by Lena Wilson (directed by Nora Lise Ulrey)
- Saturday, October 8 at 1 pm – Watch Me Burn by Rae Brinstock (directed by Iris Sowlat)
- Saturday, October 8 at 7 pm – Bold as Love by Geraldine Inoa (directed by Ginneh Jolan)
- Sunday, October 9 at 11 am – To Bury a Stranger by Ann L. Gibbs and Judith Allen (directed by Cordie Nelson)
- Sunday, October 9 at 3 pm – The Days are Shorter by Corinne J. Kawecki (directed by Lexi Saunders)
All readings at the Hoover-Leppen Theatre in Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted, Chicago, IL 60613.
Admission is pay-what-you-can. $10 suggested donation. Reservations not required.
About the review process
Allison Fradkin, LezPlay’s Literary Manager, assembled a reading team of theatre, film, and television professionals who served as adjudicators for the contest, evaluating the entries for concept and originality, structure, plot, dialogue, character development, and lesbian content.
This year’s reading committee comprised:
- Alison Child & Rosie Wakley, Co-founders of Behind the Lines Theatre Company
- Ann Turiano, Director of Education & Literature for Iron Crow Theatre
- Barb Lhota, Playwright
- Cheril N. Clarke, Playwright
- Donna Hoke, Playwright
- Erin O’Shea, Artistic Director of Awkward Pause Theatre
- Georgette Verdin, Theatre Director + Co-Artistic Director of Interrobang Theatre Project
- Heather de Michele, Film + Television Director
- Heather McNama, Playwright + Screenwriter + Co-founder of Two Girls Unleashed
- Jasmina Sinanovic, Member of WOW Café Theatre Collective + Professor of Women’s Studies
- Jennifer Eve Thorn, Literary Manager + Associate Artistic Director of MOXIE Theatre
- Jenny McConnell Frederick, Co-Artistic Director of Rorschach Theatre
- Jewelle Gomez, Playwright
- Jezabel Montero, Filmmaker + Executive Producer of Fuacata Films
- Julia Starr, Playwright
- Kat Holmes, Filmmaker + Founder of Kat Life Films
- Kelly Frankenberg, Comedienne
- Kristin Idaszak, Playwright
- Laura K Henderson, Founder + Executive Producer of Queer Theatre Kalamazoo
- Lindsay Bartlette Allen, Founder + Artistic Director of Transcendent Ensemble Theatre Company
- Lisa Haas, Playwright + Screenwriter
- Looking for Lilith Theatre Season Selection Committee
- Louise Wadley, Filmmaker + Founder of Girls’ Own Pictures
- Maryanna Clarke, Founder + Artistic Director of Tennessee Women’s Theater Project
- Nancy Nyman, Playwright + Screenwriter + Co-founder of Two Girls Unleashed
- Rachel Edwards Harvith, Theatre Director + Associate Artistic Director of Chicago Dramatists
- Sabra Rice, Filmmaker + Co-founder of Hope Love Media
- Sara Robinson, Curator of Idle Muse Theatre Company’s Athena Festival
- Selina Fillinger, Playwright
- Shawntai G. Brown, Playwright + Performance Artist + Educator
- Stephani Booker, Monologist + Performance Poet
- Susana Darwin, Filmmaker
- Suzanne Guacci & Theresa Aquilina, Filmmakers + Co-founders of Aspire Productions
- Vanda, Playwright