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Saturday, May 4, 2013

BTM XV: The Warm-Up Laps Saturday, May 11

Steven Barkhimer
12 p.m.
Windowmen by Steven Barkhimer
Sponsored by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Directed by Brett Marks  

In 1981, Stevie is just out of college with a degree in philosophy and finds himself working – where else? – at the fish market beneath the Brooklyn Bridge with tough streetwise salesmen. He is the junior co-worker to Joe, and they man their stations at a window where they must record sales and handle thousands of dollars in cash at lightning speed. Despite their very different backgrounds, Steve and Joe develop a friendship, but Steve soon finds himself complicit in a scheme that robs the company, a scheme that is coming under intensified scrutiny by Leo, the flinty no-nonsense boss. When push comes to shove and the situation becomes dangerous, possibly even life-threatening, Stevie is treated to some challenging lessons about friendship, loyalty, honesty, and negotiating the complexities of adult life.

What inspired this piece?
The story was inspired, to tell the truth, by desperation. I had exercised myself on plays about historical figures, skits about surreal situations, experiments with heightened language or extended silences, and a host of other things. But one day I found myself at a loss to generate a scene for a playwriting class. Alas, I had no recourse but to do what we are often advised to do: Write What You Know. And I certainly knew some characters at one of my very first jobs after college, which was – you got it – at the fish market in lower Manhattan. The area had not yet been sanitized and midtown was on the eve of Disneyfication. I encountered characters who could be caricatures but weren’t! Every day I could say, with Sir Andrew Aguecheek, “if this were play’d upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.” Indeed, my favorite things in the play are things I don’t believe I could have made up.

STEVEN BARKHIMER is a Boston-based writer, director, actor, musician and instructor, and a graduate of the playwriting program at Boston University. Plays: Blood Rose Rising (Davis Square Theatre, Somerville MA); A Hard Rain (Best Short Play of 2009, Cauble Award, American College Theatre Festival): Windowmen (Artist Fellowship Award for Playwriting, 2011, Massachusetts Cultural Council). Recent directing credits include The Merry Wives of Windsor (Actors Shakespeare Project); Fully Committed (Elliot Norton Award, Best Solo Performance); The Compleat Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) (Elliot Norton Award, Best Fringe Production, Orfeo Group). A member of the Resident Acting Company, Actors Shakespeare Project, he has appeared at the Lyric Stage Company, New Repertory Theatre, Stoneham Theatre, Gloucester Stage Company, Boston Playwrights Theatre, Underground Railway Theatre, Nora Theatre, Zeitgeist Stage. Author of a collection of original songs; scoring and performances for Twelfth Night, The Beard of Avon, Troilus and Cressida, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Has taught writing, mathematics, literature, philosophy, history, acting, and drama at Boston University, Worcester State College, Cambridge College, Huntington Theatre, and the China Institute at the University of Massachusetts.

Miranda Craigwell
2 p.m.
Shelter by Miranda Craigwell
Sponsored by Huntington Theatre Company
Directed by M. Bevin O'Gara

A dark Louisiana fugue that stretches from antebellum days to post-Katrina, Shelter chronicles the stories of a handful of souls stranded in the Superdome. What future is possible if we can’t make sense of the past? Lies splinter the truth for which these souls search while everywhere, the water keeps rising.

What inspired this piece?
During hurricane Katrina I was in a Chicago hotel room watching Oprah’s special on the aftermath. It took place in the Superdome and I was struck by the fact that natural disasters are societal equalizers.  Everyone is suddenly on the same page. That idea was the springboard for Shelter, and when I took a tour of Sugar Cane plantation in New Orleans the history of the place became immediately relevant to the national response to Katrina. The intimations were too pronounced to ignore.

MIRANDA CRAIGWELL is excited to be a part of the Boston Theater Marathon! Miranda is a local playwright and actress. As an actress she has worked with Company One, The Huntington Theatre, New Repertory Theatre, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Zero Point Theatre and Our Pace theatre. In 2010 she received the Huntington Theatre playwriting fellowship and most recently had the pleasure of writing for Whistler in the Dark Theatre. Miranda is a writer, actress and director for Beyond MEASURE Production company.

Deirdre Girard
4 p.m.
Widows Walk by Deirdre Girard
Sponsored by Company One
Directed by Victoria Marsh

Maddie, Claire, Marie and Sherry are unexpectedly able to realize their dream of opening a cafe together in their small town – but their plans begin to unravel when the secret that brought them together resurfaces to threaten their business, their friendship, even their freedom. Widows Walk questions how far we would go to support a friend and whether friendships can survive when our most fundamental beliefs are in conflict.

What inspired this piece?
Widows Walk was inspired by the very close knit community of women in the seaside town of Newburyport. One day I was speaking with two of the local female actors and they were telling me how difficult it is to find a play to produce that has multiple meaty roles for middle aged women. On the spot I was determined to write plays for all the non-ingenue aged women out there who wanted to act, as well as for those who wanted to see plays that spoke with truth about their life experiences. Within a few months I wrote Widows Walk, but also found my voice as a playwright: my passion, my focus, my best work is all about creating strong, complex female characters for the stage. This play is dedicated to the loving and supportive greater Newburyport community in which the play is set, and with gratitude to the generous -- women who support women” -- in theater, all of whom encouraged me in the play’s development and helped me believe in my own voice:  Kate Snodgrass, Melinda Lopez, and Bridget O’Leary.

DEIRDRE GIRARD recently completed her MFA in Playwriting at Boston University after selling her Inc. 500 marketing firm. She has had many short plays produced at festivals throughout New England in the last few years including The Boston Theater Marathon, SlamBoston, Kennedy Center American College Festival, New Works Festival at the Firehouse Center for the Arts, and Turtle Lane Playhouse Winter Festival. In 2011 her full-length play, The Christina Experiment, was produced at The Firehouse Center for the Arts. Deirdre is currently a 2012/2013 Playwriting Fellow at New Repertory Theatre, a member of the national new play network, where she is developing a new play: Reconsidering Hanna(h). Most recently, her play Widow’s Walk was selected for a reading by the Monroe Center for the Arts, directed by Melinda Lopez; Direct Line was selected for Image Theater’s Fem Noire Festival; and The Christina Experiment was selected for Stony Brook University’s Rogue Reading Series. In addition to playwriting skills, she contributes her extensive business and marketing expertise to several Boston area theater organizations, including ArtsEmerson (member of Founder’s Advisory Council), Massachusetts Young Playwright’s Project (visiting playwright), and the Society for the Development of Arts and Humanities (past member of the executive board of directors as well as interim director for their 200 seat theater). Deirdre is the co-owner of TideTaken Playwriting Collaborative which owns and operates a 50 seat rehearsal studio made available free of charge to nonprofit theaters.

The Warm-Up Laps are presented in collaboration with The Boston Center for the Arts and their resident theatres in the Deane Rehearsal Hall at the Calderwood Pavillion and are free and open to the public. Please join us and support the development of new work and...we hope you’ll join us on Sunday, May 12 for Boston Theater Marathon XV! Click here for tickets and event details. See you there!

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