Playwright Nancy Gall-Clayton


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Describing itself as a “rival” to the Humana Festival of New American Plays, Kentucky Playwrights Workshop, a non-profit devoted to providing opportunities for Kentucky playwrights to have their work seen and appreciated in Kentucky is debuting eight new plays in Louisville this month. Three one act plays by Kentucky playwrights will debut at The Bard’s Town Theatre, 1801 Bardstown Road on August 12-14, and on August 24, the Kentucky New Play Series will debut five more new plays at the Kentucky State Fair.

The one act plays to be presented at the Bard’s Town were commissioned by KPW in the fall of 2014. To be presented under the title “The Day After: Three Plays by Kentucky Playwrights”, these 30 minute plays are as different as the playwrights who wrote them: Richard Cavendish (Richmond), Nancy Gall-Clayton (Louisville) and George McGee (Georgetown).

The Kentucky New Play Series, now in its fourth season at the Kentucky State Fair, will be presented at 7:00 pm on August 24 on the Performing Arts Stage in the North Wing of the Fair and Exposition Center. All who pay admission to the Fair may see the KNPS plays for free. Of this year’s five winning female playwrights several have had multiple plays produced and one, A. K. Forbes, has been a finalist for the Heideman Award at Actors Theatre of Louisville.

“The Day After” playwrights were given commissions based upon having had plays produced as part of the Kentucky New Play Series. The commissioned playwrights, all members of the Dramatists Guild of America (DGA), were paid a commissioning fee totaling $350, given access to and the assistance of a dramaturg, Bo List, two readings of their works in progress (one closed to the public, the other open) and a production.

“We have a small organization, a small budget,” said KPW president Bill McCann—himself a playwright and DGA member. “However, we feel that it is important that playwrights be paid, not just ‘honored’ for their contributions to theatre. Beyond that,” McCann continued, “we wanted to not only ask playwrights to write, we wanted to provide them with ‘help.’ So, Bo List, who is also a playwright and a DGA member, was hired to provide feedback and assistance to the playwrights. Beyond that he organized the readings and conducted the feedback sessions after each one.”

Richard Cavendish’s play, The Two Villages, is a thirty-minute drama centering upon an evening in the life of Kentucky painter Paul Sawyier.

Nancy Gall-Clayton, Kentucky’s regional representative to the DGA, wrote the play, The Landscape of Tomorrow, about high school seniors Jewell and Rick who have very different backgrounds but believe they have a future together. However, when they think Jewell is pregnant, Rick does something that can’t be undone. Told in reverse chronology, this play explores young love, time, and family.

George J. McGee whose play Something Must Be Done a farce in which a retiree, ‘surfing the net’, finds himself on a US Government Surplus auction web site. Before he is quite sure of what he is doing, he discovers that he has won the auction.

The plays to be presented at the Kentucky State Fair as part of the Kentucky New Play Series were all written by women playwrights from Ashland, Flatwoods, Fort Thomas, and Russell Springs, Kentucky. Topics of the plays range from laundry to zombies. About the only thing common to all the works is that they are comedies that will all be presented on the same day, August 24, on the Performing Arts Stage at the Kentucky State Fair beginning at 7:00.

Tammy Brady, is the author of, Rose Upon a White Gait. Her short play is about Rose, who is seeking help in a bad part of town; she is a middle-aged naïve woman encounters a brusque man wearing a white tux with no shoes. He is intrigued by her unwarranted trust in him.

Sarah Diamond Burroway’s Washday is a short play about the love-hate relationship we have with the laundry in our lives.

Flight Path, by A. K. Forbes (Ft. Thomas), is about a nervous infrequent flyer and a jaded business traveler make a brief, humorous–and yet human–connection aboard a commercial jet.

Jennifer Johnson (Ashland) is author of Zombie Love, in which Miranda believes in eternal love, and she’s willing to give her heart to a zombie to prove it. Not literally give it to him–that would just be gross.

Stephanie Porter (Russell Springs) authored the play, Namaste, which takes place during a yoga class where the family matriarch defends her aging husband from the protection of their overzealous son.

The five plays selected for 2015 join plays by Kentucky playwrights from across the state in having their premieres at the Kentucky State Fair. Since 2012, fifteen playwrights have had sixteen plays produced as part of the Kentucky New Play Series. So far playwrights produced have come from Ashland, Corinth, Danville, Flatwoods, Ft. Thomas, Georgetown, Lexington, Louisville, Morehead, Richmond, Russell Springs and Winchester.

Kentucky Playwrights Workshop, Inc. founded in 2009, is a 501(c)3 non-profit. KPW advocates for and provides opportunities for Kentucky playwrights by holding contests, conducting playwright conferences and commissioning new works.

The Day After: Three Plays by Kentucky Playwrights

August 12-16 @ 7:30 pm

Admission is $18 at the door, $16 in advance.

The Bard’s Town
1801 Bardstown Road
Louisville, KY 40205 

The Kentucky New Play Series

August 24 @ 7:00pm

Kentucky State Fair
Performing Arts Stage

Admission to the Performing Arts Stage is free with admission to the Fair