JMPP’s Dyonisia ‘12 Imagines Apocalypse
The abrupt conclusion of the ancient Mayan calendar on Dec. 21 is the latest in a long line of apocalyptic threats foretold by doomsayers. The ancient Greeks who coined the term, literally referring to a revelation of the hidden, imagined several apocalypses punctuating different eras of man on earth. The 12 writers contributing to Dyonisia ’12 have imagined apocalypses as personal crises of faith, romantic crossroads, environmental threats, the dark side of social media and the everyday struggle just to survive.
Building on its inaugural festival which produced nine new works in one weekend last September, the Jason Miller Playwrights’ Project at Scranton Public Theatre will present 12 short plays commissioned from regional writers in two alternating programs of six plays each over two weekends this year. The festival opens on Sept. 20 and runs Thursdays at 7 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m. through Sept. 30 at The Olde Brick Theatre.
Plays were commissioned from two dozen one-page proposals received this summer. An assistant professor at The University of Scranton Hank Willenbrink is an internationally produced playwright. His one-woman play, “Universal Applicant,” features Kathryn Priestash as a young woman in examination of an annual birthday ritual. In Maureen McGuigan’s “Love or Rage, Anthem of the Apocalypse,” a trio of young people are haunted by the howls of stray dogs roaming the streets as they struggle to open an art gallery in a climate of economic recession. McGuigan is well-known in the community as the Deputy Director of Arts and Culture for Lackawanna County. She holds an M.F.A. in playwriting and has enjoyed close to a dozen productions of her work including two documentary films.
K.K. Gordon, Jack McGuigan, Jeff Boam and Mark Zdancewicz likewise boast numerous stage and/or film production credits in The 570. Kait Burrier studied theatre arts at Duquesne University and most recently as part of Wilkes University’s graduate program in creative writing and is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America. Her piece “Patient/Fx” envisions the Egyptian plagues in a landscape fraught by fracking. Amye Archer has previously specialized in non-fiction memoir and wrote her first stage play for Dyonisia ’12. Her mid-century piece “Surviving” finds a couple (Conor McGuigan and Maggie O’Brien) in conflict over what to pack during an evacuation, presumably to a bomb shelter following an atomic alert. Experienced fiction/poetry writers based in Luzerne County Charles O’Donnell, James M. Spock, and Dawn Zera are likewise making their stage debut.
A team of directors is working to stage the plays including Alicia Nordstrom, Sarah Regan, Mark Zdancewicz, Alicia Grega, and Scranton Public Theatre executive director Bob Shlesinger. Cast members include Nicole Lopez-Isa, Tim McDermott, Conor O’Brien, Kathryn Priestash, Maggie O’Brien, Alicia Nordstom, Kimmie Wraizen, Eric Lutz, Jer Tobin, Emily Thomas, David James Baker, Julie Ann Orzell, Pat McNichols, Kathleen Patrizi, Joe DeMuro, Ellen O’Brien, Dante Giammarco, Jeff Boam, Sarah Regan, and Conor McGuigan.
While none of the plays in Dyonisia ’12: Apocalypse are recommended for small children, Program B is suitable for most audiences. Program A is recommended for mature audiences only.
Program A: Art & Murder (Sept. 20, 22, 28, 30)
“Surviving” by Amye Archer
“Love or Rage, Anthem of the Apocalypse” by Maureen McGuigan
“I I I me me me I I I ” by Alicia Grega
“Universal Applicant” by Hank Willenbrink
“Love and the Apocalypse” by Mark Zdancewicz
“Looking for Love Before World War III” by James M. Spock
Program B: Religion & Sci-fi (Sept. 21,23,27,29)
“Contemporary Saints” by Dawn Zera
“The Last Time” by Charles O’Donnell
“The Operatives of Game Theory” by K.K. Gordon
“The Grotto” by Jack McGuigan
“Dead to the World” by Jeff Boam
“Patient/Fx” by Kait Burrier
Advance tickets can be purchased via www.SubVerseAphrodesia.com for $12.50 ea. or $24 for two; $36 for three; or $48 for four. Remaining tickets will be sold at the door on a pay what you can $10-15 sliding scale basis. For more information, email email@example.com or call 591-1378.
Among the actors, directors and playwrights working to present Dyonisia ‘12: Apocalypse are, back row from left: Hank Willenbrink, Ellen O’Brien, James M. Spock, Nicole Lopez-Isa, David James Baker. Front row, from left: Sarah Regan, Joe DeMuro, Jeff Boam, Kimmie Wraizen, Emily Thomas, Maureen McGuigan, Alicia Nordstrom, and Jack McGuigan.