A Decade of WordBRIDGE! The 2003 call for scripts brought more scripts for consideration than any previous lab from which six full length plays were selected. Casting brought 36 returning Guest Artists and five newcomers. The Staff included 2 returning Eckerd College students, 3 WordBRIDGE and Eckerd College alumni and 1 professional stage manager. The final WordBRIDGE lab at Eckerd College celebrated a Decade of Playwrights at the Tribute to Playwrights with Singer Storyteller Bill Harley followed by a Jam session featuring our company’s professional musicians. The Tribute also recognized the innumerable hosts, volunteers, supporters and local and national guest artists who have participated in the First Decade of WordBRIDGE.
First House of Neptune , Basil Kreimendahl
Thin Skin , Stacey Parshall
Searching , Cynthia Weiss Asher
Leap , Lauren Gunderson
Ain’t Nothin’ Quick ‘n Easy , Dave White
Another Dead Soldier , Philip Pardi
2003 Plays & Playwrights
I’m a 36 year old Mixed Blood emerging playwright and novelist. I’m Native, Black, French Canadian and Latina. I am also the single mom of an amazing 10 year old daughter. I have been writing for almost three years, and am currently completing a MFA in creative writing at Hamline University in St. Paul. This is also my second year as a Many Voices Resident, a fellowship for playwrights of color at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis. Prior to diving into the literary field, I was a counselor working with women and children. My first masters is a Masters of Liberal Studies in Interdisciplinary Child Social Policy.
I work full time as the office manager and event coordinator at the Playwrights’ Center. THIN SKIN is my first play, the story I needed to tell, dreamt of exploring, and am so grateful for the opportunity to develop. In my life, I carve out a precious hour a day to dance with the page, so WordBRIDGE is truly a gift. I consider myself a vibrant, passionate writer, telling my stories with the beat, rhythm and heart of all my cultures.
When a young COC, chick of color, is granted her desperate wish and wakes the next morning White, she is forced through her loss of color to find the value of her colors.
CC is a young COC, chick of color. She is Mixed Blood. She is about to be married to MARK, a White man. As their wedding plans are coming together, they have received disapproval and even disgust from their families. The strongest opposing force in her life is her mother, SHIRLEY, who is Black, and like everyone, has her own insight that guides her actions, and her discriminations. After being told to call off the wedding, in a moment of despair, CC mutters a wish. She is granted it by the powers of a homeless woman. CC wakes the next morning, White. With MAGGIE’S magic, and a painful look at her past, CC is forced thru her loss of color to find the value of her color. She must also come to terms with the relationship she has with her mother.
Born in Decatur, GA and member of Atlanta theatre community since age 11, Lauren is currently a junior at Emory University. The Essential Theatre, Horizon Theatre, Portland Center Stage, NFAA, New York 15-minute Play Festival, Theatre Emory, and Young Playwrights Inc. NYC are some who have recognized her work.. She has a fabulous younger sister, great parents, and a lovely dog. She loves reading, running, cooking, and physics.
is based on the history and science of Sir Isaac Newton. Isaac was only 24 and a underclassman at Trinity College when he began laying the foundation for every theory he is currently accredited. This two year period, called his “Miracle Years” when he was basically a hermit. He studied til 5am and read voraciously in Latin and English until creating Calculus, Celestial Mechanics, Optics, Laws of Color, and the foundations for the Principia Mathematica. This is where LEAP starts. I took this notion of Isaac’s intense creativity and added circumstance in the form of fantasy. The two young sisters are essentially allegories of his right brain and his childishness; both aspects of creativity I find essential.
I was born in New York City, but grew up in a number of different places – the south of England, the suburbs of New Jersey, and Paris, France. Eventually I went to Boston to attend Tufts University, where I studied philosophy and fell in love with writing. After graduating, I worked as a human rights activist in El Salvador for several years, and then returned to work as a labor organizer in New York ’s Hudson Valley. My work involved working with migrant farmworkers, mostly from Mexico, and supporting them in efforts to improve working and housing conditions.
I was also writing all this time (both poetry and plays) and thus trying my best to work part-time. An impossible task! Still, I managed to write a few plays that were produced in Albany, NY, and New York City. Recent theater projects include a translation of Mario Benedetti’s play Pedro y el Capitan (Peter and the Captain ), about political repression and torture in Uruguay.
Since August, 2000, I’ve been at the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin, where I’M pursuing an MFA in poetry and playwriting.
Also since 2000, I’ve been a dad, and on days when my writing doesn’t go so well, I can content myself with having read aloud an excellent rendition of Dr. Seuss or having assembled one heck of a train-set.
ANOTHER DEAD SOLDIER
In a small, South American village once ravaged by war, a dead soldier appears on the side of the road. He is tall, blond, and brings with him his own demons. During the course of the play, a vulture befriends the audience and it becomes clear that this soldier isn’t even from the same war. But his arrival forces villagers and soldiers alike to confront the past and to reconsider the future, a future that some, with all their heart, have been trying to forestall.
Known to most simply as Dave, hails from an undisclosed location in southwest Missouri. He completed his B.A. at New College in Sarasota, FL, his MA at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, and is currently beating his head against Ph.D. coursework at the University of Missouri – Columbia. In the past year he has written a trilogy of plays about the fictional town of Last Chance, Missouri, and is currently working on a fourth play for the trilogy: a bastard play, if you will.
Dave shares his home with a cat, named Chenny, and a record collection that has, for all practical purposes, gotten out of control. Sailing, canoeing, hiking, dancing, reading and rattlesnake hunting are all ways in which Dave has occupied his time in the past (when he actually had extra time to occupy).
AIN’T NOTHIN’ QUICK ‘N EASY
is set in an old store near Last Chance, MO. The play is about the interactions of a group of individuals that regularly patronize this local gathering spot. The store is a dinosaur in the modern world of convenience, but many of the regulars think of it as a second home. AIN’T NOTHIN’ QUICK ‘N EASY explores the ravages of consumerism on a small town business in the Ozark Mountains.
Cynthia Weiss Asher
Playwriting is a decades-old aspiration of Cynthia’s. The initial effort, at age twenty, was abandoned in deference to a more “practical” career path. A second false start, at age thirty, was waylaid by fear: during a playwriting workshop, an unexpected offer to professionally develop something she wrote prompted her to run home, throw-up, and get pregnant (in that order). A dozen years later, WordBRIDGE represents the fruits of her subsequent attempt – perhaps substantiating the adage, “third time’s a charm.”
Having spent her formative years in L.A. (an original Valley Girl before Moon Unit Zappa’s song made them famous) she has now landed — by way of Boston, New York City, and Seattle — in rural Pomfret, Vermont, population 900. A short commute across the New Hampshire border is Dartmouth College, where she is completing her master’s degree in liberal studies, with a concentration in playwriting. She is also a poet.
Cynthia would like to thank her husband Benjamin, daughter Kamyn, and son Tobin for providing tremendous support. Without their encouragement and understanding, the dream of attending WordBRIDGE would never have become a reality.
Philosopher Martin Buber once said, “Between seeking and finding lies the tension of human life.” SEARCHING explores the timeless theme its title implies by juxtaposing scenes from a contemporary wedding in the “realistic” world with folktales from the transcendent place where myths reside. The folktales in SEARCHING were derived from the Jewish tradition, dating back to 300 A.D. Their original audiences assumed natural many things modern culture considers supernatural: demons, clairvoyants, reincarnation, and karmic debt.
I was born in Massachusetts in the year that Mt. St. Helen ’s erupted, 1980. When I was nine years old, my Father was charged with manslaughter, so my Mother and I hightailed it to Florida where we lived with my Grandparents until I was twelve. That year my Father returned to live with us after his case was thrown out because of it’s ridiculousness. At the age of fourteen I dropped out of school after a brief holiday in a rehab center. Lying about having a GED I worked full time. Ironically, I worked making school lunch pizzas for all the students in neighboring high schools.
I received my GED when I turned 18 and immediately went to college. At the end of my nineteenth year I had written my first play, and off I went in a greyhound headed for Atlanta. I lived in a small theatre for the summer to participate in the production of my play. This was my first time setting foot into a theatre, the first play I’d ever seen live, and the first time I worked in theatre. I ended up having two shorts produced in Atlanta that year. The Theatre Company also gave me “The John Waters Writers Award”.
I returned to Florida twenty years old and with a new purpose get produced. Following around a local producer for a few nights during one of her productions, she started to give me little jobs here and there. My first job “Tell those people down stairs to be quiet!” led to more. She allowed me to work off the cost of a playwriting workshop with the infamous Bruce Rodgers. I told her over an after-rehearsal dinner that she would be the one to produce my next play, she quickly retorted “I don’t think so!” The next summer she produced my third short. After that short was produced in Tampa, my first full-length play was included in a staged reading in Sarasota. Following this reading I turned twenty-one and my drug and alcohol addiction led me to an amazing fellowship and a new understanding that has been a real sobering experience. The concepts for The First House of Neptune have come from some of the experiences I’ve had with this fellowship.
THE FIRST HOUSE OF NEPTUNE
Tainted with self-delusion a family of four tries to “help” each other to see the light of acceptance. Eleven-year-old Thomas is known for his tall tales. His over concerned mother Linda has him in therapy with the experienced and discontent child therapist Dr. Fortier. Linda attempts to care for her aging mother and assist in de-programming her fanatical Christian sister Gloria. Wrought with Gloria does her best to convince her family of the importance of having her God in their lives. Lucy struggles with getting older and her ever-dwindling independence. Aided by her long time friend Cookie, she tries to make sense of it all, and help both her daughters to see the error of their ways. Thomas, who is caught up in the middle of all the drama his family creates, is blessed with intelligence and the clarity to see the situation for what it really is.