Circle City New Play Fest

Written by Elise Lockwood

The Basics

3 days. 4 new plays. Staged readings. Playwrights from across the country. Indy actors. Indy audiences.

Playwrights are coming to Indy from across the country to develop their work. The audience is essential to the process at the first annual Circle City New Play Fest. A half hour before each staged reading, doors open for happy hour with the playwrights. After each reading, audiences are invited to stay for discussion and feedback.

From April 13-15 at Speak Easy Downtown, the Circle City New Play Fest will bring four playwrights’ works to life through staged readings and offer audience members a chance to be a part of the development process of new work. The Circle City New Play Fest is produced by Bo Frazier and KT Peterson in association with Storefront Theatre of Indianapolis and The Geeky Press.

The plays range in topic and style, featuring stories about the history of the slave trade, life in rural Ohio, even geology, but they all have one thing in common. “This festival features writers of color, women writers and LGBTQ+ themes,” says producer Bo Frazier, “New York City and Chicago live in a bubble, and it’s important to bring new works about diverse topics outside of that bubble.” Ronan Marra, Founder/Artistic Director of Storefront Theatre of Indianapolis was eager for his theatre company to become involved with the festival. “It’s important for new plays to get a workshop or two in their earlier stages. It’s even more important for plays by women and writers of color to get way more visibility,” says Marra.

Audience members are also an important part of the process – before each reading, they will be able to meet the playwright in a happy hour setting, and after the reading, they will be invited to discuss what they saw. Says Frazier, “As a theatre maker, workshopping and staged readings are probably my favorite part of the process. What is more exciting in the arts than people getting together to see a piece that has never been staged before and gathering round to talk about creative ideas?”

Although there are opportunities for local playwrights to have scripts developed, like The Geeky Press’s very own Scripted, Circle City New Play Fest was a chance to involve playwrights on a national level.

Festival Schedule

Thursday, April 13 at 7pm – The Daughters of the Moon by Reginald Edmund
Friday, April 14 at 7pm – Spineless by Elise Lockwood
Saturday, April 15 at 4pm – Time and Sarah by Merri Biechler
Saturday, April 15 at 7pm – Tectonic Mélange by Deborah Yarchun

$10 ticket gets you admission + a drink
Buy tickets here!

All performances at Speak Easy Downtown, 47 S. Meridian.

About the Plays and Playwrights

The Daughters of the Moon by Reginald Edmund

It starts with the sound of a drum. Or a racing, beating heart. From the first moment, Reginald Edmund’s play ushers the audience into the world of Mawu, or Gleti, or Khonsu, or Yemaya. By any name, she is the goddess of the moon. She narrates a story of love, of suffering, of sacrifice, of slavery. She tells us about two women, united by unimaginable cruelty, desperately trying to forge a better future. Don’t forget, Mawu tells us. And we won’t.

Reginald Edmund is a resident playwright of Chicago Dramatists, and Managing Curating Producer of Black Lives, Black Words International Project. He was previously a 2009-2010, 2010-2011 Many Voices Fellow playwright. Originally from Houston, Texas, he served Artistic Director for the Silver House Theatre, as well as the founder and producer for the Silver House Playwrights Festival and the Houston Urban Theatre Series. Reggie was the inaugural recipient of the Kennedy Center Fellowship at Soul Mountain Retreat as well as the 2009 National Runner-up for the Lorraine Hansberry and Rosa Parks Playwriting Award, and most recently winner of an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award for his play ‘SouthBridge’. He received his BFA in Theatre-Performance from Texas Southern University, and his MFA in playwriting at Ohio University under the guidance of Charles Smith.

Spineless by Elise Lockwood

It’s called The Wasting – the mass extinction of sea stars sweeping up the Pacific coast has hit Washington. Casey decides to join the group of citizen scientists helping to gather data about the disease. It’s not about the fact that their ex-girlfriend is in charge of the study. Or even about avoiding their mother who’s suddenly back in town. It’s not even about how, day to day, hour to hour, Casey struggles to figure out who they are. Well, it might be a little about that. But mostly it’s about saving the sea stars. Right?

Elise Lockwood is currently finishing her master’s in Emerging Media Design and Development at Ball State University. She is a partner with The Geeky Press and the host of Scripted, a monthly reading series featuring new works by local playwrights. Elise’s short play Snatch and Release was published in The Best Ten-Minute Plays of 2016. She was the recipient of the Chad Kostel Memorial Writing Award and the Barbara Petty Theatre Award from DePauw University.






Time and Sarah by Merri Biechler

Tim and Sarah are outsiders. They may have moved into the old farmhouse in the holler, but in southeast Ohio, in the Appalachians, they are still strangers. Tim is desperate to win over the community so he can complete his scholarly magnum opus – collecting all twenty squares of the Appalachian Lost Memory Quilt. Sarah is not so sure, about winning over the community or what she wants from life. Merri Biechler’s play, inspired by true events, asks what it means to become part of a community. And it also asks what we give up when we do so.

Merri Biechler is a playwright, actor, educator, and the Managing Director of Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble, a professional theater company located in Southeast Ohio. She is the recipient of a 2014 Boomerang Fund for Artists award. Her plays include Tammy Faye’s Final Audition, Occupation, An Appalachian Christmas Carol, and Real Girls Can’t Win. She received her MFA in playwriting from Ohio University.






Tectonic Mélange by Deborah Yarchun

Tara is a petroleum geologist. She’s scouting areas for possible oil, trying to find overlooked areas where companies will want to drill. That’s how Tara meets Liz, Andy, and the other hundred or so residents of Whisper, North Dakota. Oil money could change their lives. It could reopen the school, buy a new fire truck… or, possibly, ruin everything. As Tara gets closer to the people in Whisper and closer to the possibility of drilling there, the difference between what’s right and what isn’t wrong becomes all the more important.

Deborah Yarchun is a NYC-based playwright. Her plays have been developed at Ensemble Studio Theatre, The New Harmony Project, Jewish Plays Project’s OPEN: The Festival of New Jewish Theater, The Great Plains Theater Conference, Jewish Ensemble Theater, Red Eye Theater, Poetic Theater Productions, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, WordBRIDGE, and Workhouse Theater Company, and produced at Fusion Theatre, Theater Master’s National MFA Playwrights Festival, EstroGenius Festival, the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, The Samuel French Off Off Broadway Festival, and at Playwrights Horizons’ Peter Jay Sharp Theater by Young Playwrights Inc. Deborah’s honors include two Jerome Fellowships at The Playwrights’ Center, an EST/Sloan Commission, The Kennedy Center’s Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award, the Kernodle New Play Award, a Tennessee Williams Scholarship, University of Iowa’s Richard Maibaum Playwriting Award, and the Iowa Arts Fellowship. She was the Dorit & Gerald Paul Artist in Residence at Indiana University for Spring 2016.  M.F.A., University of Iowa.

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This newsletter is the outgrowth of The Downtown Writers Jam podcast. What that means is I will collect information about the authors I interview, book happenings around the Web, and other literary events that I find interesting. Without you, I'm just a crazy guy sitting in his office furiously screaming on the page for no reason.
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