Polarity Ensemble Theatre congratulates Keith Anwar, winner of the 2010 Dionysos Cup Festival of New Plays. The festival featured staged readings of four new full-length works from May 13 to May 23.
The plays included: Kabulitis by Keith Anwar. Director: Laura Sturm. Dramaturg: Ann Keen. Death and Devils by G. Riley Mills. Director: Darren Callahan. Dramaturg: Kaily Anderson. Fertile Lies by Jaimie-Lee Wise. Director: Brea Hayes. Dramaturg: Richard Engling. What Makes the Buddha Smile by Jay Koepke. Director: Sean Kelly. Dramaturg: Jamie Bragg. Production managers: Lauren Cerkiewicz and Jamie Bragg.
We model the festival after the City Dionysia, the ancient Greek festival that honored the god Dionysos with new drama. Like the original, this festival is a competition, with the audience deciding who receives the Dionysos Cup.
About the plays.
| The four scripts were performed twice over two weekends in polished stage readings to bring out the best qualities of the scripts.
The selected playwrights received two initial critiques in early February followed by time and support in revising their scripts before rehearsals began for the staged readings. The staged readings were followed by open discussions that will provided the playwrights with feedback from the cast, crew and a live audience. Some playwrights revised their scripts again before the second reading. Participating playwrights have hailed the Dionysos Cup as one of the most valuable script development processes of its kind.
About the Plays
G. Riley Mills’ Death & Devils is the true story of an early 20th century medical charlatan John R. Brinkley, who made a bid for Kansas State governor and made millions during the Great Depression claiming he could cure nearly any disease with a mysterious process called gland rejuvenation. Having commonalities with tales such as All The King’s Men or Citizen Kane, it’s a classic fall-from-grace story starring Kevin Stark, Kaela Altman, Turk Miller, and Ryan Ben and directed by Darren Callahan (The White Airplane and Horror Academy.)
Keith Anwar’s Kabulitis presents a unique perspective on the Afghanistan refugee experience. Mildred Azad--plagued by a past she can't forget and a present she can't remember--resists the ravages of Alzheimer's disease as she struggles with bitter memories of her fight for women's rights in Afghanistan six decades earlier. Facing the last big battle of her life, Mildred decides to unveil the truth. Will it set her free? Laura Sturm (director of Polarity's The Rivals and Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire) directs.
Fertile Lies by Jaimie-Lee Wise, directed by Brea Hayes, is a stylish thriller about the food industry with a taste of X-Files action. Scientist Angelina Pellegrini's "smart-seed" can end world hunger, but only if a bio-technology corporation, a hypnotherapist with delusions of grandeur, the Department of Farmland Security, and a family of farmers on a mission from God, don't steal it first.
Jay Koepke’s What Makes The Buddha Smile, directed by Sean Kelly: Inez is cut down in the prime of life. Disoriented and unsure of her circumstances, Inez is forced to grapple with the confusion of death not being the end, the pain of watching her partner Lorraine begin to take steps to move on, and, ultimately, with navigating the hazards of reincarnation. She finds a guide in the fledgling bodhisattva Ferdinand and companionship in Tsong, a father who will do anything to be reunited with his daughter. Dealing with themes of death and rebirth, loving and letting go, betrayal and self-sacrifice, guilt and the consequences of actions, What Makes the Buddha Smile? follows a woman on a surprising and unanticipated journey.
The Dionysos Cup is in keeping with our mission to develop new work. The 'Polarity' in our name refers to the poles of the classic and the brand new. We will always be in the business of developing new homegrown scripts and bringing them to the stage. Another Polarity is in bringing works to both the stage and the page. Polarity has published two volumes of plays to date.
Polarity Ensemble Theatre is a member of the League of Chicago Theatres.