Monday, October 31, 2011

Women of Appalachia Project presents "Women Speak Autumn"

A celebration of female literary and performing artists

ARTS/West, 132 W. State St. is pleased to announce that on November 4, at 6 p.m. the Women of Appalachia Project will present "Women Speak, Autumn 2011!", an evening of story, poetry and song, in the ARTS/West performance space. The event is the fifth presentation of spoken artistry, presented by the WOAP, created and performed by women of all ages living in Southeast Ohio.

This fall's event highlights the work of nine writers and musicians from Athens, Meigs and Hocking counties, offering a variety of topics inspired by real life issues. Founder/curator of the project, Kari Gunter-Seymour points out that women naturally come to each other to share experiences and dreams, building strong connections and communities. "Spoken art gives the listener an immediate experience - first we react to the sounds sliding in and out and across our senses, then just as quickly, we connect with the content of the imagery the artist has chosen to share with us."

"Women Speak" encourages regional female artists to address the way in which living in this region of Appalachia has influenced their lives and therefore their art. Local teen pianist Maya Sattler, says, "My teacher, Linda Lucasik and other regional musicians and groups have greatly affected my varied taste in music, especially my interest in indie rock, folk music, and other genres with a similar lack of recognition from mainstream media. My piece was written for the joy of the music and the subversion of typical form rather than any abstruse meaning or deliberate plan."

Veteran performers Wendy McVicker and Cathy Cultice Lentes share their personal experiences of life-changing events during an Athens County flood and the tornado that hit Xenia, Ohio. Poet Joyce Richardson quips, "I am now writing a series of poems about the members of my family: saints and sinners. Uncle John is one of the sinners."

When speaking of her piece Arab Summer Rural Athens, Ohio, Ellie DeLaval Davis says, "I read of individuals in the midst of revolutions, fighting for human rights. In my own world I faced the most violent electrical storms of my life." Young mother and poet, Cathy Lee says, "I sat entranced watching remembrances on television of 9-11 on its tenth anniversary, this one man's voice echoing in my head at night. This poem is my attempt to put his voice with the whole picture, including my hope for healing."

Dancer, singer, knitter and poet, Sherri Saines says "As a victim of more than one passion, I end up using one to explain the other. Someday I will dance my love of poetry, and probably knit about singing,"

Essayist Becky Code explores, "the relationship between tears, society, and self-identity against the backdrop of the empty-nest syndrome."

The presentation is scheduled from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m, with a reception immediately following. ARTS/West is located at 132 West State Street in Athens, Ohio 45701. Call 740.592.4315 for directions or questions about the facility. Donations in support ARTS/West will be accepted at the door, but not required.

For more information about "Women Speak, Autumn, 2011, go to

Monday, October 24, 2011

Scare-o-Rama Movie Night at ARTS/West

Scare-o-Rama Movie night comes to ARTS/West, 132 W. State Street, Athens, OH on October 28, 2011 at 7:00pm.

Get your scare on with a double feature! Starting at 7:00pm will will screen THE FLY followed by YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN.

First, we present the 1958 horror classic THE FLY staring Vincent Price and Patricia Owens. "Help me!"

We will follow that up with the 1974 comedy YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN staring Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman and Peter Boyle as THE MONSTER. "I am not a Frankenstein. I'm a Fronkensteen."

Costumes are encouraged! Floating judges will be roaming the crowd and will award what they think are the best costumes a token for Saturday's Halloween ScabMart at Art Apocalypse Now!

Tickets are $8 for household, $5 general admission, and $2 for ARTS/West members.

Film nights are sponsored by The Athens Foundation. Proceeds go to support ARTS/West operations.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"Happy Days"

Samuel Beckett's Happy Days - theatre to tickle your gray cells as well as your funny bone - will have four performances on October 20th, 21st and 22nd at 8:00 pm, with a Sunday 23rd matinee at 2:30 pm. Produced by award-winning actor/director Lyrr Descy and theatre veteran Ron Luce as part of the ARTS/West Presents series.

In Happy Days, Beckett explores with comic irony and pathos those aspects of the human condition informed by our essential isolation as individuals even within relationships; by the rituals to which we resort to give shape and meaning to our daily lives, the importance we place on structured time, the objects we use to trigger the memories on which our sense of identity depend, and the struggle to make sense of, and see order in, a perverse and chaotic universe. And still, as Beckett intimated, to go down singing... Award-winning actor/director Lyrr Descy reprises her role as Winnie in this rare Athens production of a Beckett classic. Come experience life through the senses and memories of the indomitable and ever optimistic Winnie-- and her Willie played by Athens theatre veteran Ron Luce.

Happy Days, 10/20/11-10/22/11 at 8:00pm, 10/23/11 at 2:30pm.
$10 general admission
$7 students and groups of 10 or more
Free ARTS/West members

Monday, October 03, 2011

Humble Play 2011: who, what, where, and when!

The 2011 Humble Play: New Play Festival of Appalachian Ohio is fast approching. Celebrate new plays with us 10/6-10/9!

This year it is our honor to dedicate the festival to W. R. Smiddie- Mr. Smiddie was instrumental in the birth of the play festival. Local playwright, potter, activist, and dear friend we will honor his memory by celebrating the birth of new plays in his name. He was loved and admired for his folk pottery adorned with flowers, his plays that combined imaginative humor with strong social justice messages, and his tireless political activism on behalf of those without. No matter how difficult the odds were against his convictions, he lived with the philosophy, "Never give up."

We are excited to bring in guest playwright Raymond Hardie who will attend the readings and moderate the audience talk-back sessions after each reading!

  • 10/6/11, 7:00pm- The Charity Fish Fry Tinikling Show by K. Biadaszkiewicz
  • 10/7/11, 7:00pm- What Ever Happened to Baby Abby? by Merri Biechler
  • 10/7/11, 11:00pm- the Ohio University School of theater presents Midnight Madness
  • 10/8/11, 7:00pm- An Unlikely Hero by Lawrence DuKore
  • 10/9/11, 2:00pm- Death Squad by W.R. Smiddie
Who's Who and What's What:

Raymond Hardie is currently developing Stoker, originally a play, into a hybrid musical with composer/lyricist Joe Jackson. It was most recently presented in workshop at The Director's Company in New York City in May 2010. Hardie's play Blue Heaven was presented in workshop at The Director's Company in New York in 2003 with Colm Meaney and Laila Robbins. The Countess and Chicago May was presented at the Ashland New Play Festival October 13th - October 20th, 2002. His play Stoker was first presented in equity workshop at The Director's Company in New York City in August, 2001.

Hardie was an actor at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, for six years, during which time he played over thirty roles ranging from the Duke in Measure for Measure to Lenin in Tom Stoppard's Travesties.

He received his training at the Bristol Old Vic Theater School and then spent a year with the Liverpool Playhouse before going to Dublin. In New York, he played Cliff opposite Malcolm McDowell in Look Back in Anger at the Roundabout Theater. This was subsequently taped for Showtime. He has also acted at the Huntington Theater in Boston and the Olney in Maryland among others.

While at the Abbey Theatre, he wrote Who Flies the Nets for the Document Theatre Company. The play had a successful run on the London fringe after it toured England. The Abbey Theatre later commissioned him to write a play about Oliver Goldsmith, But Few Soldiers, which they performed at the international Goldsmith festival. He was also commissioned by BBC Televison to write two teleplays, A Soldier's Song and Rub A Dub Dub.

His first novel Abyssos was published by Tor Books in New York, and for a number of years he travelled back and forth to London writing television scripts and a television series for BBC television as well as working on two film scripts for Mark Forstater Productions. He also wrote scripts for the ABC television soap opera Ryan's Hope. His second novel Fleet was published in both hardback and paperback by Hodder and Stoughton in England.

He is currently a director of communications for the University of California, San Diego.

K. Biadaszkiewicz (The Charity Fish Fry Tinikling Show) is the author of over 100 plays, many of which have been produced throughout the US and in Europe. Her stories, poems, dramas, and comedies have been published in various literary journals and anthologies, including Sweet Annie Review; Southern Exposure (Institute for Southern Studies); Mississippi Review; Young Women's Monologs from Contemporary Plays (SUNY Potsdam); One Act Plays for Acting Students (Meriwether); The Actors' Scenebook: Great Monologues and Dialogues from Classical and Contemporary Theatre (Meriwether); and the Applause Books anthology, Best American Short Plays.

Her published theatre scripts include TRANE: BEYOND THE BLUES (the story of jazz artist John W. Coltrane); PAST ANGRY (the story of the Hamlet, NC chicken processing plant industrial fire); POTATO GIRL; and the comedy THE MAN WHO BURIED HIS DOGS IN THE FRONT YARD. Her short fiction, "Me & My Brother & the Skunk" is part of the acclaimed Weighted Words anthology, Solace in So Many Words.

THE CHARITY FISH FRY TINIKLING SHOW, written at the Millay Colony for the Arts, was first workshopped at the Dramatists Guild's Frederick Lowe Room in New York City by Multistages Theatre Company, exactly ten days after September 11, 2001.

Merri Biechler (What Ever Happened to Baby Abby?) received her MFA in playwriting from Ohio University. Her plays include Bombs, Babes and Bingo (world premiere at Mortar Theatre Company, 2012; New Orleans Fringe Festival; Artist's Laboratory Theatre workshop; Semi-finalist, P73 Playwriting Fellowship; Finalist, Clubbed Thumb Theater Biennial commission); Confessions of a Reluctant Caregiver (Finalist, Princess Grace Award; Winner, Jane Chambers Student Playwriting Award; Finalist, Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition; Participant, WordBRIDGE Playwrights Laboratory); and Real Girls Can't Win (Nominee, Stavis Award and David Mark Cohen Award; Victory Gardens Theatre workshop; Productions at Ohio University, Centenary College, Indiana State-KCACTF Region III production; and upcoming Augustana College.)

Lawrence DuKore (An Unlikely Hero) began his writing career with the Richard Pryor film, GREASED LIGHTNING, which was produced by Hanna Weinstein for Warner Bros. His television play, A MISTAKEN CHARITY was produced by Lindsay Law for PBS/American Playhouse and was nominated for a Writers Guild of America award for best dramatic writing. He is a member of both the HB (Herbert Berghof/Uta Hagen) Playwrights Foundation and the Actors Studio Playwrights/Directors Workshop. His plays have been produced regionally (CentreStage, Greenville, South Carolina; Jewish Ensemble Theatre, West Bloomfield, Michigan, etc.) and off-Broadway. EXPLODING THE SWAN had its world premiere at the Montauk Playhouse, produced by Bill and Anita Brown.

Most recently, his play, STAINED GLASS, premiered off-Broadway at the award-winning Metropolitan Playhouse.

William Robert Smiddie (1931-2011) (Death Squad) born during the Great Depression in a Harlan County Kentucky where his mom would drag him out of school when the shooting wars started. She wanted her kids around her in any storm. From Kentucky they moved to middle Tennessee where his father, a union man, would not take work because there were no unions. This sort of thing has influenced him greatly. After five years of high school at McMinnville, Tennessee he graduated only because of basketball. He played guard and never cared who won as long as the game was aggressive and close. (This is important later.)

From his first job at a DuPont plant he was drafted during the Korean War, while all his buddies could avoid the draft as their rich fathers sent them off to college. A fact of the draft he has never forgotten. Why him? Why Korean? And why not them?

Back in the states, a veteran on the G.I. bill he went to college at middle Tennessee State University. He attended Graduate school at Iowa State where he is still one course short of the much sought after M.F.A.

While working in the welfare department in Nashville he had theprivilege of participating in the Civil Rights struggle by preparing used cars with Tennessee tags for dumb white kids from the North to use to enter the deep South. And while there had a play produced in NYC, which allowed him to meet Tom Hayden in New Jersey. It now seemed to him that he could control his own life, which had finally begun. After which, turning down a organizing job with the Highlander Folk School he moved with wife and kids to Cleveland, Ohio to work with S.D.S. in the inner city. Welfare Rights, Free Clinics, and helping to organize the 1968 police riot in Chicago. From there to the street demonstrations against the only war America has ever lost.

He settled in in Southern Ohio where he made pottery, wrote unfinished plays, and dreamt of Alaska.

Writer's Statement

THE CHARITY FISH FRY TINIKLING SHOW is about a young woman who has never heard her father say he is proud of her. She works very hard to assemble and put on a one-of-a-kind show and lets him know, so he can attend. After all her efforts, she fails in her goal. But she finds something better. My artistic take on this piece is that it is an innovative and entertaining physical theatre piece ideal for energetic actors and a director with a playful imagination and comedic sensibility. THE CHARITY FISH FRY TINIKLING SHOW has been described by its original director as commedia dell'arte, but I wrote it to represent a part of my own experience that I treasure.

Writer's Statement

This play is about a young woman trying to define her life as meaningful and her job choice as successful.
"We all remember where we were on that snowy March morning in 1972 when, after 41 hours of national news coverage, we watched as Baby Abby was pulled out alive from that Wisconsin ice cave. As the twenty-five year anniversary of the rescue approaches, Abigail Walters discovers that she's Baby Abby and to her horror realizes that she's done nothing with her life to justify her being saved."

As our society continues to define happiness as the number of cars in our garage and the amount of money in the bank, how does someone with an ordinary life compete with the media? How do we define our internal worth?

I want to ask my audience: can a small life be a life well lived? Can everyday choices give meaning to our lives? Would we be happier if we stepped away from what the media defines as important to find that importance for ourselves within our own communities?

Writer's Statement

This play is a tribute to Ulysses Grant, not as a historic or heroic figure, but as a human being, with all his doubts about himself, his guilt about the deaths of Union and Confdederate troops (and yet the necessity for his military strategy), about His failings as a provider for his family, his limitations as a president, as a general and his lack of business acumen, which caused great hardship to his family.. Mostly, my play is about a person with whom an audience can identify.

DEATH SQUAD The play examines the events that led to a terrible massacre in El Salvador in 1981, aided and abetted by the American government. It does so by the device of five people in 2011 who come together to create and rehearse a play that addresses these matters. It alternates in tone from comic to grimly serious.

The 2011 Humble Play Festival is sponsored and supported by the ABC Players, Decorative Injections, The Athens County Convention and Visitors Bureau and The Corporation for the Performing Arts, Athens Holiday Inn Express and several anonymous donors.

Support local art by supporting local business!
We have a special way for you to support the 2011 Humble Play: New Play Festival. Artist and owner of Decorative Injections, Jim Kisor has designed a special daisy tattoo for the festival.

The tattoo is available it two sizes. Small size $30, Large size $50. Half of the proceeds from now until October 9th will be donated to ARTS/West in support of the Humble Play new play festival.

Call Decorative Injections at 740-593-7788 to make your appointment.

Not ready to take the permanent step? The design is also available as a temporary tattoo for a donation of $1.