GEORGETOWN, Ky. – George McGee, professor of theatre and film, is among the six winners of this year’s Kentucky New Play Series, sponsored by the Kentucky Playwrights Workshop. All six short one act plays, none longer than fifteen minutes, will be premiered in KNPS at the Kentucky State Fair on August 18.
McGee, one half of the Theatre and Film Department of Georgetown College where, among other classes, he teaches playwriting and directs at least one show a year, is a longtime participant in the Kentucky Humanities Council’s Kentucky Chautauqua program in which he portrays Henry Clay. George is a member of Kentucky Playwrights Workshop and the Dramatists Guild of America.
McGee’s My Father Thinks He’s Irish is about how the death of his wife and the incessant expressions of sympathy and long faces cause a father to take more and more frequent visits to Ireland until he eventually begins to “go native.”
The two other central Kentucky playwrights are Richard Cavendish and Rebecca Ryland.
Cavendish is pen name for The Rev. Dr. Russell R. Rechenbach of Richmond. He is a graduate of Transylvania with majors in Drama and Religion and Lexington Theological Seminary. The Frankfort native founded Richmond Area Theatre in 1990 [now Rose Barn Theatre] where he has acted, directed and designed sets. He retired from ministry in 2011, after 38 years, played Sherlock Holmes for Studio Players of Lexington last year, and will serve as President of Richmond Rotary.
Cavendish’s Reindeer is about two brothers who stay awake talking from their bunk beds on Christmas Eve anticipating Santa’s reindeer, pondering the future, and creating a night that will be undaunted by the years to come.
Rebecca Ryland’s published plays have been produced in community theatres and colleges throughout the U.S. and Canada. Her short plays, “The Interview,” “Hot and Cold” and “A Bird is Not a Pet” received productions off-Broadway; her full-length comedies “Charlotte” and “A Man without Means” workshop productions with Ensemble Studio Theatre in the Catskills. Her play “Improvisation” will premiere at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in L.A. this summer.
Rebecca holds an MFA in Theatre, founded a non-profit organization in Kentucky specializing in theatre arts training for youth, has performed professionally with the Kentucky Repertory theatre, Lexington Shakespeare Festival, and Pioneer Playhouse. She has directed numerous plays for community and educational theatre, most recently “Lysistrata” at Carroll College in Helena, Montana. Rebecca is the owner of Heartland Plays, Inc. which publishes plays by new and emerging playwrights.
Ryland’s play When Grandma Davis Hit the Glass explores how when her Grandma dies a young woman’s future turns out to be much different than the one she imagined. Asked about her play “When Grandma Davis Hit the Glass,” Ms. Ryland said, “I am pleased that the play was selected for inclusion in this year’s Kentucky New Play Series. It’s so nice to be recognized in my home state for my work as a playwright.”
Other playwrights whose plays were selected as winners of this year’s Kentucky New Play Series are:
Nancy Gall-Clayton, metro Louisville, “The Curiosity Quilt”
Phil Paradis, Ft. Thomas, “Sunny Side”
Brian Walker, Louisville, “Visitation Privileges”
This year’s plays are being produced at the Kentucky State Fair by the Artist Asylum Theatre of Elizabethtown and co-directed by Kristi Johnson and Scott White.
The plays will be presented on the “Performing Arts Stage” in the North Wing of the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center at 4pm and 7pm. Though the order of performance has not yet been determined three plays will be presented each time.
Other than admission to the Fair itself, no admission is charged to see the plays.
Previous winners of the KNPS have included “Outings” by Mary Christopher Grogan (Winchester) and “Three O’clock by William H. McCann, Jr. (Corinth) in 2012; “The Beauty of Things” by Gary Eldridge (Morehead), “The Engagement” by George McGee (Georgetown) and “A Life in a Day of Bobby/Robert” by Tim Soulis (Lexington) in 2013. All of those plays also premiered at the Kentucky State Fair.