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The 8th annual Northeast Indiana Playwright Festival offer an eclectic trio of works
By Eddie Torres
Fort Wayne Reader
A scheming couple, a dead clown, and a relationship between emergency responders head up the winners of the 8th annual Northeast Indiana Playwright Festival.
The festival itself takes place March 17, and features — among other events— staged performances and readings of this year’s winning works.
Top honors go to One Foot In the Gravy by Howard Kingkade, a “madcap comedy” in which Fergy, a cultured but jaded midddle-aged woman, talks her lover Ned into disguising
himself as a female nurse in order to care for her wealthy skinflint husband Frank. Frank is reportedly on death’s doorstep, but is proving a little too lively for the impatient and fed up Ned, who decides to take action…
Originally from Hammond, Kingkade is currently an associate professor at the University of South Carolina at Lancaster. Credits include a 2008 “Best Screenplay” award for the film Hole in the Paper Sky at the Beverly Hills Film Festival. In 2012, his play A Scene from the Factory was performed at the Subversive Theatre in Buffalo, NY. In 2015, his short drama Constellation was
performed as part of the Freedom Festival at T. Schreiber Theatre in NYC. Kingkade’s most recent short movie The Mark screened at the 2016 New York Short Film Festival.
A fully-staged production of One Foot In The Gravy will premiere on the eve of the festival Friday, March 17 and run several more times over that weekend and the next.
In second place winner My Dead Clown, funeral director Bill is at the top of his game — successful, admired, poised to take over the funeral home business when the owner decides to retire. But when Bill’s wife dies suddenly, all his plans come to a screeching halt, and Bill finds himself in crisis, flailing professionally and personally. With no hope in sight, and struggling to keep his job, a bizarre turn of events brings a dead professional clown to life. Bill thinking this is his “Pink Slip”, tries to get rid of the crazy clown, who is wound up and unpredictable. Ironically, it is up to this clown to save the day and Bill.
Playwright David Edwin Rousculp lives in New Haven, Indiana, where he is the general manager and funeral director at E. Harper & Son Funeral Home. Before moving to the Fort Wayne area, David was very involved with theatre and television. He has performed on numerous stages and in film since childhood. My Dead Clown was originally a screen play and won 2nd short comedy at The Indie Gathering International Film Festival 2005 in Cleveland. Comedian Tim Conway told Rousculp that My Dead Clown was very funny, and if he doesn’t make it a movie, he should consider turning it into a play. So…
3rd place winner The Unpredictability of Fire is actually writer Rebecca Cameron’s second appearance in on the NIPF’s winners list — her play Touch & Go won first place in the 6th editon of the festival. In The Unpredictability of Fire Allie Chapman, a firefighter/paramedic, is seeing to wounded Police Officer Jake Brecker. A spark between the couple grows and flares up as a conflict of interest when Officer Brecker applies for a position at the Fire Academy. The Fire Chief presses for recommendations, citing the “unpredictability of fire,” and the extreme danger that could arise from a firefighter who wasn’t 100 percent ready and prepared. A deadly fire
leads to an investigation.
Cameron works in corporate communications, but says she has been writing stories in her head — and, when she gets a chance, putting them down on paper — for as long as she can remember.
My Dead Clown and The Unpredictability of Fire will have stage readings during the festival, followed by post discussions led by Janet Allen, the Executive Artistic Director of Indiana Repertory Theatre.
Once again, the 8th annual Northeast Indiana Playwright Festival happens Saturday March 18 at the Parkview Physician’s Group ArtsLab Theatre at 300 E. Main Street.
We’ll hear more from the playwrights in a future issue, but for more info about the festival itself, including ticket prices and events, check out fwcivic.org.