'Drama Slam' Showcases Local Playwrights, Actors

Ariel Van Cleave

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     Five plays featured in Drama Slams of years past will vie for the “Best of Drama Slam” title this weekend at the Homer Council on the Arts.

     Pier One Theatre, in conjunction with the Homer Council on the Arts will present five productions both Friday and Saturday nights. The plays are pulled from the last several years of the 24-hour theater festival.

     “A group of us got together and we just read the plays out loud to one another,” said Nancy Chastain. She’s co-producer of the event and playwright for one of this weekend’s productions. “And that’s how we selected which ones work best as plays at this point.”

     The selected plays are 'Mid Pleasures and Palaces, by Dan Westerburg, Rodin's Back, by John McKay, Chastain’s A Year in a Day, Climbing Bairn Mountain, by Betsy Brennand and The Garbage Barge, written by Kate Rich. Chastain said the competition gives the writers, performers and technicians a chance to make all those little tweaks they didn’t have time for initially.

     “So here we are at the point where we are bringing back some of these plays. So we’re having a little more fun with the process and being able to let the authors, if they choose, make a few corrections. We don’t change the shape of the play… that gives them a chance to just bring it up to date in a couple of instances. Not everyone chose to make changes,” Chastain said.

     She said she took the opportunity to make a few minor adjustments in phrasing and included new character elements. Chastain said because this is a competition, there will be what she called an “esteemed panel of local theatrical experts.” But the audience also gets to decide which play deserves top honors.

     “We were thinking in terms of Dancing with the Stars where you can stuff the ballot box as many as time as you want with as many dollar bills as you’d like or ballots. Either one, but we do prefer the dollar bills. This is a fundraiser as well as a competition and the competition ups the ante on the fundraising, of course. And there is a prize… $100 for the best play,” she said.

     Though, Chastain is quick to point out that purse is divided amongst the eight or so people involved in any given production, so she said that’s just enough for a dinner out on the town. Performances are set for both Friday and Saturday nights beginning at 8 at the Homer Council on the Arts. Tickets are available at the door: $5 for youth, $8 HCOA members and $10 for the general public.

 

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