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Here’s a video reading of my new Christmas play, A DICKENS OF A CHRISTMAS, performed by an international cast with an international audience.
Rose: Kira Simmons (Chantilly, Virginia)
Lily: Irene Kenney (Memphis, Tennessee, but logging in from Nashville)
Colonel Brampton: Charlie Boswell (Roanoke, Virginia)
Toby: Stephen Baltz (Christiansburg, Virginia)
Percy: Mason Micevski (Hamilton, Ontario)
Lady Crumblebum: Martha Boswell (Roanoke, Virginia)
Stage directions: Emily Bolyea-Kyere (Hamilton, Ontario)
Our audience included former Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Roanoke (and his wife, Maryellen, both fans of live theatre) and from Auckland, New Zealand, playwright Rex McGregor. Theatre is a small world: Rex and I both had pieces in a monologue festival out of New York earlier this summer. Irene was one of the actresses we saw in that festival — and since then we’ve both recruited her for projects.
A DICKENS OF A CHRISTMAS
Two orphan girls in Victorian London desperately want a proper Christmas dinner. At first, they conspire to sneak into a private club and pass themselves off as men. Their plans are frustrated by a retired military man, and two fellow orphans. That’s when they devise another plan that involves the mean old rich woman at the end of the street. Cast: Six – three male, three female.
Fountain Community Theater in Fountain, Colorado produced my full-length script THE ARMADILLO QUEEN in June 2020 — as an outdoor show to allow for social distancing during the pandemic. Here’s the video. The production was notable because the female characters of Cee Cee and Dee Dee were played by men.
Mrs. Battleaxe: Alyson Bates
Gypsy Jane: Chalica Pack
Charlie: Kaleb Rodriguez
Sara: Emily Solomon
Dee Dee: Justin Frizzell
Cee Cee: Cory Rothermal
Stage crew: Zachariah Werner
Lighting: Cory Rothermal
This was the premiere production of the show — which previously had a staged reading at Renaissance Theatre in Lynchburg, Virginia in 2016. The script will soon be published by Norman Maine / Big Dog Plays. Still photos from the production are here.
Talking Horse Productions in Columbia, Missouri is posting a monologue a day for the month of September and asking people to “vote” for their favorite by making a donation here: https://paypal.me/TalkingHorse?locale.x=en_US (It’s a fund-raiser for the theatre). Here’s their video production of my short piece, BOLIVIA!, performed by Sarah Jost.
In August, I signed up for an overnight play festival through Honestly Speaking, a theatre group in Washington, D.C. The theme: “It was a dark and stormy night.” Had to incorporate a roll of paper towels. I drew a cast of three teen-age girls. To me that meant just one thing: The Weird Sisters from Macbeth.
So I wrote THE WEIRD SISTERS GO ROGUE.
Some of the cast were no-shows for rehearsals, so performance of my piece got bumped to September 12 — so still a 24-hour (more like 22 hour) play festival, just with a big intermission!
New York playwright Larry Rinkel has posted a nice review of my full-length play GOD OF A DEAD UNIVERSE on the New Play Exchange:
” Yancey’s themes are clear – the destructive effects of climate change, here applied in a parable-like manner to Mars rather than earth. And his characters are clear as well rather than being rounded – the intrepid investigative reporter, the courageous scientist imprisoned for speaking unpalatable truths, the pompous but corrupt empty suit of a president. But what makes the play work is its skillful fast pacing and well-written dialogue. A good choice for theaters looking for a cautionary tale on climate change.”
He also had nice things to say about the short play THE MATH LESSON, which began life as a stand-alone short but was later incorporated into one scene of GOD OF A DEAD UNIVERSE.
GOD OF A DEAD UNIVERSE
A dark look at the last days of life on Mars. The Martian civilization has mismanaged its resources and is now running out of water. The rival political factions appear to have come together to install a new government, one that has embarked on a massive canal project to bring water from the poles. A newspaper reporter covering the canal project notices a discrepancy, though, and he/she begins investigating. The reporter suspects embezzlement. When the reporter confronts the chancellor, the chancellor freely admits to siphoning off money, but not for personal use. Instead, it’s to build a giant underground library in which to store Martian artifacts. The chancellor confesses that the canal project is merely a diversion to keep people busy – there’s no way it will work. The planet will run out of water long before it’s completed, and the underground library is an attempt to save at least some remnant of Martian life in case other intelligent beings ever discover it. Cast: 12 or 13, all non-gender.
New York playwright Larry Rinkel has posted a nice review of my short play THE MATH LESSON on the New Play Exchange:
“Skillfully alternating between the perspectives of two girl students and their teacher who is being grilled by her institutional higher-ups, the play creates a parable about climate change by situating the action on Mars. All characters – the stooges at the top of the school’s hierarchy, the teacher who cleverly provokes political conclusions based on irrefutable facts, and the girls caught in the middle – are well-drawn, allowing us to see each one’s point of view while clearly siding with the teacher. (This short play is clearly adapted from Yancey’s exciting full-length “God of a Dead Universe.”
It joins one from another New York playwright, Scott Sickles.
THE MATH LESSON
A math teacher at a Martian school for girls teaches a forbidden subject – how to compute the rate of evaporation of the planet’s last, dying ocean. Cast: Five – one adult female, two non-gender adults, two teen-age girls.
Attic Productions of Fincastle, Virginia has produced a video version of my one-act THE ANGEL OF BROOKLYN, starring Wyatt Ewell and Skylar Gay and directed by Sally Miller.
Attic would appreciate donations here.
THE ANGEL OF BROOKLYN
When Bud was a boy, he was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan. When the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, he vowed to God that he would never again be a baseball fan. Now in retirement, Bud still nurses resentment; but an angel arrives to free him from his vow. Cast: Two or three, depending on which ending you choose. Either one male, one female or one male, two females. Running time: 25 minutes.
• Produced by Hovey Players, Summer Arts Festival, Waltham, Mass., July 2005.
* Staged reading at Studio Roanoke, Roanoke, Va., April 2009.
* Staged reading as a radio play, Falcon Radio Theatre, Seattle, Washington, January 2013.
On August 15, I held a Zoom reading of my Christmas play, THE BROKEN ANGEL, with a cast from Ontario.
Stage directions: Giselle Magie (Hamilton, Ontario)
Fluffy: Mason Micevski (Hamilton, Ontario)
Riley: Ella Kennedy (Hamilton, Ontario)
Debbie: Lynne McIntee (Guelph, Ontario)
Angel: Emily Bolyea-Kyere (Hamilton, Ontario)
Church mouse: Arlene Thomas (Kitchener, Ontario)
THE BROKEN ANGEL
A Christmas story that involves a talking cat, a talking mouse, an angel and a newly-single mom and her son/daughter. Christmas is approaching and there’s not much joy for Riley (who can be anywhere from roughly 8-15). His/her parents have broken up and his/her mother says there’s not enough money for even a Christmas tree. Riley decides to fashion his/her own — out of beer cans salvaged from the trash, with sticks to serve as limbs. The mom is touched by this gesture, and, against her better judgement, agrees to hang ornaments on it — including a very old angel ornament that once belonged to her grandmother. The cat — who can talk to the audience, but no one else — tries to warn that this isn’t a good idea, but the humans don’t listen. The ornament falls and breaks, angering the mom, who orders Riley to bed while she tries to drink away her sorrows. It’s then that the broken ornament turns into a real angel, who tries to deliver an important message. Cast: Five. Two females, and three non-gender (including the child).
The Washington, D.C.-based JaYo Théâtre produced my play THE AMERICAN EXPERIMENT via Zoom on August 2, 2020 with an international cast (at least two of the cast members were from British Columbia).
Columbia: Lenny Mendez
Alkie: Elizabeth Aviva W
Buffy: Kira Simmons
Mrs. Page: Jacqueline Elisabeth
Agent: Matt Williams
Xenia: Fergie Fergusson-Vaux
Yo: Tamar Gasko
Zero: Megha Shetty
Narrator: Emmanuel Epitacio
THE AMERICAN EXPERIMENT
An allegory about immigration. A 13-year-old orphan has an American flag on her face. The orphanage tries to market her as a celebrity. A mysterious government agency has another plan – to test her blood and use it to replicate a new race. Cast: Eight – seven female, one male. Note that six of the seven females are teenagers. Running time: One hour.
The Canadian playwright Christine Foster has posted this nice review of my one-act THE FIRST VAMPIRE IN TORONTO on the New Play Exchange:
“A very entertaining piece on a very unusual asylum seeker who wants to stay in Canada. A witty romp with great dialogue and lots of zany action, a truly funny “interview with a vampire.”
THE FIRST VAMPIRE IN TORONTO
A comedy about a vampire who turns up in Canada and is interviewed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Cast: Five – one female, four non-gender. Note: Three of those non-gender actors play a variety of roles. Some are male, some are female, some are gender-flexible. The traditional breakdown there would be one female, two male to accommodate certain scenes but directors should feel free to cast these parts however they wish.