Archive for category Other
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. We typically hear the story of the space race from the American side. There was, however, another side – the Russian side. My play RED MOON RISING IN THE EAST is a one-man show based on the true story of Sergei Korolev, the father of Soviet space program. The script has been produced four times before previously and earned good review. A magazine in Duluth, Minnesota called it a “tour de force” and “masterful story-telling.”
I have lined up Roanoke actor Gary Reid, who has recently been touring his own one-man show, “A Life of Sorrow,” based on bluegrass musician Carter Stanley. We are now in the process of trying to book enough shows this summer to make the project viable. Here’s our flyer.
Here’s a review posted on the New Play Exchange about my play MOON OVER MANITOBA:
“A lovely, lively adventure between two strong young women, one from Honduras, one from Canada, who make their way out of Texas north to avoid ICE and seek shelter in Winnipeg. Yancey, always so good in everything he writes, here does a masterful job of telling a full, epic story with just two performers and a hockey stick. Veronica and Isabella are characters we root for, want to protect and will follow no matter where or how far they go. In Yancey’s capable hands, they’re strong, smart … and still just teenagers fumbling their way to safety. Spectacularly well done.”
— Matthew Weaver
MOON OVER MANITOBA
A play about immigration, with a cast of two teen-age girls. Veronica is a teenager from Canada, whose father’s job has taken the family to Texas. She’s homesick for Manitoba. She meets Isabella, who turns out to have arrived recently, and illegally, from Honduras after a harrowing trip from Central America. The two girls know no one else and strike up a tentative friendship. When Isabella’s cousin, with whom she’s living, is arrested by immigration agents, Isabella flees to Veronica’s house. Veronica impetuously decides they should run away to Canada, which Veronica is sure will accept Isabella. That’s Act 1. Act 2 is their trip north, which is full of danger and unexpected developments. Cast: Two teenage girls, one Latina.
Here’s a review posted on the New Play Exchange about my play THE ONE-WORD ODYSSEY:
“A truly epic feat, slimming THE ODYSSEY down so that each line of dialogue is a single word. A marvelous read, a good way to convey the story and an interesting adventure, told with style and natural humor which embraces the conceit and delivery. A pleasure to read, would be a joy to watch unfold on stage. I particularly liked the members of the Greek Chorus electing to skip Aeolus’ island because it’s boring, but still have the secret bag on Ulysses’ ship. Thoroughly enjoyable.”
— Matthew Weaver
THE ONE-WORD ODYSSEY
The story of the Odyssey, more or less, in which each line consists of just a single word. Ideal for a class project. Includes monsters and a talking hamburger. Cast: As few as 18 — 9 males, 3 females, 6 non-gender — or as many as 33 — 17 males, 7 females, 9 non-gender. Running time: One hour.
Here’s a nice review of my play 57 HOURS ON THE HOUSE OF CULTURE that’s been posted on the New Play Exchange:
“This is probably my favorite Yancey play. High stakes, rich characters, an immersive theatre environment — what’s not to like? You certainly don’t need to know recent Russian history to appreciate this effort. Be sure to give it a look.”
— Kenley Smith
57 HOURS IN THE HOUSE OF CULTURE
An audience once died simply for its love of theatre. This is a dark play that re-imagines the 2002 Moscow theatre siege, where Chechen terrorists seized a theatre and held hundreds hostage until Russian authorities gassed everyone. Audience members are held in the lobby, while “soldiers” guard the doors. At showtime, the doors open and patrons enter to find the theatre swirling with poison gas (presumably, you’ll use dry ice), seats overturned, and dead bodies strewn about, while a broadcast announcement plays about the end of the hostage drama. When everyone is seated, the dead bodies come to life, as theatre ghosts, re-telling the tale. Cast: This has been done with as few as nine. Eight main cast members — two male, four female, two non-gender — plus two male soldiers – plus five to seven audience members who are enlisted. And some voices, which can be recorded. Running time: One and a half, no intermission.
* Produced by Studio Roanoke, Roanoke, Va., May 16-27, 2012.
* Staged reading at Sweet Briar College, Sweet Briar, Virginia, March 19, 2016.
More, lots more, about 57 HOURS IN THE HOUSE OF CULTURE: Read the rest of this entry »
Here are four reviews posted on the New Play Exchange about my short play THE CELLPHONES OF THE DEAD, based on a school shooting:
“I was there for the first performance (actually, I was in it), just days after the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech. Based on actual circumstances, this short play retains its power and poignancy even a decade later. Highly recommended.”
— Kenley Smith
“I first encountered this play a month ago and was grateful to include it in a reading of gun reform plays I produced. I can only imagine the impact this heart-wrenching monologue play would have with a full production. A snapshot, one facet of the impact of gun violence. It has stayed with me since the moment I read it; it will stay with you, too. ”
— Jordan Elizabeth Henry
“Yancey’s unsettling images of a scene after a shooting, that time for a police officer to count and recount the dead, the sounds of ringing cellphones and the calls from love ones..it’s a heartbreaking read. As a fully-produced solo show, the officer’s narration of the crime scene that’s haunting his memory, with the victims of that memory strewn across the stage, will be a heart-wrenching experience for the audience. Highly recommended short play for your festival on gun control.”
— Asher Wyndham
“Effective and heartwrenching, Yancey takes one of the most chilling details from reports of gun violence (he cites a particular incident, I heard about it in another, which just goes to show how sadly commonplace such events have become) and brings it to life in a piece that speaks for itself … and for the victims of such murders and the helpers who come along and have to face the aftermath. Simple stage directions underline the tragedy of such events. Yancey’s words here are both a moment of silence for victims and a call to arms for we who remain.”
— Matthew Weaver
About the script: Read the rest of this entry »
My short play THE CELLPHONES OF THE DEAD has been included in a collection of 20 short plays about school shootings in the United States. Oregon playwright Rachael Carnes put out a call recently for short plays memorializing the victims of specific shootings; I contributed THE CELLPHONES OF THE DEAD, which was written in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 that killed 32 people plus the shooter. Rachael pulled all the pieces together and organized them so they can be presented in a single reading — or organizers can pick and choose the pieces.
So far, PLAYWRIGHTS SAY NEVER AGAIN TO SCHOOL SHOOTINGS has had readings in Eugene, Oregon; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Montclair, New Jersey.
For more information about how to put on a royalty-free reading of PLAYWRIGHTS SAY NEVER AGAIN TO SCHOOL SHOOTINGS, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, THE CELLPHONES OF THE DEAD has been included in a separate program — a staged reading in Washington, D.C. on March 24 to coincide with “March for Our Lives.” That reading, organized by Nu Sass Productions, featured 17 short plays to coincide with the number of victims in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Nu Sass found my play listed through Protest Plays and the New Play Exchange.
Here’s some of what people have said about THE CELLPHONES OF THE DEAD:
“Your piece is stunning.” –– producer
“I had multiple people approach me after and say how moved they were by your play.” –– producer
“It’s one of the more moving pieces for me” — actor.
About the piece:
THE CELLPHONES OF THE DEAD
A police officer’s somber monologue: He was at the scene of a mass shooting, and could literally hear the awful news start to spread — as the cellphones of the victims started to ring with desperate messages from their frantic friends.
Police officer (M)
Multiple bodies on the floor
Running time: Five minutes.
I’ve never written a musical (yet) but I have written a full-length show that includes a song. The show — and the song — is “Unemployed Gods.” It’s about a dark look at a company town after the company has closed down. In this case, the company is Mount Olympus and the gods are out of work.
I wrote the lyrics and hummed a tune for the multi-talented Roanoke musician and actor Chris Shepard, who wrote the music — and performs it here.
I don’t claim to be an actor, but every now and then I get drafted into service. “Casting by proximity,” Joan Ruelle calls it.
In July 2011, Darlene Fedele asked me to play the part of “the wise old beaver” in a staged reading of her puppet musical. I happily agreed. I had to do some singing; fortunately, not solo.
This was part of the Hollins University MFA playwriting program. Here we are at Mill Mountain Theatre for the reading.
That’s me with Natalie Newman, a very talented actress who had the lead role of Percy Sutton in the Mill Mountain Theatre production of “Spitfire Grill” in October 2008.
This is just clowning around for the camera.
I believe Ann Karner — who played Effie — took the photo.
I have never counted myself an actor.
So I was shocked when, in the fall of 2008, the artistic director at Mill Mountain Theatre in Roanoke, Va. called me to ask if I’d play a non-speaking part in the upcoming production of “Spitfire Grill.”
Sure, I’d be honored.
What I didn’t realize was this was a BIG non-speaking part — that of “The Visitor,” the long-lost son of the grill’s owner who went AWOL during Vietnam and has been living in the woods ever since.
There were actions to learn! Heck, I even had to learn to enter on a musical cue.