Archive for category Reviews

Review for ‘The One-Word Christmas Carol’

Here’s a review for my short Christmas play THE ONE-WORD CHRISTMAS CAROL that was posted on the New Play Exchange:

“If you haven’t partaken of Yancey’s one-word classics, they are a treat and this is a good place to start. Dickens himself would be proud. I particularly liked this glimpse into Belle’s family, and of course Scrooge’s back and forth with the Christmas ghosts always delight. Yancey makes it look deceptively easy but don’t be fooled, it’s HARD selecting the exactly right single word at a time to convey the spirit of a timeless story, move the plot forward and still have the entire project feel fresh and vibrant. Yancey is just the man for the undertaking.”
— Matthew Weaver

THE ONE-WORD CHRISTMAS CAROL

The traditional Christmas Carol story, more or less, told with each actor speaking a line of just a single word. Cast: Can be done with as few as six, or expanded larger, if you desire. With six, 4 male, 1 female, 1 non-gender. Feel free, of course, to use non-traditional casting.

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Review for ‘Moon Over Manitoba’

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.

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Review for ‘The One-Word Odyssey’

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.

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Review for ’57 Hours in the House of Culture’

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 »

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Reviews for ‘The Cellphones of the Dead’

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 »

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“This Rose Has Thorns” wins award in Australia

The company that produced my play THIS ROSE HAS THORNS in Melbourne, Australia in April 2018 has won an award for the show. BustCo — aka, the Burwood Student Theatre Company at Deakin University — won an Adjudicator’s Award from the Victorian Drama League, the theatre association for the state of Victoria. The award was given out on Dec. 1. It was the first time BustCo has entered the competition. I’m told that the talk at the table afterwards was “we’ve got to tell Dwayne!” So they messaged me while the banquet continued. It was 3:30 a.m. on the east coast of North America but I was up late writing so got the word right away. Congrats, mates! Here’s video of the moment the BustCo attendees found out they won. More photos below.

Director John Jennings, at left, and some of the cast and crew from THIS ROSE HAS THORNS. Photo by BustCo.

The award. Photo by Bianca Heard.

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“Extracted” praised for ‘precise comic sensibility’

OK, this is in the form of a rejection notice. But keep in mind that most theatres, in their rejection notices, never say anything specific at the work — they’re usually just form letters, which I don’t mind. But this one from a New York theatre was different:

“Thank you for sharing your play EXTRACTED with us at [name of theatre]. We quite enjoyed the play’s precise comic sensibility and symbolic meditation on contemporary America.” Then came “I’m afraid it’s not a perfect fit for [name of theatre] at this time.” Not a hit, but some nice words that the theatre didn’t have to say.

Here’s the synopsis of the show:

EXTRACTED

A dark allegorical tale about modern politics and immigration. An American truck driver sleeping in his cab at a truckstop in southern California is awoken by two teenage girls, Sam and Libby. He thinks they’re truckstop prostitutes and tries to run them away. Instead, the one explains that she has rescued her sister from drug gangs in Los Angeles and is trying to take her home to safety in New York. The rescued sister is our allegorical Statue of Liberty. In fact, she has not been rescued; she has been drugged against her will, for reciting — and practicing — the poem at the statue’s base: “give me your tired, your poor . . . ” As the roadtrip across North American unfolds, we see that the older sister is not, in fact, a protector and rescuer, but rather her kidnapper, who is trying to brainwash her. Along the way, the keep running into another truck driver, who is taking the same route across the country, and a mysterious woman. In the climactic scene, Sam has hired a tattoo artist to blot out “The New Colossus” poem that Libby has tattooed on her. Just then the two mystery figures burst in — revealing themselves to be special agents for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who are mounting a hostage rescue and extraction to take Libby to safety in Canada. They are joined by a Mexican intelligence agent, as well, who they had previously met along the way at a truckstop. Cast: Eight — Five female (including who can pass for teens, and one Latina adult), three male.

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