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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.
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 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.
The Canadian playwright Christine Foster has posted this nice review of MY 10-minute play THE UNOPENED VALENTINE on the New Play Exchange:
“This is such an intriguing piece on memory and regret. Do you really want to know what you don’t know?
Will the discovery only make your emotional state more painful? If you don’t investigate the mystery now, could you leave it for another time or is it better to destroy the possibility (and the knowledge) now and get it over with? One of the lovely things about the play is the resolution of this puzzle, which fully engages the audience’s imagination.”
THE UNOPENED VALENTINE
A grumpy widow with a tendency to worry is packing up her things to move into a smaller place .Her enthusiastic granddaughter is helping her, when the granddaughter opens an old schoolbook to find a valentine her granddaughter had never opened. The granddaughter wants to open it; the grandmother worries about what it might contain, and whether the course of her life would have changed if she’d opened it when she received it. Note: There also are five-minute and one-act versions of the same story. Cast: Two females — one senior, one teen-ager. Running time: Ten minutes.
I held a reading of my new play LE VERRIER VS. ADAMS, about the discovery of Neptune, on June 13, with an international cast:
Stage directions: Emily Bolyea-Kyere (Hamilton, Ontario)
Stage manager: Arlene Thomas (Kitchener, Ontario)
Urbain Le Verrier & others: Mason Micevski (Hamilton, Ontario)
John Counch Adams & others: Stephen Baltz (Christiansburg, Virginia)
George Airy & others: Brian Otto (Waterloo, Ontario)
Playwright Marj O’Neill-Butler has posted a very nice review of my full-length AN IMPROPER EDUCATION FOR AN IMPROPER LADY:
This is a delightful romp in Victorian England. A twist on the qualifications of being a governess, a bankrupt bumbling uncle determined to get his niece’s fortune by marrying her off, a forward thinking and acting young woman all leading to a happy ending (and not including a marriage). Lots of asides and creative maneuvering of Victorian mores.
I held a Zoom reading of this script in April with a mostly Australian cast. Watch it here!
AN IMPROPER EDUCATION FOR AN IMPROPER LADY
Two orphans in Victorian London pass themselves off as governesses. They find themselves employed by a minor nobleman who is trying to get his niece married before she’s 21, so he can inherit her late father’s estate instead of her. The girl appears quite mad but, in fact, is merely faking it to discourage suitors. When the governesses are instructed to get the girl presentable for a new suitor, comedy ensues. Cast: Six – four females, two males.
On May 30, I held a reading of my Christmas comedy FOLLOW HER STAR via Zoom, with an international cast:
Stage directions: Kate Cash (Kansas City, Missouri)
Happenstance Holliday: Ella Kennedy (Hamilton, Ontario)
Mary: Carolyn Zeigler (Roanoke, Virginia)
Goldie: Emily Bolyea-Kyere (Hamilton, Ontario)
Frank: Mason Micevski (Hamilton, Ontario)
Murray: Bill Armstrong (Norfolk, Virginia)
Officer Gabriel: Brian Otto (Waterloo, Ontario)
Angel O’Lord: Katerina Yancey (Fincastle, Virginia)
Guard: Tim Wood (Bogata, Texas)
Sheep One: Owen Lapsley (Hamilton, Ontario)
Sheep Two: Giselle Magie (Hamilton, Ontario)
Sheep Three: Mayalynn Koot (Hamilton, Ontario)
Shep: Frederic Doss (Paris, Texas)
Moose: Arlene Thomas (Kitchener, Ontario)
Canadian police: Tim Wood (Bogata, Texas)
Sheriff Yule: Will Walker Montgomery (Paris, Texas)
Polar bear: Scott Cooper (Waterloo, Ontario)
FOLLOW HER STAR
A different kind of Christmas story. A 12-year-old girl in the United States, disappointed that her mother couldn’t afford to celebrate Christmas, runs away from home in search of Santa Claus. Along the way she meets a series of characters eventually join the search for her as she makes her way north, eventually winding up in Churchill, Manitoba. While this appears to take a “fractured fairy tale” approach – the girl meets three people named Goldie, Frank and Murray, there’s a shepherd out tending his flock, and so forth – the ending conveys the message that Christmas isn’t about Santa Claus at all. There’s also a talking moose, three talking sheep who steal a farm truck and a police car, and a talking polar bear. Cast: 14-16, depending on doubling: 4 female, 4 male, and 6-8 non-gender. One of those female is 12 years old; one of the non-gender roles must be able to play a horn.
New York playwright Doug DeVita has posted an wonderful review of my play MOON OVER MANITOBA on the New Play Exchange:
“Ah, the innocent ballsiness of youth! It stands the two teen girls in this high-stakes road trip in good stead, and gives us a sometimes charming, sometimes harrowing ride throughout. The relationship between the girls is particularly well-drawn, and draws us into their story effortlessly, leaving us rooting for them all the way. Tense and touching, this is a wonderful script.”
Here’s a previous review of the script.
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.
* Semi-finalist, New American Voices Playwriting Festival, The Landing Theatre, Houston, 2020.
My 10-minute play THE FERRYMAN’S APPRENTICE popped up randomly as the featured script of the day on the New Play Exchange on May 27, which generated a whole bunch of nice reviews:
“ An eerie, haunting tale set in Greek mythology. For a ten-minute play, it sure packs an emotional punch.”
— Kate Danley
“ Dwayne Yancey bookends “The Ferryman’s Apprentice” with Greek mythology, but I was emotionally moved by its core: a story of grief, guilt, and the impossibilities that death brings. This 10-minute play also is about perspective and acceptance, the kind that people will never have while alive. And, oh, it’s bitter to realize that.”
— Steven G. Martin
“ Touching, haunting, and raw, this elegiac fable is a masterwork of the short play form. The only thing better than reading it would be to see it performed ”
— Doug DeVita
“ Having just recently been through the loss of my father, this play struck me deeply. But it did not hurt; in fact, the wisdom and comfort of the story is to realize that death is more than just the ending of one life, but the continuation in another way: memories, cherished moments, even unremarkable times spent together. Dwight Yancey uses the Greek myth of the River Styx and Charon the boatman and inspiring poetry to tell a universal tale of loss, regret, understanding, and love. ”
— Philip Middleton Williams
“Losing a parent is devastating. But to suffer that loss as a child can be soul crushing. And if you were culpable in their death? Unimaginable. Dwayne Yancey takes us to the River Styx in this ten-minute Greek tragedy packed with hubris, catharsis, and choral wailing that will undoubtedly haunt ”
— Greg Burdick
“I highly recommend reading this around with English accents! The raw elegance of the language almost requires it. Yancey provides a fresh take on Orpheus as a son bargains for passage to the Underworld to bring back his father. The dialogue is jaunty and the negotiations clever. The use of a choir enhances the classical feel of the proceedings. Most importantly, there’s so much love, regret, and forgiveness between father and son, the reader can easily envision the richness of their life together and the magnitude of its loss. There’s also a mythical inevitability that intensifies the suspense. Terrific piece!”
— Scott Sickles