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Review of ‘A Dickens of a Christmas’

The New Zealand playwright Rex McGregor has left this lovely review on the New Play Exchange for my Christmas full-length A DICKENS OF A CHRISTMAS:

“A delightful script with likable characters, witty dialogue and a twist I didn’t see coming.”

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.

Here’s a video of a virtual reading of the script in September 2020.

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Photos from ‘Red Moon Rising in the East’ in Norfolk

Sergei talks about the first time he saw an airplane.

 

Little Theatre of Norfolk has produced my one-man play about the father of the Soviet space program as a virtual show. The theatre staged the show without an audience, filmed it, and has posted it online through the platform ShowTix4U. Here’s Brian Cebrian as Sergei Korolev. This marks the fifth production of the show — at the moment, it’s my most-produced full-length show.

Showing off the design for the N1 moon rocket.

Watching the launch of the first Sputnik.

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Video: Reading of ‘Freeda’s Fascination With Fire’

My newest full-length play is the comedy FREEDA’S FASCINATION WITH FIRE. On Oct. 17, I held a Zoom reading with an international cast (and a small audience that included former U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a big fan of live theatre).

FREEDA’S FASCINATION WITH FIRE
A teenage pyromaniac in Texas is sentenced to an unusual community service punishment: To serve as fire baton twirler for a high school that doesn’t have a football team but needs a halftime show. Comedy ensues. Cast: Eight – five female, three male.

The cast:

Stage directions: Charlie Boswell (Roanoke, Va.)
Freeda: Emily Solomon (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
Miss Battleaxe: Alyson Bates (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
Ramona: Martha Boswell (Roanoke, Va.)
Judge Hardhammer: Brian Otto (Waterloo, Ontario)
Cee Cee: Sally Miller (Roanoke, Virginia)
Dee Dee: Emily Bolyea-Kyere (Hamilton, Ontario)
Fast Eddie: Stephen Baltz (Christiansburg, Virginia)
Slowhand Sam: Mason Micevski (Hamilton, Ontario)

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‘The Weird Sisters Go Rogue’ in Georgia

In August, I wrote the short play THE WEIRD SISTERS GO ROGUE as play of a 22-hour play festival through the Honestly Speaking theatre group in Washington (although it didn’t get produced until September). Now it’s gone on to a second life in a virtual production by the Pumphouse Players in Carterville, Georgia. Here are some screenshots of the three actresses playing the witches from Macbeth.

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Video: ‘Bolivia!’ in London

My short monologue BOLIVIA! is getting a lot of traction in virtual festivals in this year of the pandemic. So far, it’s been performed in festivals in New York, Missouri and now this festival out of London by a group called The Queens of Cups. Here’s the video — BOLIVIA! is the third one in the order. It was performed by Georgia Goodman who was featured in a Super Bowl ad in 2017.

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Video reading of ‘A Dickens of a Christmas’

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.

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Review of ‘God of a Dead Universe’

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.

 

 

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Review of ‘The Math Lesson’

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.

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Video reading of ‘The Broken Angel’

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).

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Review of ‘The First Vampire in Toronto’

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.

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