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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
Center Stage Israel in Ra’anana, Israel produced my short play Q DOWNSIZED on May 17, 2020 as part of a virtual festival of short plays.
This marks my Israeli debut and the 16th country in which I’ve had my work performed.
On May 16, I held a reading via Zoom of my play A MAPLE LEAF ON THE WIND, a romantic comedy in which half the characters are non-human and one is non-corporeal. I also did it with a cast from Canada.
Stage Directions: Arlene Thomas (Kitchener, Ontario)
Veronica: Ella Kennedy (Hamilton, Ontario)
The Wind: Emily Bolyea-Kyere (Hamilton, Ontario)
Tex: Owen Lapsley (Hamilton, Ontario)
Rex: Mason Micevski (Hamilton, Ontario)
A MAPLE LEAF ON THE WIND
A quirky international love story. The Wind tries to play matchmaker between a lonely Canadian girl on the prairie of Manitoba and a lonely American boy in Texas. There’s also a talking chicken. Cast: Four – two male, two female.
* Finalist, Best Medicine Rep, Gaithersburg, Maryland, 2018.
Canadian playwright David Elendune has left this nice review of my one-act THE WEIRD SISTERS GO WEST on the New Play Exchange:
Clever… Funny… If Terry Pratchett wrote Blazing Saddles 2.
THE WEIRD SISTERS GO WEST
The three witches from Shakespeare’s Macbeth turn up in a western town and quickly bring order to the Old West, with a few complications along the way. Cast: Eight – four female, three male, one-non-gender.
Florida playwright, director and educator Greg Burdick has left this nice review of my 10-minute play THE FERRYMAN AND THE THIEF on the New Play Exchange:
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.
Playwright Scot Walker — not sure where he’s from — left this review:
” . . . this play elicits all the memories I had as a teen, wondering about the ancient gods, learning about Caron and Cerberus (who unfortunately is not in this play). All in all, Yancey gives us a moving and poignant play with, very Aesop like, a lesson for young people at the end: Your word is your bond. Nicely done.”
THE FERRYMAN AND THE THIEF
A boy accidentally kills his father on a hunting trip. He goes to the River Styx, sneaks aboard the ferry to the far shore. Once aboard, he picks the pockets of the dead, stealing the coins they have been given by loved ones for the final passage. He uses these to try to bribe the ferryman to let him cross to find his father and return him to the land of the living. The ferryman agrees, but on one condition, which goes badly for the boy. Cast: Six: One juvenile male, two adult males, three non-gender.
Little Theatre of Norfolk in Norfolk, Virginia hosted a Zoom reading of my play RED MOON RISING IN THE EAST on May 13, 2020. This is a one-man play based on the story of Sergei Korolev, the father of the Soviet space program. He was a force of nature who almost single-handedly willed the Soviets into space, battling both the odds and his own government. However, his name was a state secret in the Soviet Union so he’s still little-known in the West, even though all the big firsts — the first satellite, the first satellite to the moon, the first man in space, the first woman in space — were all his doing. Bill Armstrong performed this role in 2009 at 40th Street Stage in Norfolk, then again in 2010 at The Venue in Norfolk. Here he is again.
Here’s a link to previous productions of this show.
Bonus: At the end of this video is a Q&A with with actor and playwright.
New York actress Miranda Jonte is riding out the pandemic in Houston, where she’s performing virtually over Facebook as Back Porch Theater. Here she is on May 9 performing two of my pieces, LADY MACBETH’S LAMENT and DELICACIES.
Best of all are her descriptions of my work: “Quirky, knowing . . . dark and droll . . . dark and funny.” Those are the best blurbs of all time!