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!
Four years ago — in 2016 — Emily Clark directed my one-act CATCH OF THE DAY at Michigan State University. Out of the blue, I got an email from her recently. She and several others had put together OnLive Theatre and were planning r a virtual theatre camp for kids. I sent her some and she wound up picking my CURIOSITY KILLED THE CAT. On May 9, it was produced virtually over Zoom with a cast of nine kids, who probably ranged from 10 to 16, a little unclear on that. It was a remarkable performance. All the kids were rehearsed virtually and had to costume themselves with whatever they could find at home. It was a really creative performance that shows just how much can be done virtually.
Phoenix Tears Productions in Orlando, Florida produced my 10-minute play CHEF PIERRE DOES NOT DO SIMPLE as a livestreamed video on May 5 as part of an evening of other livestreamed shows.
That’s Kira Silverman as Chef Pierre, Madison Payne as the producer and Shayna Leigh Silverman as the other TV person who comes in near the end.
On May 2, I held a reading via Zoom of TRUE NORTH with an all-Canadian cast. Here ’tis.
Stage directions: Robin Bennett (Guelph, Ontario)
Aurora: Ella Kennedy (Hamilton, Ontario)
Gordo: Shawn Vincent (Kitchener, Ontario)
Canadian Translator: Arlene Thomas (Kitchener, Ontario)
Ursula: Emily K. Bolyea-Kyere (Hamilton, Ontario)
Vursula: Samantha Devries (Beamsville, Ontario)
Wursula: Sundance Nagrial (Toronto, Ontario)
North Star: Mason Micevski (Hamilton, Ontario)
A quirky love story, of sorts. The North Star has abandoned his post in the sky, tired of all the pressure. He just wants to have fun. He is pursued by three Arctic mermaids, guardians of the northern realms, who want to persuade him to return to the sky. They pop up in the backyard hockey rink of a teenage girl in rural Manitoba and persuade her, however reluctantly, to go after the North Star. After all, mermaids don’t have legs and now that the North Star is inland, they’re unable to do much. The girl agrees, but only because the mermaids promise to leave her backyard hockey rink, which they have punched through. Meanwhile, a neighbor boy has a crush on the girl, which appears to be unrequited. They often play hockey, which always ends with her knocking his teeth out. In the end, the girl and the mermaids devise a plan to persuade the North Star to return to the sky, and it all comes to fruition at a Winnipeg Jets hockey game. Lots of unusual costuming opportunities and physical humor. Cast: Seven – 2 male, 4 female, 1 non-gender.