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The Unchained Collection
by Variations Theatre Group

Author: Variations Theatre Group

Description: Plays from the finals of the 2013 Unchained Festival, presented by Variations Theatre Group.

Year Written/Copyrighted: 2013
Date Added: 10/23/2013
Content Advisory:
Keywords: Child Abuse · Comedy · Coming of Age · Death and the Afterlife · Drama · Dysfunctional Families · Families · Gay and Lesbian · HIV/AIDS · Large Cast Size · Literature and Writing · Mostly Female Characters · Movies/Film/TV · Naturalism/Realism · Philosophy · Pop Culture · Postmodern · Romance · Satire/Parody · Sex · Sickness and Mental Illness · Single Set · Social Issues · Surrealism/Absurdism · Ten Minute Plays · The Theatre
1 Act, 120 Minutes
10 Females, 5 Males

NOTE: The Unchained Collection is fully protected by copyright law and is subject to royalty. All inquiries concerning production, publication, reprinting or use of this play in any form should be addressed to Rochelle at rd@indietheaternow.com.

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From the Author:

A Procession of Clouds by Lynda Crawford
A woman from Lesotho, Africa, tries to make a difference amidst a terrible time for her people. CO-WINNER, Audience Favorite Award, Unchained Festival 2013

A Session to Remember by Eugene Grygo
A cutting-edge therapist is in love with a client who wants an emergency session with her before he asks his girlfriend to marry him.
WINNER, Best Play, Best Actress, Best Actor, Unchained Festival 2013
CO-WINNER, Audience Favorite Award, Unchained Festival 2013
SEMI-FINALIST, The Network’s One-Act Festival in New York, NY, in March and April 2009.

Escape from Garden Grove by Mathilde Dratwa
A troubled teenage girl kidnaps her grandmother from the assisted living facility and attempts to take her to Belgium.
Originally developed by Ingenue Theatre and presented at Public Assembly, New York City in February of 2013. Later that year, the same production was included in Manhattan Repertory Theatre's One Act Play Festival, Variations Theatre Group’s Unchained Festival and the Gallery Players' Black Box Festival.

The Writerby Chip Bolcik
Two people have to deal with the fact that they exist only as characters on the stage, and must decide what is real for them and what is not.
"The Writer" was produced under the name "The Creator" in the 2013 Unchained Festival.
"The Writer" was originally produced at The Fusion Theater in Albuquerque, NM as part of the 2013 "The Seven" new works festival. Original cast included Dorian Roberts as the Man and Andréa Nicole Agosto as the Woman. The production was directed by James Cady and was produced by Dennis Gromelski for the Fusion Theater.

Casting/Production Comments:

Notes from the playwrights:

Lynda Crawford/A Procession of Clouds
This play was inspired by the work of the Winter/Summer Institute (www.maketheatre.org), which challenges participants to create issue-based, entertaining, and provocative theatre. Much appreciation also to Kelebohile Nkhereanye who guided me in my portrayal of Lesotho and the Basotho culture.

Eugene Grygo/A Session to Remember
My play explores the lengths at which people are willing to go to find and secure a lasting love. My main character has the added burden of trying to help someone she loves marry someone else. I have created a clear conflict for the main character but allowed for many ambiguities, a lot of humor and poignancy. This play requires a cast that is extremely adventurous and willing to explore the full implications of the text. I would also strongly encourage the director and actors to explore during rehearsal the many possibilities for physical and verbal humor as well as the darker edges that this comedy embraces.

Chip Bolcik/The Writer
The Writer has no unusual casting or technical requirements. Meisner-trained actors will especially love this play, but anyone with good training will enjoy doing it. It is suggested that the actors and directors avoid the mistake of playing this piece only for laughs. If you think of this play as two characters with serious, real problems who just happen to speak funny words, you will serve the play well, and the playwright will like you.

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Original Production Information

Four plays produced as part of the 2013 Unchained Festival by Variations Theatre Group at the Chain Theatre, Long Island City, New York (producers: Rich Ferraioli, Kirk Gostkowski, Timothy Nolan) with the following cast and credits:.

A Procession of Clouds by Lynda Crawford

Mpho: Brigitte Barnett
Jan: Debra Zane
Young Mpho/Pula: Ama Addison
Ricardo/Phil: Cristian Ciocan
'M'e/Kate: Marie Guinier
Damen/Bongoe: Daron Ross
Letesatsi/Lerato: Regine Mont-Louis
Thabo: Donnell E. Smith
Norma/Foreign Health Worker: Colleen Cosgrove

Director: Dennis Carnegie
Musical Director: Melissa Shelter
Stage Manager Razghiem Golden

A Session to Remember by Eugene Grygo
Sanura: Lisa Tharps
Wynn: Sean Kleier
Director: Jake Myers

Escape from Garden Grove by Mathilde Dratwa
Faye: Vicki Blankenship
Sophie: Martine Moore
Director: Brian Roff

The Writer by Chip Bolcik
The Man: Joe Charles
The Woman: Emily Dalton
Director: Peter Spellos

Excerpt from The Unchained Collection

From Escape from Garden Grove:

FAYE

I wish you got me a red one.

SOPHIE

These are from the school play. They’re the only ones I had.

FAYE

They didn’t have any red ones?

SOPHIE

It’s West Side Story. They’re trying to make us look Puerto Rican.

FAYE

Well, get me a red one next time. Really red, like Lucille Ball. All the most beautiful women have red hair. Maureen O’Hara, Rita Hayworth...

SOPHIE

Lindsay Lohan.

FAYE

Who?

SOPHIE

Nevermind.

FAYE

Annie Walsh who lives in the room next door to mine has red hair. Bet she dyes it.

SOPHIE

She dyes her hair? But isn’t she old?

FAYE

She enjoys male attention. I know - I hear it all through the wall. I’m not even going to tell you what I hear when Annie Walsh entertains her gentlemen friends.

SOPHIE

Gentlemen friends?

FAYE

She’s on her fifth boyfriend since I moved in. It’s the red hair.

SOPHIE

Wow.

FAYE

Though to be fair to Annie, she likes older men, so it’s not really her fault she has so many boyfriends: they keep dying.

SOPHIE

Oh! I - uh... I’m sorry?

FAYE

They were really old.

SOPHIE

I don’t-

FAYE

When the Garden Grove nurse found out about Annie Walsh, she gave this big talk about SDTs and taught us how to-

SOPHIE

Grandma, stop. Please... And I think it’s STDs. I wish the bus would get here.

FAYE

Me too. The rain makes my hip ache

SOPHIE

(overlapping)

Hip ache, I know.

(unfolding a schedule)

The schedule says every ten minutes. Uh oh!

FAYE

What?

SOPHIE

It says exact change. I only have a twenty. I forgot. Do you have any change?

FAYE

Change? No. I have my check book...

(opens her purse, takes it out)

SOPHIE

The bus driver’s never going to take a check.

FAYE

Sorry. I never carry cash.

SOPHIE

How do you buy food and stuff?

FAYE

I don’t - Garden Grove takes care of all that.

SOPHIE

But - you always give me money! Every time I come see you!

FAYE

Your mother slips it to me when she comes in and hugs me, and I give it right back to you.

SOPHIE

Really?

FAYE

Well sure, Sweetheart.

SOPHIE

What’s in your bag, then? No money, no phone... You carry around that big bag just for your checkbook?

FAYE

(opening her bag)

Well... Let’s see... Tissues... Jelly Beans...

SOPHIE

Jelly beans?

FAYE

(showing her)

I take them from the bowl at reception.

SOPHIE

You have a handbag full of jelly beans?

FAYE

They’re free.

Chip Bolcik (The Writer)

Chip Bolcik Chip Bolcik has written 27 short plays and two full-length plays. His short play "The Blizzard" was chosen as Best Play at the Winter 2013 Strawberry One-Act Festival in NYC. It was also featured at the 2013 Last Frontier Theater Conference in Valdez, AK and was a finalist at the 2013 Hurricane Season Theater Festival in Los Angeles. His play "In The Third Person" won the award for best play at the 2013 Manhattan Repertory Theater Competition in New York City. Chip’s play, "The Writer," won the 2013 Fusion Theater’s The Seven Festival in Albuquerque, NM and was a finalist at the 2013 Unchained Theater Festival in NYC. His play "Breaking Out Is Hard To Do" was a finalist at the Summer 2013 Strawberry One-Act Festival in NYC. Director Betsy True won the award for Best Direction for that production. Chip’s plays are regularly produced at the New Mercury Theater in NYC and The Ruskin Group Theater in Santa Monica, CA.

Contact Info: Rochelle at rd@indietheaternow.com

Lynda Crawford (A Procession of Clouds)

Lynda Crawford

Born in New York City, Lynda found her way to theatre through her aunt (BJ Bohack), an actress who acted in and produced melodramas at Sammy’s Bowery Follies. Lynda’s first play was a melodrama of her own, Help Wanted, which she put on in the back room of a restaurant. It was there she met the composer/lyricist Gary Kupper, and they went on to write One Good Day and, later, Consumer Behavior, a pop musical about consumerism, which was developed at Abrons Arts Center–Henry Street Settlement in 2000-2001, and showcased at FringeNYC in 2002, directed by Victoria Pero.

Lynda dropped out of high school as a teen, but returned to school in 1989 and went on to receive an MFA in playwriting from Brooklyn College in 2001, working with Jack Gelber, Mac Wellman, and William Hauptman. “I just wanted to make a commitment to do the writing. I didn’t think an MFA was going to get me playwriting work. But in the end, it did allow me to teach, which has been very enriching.”

After an independent study on Greek tragedy, Lynda decided to write her own Greek play, and Secrets of the Birds resulted, which was directed by Irondale Ensemble’s Terry Greiss in the 2006 Samuel French Play Festival, where it became a finalist. During this period, she also wrote Strange Rain, which was a finalist in Reverie Production’s Next Generation Playwriting Contest in 2004 and showcased in FringeNYC in 2013, directed by Simone Federman, where it was awarded Overall Excellence in Playwriting.

Howard Ink!, a finalist in the John Gardner Play Competition, was a semifinalist in the Knock International Play Contest in 2010. Day Lilies was a finalist in the Lamia Ink One Page Play Festival. Several of Lynda’s short plays and other writings have also appeared in the journal MaNHaTTaN Linear and in the book, TITTERS: The First Collection of Humor by Women (Macmillan).

Lynda's most recent work, A Procession of Clouds, about an immigrant to the United States who tries to respond to the AIDS crisis decimating her homeland of Lesotho, Africa, showcased at the Unchained Festival in 2013, directed by Dennis Carnegie, where it was a finalist and tied for Audience Favorite. 

Lynda is a member of the Dramatists Guild and she leads the playwriting lab at SUNY Empire State College.

Contact Info: lyndacrawford@earthlink.net

Mathilde Dratwa (Escape From Garden Grove)

Mathilde Dratwa

Something of a nomad, Mathilde has lived and worked in France, Belgium, England, Spain, the United States, Russia, and Sri Lanka. Along with Duncan Thomas, she co-wrote and co-directed the multi-lingual, full-length play Balconies, which was produced by the Malaprops Company at the Theatre du Pave in Toulouse, France. Her one-act play Escape from Garden Grove was developed by Ingenue Theatre and workshopped at Public Assembly. It was subsequently included in six short play festivals. 

As an actor, Mathilde has appeared on stage in England (Shakespeare's Globe, Cambridge Arts Theatre, Cochrane Theater), Russia (Vakhtangov Institute), France (Theatre de la Digue) and Belgium (La Monnaie - National Opera House). Mathilde also works as a Teaching Artist at the Roundabout Theatre Company and the New Victory Theater. She holds a BA in English Literature and a Post-Graduate Certificate of Education as an English and Drama teacher, both from Cambridge University, as well as a masters in Classical Acting from Drama Centre London

Contact Info: Rochelle at rd@indietheaternow.com

Eugene Grygo (A Session to Remember)

Eugene Grygo

Eugene Grygo was born and raised in Erie, Pa. A 1983 graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, Grygo has B.A. degrees in journalism and history. He began writing plays in college and has since worked with many theatre artists, including the acclaimed director Curt Dempster, the late co-founder of the Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST).

His New York theatre credits include: A Session to Remember, winner of Best Play, Best Actress, Best Actor and Audience Favorite at the 2013 Unchained Theatre Festival of the Variations Theatre Group, New York, NY; Brona and Alberto, produced at the Workshop Theater (2002) and in a festival at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre (2010); A Session to Remember, semi-finalist for The Network festival (2009); Graduation semi-finalist for the Strawberry Festival (2006) and Fresh Fruit Festival (2011); The Birthday Boy special production by the Leslie-Loman Gay Art Foundation (2000) and a concert reading (2009). In Boston, his full-length comedy Saddlesore had a workshop production via the Blue Moon Playwrights (1996). He also served as the book writer for two musicals for the Gay Men’s Chorus of San Jose, Calif. (1991-92). Also in Boston, Grygo was a writer and performer for The Deep End, a comedy series for public access cable (1989).

Aside from his plays, Grygo is an award-winning journalist, and has served as a fiction and nonfiction editor for Painted Leaf Press, a groundbreaking New York-based publishing firm. He was a 2001 Lambda Literary Award finalist for his work as co-editor of the nonfiction anthology, Mama’s Boy: Gay Men Write About Their Mothers. In June 2005, Grygo’s short story, The Birthday Gift, was published in Along the Lake, an anthology about life in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Most recently, Grygo finished the libretto for a full-length opera based upon Graduation, which will debut in 2014.

Contact Info: eugene.grygo@gmail.com