New Works Play Reading: Collection of Student Work

Open to all at no cost

Time and Location

  • 2021, Jan 28
  • 2021, Jan 29

All new works by Western students. These works reflect struggles in life and how life is not always as it seems.

  • Spiked by Kevin Harris
  • First Step: An Ode to Wham! by Hope Winsor
  • Tidal Lock by Jessica Moreland
  • The Woodpecker by Boomer Lusink
  • Conversations with a Cat by Chauncey Drummond
  • Gimme A Sign by Barnett Marcus
A person wearing a backpack sits on a log over a lushly forested river, looking up the river

I want to acknowledge that this virtual gathering and celebration is being produced by this Western Washington University on the ancestral homelands of the Coast Salish Peoples past and present, and honor with gratitude the land itself and the people who have stewarded it throughout the generations. This calls me to commit to continuing to learn how to be a better steward of the land I inhabit as well.

It is important to acknowledge the long-standing history that has brought us all to reside on the land, and to seek to understand our place within that history. Land acknowledgements do not exist in a past tense, or historical context: colonialism is a current ongoing process, and we need to build our mindfulness of our present participation. It is also worth noting that acknowledging the land is Indigenous protocol.

I would also like to recognize all the people who have built, created, and died in the process of this society being what it is today. The diasporic actions of the Euro colonizers have created damaging ripples in those communities that still require action to be taken.

Here in Bellingham Washington we recognize the Lummi, Semiahmoo and Nooksack tribes and their neighboring stewards the Samish, Stilliguamish, Sauk-Suiattle and Swinomish tribes.

Spiked

by Kevin Harris

Cast

Alexis: Katie Ginther
Penn: Tessa Hoyos
Stage Directions: Megan Burr

Production Team

Playwright: Kevin Harris
Director: Mark Lutwak
Assistant Director: Kenneth Dalena
Dramaturg: j. chavez
Stage Manager: Stephanie Ward-Harvey
Production Manager: Savannah LeCornu
Company Managers: Mark Kuntz, Kamarie Chapman
 

First Step: An Ode to Wham!

by Hope Winsor

What do reality stars, kitchen appliances, recovery, and an eighties pop duo have in common? Surprisingly, more than you’d think. First Step follows Chance as they attempt to make sense of the unthinkable. Chance must navigate the harsh reality of loss, love, and the art of letting go. However, not everything may appear as it seems as Chance discovers help in the least likely of places. On the road to recovery Chance learns that perhaps the hardest part is taking that first step.

Content Warning

  • substance abuse
  • talks of suicide/suicide ideation
  • self harm/blood
  • death

Cast

Chance: Kevin Harris
Microwave: Wilson Loucks
Morgan: Ryan Hamilton-Sutherland
Meg: Gwen Brewer
Stage Directions: Levi Collins

Production Team

Playwright: Hope Winsor
Director: Mark Lutwak
Assistant Director: Daniel Hanlon
Dramaturg: j. chavez
Stage Manager: Stephanie Ward-Harvey
Production Manager: Savannah LeCornu
Company Managers: Mark Kuntz, Kamarie Chapman
 

Tidal Lock

by Jessica Moreland

Cast

Dee: Dylan Braund
Linda: Shona Carter
Stage Directions: Robert Clifton
 

Production Team

Playwright: Jessica Moreland
Director: Mark Lutwak
Assistant Director: Isaac Hall
Dramaturg: j. chavez
Stage Manager: Stephanie Ward-Harvey
Production Manager: Savannah LeCornu
Company Managers: Mark Kuntz, Kamarie Chapman

The Woodpecker

by Boomer Lusink

Arthur struggles with isolation as he distances himself, both literally and figuratively, from the people who care about him. Alone at his family’s cabin, he fights against an unseen presence, an incessantly beleaguering force that gets continuingly worse and fills him with wave after wave of terrible, heavy pain. He does his best. The woodpecker is not what it seems. 

Content Warning

  • suicidal ideation
  • an attempt at suicide
  • strong language

Playwright's Note

Wear a mask.

Cast

Arthur Bassini: Mitch Stevens
Phoebe Applegate: Erin Smith
JJ: Logan Johnson
Stage Directions: Riley Stowell

Production Team

Playwright: Boomer Lusink
Director: Mark Lutwak
Assistant Director: Sarah McBride
Dramaturg: j. chavez
Stage Manager: Stephanie Ward-Harvey
Production Manager: Savannah LeCornu
Company Managers: Mark Kuntz, Kamarie Chapman

Conversations with a Cat

by Chauncey Drummond

Cast

Cordy: Kharma Stambaugh
Lily: Marina Clever
Stage Directions: Gracie Johnson

Production Team

Playwright: Chauncey Drummond
Director: Mark Lutwak
Assistant Director: Brittany Morgan
Dramaturg: j. chavez
Stage Manager: Stephanie Ward-Harvey
Production Manager: Savannah LeCornu
Company Managers: Mark Kuntz, Kamarie Chapman
 

Gimme A Sign

by W. Barnett Marcus

Charlie and Louise, college-aged roommates, discuss the ongoing protests for racial justice occurring throughout the United States. Louise (who is white) goes to protests, while Charlie(who isn't) stays at home. When Charlie is treated unfairly by a local librarian and nearly has the police called on them, Louise resolves to secretly fundraise for Charlie and spread word of the incident in the activist community. When Charlie learns of this, they are more concerned for their personal safety than delighted at the money raised. Louise's continued ignorance and assumptions of Charlie's needs results in Charlie kicking her out of the house. 

Content Warning

  • themes of racial injustice
  • physical assault
  • vehicular assault
  • alcohol consumption without drunkenness

Playwright's Note

Dear white audience

I hope you weren't expecting a call to action here, because you aren't getting one from me. If you're looking for the impetus to change and make change, I don't owe it to you. It is neither my prerogative nor my interest to make you like this play.


Dear audience of color

You already know what I'm going to say here.
My dearest thanks to the cast and crew for their unwavering support.


xoxo wbm
 

Cast

Louise: Anna Olsen
Charlie: Nalica Hennings
Stage Directions: Katie Garcia

Production Team

Playwright: W. Barnett Marcus
Director: j. chavez
Assistant Director: Nina Stanyo
Dramaturg: j. Chavez
Production Manager: Savannah LeCornu
Company Managers: Mark Kuntz, Kamarie Chapman

Director's Note

“there are white people in heaven, too.
they build condos across the street 
& ask Mexicans to speak English.
i’m just kidding.
there are not white people in heaven”
-“Mexican Heaven”, by José Olivarez, from Citizen Illegal 

“But they’ll drink a               six-dollar turmeric latte,
make a chaiwalla shop in Toronto,   ride rickshaws down
Manhattan                            say Namaste during 
yoga   extra loudly               because they are so so so very 
cultured                 and ask you “Why is Bangladesh so 
poor, you think?”
- an excerpt from “the many descriptions of being brown”, by Fariha Róisín, from how to cure a ghost

“I feel most colored when I am thrown against a sharp white background”
-from “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” by Zora Neale Hurston

 

j. chavez

Director, Gimme A Sign

j.chavez is a theatre artist from white suburbia, Bellingham. They got their Bachelors in Playwriting and Directing from Western Washington University in 2019. They are the current reigning Little Miss Kennedy Center National Undergraduate Playwright for their play “how to clean your room (and remember all your trauma)” won the 2020 and is being published in the Methuen Drama Book of Trans Plays in May 2021. Founder and Artistic Director of Haus of Hazard Theatre Productions in Bellingham, Washington which attempted a production of Romeo and Juliet where one of the characters was a crab. And has spent the last 24 years of their life trying to understand the concept of wind, and has yet to. 

j. chavez in casual attire pointing, sticking out their tongue with a smile, holding a KCACTF certificate of achievement

Mark Lutwak

Director, The Woodpecker, First Step: An Ode to Wham!, Spiked, Conversations with a Cat, Tidal Lock

Mark Lutwak has served as director of education and outreach for Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, artistic director at Honolulu Theatre for Youth, executive director at Rain City Projects, a resident director at New Dramatists in NYC, and program director for Taller Latinoamericano. He has specialized in commissioning, developing and directing new work for both young people and adults. As a freelance director, he has directed in theatres across the U.S., produced and directed award-winning educational media, and produced a wide variety of projects for non- profits arts, community and educational organizations. He currently is focused on the work of playwright Y York, through their production company Snowflake Avalanche. (www.snowflakeavalanche.org
 

A person mid-conversation in an office chair, in front a wall of machines with lots of nobs and buttons

Disability Accommodations

For disability accommodations, please contact the department presenting the event. Disability access information is available online at Parking Services, and further resources can be found on Western's Disability Resources website.

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