Playwrights can put words on paper all they want but it is always a challenge for them to stage their works, let alone win full productions.
One vehicle to help them gain visibility is through the Page-to-Stage New Play Festival, now in its 18th year. The festival takes place over Labor Day Weekend from Saturday, Aug. 30-Monday, Sept. 2
This year, more than 65 D.C.-area theater companies meet to present a series of free readings and open rehearsals of plays and musicals in development. They created by local, regional and national playwrights, librettists and composers.
Performances are done with scripts in hand, while others are almost fully staged, said Lauren E. Holland, public relations coordinator (non-classical) at the Kennedy Center.
In addition to performances, the festival offers book discussions, post-presentation and other special events.
When first created, Page-in-Stage filled the Metropolitan theater community’s need for an accessible space to perform and workshop plays. During this festival, theater artists receive feedback and network with others, allowing them to refine and develop relationships that lead to later collaborations, said Holland.
Seven of the theaters or performing groups participating in the festival are from Montgomery County. Here are a few of the feature performances; the others will follow next week.
The Highwood Theatre : “Growing Through Change”
The Highwood Theatre returns to The Kennedy Center’s Page-to-Stage Festival with a preview of scenes, songs and monologues from their upcoming 17th season called “Community: Growing Through Change.” Join Highwood’s staff and student performers to enjoy an exclusive first look of the twelve incredible shows in store.
The performance will take place on Sat., Sept. 1, 11 a.m., in the Concert Hall. According to Highwood, it will be officially announcing show titles over the coming weeks, most likely the week before Page-to-Stage.
Unexpected Stage Company: “Pelicans” by David Johnston
Synopsis: In “Pelicans,” we find four men on the beach. Augie is a middle-aged gay man who has come back to spend a vacation with his family. His father Harry, his brother Sam and his nephew Gene are all present. The men drink beer, crush cans, bird watching and argue about global warming.
They are awaiting the arrival of Cousin Margaret, whom Augie does not remember, although all the others seem to. Cousin Margaret, who carries a beer in her purse and has a prosthetic leg, arrives, dragging an oxygen tank across the beach. This sets in motion an absurd, dark comedy about death, family and home.
The presentation is directed by Dawn Thomas Reidy and will take place at the Family Theater on Monday, Sept. 2, 2:30 p.m.
As a side note, Unexpected Stage Company points out that the playwright has a connection to the D.C. metro area as a playwright/librettist. Johnston has had other works performed in the area, including an opera thru the Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative and another opera with Urban Arias. Johnston’s play “Candy and Dorothy” has been produced by Unexpected as well.
Another participating Montgomery County performing group is InterAct Story Theatre, a professional touring theater for young audiences and an arts-in-education organization based in Wheaton. It brings the arts and arts-based learning opportunities to schools and communities since 1981.
No information about InterAct Story Theatre’s Page-to-Stage festival presentation by press time.
At press time, the schedule had not yet been posted on the Page-to-Stage website. Because performances are free, no tickets are distributed ahead of time. Just show up and wait on line. Visit https://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/series/PTS closer to the time to confirm the dates/times/places listed here.