Local Theatre

Published on February 8th, 2023 | by TLV News


Theatre Oxford’s Annual Ten-Minute Play Festival Features Local, National, and International Talent

Theatre Oxford’s 2023 Ten-Minute Play Festival features new works by local, national, and international playwrights, including the winner of Theatre Oxford’s 10-Minute Play Competition. The festival runs Friday, February 10 at 7 pm and Saturday, February 11 at 2 pm and 7 pm at The Powerhouse Community Arts Center in Oxford.

This year, seven plays will premiere on the Powerhouse stage:

20 Avon by Kristin Andrea Hanratty of Michigan (Winner 2022 Theatre Oxford 10-Minute Play Contest) takes place at an address where virtual and actual realities collide. Hanratty has written several full-length plays, including Petty Crimes, Birds, and Dirt, which have been produced at theatres around the country. She is a three-time Academy Award/Nicholls Fellowship Quarterfinalist and Austin Film Festival Semi-finalist. Her play is being directed by Joe Atkins.

Patients by George Kehoe of Oxford, Mississippi (2nd place winner), follows an act of compassion that leads to an unexpected outcome. The drama is being directed by Jennifer Mizenko. Kehoe is a retired English and writing instructor. He received a Mississippi Arts Commission Grant to write a full-length play, Hungry, about the life and death of Bobby Sands. The play ran for five performances at the 13th annual New York International Fringe Festival.

The Square Billed Sapphire by Tim Lehnert of Rhode Island (competition finalist) turns the binoculars of birdwatchers back on themselves. Director Dan Mattern said the play, “looks like a farce, but scratch beneath its feathers [and you will] find thoughtful themes on nature, exploitation, and trustworthiness.”

The Influencer by Sem Megson of Ontario, Canada (contest finalist), a poet, playwright, and creative writer, has dozens of published and produced credits in the USA, Canada, Europe, and Asia. The Influencer explores the lure of becoming virally relevant on social media. The play is being directed by Gail Tapscott.

Dead Man, a dark comedy by Chuck Smith of Virginia, (2021 contest finalist) imagines if we could bring murder victims back to life. What could and would a victim say? Actress and filmmaker, De Bei, will direct. Smith is a member and gag-writer for the National Cartoon Society and a playwright of over 30 one-act plays, which have been produced in 21 states.

Lunch Break, a “tragicomedy” by local writer LaToya Faulk, will be directed by Uiversity of Mississippi theatre student, Kayla Fifer. It explores less-than-comfortable exchanges in a break room during lunch. Faulk’s first play, Mama’s Flowerbed, was produced by Theater Oxford in August as part of the Hoka Festival. Faulk is a Lecturer of Writing and Rhetoric at UMiss and Sarah Isom Center Fellow.

The Hitchhikers by local writer Joseph (Joe) Atkins is a memory from 1969. Two hitchhikers are stranded on a lonesome Arkansas highway wondering if they’ll ever catch a ride. The play is being directed by his wife, Suzanne Atkins. Joe Atkins is a journalist and novelist. His latest book, Harry Dean Stanton: Hollywood’s Zen Rebel won the 2021 Bronze Medal from the Independent Publisher Book Awards.

Attendees may Meet the Playwrights between shows on February 11 from 4–5 pm in the Powerhouse gallery.

People working on the production are energized and dedicated. Production Manager, Madison Hickey-Riker, said she enjoys helping create something that allows people to find their voices. Stage manager Alyssa Sheppard exclaimed, “I am so excited to get to work on such an interesting production!”

“It’s a great community event,” said Kate Hooper, president of Theatre Oxford’s board. “Festival coordinator, Jennifer Mizenko, has worked hard since August to ensure we have a successful event, and we could not have done it without the help of the play contest’s co-coordinator, Kate Lechler.”

Purchase tickets from oxfordarts.com/theatreoxford

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About the Author

The Local Voice is a bimonthly entertainment guide and newspaper based in Oxford, Mississippi, covering and distributed in North Central Mississippi, including Oxford, Ole Miss, Taylor, Abbeville, Water Valley, Lafayette County, Yalobusha County, and parts of Panola County, Marshall County, and Tupelo . The Local Voice is distributed free to over 255 locations in North Mississippi and also available as a full color PDF download worldwide on the internet.

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