Ten-Minute Plays, Heideman Award and Vaughn McBride Scholarship Winners Announced

by on February 3, 2011

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Actors Theatre completes 35th Humana Festival Lineup with announcement of winners.

Louisville, KY – Actors Theatre of Louisville Artistic Director Marc Masterson and Managing Director Jennifer Bielstein are delighted to announce the three ten-minute chosen to premiere during the 35th Anniversary Humana Festival of New American Plays (February 27 – April 17, 2011). This year’s ten-minute plays are:  Mr. Smitten by Laura Eason, Hygiene by Gregory Hischak and Chicago, Sudan written and performedby Marc Bamuthi Joseph.  The plays were selected as part of The National Ten-Minute Play Contest, co-sponsored by City Theatre (Miami), and will be staged on April 2 & 3, 2011 during the final weekend of the Humana Festival of New American Plays.

The ten-minute plays will have two performances: April 2 at 9 p.m. and April 3 at 4.30 p.m. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling the Actors Theatre Box Office at 502-584-1205 or online.

Two further National Ten-Minute Play Contest entrants were also recognized this year. Max Posner and Kyle John Schmidt are the co-winners of Actors Theatre’s 2010 Heideman Award,chosen from nearly 1,300 submissions from around the country.  Max Posner’s play The Famished and Kyle John Schmidt’s The Last Hat, a Tragedy were produced by Actors Theatre’s Apprentice/Intern Company in The Tens, an evening of ten-minute plays showcased at Actors Theatre in January 2011.

Vaughn McBride Scholarship Recipients

In other literary news, Actors Theatre has awarded the Vaughn McBride Scholarship to Jessica Reese and Mik Mroczynski.  The award is given in honor of Vaughn McBride, a former Actors Theatre Resident Company Member and founder of Actors Theatre’s Apprentice/Intern Company. It is presented annually to a literary intern, playwright or dramaturg.  Mroczynski and Reese are currently Dramaturgy/Literary Management Interns at Actors Theatre.

The Ten-Minute Plays


Mr. Smitten

by Laura Eason

directed by Kent Nicholson


Anna comes unglued in the veterinarian’s office when she discovers her beloved cat is not long for this world. Strangers find comfort and connection in this surprising comedy about pets and their people.

Laura Eason is the author of more than twenty plays, both original work and adaptations. Current/upcoming productions include:  Sex With Strangers (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Ethan Frome (also director, Lookingglass Theatre Company), and The Undeniable Sound of Right Now (Rising Phoenix Repertory).  Regional productions include Hartford Stage, People’s Light & Theatre, Centerstage, City Theatre (Florida), Kansas City Repertory Theatre and Theater Schmeater, among others.  New York productions include: 59E59 Theaters, the Women’s Project, W.E.T. and Vital Theatre, among others.  Publishing: Smith & Kraus, Playscripts, and Broadway Play Publishing.  Affiliations: Affiliated Artist of New Georges, alumna of the Women’s Project Playwright’s Lab (both in New York City), current ensemble member and former Artistic Director of Lookingglass Theatre Company. Originally from Chicago, Laura lives in Brooklyn, New York.  More information at: lauraeason.com.



by Gregory Hischak

directed by Kent Nicholson

Wendy has been sent home from school with a parasite growing out of her head. This rhythmic display of family dysfunction proves the old adage: the trouble with normal is that it always gets worse.

Gregory Hischak‘s  Hygiene was staged at Actors Theatre of Louisville in January as part of the Intern/Apprentice Company’s The Tens, 2011. His play Poor Shem was staged in The Tens in 2010. Other recent productions include the premiere of The Center of Gravity (winner of the 2009 Clauder Competition) at the Portland Stage Company (ME) in March 2011, as well as 2010 productions with City Theater (Florida), The Source Festival (Washington, D.C.), and The Boston Theatre Marathon. In addition to being a former official Etch-A-Sketch artist, Mr. Hischak is also a poet and book artist. He lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Chicago, Sudan

written and performed by Marc Bamuthi Joseph

directed by Michael John Garcés


This short choreopoem uses movement and verse to unlock a mother’s connection between an East African genocide and a Midwestern homicide. Chicago, Sudan is the first in a series of works that culminate in red, black and GREEN: a blues, which theatrically navigates African America’s engagement with the global environmental movement.

Marc Bamuthi Joseph returns to Actors Theatre after premiering the break/s during the 2008 Humana Festival. He is the Artistic Director of the HBO documentary Brave New Voices and an inaugural recipient of the United States Artists Fellowship. Premiering at Yerba Buena Center this fall, and visiting the Walker Arts Center and the Brooklyn Academy of Music among other sites, his performance piece, red black and GREEN: a blues, engages the eco-equity movement in Black neighborhoods across America. In 2011, he premieres a commissioned libretto for the Atlanta Ballet, and is co-writing a narrative score for the Chicago Jazz Ensemble with Amiri Baraka in 2012. Bamuthi’s Word Becomes Flesh was re-mounted in December 2010 as part of the National Endowment for the Arts American Masterpieces series, and will tour throughout North America and Hawaii through 2012.

Chicago, Sudanwas commissioned by Actors Theatre of Louisville. Chicago, Sudan is part of red, black, and GREEN: a blues, co-commissioned by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Walker Art Center and Lehigh University. It has received generous support from The National Endowment for the Arts, The New England Foundation for the Arts National Dance Project, The MAP Fund(a program of Creative Capital), and The America Project, with support from the Ford Foundation and the Nathan Cummings Foundation.


2010 Heideman Award Co-Winners


The Famished

by Max Posner


Rodney hanged himself in his office, Jefferson won’t leave the break room, Ryan’s gonna be a dad and Rebecca can’t finish her sentence.  All that’s left in the fridge are the leftovers of the recently-fired. When all you want is to share a kitchen, a remote control and a mattress full of bedbugs with someone, how do you approach the project of honesty?

Max Posner’s plays have been produced/developed at Young Playwrights Inc. (New York City), New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theatre Festival, Curious Theatre (Denver, Colorado), The Blank (Los Angeles), and Brown University.  Plays include: The Thing About Air Travel, SNORE, The War on Safety (published by Playscripts, Inc.), and The Famished.  Max has studied playwriting at Brown University with Paula Vogel, Erik Ehn, Bonnie Metzgar and Lisa D’Amour.


The Last Hat, a Tragedy

by Kyle John Schmidt

Molly Forge, the proprietor of a classy ladies’ dress shop, discovers that her hair is rapidly receding from the nape of her neck and proceeding down the front of her face.  As disaster creeps down her forehead, Molly decides she must tell a certain man she loves him before it’s too late.

Kyle John Schmidt is a former member of the Actors Theatre literary office and a recent graduate of the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas-Austin.  Kyle’s short plays include Sword Play (Actors Theatre of Louisville), Fernando and the Killer Queen (Theatre Masters), and St. Matilde’s Malady (Frontera Short Fringe, Best of Fest).  Full-length plays:  Blue Point and Keeping Up With the Johnsons.

For more information on the National Ten-Minute Play Contest, contact Actors Theatre Literary Department on 502-584-1265 or visit ActorsTheatre.org.

Editor’s Notes


Editor:  The involvement of The Humana Foundation in the Humana Festival of New American Plays is very important to us.  We would greatly appreciate inclusion of its participation in your coverage.  The Humana Festival represents the largest and longest-running active partnership between a corporation and a theatre in the United States.


The National Ten-Minute Play Contest, sponsored by Actors Theatre and Miami’s City Theatre, is designed to discover outstanding ten-minute plays by unknown or established playwrights. All ten-minute plays submitted are considered for the Heideman Award($1000), the Humana Festival of New American Plays, City Theatre’s Summer Shorts Festival and the Short Cuts Tour.


The Heideman Award, given annually since 1979, is made possible by a sustaining grant given by the late Ted Heideman of Louisville, and is bestowed annually upon the winners of the National Ten-Minute Play Contest.

Vaughn McBride, a former Actors Theatre Resident Company Member, was an actor, writer, director, teacher, and an important presence in Louisville for 20 years. While audiences certainly remember McBride for his 18 years as a high-stepping Mr. Fezziwig in A Christmas Carol, perhaps his greatest legacy is the Apprentice/Intern Company at Actors, which he founded, and in the plays he wrote for and with local students at Walden Theatre and elsewhere. He co-founded Walden Theatre’s Young Playwrights Program in 1981 and published several collections of monologues for young actors, which are still used today. He retired to Salt Lake City where he died in November 2001.

About the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville

The Humana Festival is an internationally acclaimed event that has introduced more than 400 plays into the American and international theatre’s general repertoire, including three Pulitzer Prize winners—The Gin Game by D. L. Coburn, Crimes of the Heart by Beth Henley and Dinner with Friends by Donald Margulies—as well as Rinne Groff’s The Ruby Sunrise, Jane Martin’s Anton in Show Business, Charles L. Mee’s Big Love, Theresa Rebeck’s The Scene, Gina Gionfriddo’s After Ashley and Becky Shaw, Stephen Belber’s Tape and The Civilians’ This Beautiful City. Over 380 Humana Festival plays have been published in anthologies and individual acting editions, making Actors Theatre a visible and vital force in the development of new plays.

The Humana Festival is the premier event of its kind in the nation, drawing audiences of nearly 40,000 last year. For the past 35 years, hundreds of the industry’s most distinguished leaders, producers, critics and admirers have descended upon Louisville for a month-long celebration of the newest creations in American theatre. The Festival culminates in two industry weekends which bring together a collection of amazing new works with one-of-a-kind panels, cocktail parties, discussions and networking events. It is the perfect opportunity to see new works, make new connections and support the creation of new American theatre.


About Actors Theatre of Louisville

Marc Masterson, Artistic Director

Jennifer Bielstein, Managing Director

Now in its 47th season, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the State Theatre of Kentucky, has emerged as one of America’s most consistently innovative professional theatre companies. Actors Theatre’s programming includes a broad range of classical and contemporary work, presenting more than 500 performances each season. The company performs annually to nearly 200,000 people and is the recipient of the most prestigious awards bestowed on a regional theatre: a special Tony Award for Distinguished Achievement, the James N. Vaughan Memorial Award for Exceptional Achievement and Contribution to the Development of Professional Theatre, and the Margo Jones Award for the Encouragement of New Plays. Actors Theatre’s international appearances include performances in over 29 cities in 15 foreign countries. Currently, there are 40 books of plays and criticism from Actors Theatre in publication and circulation.

Actors Theater of Louisville
316 West Main St.
Louisville, KY 40202
Box Office: 502.584.1205
502.371.0956 TDD

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