Future Fest at Dayton Playhouse

Jul 23, 2010

For the twentieth consecutive year, the Dayton Playhouse will present Future Fest - a three day run of six previously un-produced stage plays.

"Most places and I think most theatre companies across the country would've said forget it," says Wade Hamilton, Executive Director of Dayton Playhouse. He says that when FutureFest began, it's founder, John Riley, was taking a chance.

"It's a huge risk producing plays that have never been produced. A lot of times there's a reason that they haven't been produced," say Hamilton.

But that risk has paid off. In the last two decades, getting word out about the arts festival has gotten much easier - in fact, it almost promotes itself.

But not so easy is year long process of determining which works will make it to the stage. This year. almost 400 plays were submitted for FutureFest. Scripts came from all over the US and some make it here from outside the country. Those scripts are read by a committee of about 30 people at least three times over. That process takes place from August to the following March when the committee selects 12 plays to advance to the next round. Those twelve are then turned over to a brand new committee which selects the top six plays. FutureFest is born.

"Right now we're in tech week which is like putting together a puzzle. Producing six shows all in one weekend, all different, different plays, different playwrights, different casts, different directors, different scenery, different props, different lights," says Wade Hamilton. "It's six very different events that we put on here in a very short amount of time."

Once the plays are determined, actors are auditioned and assigned to a play.

"It's kind of a round robin. Each director gets allotted time, they read people, they move on to the next and then they duke it out for their casts," says actor Rachel Wilson. She's appearing in one of the plays that will hit the stage this weekend, "Short Story Long" by Joel Fishbane. It's about two women - one is a widow, and one is 'the other woman'. They're brought together by the death of the man they had in common. Wilson plays the widow.

"It's been a great experience," says Wilson. "It's a two person show so we have a lot of time together."

Anni Pesch agrees. She plays the 'other woman.'

"We both have a lot of monolog so that's very exciting, but there's also a lot of dynamics in the scenes we have together. Sometimes it gets a little heated so that's exciting too," says Pesch.

Future Fest begins at the Dayton Playhouse tonight and runs through Sunday