Starter Pistol: Deer season. Somewhere in the dying small town Midwest of our Brave New America, unsung mother, wife and breadwinner Karen James and her family have enough venison chili to survive the approaching winter…despite her husband Griff’s herniated discs and her son Matthew’s troubles at school. But when a stranger comes to dinner, can they survive the secrets buried in their past, the reckoning to come, and still make it to the big MegaBall drawing this particularly eventful Friday night? Loosely inspired by Euripides’ Iphigenia in Aulis, it’s the story of a family trying their best to navigate the economic, cultural and familial legacies that threaten violence from within and from without.
Michael Gotch is a playwright, actor, director and teacher. He is a founding member of The REP, the professional resident company at the Roselle Center for the Arts at the University of Delaware, where he also teaches and has directed, written and performed in over 50 productions since its inaugural season. Michael works around the country at a number of leading theaters including Theatre for a New Audience (NYC), The Acting Company (NYC), and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, South Coast Rep, ACT, and Westport Country Playhouse, among others. Starter Pistol is his second play. In addition to its selection at ANPF 2019, it was a semifinalist for both the 2019 Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and the 2019 Blue Ink Playwriting Award. It will have a workshop and reading this fall as part of Westport Country Playhouse’s 2019 New Works Circle and will subsequently receive its world premiere in February of 2020. Michael lives in Delaware with his Boston Terrier, Finn. They can be spotted hiking, exploring and purposely getting lost on any one of a number of state park trails daily.
Pelicans: Four men are gathered at the beach: a father, two adult sons and one grandson. They drink beer, crush cans, birdwatch and argue about global warming. Augie, one of the sons, is a middle-aged gay man who has come back to spend a vacation with his family. They are awaiting the arrival of their cousin Margaret. Augie does not remember her, although all the others seem to. She comes, carrying a beer in her purse and dragging an oxygen tank across the sand, setting in motion an absurd, dark comedy about death, family and home.
David Johnston is an award-winning playwright, librettist and screenwriter based in New York City. His plays and operas have been performed and read at the New Group, Moving Arts, the Neighborhood Playhouse, HB Playwrights Foundation, Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Urban Arias, and Ensemble Studio Theatre. His works have been published by Samuel French, New York Theatre Experience, Inc., Applause Theater Books, and Smith & Kraus. His playwriting awards include Theater Oxford, Playwright Residency at the University of Cincinnati, a Berrilla Kerr Foundation Grant, the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, and the Arch & Bruce Brown Foundation. He is a member of Actors Equity, Dramatists Guild, BMI Librettists Workshop, ASCAP, the Actors Studio’s Playwright/Director’s Workshop, and Charles Maryan’s Playwrights/Directors Workshop, and is an alumni artist of American Lyric Theatre. Since 2012, David has been the Executive Director of Exploring the Metropolis, Inc., the only NYC-based nonprofit focused exclusively on workspace issues for performing artists, organizations and facilities.
The Way North: When a lost, cold and very pregnant young woman stumbles on to her rural homestead in the Minnesota wilderness, Freddy Hanson doesn’t hesitate to take her in. It’s the right thing to do, and as the county’s former Sheriff, Freddy has dedicated her life to protecting and to serving others. But when her new guest turns out to be a Sudanese refugee making a run for the Canadian border, what it means to protect and serve becomes a more complicated, and far more dangerous, question.
Tira Palmquist is known for plays that merge the personal, the political and the poetic. Her most produced play, Two Degrees, premiered at the Denver Center, and was subsequently produced by Tesseract Theater in St. Louis and Prime Productions at the Guthrie (among others). In addition to its selection at ANPF 2019, The Way North, was a finalist for the 2018 Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, the 2019 Blue Ink Playwriting Award, and was an honorable mention on the 2019 Kilroys List. It was also featured in Phoenix Theater’s Festival of New American Plays, Red Mountain Theater’s Human Rights New Works Festival, Road Theater’s Summer New Works Festival, and Pioneer Theatre Company’s 2019 Play-by-Play New Play Reading Series. Based in Irvine, California, Tira teaches creative writing at the Orange County School of the Arts, and has also taught at Wesleyan University and the University of California-Irvine. She is a member of the Playwrights Union, the Anteaus Theater’s Playwrights Lab and the Dramatists Guild. She also works as a director and dramaturg, including at Seven Devils Playwright Conference, where she first developed The Way North.
The Night Climber: When a #MeToo op-ed piece about his affairs with female students goes viral, a beloved Ivy League college professor faces an impossible dilemma: save his job by coming clean, or save his relationship with his daughter, whose future is at risk over his admission of one particular long-ago affair—her mentor.
Joshua Rebell is a New York City based playwright and screenwriter. He is thrilled to be returning to ANPF –where his play Omission was a winner in 2012. Some of his other plays include Embraceable You (The Tamarind Theatre, Los Angeles), Gatsby in Hollywood (The Met Theatre, Los Angeles), Black Tie Affairs (The Met Theatre), and Preying On Puritans (Sacred Fools, Los Angeles). For Sacred Fools, he has also written plays for Grimm! (published by JAC), Naked Holidays (a project he co-created), and Crime Scene, Sacred Fools’ long running late night serial, for which he wrote one of the three inaugural story lines. Additionally, his plays have received readings and workshops with Capital Repertory Theatre, The Ensemble Studio Theatre-L.A., and The Dorset Theatre Festival. Screenplays include Black Market, Old Boys Club, Map Of The Universe, Preying On Puritans (based on his play of the same title – and most recently optioned by KPD entertainment), The “B” Side (co-written with Gil Cates, Jr.), Deception, and an original short screenplay commissioned for The Shanghai World Expo 2010. Rebell is a graduate of Dartmouth College, a Stowe Story Labs alum, and a member of the Writers Guild and the Dramatists Guild.