a short play festival from The LAVA Center
In plays penned by 13 playwrights from 3 continents, characters from cerulean warblers, insects, brown bull catfish, and fire to a wide age range of humans plus a couple of time-traveling aliens confront questions of our collective survival.
The plays are divided into two programs. Program A offers plays of animal perspectives and extreme weather, Program B offers food for thought and action.
Twenty-eight actors from as near as Greenfield and as far as Dublin, Ireland and Auckland, New Zealand bring it all to life via Zoom.
Made possible in part from support by Greening Greenfield.
“Birds of a Feather” by Jan Maher
“Chitin” by Michael Nix
“Dead Zone” by Lindsay Adams
“The Waters Around You Have Grown” by Stephen Fruchtman
“When You Play with Fire” by Sara Becker
“Under the Weather” by Kay Bullard
“Peppergrass” by Vanessa Query
“Everyone’s Sorry” by Colette Cullen
“Second Chances” by Karen Shapiro Miller
“Risk Assessment” by Candace Perry
“Unplugged” by Nina Gross
“Subversive Action Chick” by Rex McGregor
“A Change in Climate” by Patricia Crosby
Karen Shapiro Miller
Mary Chris Kenney
(incomplete right now—we’ll continue to add to this)
Playwrights and Directors
Sara Becker (playwright and actor) is a local actor, writer, singer and everything in between who thrills in the joy of storytelling and creative exploration. She is a senior at Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Public Charter School and has trained with The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York as well as Completely Ridiculous Productions in their Summer Conservatory program among others. She is a passion advocate of sustainable living and hopes you enjoy the show!
Kay Bullard (playwright) is a Providence based playwright whose short and one act plays have been read and produced throughout the region. She is honored to be a part of this festival. And she gives credit for whatever success she has to her writing group The Blue Cow Group.
Patricia Crosby (playwright) is a graduate of Greenfield Community College, Catholic University and Brown, where she earned an M.A.T in English. She has had fiction and poetry published in The Other Side, Changing Men, War, Literature and the Arts and elsewhere. Crosby has worked as a board administrator, project developer, teacher, and bookseller and resides in Western Massachusetts.
Colette Cullen (playwright and director) is a writer and director based in Dublin, Ireland. She has just directed SLOW DATING as part of the LifeLogues online monologues showcase for Thematic Theatre, London. She directed an audio version of her play WHEN RACHEL MET FIONA for Porcelain Theatre, Dublin earlier this year. Her play FAMILY TREE was long-listed for UK Papatanga’s New Writing Prize in 2019. She directed an extract in Scene + Heard 2019, Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin. Her short plays have been performed in the UK at Theatro Technis, Tristan Bates Theatre, Jack Studio Theatre, Southwark Playhouse, Cockpit Theatre, Theatre Deli, Tabard Theatre and as part of Slackline Production’s Cyberstories and Aktualize Theatre’s Cyber Scratch. She directed her plays TENDER MERCIES in Scene + Heard 2017, Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin and the Garter Lane Theatre, Waterford; YES in the 2016 International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival; BLIND DATE in the 2015 International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival a radio version of which was shortlisted for RTE’s PJ O’Connor Radio Drama Awards 2015. She directed BEASTS for Collaborations 2015, Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin; The Mill Theatre, Dundrum and The Millbank Theatre, Rush. She has written for RTE’s flagship TV drama series FAIR CITY and written and directed a number of prize-winning short films.
Ezzell Floraniña (director) has been on the Valley Arts scene for over 20 years, founding and directing the Improv Theater Company, The Rainbow Players and the organization, Empowerment Through The Arts (ETTA). Over the 20 years, the actors have presented many original devised productions, presenting at social justice theater conferences in Omaha and Chicago. Presenting at theater festivals “across the pond” has led them to travel to Ireland and the UK, collaborating with other inclusive theater troupes. The last travel extravaganza took the troupe to London and Coventry for the 2012 Summer Olympics. These days, as with everyone, we are learning to create on Zoom and other virtual formats. This experience with the LAVA Center has offered ways to expand those abilities in new and exciting ways.
Stephen Fruchtman (playwright) is an Easthampton based playwright and actor. He earned a BFA in Dramatic Writing with a concentration in Playwriting at NYU Tisch. He has since studied with the LAByrinth Theater Company, The Farm Theater, and The Upright Citizens’ Brigade. Favorite roles include Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing, Berger in Hair, Little John and Friar Tuck at the Mutton & Mead and King Oberon at the Massachusetts Ren Faire. Many thanks Jan, Vanessa, Karen, Ezzel, Leah, and Nina.
Nina Gross (playwright) (Greenfield, MA) is a teacher, poet, and musician. When she is not worrying about fixing the world, she enjoys dancing and improvising her way through life.
Jan Maher (playwright and director) is a playwright and novelist who lives in Greenfield, MA with her husband Doug Selwyn where she is a co-coordinator of The LAVA Center, an arts incubator, black-box theater, and community gathering space in downtown Greenfield. Her short plays have been performed at theaters in Provincetown, MA; Seattle, WA; Flint, MI, and virtually through The LAVA Center. Her directing credits include Cascando by Samuel Beckett, featuring Joseph Chaikin (Empty Space Theater, Seattle, WA) and her own play Widow’s Walk which was a finalist in the Actors’ Theatre of Louisville 10-minute play contest and won Best of Week Four in Seattle’s New City Theater’s Directors’ Fest. Her novels Earth As It Is and Heaven, Indiana have been designated Kirkus Reviews Best of 2017 and Best of 2018.
Rex McGregor (playwright and director) is a New Zealand playwright. His short comedies have been produced on four continents from New York and London to Sydney and Chennai. His most popular play, Threatened Panda Fights Back, has had over a dozen productions. Rex has a Master of Arts (Honors) in Languages and Literature from the University of Auckland and is currently a senior collections librarian at Auckland Libraries. You can find out more about his plays on his website: rexmcgregor.com.
Rex McGregor is a New Zealand playwright. His short comedies have been produced on four continents from New York and London to Sydney and Chennai.
Composer/playwright Michael Nix studied playwriting at Kansas State University under the South African poet and playwright Joel Climenhaga, and holds a MM in Music Composition from the University of Massachusetts. In 1989 the UMass opera department commissioned him to produce a libretto on Italo Calvino’s Italian short story “Limbruno” which was set by Salvatore Macchia. In 1992 Nix wrote a two hour theater project to celebrate the life of John Cage on which Tom Leamon wrote in a letter to Merce Cunningham “It was not Christmas at Westbeth, but it was very appropriate and authentic and funny and touching and we were glad to be there.” Nix spent two seasons at the Shakespeare & Co. in Lenox, MA where sonnets were set to his music, read by actors and interpreted by a modern dance company. For several seasons he made music and had a novelty (banjo uke!) walk on role with the Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, MA. As a musician has recorded for the PBS series “American Experience,” several independent documentaries, numerous CD projects; and his compositions are performed internationally. His music has been heard on “Weekend Edition,” and other NPR programs.
Candace Perry (playwright) is a playwright, teacher, and social justice activist living in Wellfleet, MA. Over 40 of her short plays have been produced in the US and Ireland, and her four full length plays have had readings, workshops and productions at theaters on Cape Cod, including the Provincetown Theater, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, and the Cotuit Center for the Arts. She is currently the Playwright in Residence for Eventide Theatre Company’s Playwrights ETC and is a member of the Dramatists Guild.
Vanessa Query (playwright and director) (Greenfield, MA) is a director, writer, performer, and organizer. She has written and directed several short films and has performed and produced sketch comedy, circus sideshow, and collaborative mixed-media performance.
Karen Shapiro Miller, a Greenfield resident, has been an avid science fiction fan since she was 8, and has spent decades reading SF fiction,writing SF, editing SF, and publishing her own zine. In “Second Chances,” she explores the links between science, society, and unexamined cultural assumptions.
Amanda Bowman (Hawley, MA) is a theater artist from Southern California who has called Massachusetts home for the last 6 years. She graduated from Boston Conservatory one year ago and has worked and trained with several Western Massachusetts theaters such as: Shakespeare and Co., Barrington Stage, and Double Edge Theater.
Jacob Frank is very excited to be part of “Facing the Future: Climate Change Theater”! He is a relatively new, but incredibly enthusiastic actor whose most recent roles include Romeo in Romeo and Juliet and the Bishop from Les Miserables, but at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Greater Springfield! He is an environmentalist, and an active member of his school’s Environmental Science Club. He hopes that everybody learns something new and feels obligated to change their lifestyle after watching these short plays!
Stephen Fruchtman is an Easthampton based playwright and actor. He earned a BFA in Dramatic Writing with a concentration in Playwriting at NYU Tisch. He has since studied with the LAByrinth Theater Company, The Farm Theater, and The Upright Citizens’ Brigade. Favorite roles include Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing, Berger in Hair, Little John and Friar Tuck at the Mutton & Mead and King Oberon at the Massachusetts Ren Faire. Many thanks Jan, Vanessa, Karen, Ezzel, Leah, and Nina.
Derek Good owns and runs a corporate training company, acts in short films and commercials as well as providing voice overs for animated films, corporate videos and virtual reality projects.
Nina Gross (Greenfield, MA) is a teacher, poet, and musician. When she is not worrying about fixing the world, she enjoys dancing and improvising her way through life.
Bob McNeil, writer, editor, and spoken word artist, is the author of Verses of Realness. Hal Sirowitz, a Queens Poet Laureate, called the book “A fantastic trip through the mind of a poet who doesn’t flinch at the truth.” Among Bob’s recent accomplishments, he found working on Lyrics of Mature Hearts to be a humbling experience because of the anthology’s talented contributors. Copies of that collection are available here.
This is Becky Minard’s first production at The LAVA Center. Most of her work has been in Rhode Island in theaters including Epic Theater (American Drag, Suddenly Last Summer Barbecue, and The House of Bernarda Alba); Counter Productions (Night Mother, Richard III), Second Story
(Neighborhood Watch), The Community Players (Rabbit Hole), and The Players at The Barker
Theater (Good People, Woman in Mind, Romeo and Juliet, and Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike).
Kimberly Salditt-Poulin (Amherst, MA) has done her last few shows with Silverthorne in Greenfield. Kimberly is grateful to be zooming with LAVA again. It’s truly a pleasure to be a part of this latest endeavor that combines the Arts with Science to bring attention to help heal our planet. Peace and wellness to all.
Sumaiya Sannah is a New Zealand actor. She has recently started her journey in performing arts and enjoys exploring her acting skills. Lani in Subversive Action Chick is her first acting role.
Laurel Turk is an acupuncturist in Sunderland, sometimes an actor, and occasionally a playwright. She would like to thank Siri and Alexa for their coaching in her role as the Computer Voice.
Nancy Winokoor currently lives in Providence, RI. She works with many theaters throughout Rhode Island, such as the Contemporary Theater Company in Wakefield, Epic Theater Company in Cranston, Headtrick in Providence, and also the Little Theatre of Fall River in Fall River, MA. Because of her love of jazz music, she was a DJ on air at KUVO radio in Denver, CO for six years.
Trevor Young is a Cook Island Tahitian actor from Auckland, New Zealand. He has played supporting roles in Shortland Street and Ahikaroa, featured in commercials and is a spoken word poet.