Rough Writers: a new play fest | April 18-28, 2013

ROUGH WRITERS | a new play fest

Rough Writers: a new play fest
April 18-28, 2013 | BUY TICKETS | $5 reading; $15 for a festival pass

For the first time, the Fine Arts Center is producing a new play festival as part of our 25th anniversary theatre season. This two-week long festival will feature readings of new scripts submitted by playwrights worldwide. Playwrights whose work is included in the festival will have the opportunity to have their script read in front of an audience with a feedback session. A panel of theatre professionals will adjudicate the submissions and the "winning" script will be given a full production during our 2013-2014 season.


Thursday, April 18, 7:30p | Prodigal Brothers by Steven Peterson (Chicago, IL)

Friday, April 19, 7:30p | Sister Sister by Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich (Needham, MA)

Saturday, April 20, 2p | An Afternoon of Short Plays

    Comfy Chair by Tim West (San Diego, CA)
    Curse of the Blue Parlour by Eugene Griffith (Sonoma, CA)
    The Boys by Warren Epstein (Manitou Springs, CO)
    Even The Penguins by Alisha Patterson (CA)
    Disposing of Grandma by Sue Bachman (Colorado Springs, CO)
    Relocations by David-Matthew Barnes (Denver, CO)

Saturday, April 20, 7:30p | April's Fool by Kelly McAllister (Denver, CO)

Sunday, April 21, 2p | Pieces of Him by Marisa Hebert (Woodland Park, CO)

Thursday, April 25, 7:30p | Sister Sister by Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich (Needham, MA)

Friday, April 26, 7:30p | April's Fool by Kelly McAllister (Denver, CO)

Saturday, April 27, 2p | Prodigal Brothers by Steven Peterson (Chicago, IL)

Saturday, April 27, 7:30p | Pieces of Him by Marisa Hebert (Woodland Park, CO)

Sunday, April 28, 2:00p | An Afternoon of Short Plays

    Comfy Chair by Tim West (San Diego, CA)
    Curse of the Blue Parlour by Eugene Griffith (Sonoma, CA)
    The Boys by Warren Epstein (Manitou Springs, CO)
    Even The Penguins by Alisha Patterson (CA)
    Disposing of Grandma by Sue Bachman (Colorado Springs, CO)
    Relocations by David-Matthew Barnes (Denver, CO)

Play Descriptions and Playwright Bios

Sister Sister | For Dirdra and Janice, Mom’s dead and it’s a great day. There’s going to be a celebration, and hopefully nothing will go flying out the window – including one of them. A viciously comic and tense fifteen-year reunion between two sisters on the day of their mother’s unforgettable death.

Barbara Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich’s work has been produced or developed in New York at Playwrights Horizons, Second Stage, Roundabout, Rattlestick, Women’s Project, Ensemble Studio Theatre, New Georges, Six Figures, AracaWorks, The New York International Fringe Festival (extended off-Broadway in the Fringe NYC Encore Series), and The Off-Broadway Summer Play Festival; Regionally, at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Trinity Rep, the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Hangar Theatre, Victory Gardens Theatre, LA’s Elephant Theatre, Long Beach Playhouse, Provincetown’s Universal Theatre, and Chicago’s Collaboraction Theatre. Plays published by Smith & Kraus. She has won or placed in contests that include the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, Sundance Playwriting Lab, Princess Grace Award, the Heideman Award, Labyrinth Theatre Summer Intensive, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Phoenix Theatre’s New Works Festival, Bloomington Playwrights Project, HotCity Greenhouse, and Beverly Hills Theatre Guild Julie Harris Playwright Award.  She is an affiliated artist with New Georges in NYC and a member of Boston’s Interim Writers. For more information, visit

Curse of the Blue Parlour | In 1597, the Shakespeares bought “New Place”, a dilapidated mansion in Stratford.  As Anne pursues home improvement, a long-standing curse is revealed and remains unsettled until the violent conclusion.

Gene Eugene Griffith likes to write funny characters and witty dialogue.  Author of  “Shakespeare’s Home Improvement” (IMDB.COM) featured at the Temecula Film Festival.   Wrote a number of short plays produced by CAPS (Sonoma Theatre Alliance), Thistledew Theater (Sacramento) and 6th Street Playhouse (Santa Rosa). Enjoys having dinner guests read for their supper. Poetry rejected by The New Yorker.

April’s Fool | April loves Ahab, Ahab loves Moira, and Moira is with Jaypes. But when the mysterious Norn appears at an April Fools party, everything changes- again and again. As Love, madness and murder with a pinball machine are just some of the themes in this metaphysical comedy.

Kelly Kelly McAllister- Plays include: Burning the Old Man, which won the 2005 NYIT award for Outstanding Full Length Script; Book & Lyrics for Rose Red, a new musical that had it’s world premiere at Actors Academy of the Performing Arts in Boulder this past December; Lovers, Lunatics & Poets, which won Playscripts’ 2012 Pitch-n-Playcontest; Hela and Troy, finalist 2011 Humana Festival at the Actor’s Theatre of Louisville; Last Call, 2002 FringeNYC Excellence in Playwriting award; Muse of Fire; The Morons, winner 2005 Ten by Ten one act contest at Triangle Theatre Company, NC; and Some Unfortunate Hour. His plays have been produced all over the United States, as well as Canada, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovak Republic, Dubai, and Brazil. He recently wrote and directed Strong Tea, a short film that will be playing the festival circuit for the next year. His plays have been produced and/or developed by many fine theatres, including Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Divadlo na Zabradli; The Western Stage; The American School of Dubai; hope theatre, Divadlo Exil; Boomerang Theatre Co., Impetuous Theatre Group, Gravity and Glass Productions, the Playwrights Collective of Seattle, and The Other Theatre of Denver.  He has been published by Applause Books, Playscripts inc, Smith & Kraus, and NYTE. In 2003, San Jose State University named him Graduate of the Last Decade for the School of Humanities. He was a senior reviewer for for 2003-2005. You can read his blog at, and follow him on twitter at @rkmcallister.

Prodigal Brothers | a self-righteous older brother drags his alcoholic younger brother across America and into rehab, whether he wants it or not. It's a comedy-drama, a tribute to the power of comfy chairs, and a loose and contemporized retelling of the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

Steven Steven Peterson is a playwright whose recent and upcoming productions include: The Invasion of Skokie, produced by Chicago Dramatists in 2010 and about to be revived by ShPIel Performing Identity at the Mayer Kaplan JCC in Skokie IL running May-June 2013, the workshop production of Mother’s House at Raven Theatre Chicago in 2012, and short plays in the past three annual Best of the Tens show at The Second City Training Center. His drama Paris Time was the winner of the Dorothy Silver Playwriting Competition in 2012 and was presented at the New Ground Theatre Festival at Cleveland Play House. Steve is a Resident Playwright alumnus at Chicago Dramatists and a current Senior Network Playwright there. He is member of The Playwrights' Center, the Association for Jewish Theatre, and The Dramatists Guild.

Relocations | Explores the political concerns of the collective LGBTQ community by focusing on the importance and broadening definition of family. Inspired by Alix Smith's photograph States of Union #3, this short play is about two women who - as mothers and partners - realize how important geography is in America.

David-Matthew David-Matthew Barnes is the award-winning author of seven novels and over forty stage plays that have been performed in three languages in eight countries. He is the writer and director of the films Frozen Stars and Made From Scratch. His literary work has appeared in over one hundred publications including The Best Stage Scenes, The Best Men's Stage Monologues, The Best Women's Stage Monologues, The Comstock Review, Review Americana, and The Southeast Review. Barnes is on the faculty of the Spalding University brief-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program where he mentors students in playwriting, screenwriting, and writing for children and young adults. He lives in the city of Denver where he serves as the Artistic Director of the Dorothy Nickle Performing Arts Company. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America.

Disposing of Grandma | Claire, a physician’s assistant, and her mother, Rose Aiello, a retired factory worker, have agreed to meet to go through grandma’s things a few months after her death. Grandma, who looked after Claire when she was a child while her parents worked, could never see eye to eye with her daughter-in-law, Rose. Going through Grandma’s things stirs up a range of memories and emotions for both women, not only about grandma but about each other, forcing them to move forward toward an uneasy truce

Sue Sue Bachman grew up in Wisconsin in a multigenerational household with both Italian and German ethnic influences. The youngest of five children she spent most of her childhood under the watchful eye of her stern paternal grandmother while her parents worked. Sue became interested in theatre as a child and went on to earn her theatre degree from Northwestern University. In college she mostly wrote skits for sorority rush parties, and later wrote skits and short plays for various church events for both children and adults. She has acted over the past 30 years in York, Penn., Houston, Texas and here in Colorado Springs and has appeared in numerous musicals and dramas at the FAC, Theatreworks, Star Bar Players and The MAT. After a long hiatus and inspired by the Six Women Playwriting Festival, Sue along with a number of her fellow actors, directors and playwrights formed Craft, a vehicle for showcasing  their own work. She has also recently become active in Drama Lab at The MAT. She works for the Cheyenne and Woodmen Edition newspapers. She also holds an MBA in International Business from Regis University. She and Sy, her husband of 32 years, have two adult children and three grandchildren.

The Boys | takes a look at how the breakup of a marriage plays out in the lives of two brothers. That it is a lesbian marriage is almost incidental, but it does play around with the idea of motherhood and the power that holds.

Warren Warren Epstein, best known for his long-time work in arts journalism, also has been writing plays for the past decade and has had five one-acts produced at the Millibo Art Theatre. He also has a long career as an actor and director for various companies in the Pikes Peak region. He's currently directing Claudie's Brother for the MAT and acting in The Odd Couple at the Springs Ensemble Theatre.

Pieces of Him | They thought they had plenty of time, but the premature death of the Bianci family’s loving patriarch will put this once close knit family to the test. Leaving behind a son determined not to become his father, a daughter who would like nothing more, and a family business caught in the middle. Over the course of one pivotal night family dynamics will bend, break and transform into something unexpected. 

Marisa D Hebert is a seventeen-year Actor/Director veteran of the Colorado Springs Theatre community. Marisa has been seen on stage at The FAC, THEATREWORKS, Springs Ensemble Theatre, and Star Bar. Spending her early theatre years honing her skills with Toni Babin and Upstart Performing Ensemble. It is only recently that Marisa turned to writing as a way to bring people of diversity to the Colorado Springs stage. Her intent is to create roles of substance for actors of color, and actors in the GLBTQ community.  Pieces of Him is Marisa’s first full-length play. When not working her “day job” or performing, Marisa spends her free time in the mountains of Woodland Park with her wife, cooking vegan meals and showering their three four-legged babies with love.

Even the Penguins | Story and Danielle, life partners and joint parents to their three year old twins, have always found the current US marriage and adoption laws for same sex couples unfair and unjust. However, now that Story is being denied access to her hospitalized child, the situation has suddenly become urgent, and the couple must fight to find a way to keep their family safe and together.

Alisha Alisha M. Patterson, playwright, singer, and actress, received her BFA in musical theatre from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. It was here that several of her short plays premiered, and her first full length play, Under the Plastic Stars, is scheduled to have its first professional reading this summer. She recently performed as a principal singer and vocal captain aboard Norwegian Cruise Line, and as a character at the Disneyland Resort. Onstage, her favorite roles include Judy (A Chorus Line), Gertrude (Seussical), Louise (Gypsy), Winnifred (Once Upon a Mattress), and Little Becky (Urinetown).  She is originally from Santa Clara, California, and currently resides in Anaheim.

Comfy Chair | A man comes home from work early to find his wife and son running late. He turns on the TV.
As mother and son return from the soccer game, this prosperous but challenged family finds their routine now transformed to something completely different.

Tim Tim West is an actor, director and playwright whose writing credits include  Female Problems, Strange Bedfellows and numerous Fritz Blitz productions at the Fritz Theatre, Phenomenal Acceleration and The Universal Monster Show commissioned by Sledgehammer Theatre, Breakfast for Dinner for the Actors Festival, Amelia Earhart, Lost & Found for the opening of 6th @ Penn,Green Flash at Sunset and Lights Out on Point Loma for Scripps Ranch Theatre's "Out on a Limb." His original monologues for women have been performed at the Actors Festival, the Regional Alternative Theatre conference and at auditions from Seattle to Boston.  His latest play, Cooperstown, was featured in Cygnet Theatre’s Plays in Process. West founded San Diego Playwrights Collective and blogs at He studied playwriting at the Audrey Skirball-Kenis Foundation, and recently graduated from San Diego State University.

Works of Art | Download a PDF

The following three works of art were utilized as the narrative of the artwork, or simply as a springboard for all submitted stories. We asked writers to use these works of art along with the theme of "family" to be the foundation of their plays. 

Everyday is Like Sunday, TR ERICSSON
TR Ericsson
Everyday is Like Sunday
porcelain decorated in blue toile
Edition 1/3, 2006
Courtesy of the Progressive Corporation


Everyday is Like Sunday, TR ERICSSON
Alix Smith
States of Union #3
c-print, 2009
Courtesy of the Progressive Corporation
Everyday is Like Sunday, TR ERICSSON
Liz Maugans
Don’t Get Too Comfy Pal
charcoal on paper, 2009-2011
Courtesy of the Progressive Corporation
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