The Northampton Arts Council works to support and nurture the arts in the city of Northampton. The Council awards grants twice each year to artists and arts groups from both state and locally-raised funds, and seeks to improve public awareness of the arts. Its' goals include maintaining and preserving the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Northampton, programming such annual events of interest to the community as First Night Northampton and Transperformance.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Northampton Playwrights Lab and the Massachusetts Cultural Council present: PLAY BY PLAY

The Northampton Playwrights Lab and the Massachusetts Cultural Council present:


Second annual festival of readings of new plays performed by local professional actors September 15 – 25, 2016

A.P.E. Gallery, 126 Main St, downtown Northampton

Featuring new plays and performance pieces by playwrights Meryl Cohn, Mojie Crigler, Harley Erdman, Leanna James Blackwell, Tanyss Rhea Martula, and Eric Henry Sanders.

All Thursday, Friday, and Saturday performances at 7:30 p.m. One Sunday matinee performance at 4 p.m.

Suggestion donation at the door: $10

Thursday, Sep. 15: Harley Erdman, CROWSNEST, directed by Sheila Siragusa Friday, Sep. 16: Mojie Crigler, THE WINKLEMEYERS BET IT ALL, director TBA Saturday, Sep. 17: Eric Henry Sanders, WHERE’S ANNIE?, director TBA

Thursday, Sep. 22: Meryl Cohn, NAKED WITH FRUIT, directed by Melissa Redwin Friday, Sep. 23: Meryl Cohn, NAKED WITH FRUIT, directed by Melissa Redwin Saturday, Sep. 24: Leanna James Blackwell, GRIMM WOMEN, directed by the playwright Sunday, Sep. 25, Tanyss Rhea Martula, HOTPOT, directed by Becca Greene-Van Horn,


The Northampton Playwrights Lab, originally founded by Meryl Cohn, is a development workshop and creative laboratory for professional playwrights with an 11-year history in Northampton. Members have had their work produced at theatres in New York, Boston, Cape Cod, Provincetown, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, the Berkshires, and the Pioneer Valley. Play by Play, which features local professional actors and directors, is a celebration of local talent and a new way to introduce theatre audiences to the innovative work being created by playwrights in the Valley. The festival will feature a different play each night. Each play is full-length and will be performed in Northampton’s beautiful A.P.E. Gallery, a popular space for art exhibits, literary readings, and theatrical performances. An early arrival is recommended. Seating is limited and there are no reservations.

The Plays

CROWSNEST by Harley Erdman

In an ecovillage somewhere up in the hills, Danny, a newcomer, arrives at a utopian community divided over its future direction. His friendship with two residents, Sarah and Carl, embroils him in passion, jealousy, secrets, and conspiracy. CROWSNEST explores the meanings of love, family, and community, in a corner of contemporary America where people striving for utopia put these terms to the extreme test. This will be the first-ever public performance of this brand-new play by Harley Erdman, a UMass theater professor known locally for his librettos for the operas THE GARDEN OF MARTYRS and THE SCARLET PROFESSOR.


THE WINKLEMEYERS BET IT ALL is the story of one man’s boom and bust during the first wave of big Internet money, and the price he pays for success that continues to elude him. This play, which was originally produced at an obscure, now-defunct theatre festival in New York City, is one of a number of works by Mojie Crigler, whose other plays have been seen at Ensemble Studio Theatre, Magic Theatre, New York Performance Works, and Carnegie Mellon University.

WHERE’S ANNIE? by Eric Henry Sanders

Where's Annie? Who's Annie? And what have Jack and Birdie done with her? In this dark comedy, Sarah Bitts returns home to confront her estranged grandparents, only to discover that the eccentric pair hides a past more frightening than she ever imagined. Caught in the couple’s alternately terrifying and bitterly humorous web of riddles, lies, and suspicion, Sarah fights her way to the truth and to her family’s redemption. Originally workshopped at the Lark Play Development Center in New York City, WHERE'S ANNIE? was developed in a reading with Frances Sternhagen at the Hudson Stage Company, where it also received its premiere production. This reading offers audiences a first glimpse at a substantially revised version of the play.


Can three people who share the loss of the same love come together to heal? NAKED WITH FRUIT is a comedy about grief and the quest for love and family. Isabel and Marilyn reconsider polyamory as they grieve the death of the secret third member of their intimate relationship. Isabel’s longing to connect inspires desperate measures, including befriending a Rabbi -- which leads to more secrets and betrayals. Through a tricky road to recovery, the loss of a shared love may turn out to be a powerful bond. An earlier version of Naked with Fruit was produced at the Provincetown Theater and was a Mass Cultural Council Finalist for playwriting.

GRIMM WOMEN by Leanna James Blackwell

A radical re-envisioning of three classic fairy tales, GRIMM WOMEN features a trio of women – a young runaway from a religious community, an adoptive mother living in urban public housing, and a globally successful business owner - telling their stories in a series of impassioned
monologues. GRIMM WOMEN transforms the traditionally maligned witches, stepmothers, and spell-casting fairies of legend into living, breathing, 21st century women with a mission: to tell their side of the story for the first time. This will be the first-ever public performance of GRIMM WOMEN, the newest play by the director of Bay Path University’s MFA in Creative Nonfiction and the author of CURTAIN CALL, recently performed at the Berkshire Theatre Group; THE WENDY CHRONICLES; and NEW SOUL.

HOTPOT and MY LIFE IN ROCK ‘N’ ROLL Two pieces by Tanyss Rhea Martula

HOTPOT, a short play. Two mothers meet to talk about their teenage children and find themselves in a melange of tight spaces, awkwardness, and confusion as things heat up. An earlier version of the play was staged at Chicago Dramatists. MY LIFE IN ROCK ‘N’ ROLL, a solo performance piece in progress. A roller coaster ride through the highs of an unexpected late-in-life passion and the highs and lows of an unpredictable family. Performed by the playwright who will be showing the work she develops during the two-week PLAY BY PLAY residency at A.P.E. There will be a brief talk-back after ROCK ‘N’ ROLL.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Northampton Arts Council, a local agency which is supported by the

Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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