Lake Tahoe competition announces top 3 playwrights

Submitted to the Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The winning playwrights for Valhalla’s 2021 1-Act Play Competition have been announced and will all attend this year’s WordWave reading on Sept. 11 in the Boathouse Theatre. The audience will have a chance to meet the winners and ask them questions about the plays and their writing processes.

With time on their hands and the creative energy flowing, more than 100 playwrights submitted fresh works for consideration. From the entries, local thespians and directors picked three plays to be read for the first time in Lake Tahoe.

“Out, Damn COVID Audition” by Susan Boulanger

Gayle and Darcie are two local theater actresses who have been out of work for over a year-and-a-half during the COVID-19 pandemic. Darcie has invited herself over supposedly for some long-awaited girl-time with Gayle. It doesn’t take long for Gayle to realize that Darcie has invaded her treasured respite just to have her coach Darcie for an upcoming audition — a role that Darcie just knows Gayle is not right for. Gayle proceeds to coach Darcie for an audition that will definitely be … unforgettable.

Boulanger is an award-winning director, actor, producer and educator from Los Angeles.

Susan Boulanger

Big Top Love” by Nicole DeSalle

DeSalle explores the motivations behind dreams through the experiences of Travis and Lydia, who meet at a Chicago café and learn they both are seeking thrills they hope will bring joy to their lives. Travis wants to enlist the help of talent agent Lydia to build a circus he believes will revitalize his town, while Lydia is looking for the thrill of finding a lasting love. Both characters have to consider whether Big Top Love is the right remedy to fill the holes in their hearts.

DeSalle’s short and one-act plays have been performed at the 2018 Pittsburgh New Works Festival, the 2021 Central Pennsylvania Theatre and Dance Festival and the 2021 New Play Development Workshop as part of the at The Conference.

“The Process” by Peter McDonough

Sarah Chapman is reliving the events of a specific day with the help of a counselor. Struggling to separate reality from delusion, Sarah searches for answers that will profoundly impact herself and the future of her students. The women painstakingly unearth the truth, forcing the audience to confront a chilling threat from which no one is immune. Intense and powerful, this drama delves into one of the most compelling issues of the time. The story deftly navigates through trust, selflessness, leadership and how to let go when faced with the inevitable.

McDonough’s dramedy “Joint Chiefs” won the playwriting competition in 2016 and received its premiere production the following year at Lake Tahoe Community College’s Duke Theatre.

“Valhalla Tahoe is so excited to present these fresh plays that explore the joy, pain and unique dynamic of the time we’re living and creating in,” said Michelle Morton, executive director of Valhalla Tahoe.

The underlying principle of WordWave is that stories — in song, theater, oral tradition and books — change lives. WordWave provides a venue for locals and visitors to share their stories and validate their creativity.

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