Local playwrights see their work onstage as One-Act Festival returns

By: Mary Genson | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published July 27, 2022

 The cast of “Not My Son” will be performing during the One-Act Festival July 29-31.

The cast of “Not My Son” will be performing during the One-Act Festival July 29-31.

Photo provided by Playwrights@Work


BIRMINGHAM — The Village Players is the third oldest community theater in Michigan, its history dating back to 1922.

Within The Village Players is Playwrights@Work, a playwriting group that meets monthly and holds yearly events.

After a two-year hiatus, the Playwrights@Work One-Act Festival will return to the Village Players stage with four brand-new one-act plays.

The festival will take place at 8 p.m. Friday, July 29, and Saturday, July 30, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 31. Playwrights@Work was formed in 2003 when the founders met at another theater group.

Myron Stein was one of the founders of the group and has been with the group ever since. He credits Playwrights@Work for his achievements in playwriting due to the helpful feedback that is provided by members of the group.

“I certainly could not have had my plays ever produced without the benefit of this group, and I think everybody else feels the same way, because you need to get the feedback before it is put in front of an audience,” Stein said.

Each year, a committee chooses the plays to be included in the One-Act Festival.

The new one-acts this year include “Comic Book Hero,” by Jackie Sue Salter; “The Prize,” by Stephen Sussman; “Not My Son,” by Jennifer Ward; and “The Final Frontier,”  by Udi Kapen.

The stories range greatly in theme and topic. “Comic Book Hero” is about a comic book writer, “The Prize” is about a talented young architect, “Not my son” is about three women in a hospital emergency room, and “The Final Frontier” is about a milquetoast bank executive.

“​​It’s just amazing to see your work onstage, and it’s also great to have input from actors who understand how a play should work, and you get feedback from them too,” Ward said. “It helps us as playwriters fine-tune our craft.”

“Not my Son” is based on a true story about a woman whose son was shot in the early 2000s. She found out from her son’s girlfriend that her son, with whom she had not been in contact, had been shot.

When she went to the hospital, she found several other women there who feared that it had been their son who was the one that was shot.

Ward said she changed several details as she was writing this play.

“The details of my play are different than the details of the actual incident because theater has to make sense, and real life doesn’t always make sense,” Ward said.

Ward said that this festival is beneficial to the theater community because it gives actors and members of a crew experience and an opportunity to be a part of something that is not as big of a commitment as a full show with several weekend performances.

Tickets for the festival cost $10 for general admission seating plus a $1 processing fee. Tickets can be purchased at the Village Players Box Office, at the door or online at http://birminghamvil lageplayers.com.