Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Beth Marshall Presented Wilds as part of the New Works Series

Beth Marshall's new work series presented new works by playwrights. There were over 170 submissions and just two plays winners were selected from the play writing contest. The inaugural New Works Series featured workshop play readings from Top Teen actors mixed of industry professionals. Pam Schwartz I went to Class Act Studios (11561 Lake Underhill Road, Orlando, Florida 32825) to sketch the first play by author Lisa VillaMil. Wilds is a surrealist play about intolerance, whose plot draws from social and political events of the past year, including Brexit, the United States’ election, Poland’s attempted total-ban on abortion, and the Syrian refugee crisis, particularly in relation to Hungary. It is told in a series of short interwoven scenes of various plot lines.

The show was directed by Tara Kromer. Stage manager, (Jazzlyn Whiddonn) read at playwrights notes to set up each scene. The first scene that really struck a chord was an office meeting with men surrounding a conference table and Phoebe, (Arianna Aviles) as the only female employee. The boss (Nick Serino) ran the meeting and any time Phoebe offered insight, she was cut off. One of her ideas was repeated by one of the male employees and the boss praised him for the concept. They wanted to market their product to a female audience but refused to listen to any idea Phoebe offered.  After the meeting, the boss cornered her and asked why she was being so aggressive by speaking out at the meeting. She had actually been quite meek. It was clear that a woman has to work so much harder to have her voice heard. Men can act like assholes and be rewarded for their contributions but woman must stay subservient. In another scene Phoebe sat on a park bench and a man literally walked up and sat in her lap because he hadn't seen that she was there. She was becoming invisible.

A politician (Joshua Huff ) spoke about the need to close borders to keep the unwanted out of our country. Every misguided word seemed to have already been said by our present president. An immigrant named Dinah (Alexia Correa) managed to make her way across the border but she was stopped by border patrol. Her baby was taken from her as she faced detention. She asked everyone she talked to where her baby was and no one would answer her. Childless she was finally released and she wandered the street with a photo of her child asking anyone she met if they had seen her child. Anger and frustration turned her into a wild animal.

One scene involved a character talking about having an extra cone receptor in his eyes that lets him see far more color that the average person. I had just listened to a segment on WMFE radio about these trichromats. As an artist I hope I have this extra receptor. One person referred to my use of color as garish, and I have tended to mute the pallet since. The point didn't really forward the plot in the play however. In another scene a man played the part of a female nurse advising Phoebe to not have an abortion. Gender was blurred for effect. The play became surreal as one woman disappeared and the other turned into a wild cat.

The play resonated with political subjects we are all experiencing now in America. Everyone in the audience but a 14 year old agreed that the play should be produced for the stage. Beth Marshall is producing plays this year that are written by women or minorities. She is well aware that her primary audience is old and usually looking for simple escapist entertainment. Despite this she wants to present them with challenging contemporary works that challenge the status quo.

On Saturday June 30, 2018, at 3 p.m. Beth Marshall presents The Top Teens Showcase, featuring the acting, singing, musical, technical, and performance art talents of select young emerging artists that are theatrically coached and mentored or adjudicated by Beth Marshall throughout the season. Local veteran industry professionals adjudicate and award scholarships as well as we will be launching the BMP and Billy Manes Arts Activism Scholarship. Scholarships provided by: Beth Marshall Presents, Florida Theatrical Association and The Billy Manes Society.This will be at Class Act Studios – 11561 Lake Underhill Road, Orlando, FL 32825. Tickets are $15.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

No comments: