Homer Alaska - Arts

Story last updated at 6:24 PM on Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Local playwrights featured in one-act plays at Pier One

By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer

Two Homer playwrights have made it to the intimate stage at Pier One Theatre the old fashioned way: hard work and rewriting, rewriting, rewriting. Showing this weekend in full productions are "The Answer," written and directed by Nancy Chastain, and "Flip," written by Kate Rich and directed by Dick Sanders.

Longtime veterans of the Homer theater scene, Chastain and Rich have had their plays workshopped at the Last Frontier Theater Conference in Valdez, Rich in 2010 and Chastain this year.

In her workshop, Chastain did a staged reading before three national theater professionals and then a one-on-one talk with playwright Sherry Kramer. While she got lots of feedback, Chastain said she didn't use all of it, like the suggestion that she drop her use of art work in the play. Instead, Chastain decided to use the idea even more.

Two One-act Plays

Pier One Theatre

7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday

$15 general admission, $10 for Raven's Club and $5 for youth under age 21; call 235-7333 for reservations

"The Answer"

Written and Directed by Nancy Chastain

Carolyn: Marsha Lynn

Ann: Marla McPherson


Written by Kate Rich

Directed by Dick Sanders

Cash: Aaron Selbig

Suzi: Elizabeth Neumann

Nate: Jazz Maltz

Georgia: Maria Fournier

"The Answer" looks at the relationship between two longtime friends in their 50s, Carolyn, played by Marsha Lynn, and Ann, played by Marla McPherson. Both have secrets. The drama comes from a breach of trust between the two.

As a dancer and actor, Chastain has frequently been seen on the Pier One stage. She is the coproducer of the annual DramaSlam 24-hour theater festival. While she has done staged readings before at Pier One, including her play "Expressions," also workshopped at the Last Frontier Theatre Conference, "The Answer" is her first fully produced play.

"I'm thrilled that I'm able to do this," Chastain said. "It feels like a big step in the direction I want to be going."

Also a frequent Pier One actor, Rich's "Flip" is a family drama revealed through a card game and features two parents, Cash, played by Aaron Selbig, and Suzi, played by Elizabeth Neumann, and their children, Nate, played by Jazz Maltz, and Georgia, played by Maria Fournier. Nate, diagnosed with a terminal illness faces death while his sister Suzi becomes more zealous in her new-found faith. Rich said she sees the one-act play as part of a larger play still in progress.

"It is a deeply personal, semi-autobiographical piece that attempts to portray divergent responses to mortality within a family," Rich said. "I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to see it performed at this phase of its creative evolution."

"The Answer" runs about 20 minutes and "Flip" about a half hour.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.