MOVP Celebrates New Voices and Honors Lost Loved Ones
Over the past year, our community, like so many others have struggled to keep the arts alive and available. During this time of isolation, having creative outlets has been more important than ever. In celebration of the ability to once again gather to do theatre in person, the Mid Ohio Valley Players’ are featuring three local playwrights, Becca Buck, Kay Doak and Timothy Kinker in a One Act Festival of New Plays which opens May 7. The goal of the festival is two-fold. First, to remind everyone that during times of difficulty, the telling of stories becomes even more important. The second is to provide the community an opportunity to celebrate and honor the memory of a friend or loved one who lost their life due to COVID-19.
The idea was born out of the experience of one of the featured playwrights. Becca Buck, 7th and 8th grade English teacher at New Martinsville, WV, who’s one act play, The Hart of Summer, chronicles many of the stories her grandfather, Pappy Keith Nichols told of his boyhood adventures in the late 60s. Suzanne Walker, director of Hart, explained, “The Play Reading committee was excited to have Becca’s submission to consider for the festival. Not only was it a great story of local life, but we had the opportunity to have the playwright also direct her new work.”
However, in early January, the Buck family was visited by tragedy as COVID-19 impacted the family and took the life of Pappy Keith. As much as Buck wanted to bring her play to life on stage, she decided it was too soon to try to direct. Buck said, “I had planned to sit with him and work on it, but those ideas are long gone.” She was still willing to have MOVP produce the play, but asked that someone else direct it. Suzanne Walker stepped forward and agreed to direct.
“I loved Becca’s play when I first read it and after what happened I wanted to make sure that her work had the opportunity to be shared. I asked Becca if she would be willing to have us do the play as part of the festival to honor her grandfather’s memory and she loved the idea,” said Walker.
Once the show was cast and the rehearsals were under way the cast and crew decided they wanted to do more. “So many people have lost loved ones to COVID and the opportunities for celebrations of their lives have been so limited. We decided we wanted to dedicate the festival to honor the lives of those lost due to the pandemic,” said Assistant Director, Amber Smrek.
As part of the production MOVP will create a memory wall in the lobby of the Player’s Theatre to honor those who have lost their lives to COVID-19. In addition, on opening night, May 7, luminaries will line the sidewalk in front of the theatre. If you have a friend or loved one whose memory you would like to honor please send the name, and a photo if you like, to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will add them to memory wall for the run of the production.
MOVP is still seeking sponsors for the show. Sponsorships are $100.00. Supporting Patrons are $50.00. In normal years, commercial sponsors provide back for season productions, but with the economic impact from COVID-19 they are asking those who are able to help instead bring these new voices to the stage . All donations are tax deductible. You can give on-line at MOVP.org – please mark your donation as One Act Festival or send a check to the Mid Ohio Valley Players, P.O. Box 814, Marietta, Ohio 45750.
The One Act Festival runs Friday and Saturday May 7, 8, 14, 15 at 8:00 p.m. with a live stream for those still unable or reluctant to attend theatre in person on Saturday, May 15. Tickets are available at movp.org.