Preview: Augustana senior to be featured at Playwrights’ Festival

Staged readings of selected plays by local playwrights will be performed by Augustana actors at the 15th Annual Quad City Playwrights’ Festival.

Four playwrights are featured in the festival, including Augustana senior Joshua Malone. Their 10-minute plays will be enacted May 17 at 7:30 p.m. in Black Box Theatre.

“The event is a great way to showcase the works of local writers,” said Christina Myatt, Playwrights’ Festival coordinator. “It is also a way that we, as an educational institution, can promote and encourage the writing of high school students and hopefully inspire those who have thought of taking pen in hand and creating a work of their own.”

Myatt said 75 percent of the play entries were submitted by high school students, similar to the original concept for the festival.

“This year we have seen somewhat of a return to our roots,” Myatt said. “When the Quad City Playwrights’ Festival was conceived by Melissa McBain, it was to showcase and encourage student (and primarily high school student) works.  In later years, it has expanded to include college and community playwrights.”

Malone said it is an honor to have his play featured at the upcoming festival.

“I’m sincerely humbled,” said Malone, president of theatre fraternity Alpha Psi Omega. “I’m a theatre major here and love writing plays. It is a great outreach program that the theatre department here does in conjunction with Alpha Psi Omega. Bill Cahill and his assistant directors this year I think will do a great job with the plays they have selected. I trust them with mine, certainly.”

Malone said this is the second play he has written to be produced this month.

“It’s just really surreal right now,” Malone said. “New Ground Theatre of Davenport is currently doing a production of my play, directed by Augustana Theatre Department Secretary Christian Myatt, over at the Village Theatre. It opened May 2, and I saw it opening night. It was great. It’s just really humbling that something that I worked hard on has gotten such recognition, and I feel really blessed and thankful.”

Malone’s play “Memory” will be featured at the Playwrights’ Festival. He said it is adapted from his short story “Room 125,” which won an award in this year’s SAGA literary magazine.

“Because the story is personal for me and was very heartfelt, I feel like it makes it more real for the audience,” Malone said. “The story seems to resonate with people, which I’m glad it does. I wanted to show the harsh truth of Alzheimer’s/dementia. It’s unflinching – at least that is what my intentions were.”

Currently, Malone is adapting the same story for a film version which will premiere on May 18 at the Augustana College Black Squirrel Productions first annual Film Fest.

During the Playwrights’ Festival, the plays will be acted out by Augustana students from the Theater Arts program, said Myatt. A talk-back will take place between the playwrights, actors and directors and the audience following the performances, along with a reception. Admission is free to the public.

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