2016 Strand Project

strand full cast

The 2016 Strand Project will run June 3 and June 4, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.
Selah Restaurant Cabaret Room
130 South Bridge Street Struthers, OH 44471

A talk-back with cast, writers, and the production team will follow both performances.

The Strand Project features 20 Youngstown-based actors performing original dramatic monologues from writers all over the country, each piece revealing something about the speaker: inspirations, bad choices, personality quirks, fears, hopes, regrets, dreams, and secrets.The scene is a neighborhood bar where people gather and tell their stories to each other–their friends, lovers, and even total strangers. Audiences should expect an immersive experience in Selah’s cabaret theater.

The only local production of its kind, The Strand Project is a collaboration between Selah Dessert Theatre and Lit Youngstown. Mary Ruth Lynn is the director, and Kris Harrington is the project coordinator.

The cast includes Rosie Bresson, Jenna Cintavey,Tyler Clark, Liz Conrad, Mary Dippolito, Anthony Genovese, Carla Gipson, Danielle Jackson, Medford Mashburn, Tracy McQuillan, Mitchell Meyers, Jaye Mills, Tom O’Donnell, Erica Perna, Sarah Puhala, Terry Shears, Bill Soldan, Jackie Stevens, Kerry Lynn Turner and features Sam Perry as the bartender.

Twenty monologues from writers across the country were chosen from a field of more than 100 submitted monologues. Here is a little information about our writers. We’re proud and honored to have collected such vast and inspiring talent!

Mark Harvey Levine has had over 1300 productions of his plays all over the world from New York to Bucharest to Bangalore to London. Evenings of his short plays, such as Cabfare For The Common Man and Didn’t See That Cominghave been seen in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Seoul, Amsterdam, Sydney, New York, Los Angeles, Boston and other cities. One such collection, Roteirizados, ran in late 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Recently a Spanish-language movie version of his play “The Kiss” (“El Beso”) showed at the Cannes and Tribeca film festivals and aired on HBO.

Kage Jonas Coven is a 29 year old transgender activist, actor/singer from Youngstown, Ohio. He was published in the Transgender today section of the New York Times this summer. He speaks publicly about his transition often, but this was a chance to break that barrier.

Jack Karp has had his plays produced in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and across the country. His play, Incendiary Agents, premiered at the New Ohio Theatre in New York City in 2013. His newest play, Irreversible, had its first production with Red Fern Theatre in New York this past March. Jack’s plays have also appeared in the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, the Samuel French OOB Short Play Festival, and the New York International Fringe Festival. Jack has an M.F.A. in creative writing from American University and is a member of the Dramatists Guild.

Jason Green recently returned to theater after a long absence. Originally from Missouri, he spends his workdays as the Director of Distance Learning at Pulaski Technical College in central Arkansas.

Castor Wolvio grew up in Wisconsin, where his father owned a doll factory. Wolvio lived on the streets of Milwaukee for two years, before moving to Youngstown, then New York, and then Chicago. Wolvio is an actor and a writer, but for the most part, he still lives in the shadows where images of disembodied doll heads haunt him.

Krista Knight’s work includes PRIMAL PLAY (New Georges, Playwrights Center of MN), SALAMANDER LEVIATHAN (Joe’s Pub, Ars Nova, Fingerlakes Musical Theatre Festival, Inkwell, KCACTF Musical Theatre Award from the Kennedy Center), CLEMENTINE AND THE CYBER DUCKS (Ontological Hysteric Incubator, Hangar Theatre, Inkwell), PHANTOM BAND (The Claque, Walden Theatre, Voice and Vision, Dixon Place), ANAEROBIC RESPIRATION (Playwrights Center of SF, NYC Fringe Festival), and UN-HINGED (Wily West, Playhouse Creatures, WordBRIDGE), among others.

Roberta Beary’s haiku novel, The Unworn Necklace, was named a William Carlos Williams Finalist by the Poetry Society of America. A frequent judge of poetry contests, she gives free haiku workshops to the disenfranchised. She is an editor of the journal Modern Haiku and a founding associate of The Haiku Foundation. Deflection, her most recent book, is a collection of prose poems about grief and loss.

Daniel J. Cleary teaches English at Lorain County Community College. He is also Executive Director and President of the Northeast Ohio Community Outreach Project, a nonprofit organization that brings educational opportunities to writers in Northeast Ohio prisons.

Donna Latham is an award-winning playwright whose plays have been produced coast to coast and across the pond. And We Will Share the Sky was a regional finalist for the Kennedy Center’s

David Mark Cohen Playwriting Award and is the recipient of the National Theatre for Young Audiences Playwriting Award. Grievances and Whirligigs was part of the Biscuit Tin Series in Belfast and the EstroGenius Festival, Manhattan Theatre Source. Coyote’s Moon went up at the La MaMa Theatre 50 Block Party in NY. A Midnight Clear: The Christmas Truce of 1914 and The Haunted Widow Lincoln were produced at the Batavia Arts Council in the Chicago area. The Haunted Widow Lincoln is a semi-finalist for the Playwrights First Award.

Cordelia Hanemann is a native of Southwest Louisiana, but the daughter of an army officer and diplomat, she has lived in Japan and London as well as in the US. She earned a PhD from LSU with a dissertation on the ways in which language serves as a site of resistance whereby women can work out their own feminine identity formation. She has published work in numerous literary and critical journals and anthologies, and in my own chapbook, Through a Glass Darkly.

Cassandra Bogue is a Detroit-bred writer and filmmaker. Her essays and stories have appeared in Palaver Journal,Cahaba River Literary Journal, Portage Magazine and Wild Quarterly. Her short films have been produced as part of the nationwide “48 Hour Film Project.”

John Minigan’s plays have been produced in the US, the Netherlands, Britain, Australia, South Korea, India and Dubai. He has developed new work at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater and the New American Playwrights Project, and his work has twice been selected for the Samuel French Off-Off-Broadway Festival and published in the “Best 10-Minute Plays” series. He is a three-time winner of the Firehouse New Works Contest, winner of the Nantucket Short Play Contest, the Rover Dramawerks Competition, New York’s 8-Minute Madness Festival, the Nor’Eastern Playwriting Contest, the Seoul Players’ Play Contest and the KNOCK International Short Play Competition.

Michael Burgan has written more than 250 non-fiction books for children and teens. He is also the editor of The Biographer’s Craft, the newsletter for Biographers International Organization. Burgan is a former network playwright with the Chicago Dramatists and a current member of the Dramatists Guild.

Lois Marie Harrod’s 13th and 14th poetry collections, Fragments from the Biography of Nemesis (Cherry Grove Press) and the chapbook How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth (Dancing Girl Press) appeared in 2013. The Only Is won the 2012 Tennessee Chapbook Contest (Poems & Plays), and Brief Term, a collection of poems about teachers and teaching was published by Black Buzzard Press, 2011.Cosmogony won the 2010 Hazel Lipa Chapbook (Iowa State). She is widely published in literary journals and online ezines from American Poetry Review to Zone 3. She teaches Creative Writing at The College of New Jersey.

Gail Reitano was born and raised in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Her fiction has been published in London, where she lived for twelve years, and has been featured on public radio in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she now lives with her husband in the small coastal town of Bolinas. A recently completed novel, Headfire, is about fire ecology in the pine barrens. Gail helped develop affordable housing projects for her town, and she consults to nonprofits in the areas of housing and education, most recently for the Prison University Project at San Quentin.

M. R. Klein was born in Columbus and moved to Fairgreen and Ford in Youngstown at the age of 2. She has been cosmically linked to the Northside ever since, no matter where else on earth she found her home. For her, writing is a life-long haint, asking to be heard, and she recently let go enough angst to listen.

Matt Cowley is a writer, sound designer and Foley artist with the Radio Theatre Project, drummer with Bogus Pomp, and software developer. My plays have been performed by The Radio Theatre Project, Tampa Repertory Theatre, Stageworks, and Soundstage.

Wayne L. Miller is a writer and poet living in Northern New Jersey. His work has been published or is forthcoming in Arc Poetry Magazine, The Paterson Literary Review, LIPS, Turtle Island Quarterly, The Long-Islander, The Edison Literary Review, Instigatorzine, theEEEL, The Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow, Cattails, Narrative Northeast, and various anthologies.


The Strand Project

Coordinator: Kris Harrington
Director: Mary Ruth Lynn

Selah Dessert Theatre and Lit Youngstown Collaborate on The Strand Project

 The only local production of its kind, The Strand Project is a collaboration between Selah Dessert Theatre and Lit Youngstown. It is a selection of original dramatic monologues, each piece revealing something about the speaker: inspirations, bad choices, personality quirks, fears, hopes, regrets, dreams, and secrets. The production will be staged at Selah on June 3 and June 4 at 8:00 p.m.

The Strand Project was the brain child of Lit Youngstown co-director Harrington. Harrington explained how it all came together: “I love artistic collaborations, and I was looking for something fresh for Lit Youngstown. I’d also just finished working with Mary Ruth Lynn and Brian Palumbo at Selah Desset Theatre, and one day Brian asked me to look over a piece he’d written, a dramatic monologue called ‘Mookie’ about the recent death of a friend.  ‘Mookie’ was the inspiration behind The Strand Project, a project that would gather the dramatic monologues of many writers and weave them together into a representation of the human experience. I took the idea to Lit Youngstown and to Selah, and we decided to make the project happen.”

Harrington added that there are a couple of local theaters doing original one-act events, and she and Lynn wanted to carve out a unique niche for original writing in the Selah space. Harrington said, “We don’t want to compete with what others are doing really well. We want to add complementary work to the local artistic landscape.”

A second goal was to involve a large number of writers through Lit Youngstown. Harrington said, “Typically, with a play, a play festival or a poetry reading, you have a single writer, or a few writers. The Strand Project features the work of 19 writers. We plan to cast 19 actors, and we’re looking forward to seeing how all of those levels of artistic interpretation work together.”

A team of readers with both writing and theater background worked to select the monologues. The Strand Project received over 100 entries from writers across the country, and Harrington has created a full-length script from the 19 monologues the readers chose. Of the 19 writers chosen, three have local connections.

Lynn said, “I am very excited about working on the Strand Project and providing an outlet for writers to be heard. The challenge of combining original pieces into an evening of theatre is a creative experience that I look forward to with great anticipation; the project is innovative, and it’s accessible to anyone who has ever thought about putting their words on paper.”

In the final production, the strands will be woven together to represent a piece of the human experience. The Strand Project will run at Selah Dinner Theater at 130 South Bridge Street in Struthers, OH 44471 for two evenings, June 3 and June 4, 2016. Each performance will be followed by refreshments and a talk back with the production team, cast, and writers who are able to attend.