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One-act plays conclude Frostic Reading Series

April 4, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Playwrights Arnold Johnston and Deborah Ann Percy will introduce their book "The Art of the One-Act" and four emerging playwrights in this spring's final installment of the Gwen Frostic Reading Series at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 11, in the Little Theatre at Western Michigan University. All readings in the series are open to the public free of charge.

Johnston is chair of the Department of English at WMU and has teamed with his wife, Percy, on a variety of projects, including scripts for Kalamazoo's All Ears Theatre and Whole Arts Theatre and the full-length plays in the "Detroit Trilogy," which includes the award-winning "The Zamboni Situation," "Small Slam" and "Beyond Sex." Percy is principal of Maple Street Magnet Middle School for the Arts in Kalamazoo.

"Art of the One-Act: An Anthology" edited by Arnold Johnston and Deborah Ann Percy, includes 26 previously unpublished one-act plays and an introduction by the editors. "Art of the One-Act" is available through major book sellers and online from barnesandnobel.com and amazon.com.

Playwrights and their one-acts featured in the April 11 readings are Constance Alexander's "Last Call," Carey Daniels' "Hands for Toast," Bethany Gauthier's "The Nancy" and Troy Tradup's "We All Give Thanks."

"Last Call" by Constance Alexander focuses on the widow and family of a man killed during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, avoiding easy sentimentality and looking at the lives of the survivors with a realistic and unblinking eye. Alexander is artistic director of West Kentucky Playwrights' Festival, and she has received numerous arts council and foundation grants and awards to support her writing.

"Hands for Toast" by Carey Daniels exemplifies a dynamic frequently observed in comic plays: that of the stranger in a strange land, an innocent or "normal" character who must cope with characters and customs that confound him and threaten his welfare. Daniels has a master of fine arts in playwriting from WMU.

"The Nancy" by Bethany Gauthier takes place in an upscale coffee shop, where characters Eve and Alyssa sit across a table from each other with a prominently empty chair between them. Gauthier has a master of fine arts in playwriting from WMU and has had productions with the Paw Paw Village Players and All Ears Theatre.

"We All Give Thanks" by Troy Tradup is a mordantly funny take on family Thanksgivings, featuring disruption of the holiday ritual idealized annually in popular media. Tradup is the author of eight plays, including award winners "The Desired Effect" and "Chuckling in Limbo." His anthology contribution, "We All Give Thanks," was a finalist for the 2003 Heideman Award.

Spring 2007 Gwen Frostic Reading Series

Jan. 24, novelist Joanna Scott
Jan. 31, poet David Rivard
Feb. 28, novelist Bryan Charles
March 28, poet and essayist Lia Purpura
April 4, poet and novelist Richard Katrovas
April 11, "The Art of the One-Act" various playwrights

All readings are Wednesdays at 8 p.m. in the Little Theatre, which is located at the corner of Oakland Drive and Oliver Street on Western Michigan University's East Campus. There is free off-street parking behind the theatre.

For more information about the Gwen Frostic Reading Series, contact Dr. Arnie Johnston, chair of the Department of English, at arnie.johnston@wmich.edu. To be added to the mailing list for reading series announcements, write to Becky Beech at rebecca.beech@wmich.edu and include your complete name and postal address.

Media contact: Thom Myers, (269) 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

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