[CUA Office of Public Affairs]   


April 26, 2005


Catholic University to Stage Religious One-Act Plays

 Productions Were Top Winners in National Competition


Catholic University and the Archdiocese of Washington’s Paul VI Institute for the Arts present the grand-prize winners of a national religious playwriting competition — one-act plays that will be staged Thursday, April 28, through Sunday, May 1, at Hartke Theatre.


The staging of the productions — “Two Days Folly” by Grace Wessbecher and “Give Unto Caesar” by Steven Spotswood — is part of the One-Act Play Festival at Catholic University. The festival also will include staged readings of the three runner-up plays in the competition, which was held last year and drew 70 entries from playwrights around the country.


The goal of the competition, says Thomas F. Donahue, chair of CUA’s Department of Drama, was to “provide the Catholic community with new, relevant works of contemporary religious drama.”


At a reception following the April 28 performance, the CUA Department of Drama will host an award announcement ceremony for the competition winners. Spotswood and Wessbecher, the grand-prize winners, have each received a $1,000 prize; the writers of the three runner-up plays have each received $500 prizes.


“Two Days Folly,” a comedy about the efforts of a small Irish town to encourage a young seminarian, is directed by Bill Graham, retired CUA drama department chair, and features New York area actor Bob Milli, who has had roles in productions at Arena Stage and the Olney Theatre Center.


“Give Unto Caesar,” the tale of a recusant Catholic priest who is wrongly imprisoned as a conspirator in a plot to kill the anti-Catholic King James, is directed by Grover Gardener and features Washington Stage Guild actor Bill Largess, who earned a CUA bachelor’s degree in 1976.


Spotswood, a journalist, photographer and playwright, is a staff correspondent for U.S. Medicine newspaper and a regular contributor to the Web magazine Crunchable.net. Currently he is collaborating on a play for Philadelphia’s Cardboard Box Collaborative theater company.


Wessbecher — winner of a 2001 New Playwright Award given by Do Gooder Productions in New York City — received a full production of her “A Most Irish Proposal, Indeed” at the Little Theatre at Felician College in Rutherford, N.J. Last year, Wessbecher made her New York writing debut when her show “Timelessly Familiar” was selected as a semifinalist for the Strawberry Winter One-Act Festival at the Riant Theatre in New York City.   


The festival also will include staged readings of the three runner-up plays: “Famous Lost Words” by Catherine M. Darensbourg, “Power Point” by Elizabeth Nell Dubus, and “Hunting Crows” by Fran McManus.


Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. April 28, 29 and 30 and at 2 p.m. May 1. The staged readings, which will take place in the upper lobby of Hartke, include “Famous Lost Words” at 6:30 p.m., April 29; “Power Point” at 6:30 p.m., April 30; and “Hunting Crows” at 1 p.m., May 1.


Tickets are $12 for general admission, $8 for seniors and $5 for students. To purchase tickets, call the Hartke Theatre Box Office at 202-319-4000.


MEDIA:             To cover the play, contact Chris Harrison in the Office of Public Affairs at 202-319-5600.

















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Revised: 4/27/2005

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The Catholic University of America,
Office of Public Affairs.