Friday, June 3, 2011



The 2011 Friends and Neighbors Festival: 20 hours with $20

WHEN: Now playing through June 19
WHERE: 1823 N. Charles Street, Baltimore
Each performance is only $5

Seven new plays have been selected from over 100 submissions to be featured in this year's Friends and Neighbors Festival. Each play has been assigned to a director who is limited to 20 hours of rehearsal time and a $20 budget.

One of the plays in this year's Friends and Neighbors Festival will be included in the Strand's 2011-2012 season. You, the audience, will help us select this play by attending each performance in the festival and sending in your recommendations. Audience evaluations will also be sent to the playwright themselves, to assist them in any future workshopping efforts. We have limited the rehearsal period and budget to give each production an equal amount of resources.


  • Wednesday, June 1, at 7 PM: Glitter and Spew by Alison Luterman,
    A Blessed Unrest by Karuna Lynne Elson (8 PM)
  • Thursday, June 2, at 7 PM: Blood-bound and Tongue-tied
    by Jacqueline E. Lawton
  • Friday, June 3, at 7 PM: Unlimited Nights by Sean Pomposello, Such Good Neighbors by Susan Middaugh
  • Saturday, June 4, at 7 PM: 2 Pens Elijah by Barbara Sperber
  • Sunday, June 5 at 3 PM: Since We’re Here by Zoe Speas


  • Wednesday, June 8, at 7 PM: 2 Pens Elijah
  • Thursday, June 9 at 7 PM: Since We’re Here
  • Friday, June 10, at 7 PM: Glitter and Spew, A Blessed Unrest (8 PM)
  • Saturday, June 11, at 7 PM: Blood-bound and Tongue-tied
  • Sunday, June 12, at 3 PM: Unlimited Nights, Such Good Neighbors


  • Wednesday, June 15 at 7 PM: Blood-bound and Tongue-tied
  • Thursday, June 16 at 7 PM: 2 Pens Elijah
  • Friday, June 17 at 7 PM: Unlimited Nights, Such Good Neighbors
  • Saturday, June 18 at 7 PM: Since We’re Here
  • Sunday, June 19 at 3 PM: Glitter and Spew, A Blessed Unrest (8 PM)

Read About the Plays and Meet the Playwrights!

PictureA Blessed Unrest by Karuna Lynne Elson
Directed by Mattie Rogers
Jacob copes with falling in love with his physical therapist and his new life as a quadriplegic through fantasies of his idol, Martha Graham, daring him to enjoy life again.
Playwright Bio: Karuna Lynne Elson is an award-winning playwright. Her plays have been produced in New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles and Nebraska. Currently Karuna Lynne writes for the Passage Theatre of NJ as a member of the Playwrights Unit. Five of her short plays were produced in the past few years at Passage Theatre including Crazy, Crazy on You.  Her play Stolen Glorie was the winner of the Great Platte River Playwrights Festival of 2001.

PictureGlitter and Spew by Alison Luterman
Directed by Natalia Leimkuhler
Three linked short plays form a three-ring-circus, a meditation on media exposure, shame, and personal responsibility in twenty-first century America.
Playwright Bio: Luterman’s first full-length play, Saying Kaddish With My Sister, was produced by the Jewish Ensemble Theatre of Michigan in 2008. Several of her works have been produced in New York and San Francisco, including at the No Nude Men Theatre Company. Currently she works as as a poet-in-the-schools, as a playwright-mentor, and with the Poetry Out Loud program. She also performs improvisational movement, music, and spoken word with Wing It! ensemble in Oakland, California.

PictureBlood-bound and Tongue-tied by Jacqueline E. Lawton
Directed by Aaron Heinsman
Blood-bound and Tongue-tied, a provocative and poetic adaptation of Oedipus Rex, follows the astonishing journey of Jocasta, an African American woman whose decision to pass for White leads to devastation.
Playwright Bio: Jacqueline E. Lawton received her MFA in Playwriting from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a James A. Michener Fellow. She participated in the Kennedy Center’s Playwrights’ Intensive (2002) and World Interplay (2003). Some of her plays include Anna K, The Devil's Sweet Water, Ira Aldridge: the African Roscius (National Portrait Gallery commission), Lions of Industry, Mothers of Invention (Discovery Theater commission); and Mad Breed (Active Cultures commission). Her plays have been developed and received workshop readings at the Kennedy Center’s Page to Stage Festival; Rorschach Theatre Company's Magic in Rough Spaces, Round House Theatre; and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (with support from Arena Stage).

PictureUnlimited Nights by Sean Pomposello
Directed by Da'Minique Williams
A couple's relationship is called into question when they are awakened in the middle of the night by a succession of ominous telephone calls.
Playwright Bio: Sean Pomposello is a screenwriter, playwright, former writer for HBO and longtime Madison Avenue ad guy. Many theaters have staged his plays, including Theater for the New City, Naked Angels, The Impact Theater, John Chatterton's Short Play Lab at The Royal Theatre, Variations Theatre Group and Manhattan Repertory Theatre. Both the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and  Sciences Nicholl Fellowship and Monterey County Film Commission have recognized  his screen work.

PictureSuch Good Neighbors by Susan Middaugh
Directed by Da'Minique Williams
Awakened by a fight going on between their next-door neighbors in the middle of the night, a married couple in their 60s argue whether to intervene or go back to sleep.
Playwright Bio: Susan Middaugh has been writing plays since 1990. Middaugh’s plays have received productions with Vagabond Players and the Theatrical Mining Company in Baltimore. She has been produced by the Baltimore Playwright’s Festival and has twice been a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition.

Picture2 Pens Elijah by Barbara Sperber
Directed by Irene Williams
Rectifying an injustice includes poetry stripteases and life and death decisions in 2 Pens Elijah.
Playwright Bio: After thirty years as a poet, Barbara Sperber started writing plays seven years ago. She was inspired by a quotation from playwright David Hare, "A playwright is a poet disguised as an architect." Since then, going to theatre and writing plays has held a child-like fascination for her. Harnessing language to serve drama, and harnessing drama to serve language takes playwright and audience alike to a mysterious, magical place where only primordial truths exist.

PictureSince We're Here by Zoe Speas
Directed by Danielle Young
An S&M role-play goes awry, leaving an unlikely pair secluded together for an evening of discovery.
Playwright Bio: Zoe Speas is a senior acting/playwriting student at The College of William and Mary. She has had two plays produced with the William and Mary Theatre. Roles with WMT include Helena in All's Well that Ends Well, Angellica in The Rover, and Jean Brodie in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Zoe has acted professionally with the Richmond and Virginia Shakespeare Festivals.