Weekend Festival Showcases Female Playwrights over 40

Playwright Evelyn Mertens of Briarcliff Manor.
Playwright Loretta Oleck of Ossining.

Westchester Collaborative Theater (WCT) in Ossining is celebrating the work of women playwrights in a special two-day festival on Oct. 1-2 entitled That’s (Not) All She Wrote, a selection of plays and monologues presented as staged readings.

Nine local female playwrights over 40 will read from their own work. The production is directed by WCT actor/director Melissa Nocera from Yorktown Heights and executive produced by WCT writer/actor/director/producer Lori Myers of Nanuet.

As a member of Honor Roll!,  a nationwide advocacy and action group of women playwrights over the age of 40, Myers’ goal for the festival is “to create a production that puts the spotlight on WCT’s talented roster of women playwrights of a certain age.”

Knowing that many WCT writers have acting experience, Myers decided to ask the writers to perform and interpret their own work and that of their colleagues. She says, “I want the writers to showcase their stories and the characters they’ve created. This is more than a festival of comedy and drama; it’s a celebration of women playwrights over 40 who, historically, have had to work harder to get past the theatrical ‘gatekeepers’ in order to get the job.”

That’s (Not) All She Wrote performs Saturday, Oct. 1, at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 2, at 3 p.m. at WCT Theater, 23 Water Street, Ossining 10562 (wctheater.org). All tickets $10 at wct-presents-thats-not-all-she-wrote.eventbrite.com.

Listed here in alphabetical order are the playwrights plus their hometown and the title of their work they will be reading …

Barbara Dana, Katonah (What Keeps Us Going) made her New York stage debut at 17, appearing often on Broadway, off-Broadway, in film, and on TV. Her first play, War in Paramus, was produced at HB Playwrights and premiered at Abingdon Theatre Company, directed by Austin Pendleton. She is an award-winning author of books for children and young adults.

Linda Bidwell Delaney, Yorktown Heights (Heartbreak on Board) has been writing plays for over 30 years. Her works have been seen locally at WCT, Axial Theatre, Glass Ceiling Breakers, Aery 20/20 festival, Ridgefield Theater Barn, Irvington Town Hall Theatre, and White Plains Performing Arts Center. She is a member of WCT, Honor Roll! and the Dramatists Guild of America.

Shelley Lerea, Bedford Hills (The Truth) has been a part of WCT for 10 years, first as an actor, then as a playwright.

Kimberly Mallory, Cortlandt Manor (The Newlyweds) draws from many of her own experiences when writing plays and fiction that focus on familial bonds and the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity. She teaches English at SUNY/Westchester Community College.

Carol Mark, Ridgefield (Conn.) (Road Kill) studied playwriting under poet/playwright Tony Howarth.

Evelyn Mertens, Briarcliff Manor (The Image of Women and other plays) has been produced through WCT, Axial Theatre, the 20/20 Aery Theatre Festival (three-time finalist), Ariane Festival, Irvington Town Hall Theatre’s Stage Door series, Irvington Arts Incubator and Glass Ceiling Breakers. She studied acting through Howard Meyer’s Acting Program, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and Circle in the Square.

Loretta Oleck, Ossining (Paper Chains) is a Pushcart Poetry Prize nominee, Westchester County Poet Laureate finalist, and creative artist with works published worldwide. Her full-length play Paper Chains was selected as semi-finalist in Gary Marshall Theater’s New Works Festival in L.A., included at Up Theater’s Renewal Reading Series in New York City.

Serena Norr, Mount Kisco (Dr. Bob, Other) is a writer, playwright, and founder of Let’s Make a Play, a playwriting class for kids and adults. Her plays have been performed at Omaha Fringe Festival, White Plains Performing Arts Center, New Deal Creative Arts Center, WCT, Rogue Theater Festival, NYC Short Play Festival, and University of Alabama.

Misha T. Sinclair, Greenburgh (Stranger Danger and You) is an IT technician by day and budding playwright in her spare time.

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