Donna Spector’s Not For The Ferryman, the winner of the Eileen Heckart Drama for Seniors Competition (full-length category) will be given a free staged reading on Saturday, July 24th, at 8:00 p.m. in Ohio State University’s New Works Lab, Drake Performance and Event Center, 1849 Cannon Drive on the O.S. U. campus (between the twin towers). Because of construction, access is from Woody Hayes Drive and Lane Avenue; parking is available across the street from the Drake for a modest fee.
Spector’s prize-winning play tracks the stories of two elderly women, sharing a sitting room in an assisted living facility, and the conflicts and connections between their families. Thea Tomadakis is a retired professor of classical literature, while Oriah Peabody is an Appalachian midwife. Spector combines their current lives with surrealistic scenes of confrontations with death, both in ancient Greek and Appalachian guises. Their grandchildren meet, battle, and eventually develop an understanding, while the facility’s doctor attempts to intervene.
Several of Columbus’ most noted performers will participate in the reading. Thea will be read by Katherine Burkman, artistic director of the ensemble group, Women At Play, while Linda Dorff, active at CATCO and in many roles at Players’ Theatre, will read Oriah. Their grandchildren will be read by Christopher Matsos, a recent graduate of Ohio State’s doctoral program in Theatre, and Carolyn Cutri, currently active in Ohio State’s Department of Theatre. Well-known local actor Truman Winbush is the doctor.
Donna Spector, a playwright based in New York, has had many plays produced Off-Broadway, regionally, and in Canada, Ireland, Scotland, and Greece. She received two National Endowment for the Humanities grants to study in Greece, and production grants from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the New York Council for the Arts. For more information, www.donnaspector.net. She will be present for the reading.
Over five hundred plays were submitted to the 2009 Eileen Heckart Drama for Seniors Competition. The competition honors Columbus native (and Ohio State alumna) Eileen Heckart (1919-2001), the distinguished American actress whose long career culminated in her stunning performance in Kenneth Lonergan's The Waverly Gallery (2000), for which she received the Drama Desk Award, Obie Award, and Outer Critics Circle Award. That same year she was awarded the Tony for lifetime achievement. She also was the recipient of an Academy Award (Butterflies Are Free), Golden Globe (The Bad Seed) and an Emmy (Save Me A Place at Forest Lawn). She was recognized with a Margo Jones Medal in 2000 for her long championing of new plays, having appeared in almost thirty world premiere productions.