Story and photo by IMCOM Europe Entertainment
A One Page Play Festival and Community Showcase will be held over Columbus Day weekend, Oct. 11-13, at the Stuttgart Theatre Center on Kelley Barracks. The Stuttgart Theatre Center, or STC, was selected to host the 2019 Festival after winning the 2018 US Army IMCOM Europe One Act Play Festival “Best Show” award.
Since its inception in 1995, the mission of the annual theatre festival is to encourage individual and group excellence at Army and U.S. Forces Europe community theatre programs. The festival and program enhance Soldiers’ and family members’ resiliency and readiness by providing educational opportunities to enhance life and team skills; offering positive and supportive recreational activities and events; and offering a “home away from home” and a sense of family.
As “Best Show,” the STC’s production for “Kaleidoscope” represented the Army at the 2019 American Association of Community Theatre National Festival held in June in Gettysburg, PA. The production garnered several national awards and recognition.
“We wanted to honor Stuttgart and its outstanding theatre program by holding this year’s festival there,” explained Dane Winters, program manager, Installation Management Command-Europe Entertainment.
The festival brings together Army Entertainment volunteers and staff from across Europe to collaborate, write, cast, direct, rehearse and produce new one-page plays.
At past One Page Play Festivals, more than 20 new plays were written and 12 were fully produced and staged.
“Some of these new plays have been picked up by copyright houses and produced in the US,” Winters said.
Alan Buxkemper, Stuttgart Entertainment Director, feels the festival offers Soldiers, family members and entertainment staff more than just the chance to write new plays.
“Not only does the festival show off the creative nature of the Entertainment volunteers, it allows them see other facilities, meet other volunteer participants, and to share creative ideas,” Buxkemper said. “Since the last One Page Festival, volunteers have started travelling more to different garrisons to see their new friends in shows.”
Buxkemper feels this collaboration is a benefit for the Entertainment staff as well.
“Entertainment staff members rarely see each other over the course of the year due to coinciding production schedules, as well as distance between the various communities,” he explained. “This annual Festival gets the staff in together to discuss what works; what doesn’t; how do you do this particular thing in your community, etcetera. This allows us to learn from each other’s vast wealth of knowledge and experience and to better serve our volunteers and communities.”
Dan Lamorte, SHAPE Entertainment Director, first attended the One Page Play Festival in 2017.
“I was happily surprised with my whole hearted enjoyment with this great theatre weekend!” Lamorte said. “The One Page Play Festival puts the focus on the process of creating theatre beginning with the development of the play itself and then within a very short period of time you are casting the play, conceiving the production design and rehearsing the actors all in the same day. I found the event to be entertaining, educational and inspiring.”
The weekend also includes community showcase presentations featuring the best from each garrison Entertainment program. These showcase presentations, only 15 minutes in length, can be a musical number, a scene from a show, skit or performance piece. Winters says these showcases are an excellent way to feature new directors, highlight talent and encourage participation.
Along with the One Page Play Festival and Community Showcase, the weekend includes workshops in all areas of theatre arts taught by professionals from around the world.
“We have professionals teaching workshops in acting, auditioning, singing, dancing, stage combat and technical production,” Winters said. “It is an incredible opportunity for our volunteers to work with some high-powered leaders in their fields.”
Participants also compete in a monologue competition. A professional theater director based in England coaches each one individually to prepare them to compete for “Best Monologue” awards.
Prizes are presented at an exciting awards ceremony on Sunday evening.
The festival is open to all Stuttgart military community members and bona fide guests, and all events, workshops and performances are free to the public.
Get your act together
More information is available at the Stuttgart Theater Center, Bldg. 3320, Kelley Barracks, and by calling 421-3055 or 0711-729-3055. Complete details and schedules can be found on the Army Europe Entertainment MWR website at www.ArmyEuropeEntertainment.com.