Weathervane Playhouse to present 4th annual 8×10 Theatrefest

Arts / Article

Ten-minute plays, eight of them, put on back to back, with the public voting on the best among them. That’s the tradition that Weathervane Playhouse, a Knight Arts grantee, is maintaining as it is building up for the 4th annual 8×10 Theatrefest to be held during the weekend of July 11-13.

You can imagine that in the right creative hands, you will get some quirky storylines – ones that have to build and resolve the action in a really short time. Organizers have noted, for instance, that one play is about whether the dragon character really is a beautiful princess who has been put under a spell by a wicked witch; or, they say, it may just be a con artist at work. Hmm.

Another one will be about a young man with relationship issues wondering whether to trust a pill-popping therapist who uses a hand puppet as a referee during their sessions. Yet another will be about an estranged married couple who meet at the restaurant where they went on their first date. You can sense a lot of talking and awkwardness going on in that one.

Anyway, those kind of tales are among the stories that will unfold during the three-day event. They were chosen from 150 10-minute plays that were submitted by playwrights from around the country. Out of that number, eight finalists will have their works shown.

There’s money in this venture, just so you know – especially you budding playwrights who might consider sending something next year. Cash prizes for First, Second, and Third Place will be awarded as determined by audience voting following each performance, as organizers have said. Awards will be made after the final performance on Sunday, where winners will be announced at a reception.

According to Weathervane Playhouse, here is the full list of finalists:

  • “A Telegram in the World of Smartphones,” by Brandi Eaton of Stow, Ohio
  • “At The Wall,” by Bonnie Milne Gardner of Delaware, Ohio
  • “Dear Susan Love Harold,” by James Walczy of Hilton Head Island, S.C.
  • “Keeper,” by Joy Gee of Sacramento, Calif.
  • “Love, Theatre, and Damn Yankees,” by E. Scott Icenhower of Greensboro, N.C.
  • “Table for Two,” by James Caputo of San Diego, Calif.
  • “The Psycho’s Path,” by Aaron McDavis of Rowlett, Texas
  • “You’ve Got the Wrong Dragon,” by Rebecca Gorman O’Neill of Denver, Colo.

There are a couple of Ohio playwrights among the lot – Bonnie Milne and Brandi Eaton. But there is even a stronger local connection with Rebecca Gorman O’Neill, who, though currently living in Colorado, is an Akron native who attended a local high school.

According to O’Neill, she once appeared onstage at Weathervane in “Mastergate,” a play by Larry Gelbart. She played a Senate Page “with no lines but one ear-splitting scream,” she wrote. Rebecca still has ties to Akron. Her parents still live here. She has said that she will be in town to see her play on Weathervane Playhouse’s main stage.

Rebecca Gorman O’Neill, playwright. Photo from

The 4th annual 8×10 Theatrefest will be presented July 11-13, with performances at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, on the main stage at Weathervane Playhouse, 1301 Weathervane Lane, Akron; 330-835-2626; Tickets are $10.