The stage lights come up, the actors take the stage for their bows, applause echoes throughout the theater and the curtain closes. The actors receive recognition during the curtain call, but what about all the other people who helped make the show possible— like the playwright.
Toledo native and local playwright, Dave DeChristopher, has been involved in theater since high school and his love of performing refuses to diminish. Not only is DeChristopher a member of the Actors’ Equity Association— a labor union representing American actors and stage managers— he is also a founding member of Toledo’s Glacity Theatre Collective and the Artistic Director of the Toledo Repertoire Theatre.
DeChristopher’s professional journey began at Washington and Lee University in Lexington Virginia, where he started off studying journalism, but eventually changed to theater. He lived in New York City for 25 years, working at a publishing house and even on Broadway. Eventually he made the decision to continue his education at Hunter College in New York City and studied the art of playwriting. Since then, writing plays and submitting them to contests around the country, he has written about 25 short works and six full lengths plays.
A fusion of plays
“The playwriting scene in Toledo is small, yet hopefully growing,” says DeChristopher. The limitations of Toledo did not hinder him. FUSION, a theater company in Albuquerque, New Mexico, holds a short works contest once a year, inviting playwrights around the world to submit their one act plays. “There are a lot of theaters hosting 10-minute short play festivals now and they’re are popping up everywhere. It’s a good way for playwrights to get their foot in the door. This is one of the biggest… They sell out every night which is amazing for a one act festival.”
This year’s theme, strange bedfellows, is a topic likely to inspire comedic moments. “I really like farce and I also really like short form,” said DeChristopher. His play, Juno Agonistes, was selected from about 500 submissions from around the world. Seven plays were deemed winners and put into production during FUSION’s “The Seven” short works festival, which took place June 9 through the 12.
“The play is about a middle aged couple and the woman is completely over the relationship,” explains DeChristopher. “It’s another night in a hotel room and when her significant other leaves she has this incredible fantasy. It plays out, and surprisingly, her fantasy comes true at the end of the play.”
To be continued…?
There are several Toledo theater companies, and some have started displaying local work. Theater enthusiasts, like DeChristopher, would like to see playwrights be able to showcase their work in the local area. “I definitely want that to be a part of The Rep because I think that’s the one really important component of theater that we don’t have here [in Toledo]. I think voices that are distinct to the area can be really valuable,” said DeChristopher. “I’m hoping for us [the Rep] to do more original plays, and I’d like to have at least a playwriting group that works out of the theater. I’m hoping the work we do in that area will inspire more people to get involved.”
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