Little Festival of the Unexpected is an annual event dedicated to public readings of new works. Three to five playwrights are in residence each year at the festival as they continue to develop their scripts with input from actors, directors, dramaturgs and audience members.
24th Annual Little Festival of the Unexpected
May 14 – May 18, 2013
Please join us for a week of staged readings and post-show conversation and take part in launching three new American plays. Staged readings will be held Tuesday through Thursday, May 14-16, with all three scripts performed again on Saturday, May 18.
Veils by Tom Coash. When Intisar, a veiled African-American Muslim student, enrolls for a year abroad in Cairo, she thinks she will finally fit in. She is at first excited when, in an effort to bridge the gap between West and Middle East, her non-veiled Egyptian roommate, Samar, enlists her help in creating a blog debating the controversial practice of wearing veils. But when the Arab Spring intervenes, the Egyptian revolution threatens to overtake the young women and their project.
The Vikings of Munjoy Hill by Ian MacAllister-McDonald. Elise is a 21-year-old heavy metal singer who just wants to make music, sell magazine subscriptions, and pay her rent on time. But when her long-absent mother reappears with a scheme to blackmail a wealthy relative, all that gets tossed out the window and Elise is suddenly drawn into a dangerous plot that threatens her life but which may also be the key to restoring her broken family.
Lake Untersee by Joe Waechter. Rocky, a troubled teenager, longs to leave his divorced parents and their dysfunctional relationships behind. Stuck between his mother, a has-been novelist, and his equally oblivious father, Rocky begins to receive love letters written in snow. With nowhere else to turn, he embarks on the adventure of a lifetime to Antarctica’s Lake Untersee, where the love of his life is trapped beneath layers and layers of ancient ice.
Tom Coash (Veils) is a New Haven-based playwright and director. He spent four years teaching playwriting and theater at The American University in Cairo, Egypt, providing the inspiration for Veils. Coash has worked for several theaters including Stageworks/Hudson, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Actors Theatre of Louisville. He has won numerous awards including EST’s Hammerstein Emerging Playwright Award, The Kennedy Center’s Lorraine Hansberry Award and a Jerome Fellowship at the Playwrights’ Center. His other plays include Cry Havoc and Khamaseen. The earlier one-act version of Veils was recently the winner of the Middle Eastern Playwriting Competition and produced in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
Ian MacAllister-McDonald (The Vikings of Munjoy Hill) is a writer, director, and educator from Portland, Maine. His plays have been produced or developed by SoHo Rep, Playwrights Horizons, Moving Arts Theatre Co., The Blank Theatre, American Repertory Theatre, and The Great Plains Theatre Conference, among other places. He is the recipient of The Edward Albee Foundation Fellowship, a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, and a grant from the NEA. His other plays include The Boy Who Lived Forever, Tot!, and The Sexual Life of Savages. Ian received his BA from Loyola Marymount University and his MFA in Playwriting from Brown University. His first film, Some Freaks, is currently in development, executive produced by filmmaker/playwright Neil LaBute.
Joe Waechter’s (Lake Untersee) plays include PROFILES, Good Ol’ Boys, The Hidden People, The Strangler, and Memory Library. His work has been developed or produced at Playwrights Horizons, Ars Nova, American Repertory Theatre, McCarter Theatre, Trinity Rep., The Hangar Theatre, and The 25¢ Opera of San Francisco. He is the recipient of two Jerome Fellowships at the Playwrights’ Center, a Lucille Lortel Fellowship, the Weston Award, and a Jerome Emerging Artist Residency. Joe also creates work for other mediums, including The Hoot Owl, an opera for headphones, and Antarctica, an immersive virtual reality piece. In 2010, he founded The Awesome Collective, an interdisciplinary performance collective based in Providence, RI. MFA in Playwriting, Brown University.
PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE (May 14-18, 2013)
Tuesday 5/14, 7:00
VEILS by Tom Coash,
preceded by THE CARD by EB Coughlin
Wednesday 5/15, 7:00
THE VIKINGS OF MUNJOY HILL by Ian MacAllister-McDonald,
preceded by BAYFRONT by Daniel Belshaw
Thursday 5/16, 7:00
LAKE UNTERSEE by Joe Waechter
preceded by TO KILL A MOCKING NERD by Ted Burns
12:30 – LAKE UNTERSEE by Joe Waechter
3:30 – VEILS by Tom Coash
7:30 – THE VIKINGS OF MUNJOY HILL by Ian MacAllister-McDonald
All festival events will be held in the Studio Theater on the 2nd floor of Portland Stage Company, 25A Forest Avenue.
Call the Portland Stage Box Office at 207-774-0465.
New Play Development at the Little Festival
Since its debut in 1989, the Little Festival of the Unexpected has established a tradition of nurturing artists, invigorating audiences, and exploring new voices, new visions and new forms of theatre. The festival furnishes a supportive environment for playwrights to develop their work, as well as a unique opportunity for audiences to catch a firsthand look at the creative process that brings scripts to the stage. Little Festival readings are performed by a company of professional actors, and are followed by an open discussion between the audience, director and playwright.
Each playwright in residence receives a stipend as well as housing during the festival. Limited support for travel is also available.
Past Little Festival of the Unexpected scripts have a successful track record of full productions both here at Portland Stage and at other professional theaters around the country. Almost, Maine, which was developed at the 2003 Little Festival, went on to become the most commercially successful mainstage production in Portland Stage history at that time. Many other Little Festival works have gone on to productions elsewhere, including successful Off-Broadway runs and television filming.
For a listing of past Little Festival of the Unexpected plays and playwrights, see the Other Performances page of Portland Stage's Production History.
Little Festival of the Unexpected Submissions
Submissions for the upcoming Little Festival of the Unexpected are accepted year-round on a rolling basis (we are currently reading for the 2013 festival). All submissions received after January 1 will be considered for the following year's Festival. Only scripts and samples of full-length plays are considered for the Festival.
- Literary agents may submit complete scripts on behalf of their clients at any time.
- Playwrights who do not have agents may submit 10-page dialogue samples for consideration. Dialogue samples must be accompanied by a synopsis, production history and character breakdown.
- Plays are eligible for development at the Little Festival of the Unexpected only if they have not previously been professionally produced or workshopped with Equity actors. This restriction includes Actors Equity showcase and waiver productions. Plays that have had readings or non-AEA productions are still eligible.
Only one submission is accepted per playwright in a given year.
Submissions of 10-page samples (from playwrights) must be sent by U.S. Mail only - no e-mails, faxes, etc.
Submit by mail to:
Portland Stage Company
Attn: Literary Manager
P.O. Box 1458
Portland, ME 04104