Get a sneak peek at Tucson playwrights’ works in progress

Old Pueblo Playwrights skipped the 2020 New Play Festival and had to transition last year to Zoom courtesy the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year it’s back to in-person for its 31st annual showcase of local playwrights’ works in progress.

The group will present 10 play readings at the Tucson Mall’s Arizona Rose Theater this weekend. Each play will be performed once with actors reading the scripts with minimal set pieces, lighting or blocking. The idea is to focus on the play, not the actors, so that audiences can give the playwright an idea if their piece works.

“Our authors are hungry for the valuable feedback they gain from audience response and post-performance talkbacks,” Old Pueblo Playwrights President John Vornholt said in a written release.

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Longtime festival coordinator David Zinke, who is a Tucson actor, will be featured among the playwrights. His one-act play “Zoom Intervention” begs the question: Can Zoom help a dysfunctional family impacted by the pandemic?

Other plays explore everything from ghosts to patron saints to family dynamics and family drama.

The festival runs Thursday, Nov. 3, through Sunday, Nov. 6, at the Arizona Rose Theater, lower level of the Tucson Mall, 4500 N. Oracle Road, across from the Container Store. Performances are at 7 pm. Thursday, Friday and Saturday; and at 2 pm Saturday and Sunday. Admission is pay what you want. Details:


“The Curious Incident of the Dogs Who Might Bite,” a one-act comedy by Carl Damhesel and David Rochon. A young woman trying to help a pack of stray dogs causes chaos in a quiet neighborhood.

Sharon Surhoff’s one-act piece “All Hallowed Justice.” Unrequited love is challenged by a supernatural visitor.

“Janice,” Sydney Flynn’s one-act comic mystery. Janice is dead. Or is she?


Mel Hector’s two-act play “St. Beseenya.” Set in a pre-pandemic nursing home, this work shines a light on America’s vulnerable adults.

Saturday, 2 p.m

Sharon Surhoff’s “St. Joseph.” Can praying to the saints help you sell real estate?

Gavin Kayner’s “Bud and Lou Play Right.” Love lost—again.

Sharon Surhoff’s “The Intrepid.” Marie and Dee revisit how WWII affected Dee’s father.

Saturday, 7 p.m

Gavin Kayner’s “Flying Lessons.” A high-flying love story.


David Zinke’s one-act, “Zoom Intervention.” COVID lockdowns introduced us to Zoom, but can the platform rescue this dysfunctional family?

Sydney Flynn’s one-act family drama “The Hemingway Scholar.” A woman confronts her past in the dawn of the #MeToo movement.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at [email protected] On Twitter @Starburch


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