World premiere performances of three outstanding new theater works will be presented by Dubuque Fine Arts Players in its 35th Annual National One-Act Play Festival on August 24-25.

The performances are winners in Dubuque’s contest, the longest established one-act playwriting contests in the nation. Since 1977, the Dubuque Fine Arts Players (the theater wing of the Dubuque County Fine Arts Society) have sponsored a national one-act playwriting contest and have offered productions of the winning scripts.

The contest is a unique theater tradition. Every year playwrights from around the US and several foreign countries submit unproduced original one-act plays to the contest. Each script goes through a rigorous screening process in which scripts are read by a panel of volunteer script readers. What makes the contest unique is that the readers represent people from all walks of life in the community. After multiple readings, the top ten scripts from this process are then evaluated by a panel of directors and final judges who select the 3 prize winners and determine which plays will be produced and staged by local volunteer actors, directors, and technicians.

There are several unusual elements about this year’s Festival.  First, all three plays that will be produced are comedies.  Second, one of the winning plays required more complicated staging than the local company could afford, and so it wins the prize but the fourth place play will be produced instead.  Third, rather than using a traditional dramatic stage, this year’s productions will be at Mindframe Theaters in Dubuque, through a partnership with Mindframe.  Special lighting and stage embellishments, using film clips during pre-show and intermission periods, and the availability of refreshments will make this a memorable evening of live theatre for Festival patrons.

The First Prize winner is I Can Feel It Coming On by Carl Williams of Houston TX.  This hilarious psychosomatic comedy is directed by Melissa McGuire, and features Lynda Eigenberger, Phil Jackman, and Terri Jackman.

The Second Prize play (not being produced) is a serious drama, Lincoln and the Slave Catcher, by J. C. Ladenheeim of Teaneck, NJ.

Third Prize goes to Raising Zombie Awareness by Christopher Morse of Idyllwild, CA.  This comedy directed by Michele McKinlay explores the humorous interactions between the director of a zombie advocacy group and a local newspaper reporter sent to write an investigative report. Cast includes Molly Barczak, Dan Fairchild, Valerie Heitzman, and Dakota Vaassen.

Fourth Prize was won by Divorce First Class, written by Geophrey Craig of Great Barrington, MA. In this delicious comedy directed by Bill Hoerstman, a divorcing couple turn the tables on their colluding divorce lawyers.  The cast includes Ryan Decker, Jon Herrig, Katherine Kluseman, and Carrie Pozdol.        .

Performances of this year’s one act plays will be August 24 and 25 at 7:30 pm at Mindframe Theaters, behind Kennedy Mall in Dubuque. An opportunity to meet the directors, actors and possibly some playwrights for discussion will follow the performances each night. Tickets are $13.00 at the door.