In our call for submissions, we asked writers:
What was the moment in your life that changed everything?
We received dozens of fascinating pieces from Ridgefield and around the country. For this version of Acts of Fate, we are pleased to present a collection of memoir, performance, and poetry from the following contributors:
Altoids for Onions
Tracy Brigden is a native New Yorker and a recent Fairfielder. She ran City Theatre Company in Pittsburgh for 16 years where she produced, developed and directed a lot of new plays. In the last two years, she also somehow managed to get her MFA in Dramatic Writing in between freelance directing gigs. These days she is enjoying classic films and board games with her two teenage stepchildren, working on writing a fictional podcast with her husband, and trying to teach manners to her recently-adopted rescue dog.
Mark Evan Chimsky
Mark Evan Chimsky is the head of his own editorial consulting business, markchimskyeditorial.com. He has led imprints at top publishing companies and edited a number of best-selling books, including Johnny Cash’s memoir, Cash. In addition, he has taught at NYU and he currently teaches at Emerson College in Boston. Mark has written the book and lyrics for the musical, The Pledge, with music by Zev Burrows, which was given a staged reading last year at the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts in Harrisonburg, Virginia, as part of James Madison University’s Madison New Works Lab.
The Moment that Changed Everything
Barbara Distinti is a mom, theater artist, teacher and special education advocate. She is the Associate Artistic Director of the New Paradigm Theatre Company and the President of Special Education Equity for Kids of Connecticut. She is lucky to have a wonderful husband and son who support her numerous projects on stage and off, because she’s always volunteering them to help. She is thrilled to be a part of Acts of Fate with Thrown Stone.
Down to the River to Pray
Roxanne Fay is an actor, playwright and Artistic Director of Circle in The Water. Roxanne was awarded the 2016 Hawthornden Writers’ Fellowship (artist in residence, Hawthornden Castle, Scotland) and the 2017 Creative Pinellas Individual Artist Fellowship. Her play, Thrice To Mine, was created at Hawthornden and premiered in New York in 2019. Roxanne’s first film, Breton And The Muse: A Midnight In Paris, opened in November 2019 as part of the Dali Museum’s acclaimed exhibition coordinated with Le Centre Pompidou (Paris).
Recently named the inaugural Poet Laureate of Ridgefield, poet-educator Barb Jennes has led creative-writing workshops for children, teens, and adults for decades. Jennes introduced thousands of Ridgefield Public School students to performance poetry, including in workshops led by Taylor Mali, before retiring in 2017. Today, Jennes hosts poetry-writing groups at Ridgefield Library and develops poetry programming for the Aldrich Museum, where she serves as an educator. She shared her spoken-word invitation for others to join the (fictional) Association of Loser Mothers at Thrown Stone’s Expressing Motherhood performance in 2019. Her lifelong mantra: “Poetry helps us heal and grow.”
And Then the Phone Rang
After several decades, Kate Katcher recently added an MFA from WCSU, concentrating on playwriting, to her BFA from Boston University. Actor, writer, director, Kate runs the Stray Kats Theatre Company, curators of Still Crazy After All These Years, a festival that celebrates senior citizens. She debuted on Broadway with Zero Mostel and later played Tzeitel in Jerome Robbins’ revival of Fiddler on the Roof with Herschel Bernardi. More recently she appeared Off-Broadway in the comedy Daddy Issues. She teaches theater at WestConn, University of Bridgeport and will hopefully renew her childrens’ program, Stray Kittens at Newtown Community Center this summer.
Who Is My Family?
Randye Kaye makes her living as an actress – if you stretch to include radio (STAR 99.9, NPR/WSHU), voiceovers, writing, podcasts and public speaking. Still, theatre was her first love, and every once in a while a fix must be arranged. (Thanks, Thrown Stone!) Some favorites: Broadway Bound (Kate), Tale of the Allergist’s Wife (Marjorie), Nunsense 1 and 3 (directed by Danny Goggin), Into the Woods (Baker’s Wife). Author: Ben Behind His Voices: One Family’s Journey from the Chaos of Schizophrenia to Hope, nominated for a Listen Up! Award for the audiobook version. SAG/AFTRA/AEA. www.randyekaye.com
Aidan Meachem is a composer and songwriter studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He writes indie music under the name Moth to the Moonlight, and his first album under this name will be released on June 19th. He also writes musical theatre and has worked as the music director for Boston University’s recent productions of Mamma Mia and Chicago. Aidan would like to thank his poetry professor, Pat Pattison, for inspiring him to write poetry and for teaching him countless compositional techniques that will serve him in writing music as well as poetry.
Brian James Polak
That One Time I Was In Prison
Brian James Polak is a New Hampshire playwright, living in Chicago. His plays include The Patient (The Kennedy Center’s Jean Kennedy Smith Award), Last to Die for a Lost Cause (The Kennedy Center’s John Cauble Award, semi-finalist for Humanitas Playwriting Prize), News for the Deaf Man, The Gravediggers Union, and others. Welcome to Keene, NH will be receiving its world premiere with Chicago’s Strawdog Theatre in 2020. Several of his short plays published in Smith & Kraus anthologies, as well as by Commonplace Books. He is currently writing Nashua, a play about a family that never was, and Here Rests the Heart, a play about genealogy and political unrest in Poland and the U.S. Brian received his MFA from The University of Southern California, School of Dramatic Arts. He is the Host and Producer of American Theatre Magazine’s “The Subtext,” a podcast by/for/about playwrights and playwriting.
G. William Zorn
G. Willliam Zorn’s plays include: Sick Day, Metropolis Has No Superman, The Speed of Falling Objects, and Sand Man. His work has been produced and/or developed by Theatre Babylon, City 3 Theatre, Fancy Pants Theatre, Bailiwick Repertory and Pride Films and Plays. Awards include: Mark Twain Prize from the Kennedy Center and two-time winner of the Gwen Frostic Playwriting Award. He earned a Ph.D. from Western Michigan University in English and Playwriting and a Master’s Degree from Ohio University in Playwriting. He currently has a new collection of monologues available on Amazon, entitled Overheard Conversations. His piece will be performed by Thrown Stone Artistic Associate Gina Pulice.
Amanda Curtin directed Thrown Stone’s Connecticut premiere of Expressing Motherhood last summer. Past work has taken her as far afield as Dublin, Ireland, where she directed a production of John Patrick Shanley’s Savage in Limbo; and Los Angeles, where she was the assistant director on a production of Hot Property starring Nick Offerman. She has a BFA in Theater from Ohio University and MPW from Chatham University.