Aspiring WUSTL playwrights debut work at ‘The Hotch’

A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Festival Sept 30 and Oct. 1 to feature staged readings and workshops with nationally known dramaturg

Three aspiring playwrights will present staged readings of their works Friday and Saturday, Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, as part of the 2011 A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Festival.

Nicknamed “The Hotch,” the festival is sponsored by the Performing Arts Department (PAD) in Arts & Sciences and is named in honor of celebrated alumnus A.E. Hotchner (AB and JD ’40). It consists of an intensive two-week workshop, led by a visiting artist, which culminates in the staged readings.


This year’s workshop is led by nationally known dramaturg Megan Monaghan Revis, a former executive vice president and board member of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas. The festival is produced by Carter W. Lewis, playwright-in-residence.

Readings begin at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, with This is It, by senior Sarah Wagener. Directed by Bill Whitaker, senior lecturer in drama, the play centers on a young mother whose dead son serves as a guide while she explores her past, wrestles with her present and questions her love for her children.

The festival will continue at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, with recent alumnus Michael Greenwald’s Straight and Narrow, the comic yet all-too-typical story of a liberal father who wants his heterosexual son to be gay. Henry I. Schvey, professor of drama, directs.

Concluding the festival at 7 p.m. will be senior Mike Kastelein’s Eternal Recurrence, which asks one simple question: If you could live your life over, would you make the same choices and mistakes — or would you just drink brandy and hope for the best? Director is Annamaria Pileggi, senior lecturer in drama.

All three readings are free and open to the public and take place in the A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre, located in the Mallinckrodt Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.

For more information, call (314) 935-5858 or visit

Hotchner, an acclaimed novelist, playwright and biographer, is perhaps best known for his memoirs Papa Hemingway (1966), about his close friendship with Ernest Hemingway, and King of the Hill (1973), about growing up in Depression-era St. Louis. The latter was adapted to film by Steven Soderbergh in 1993.

As a student, Hotchner participated in a similar playwriting competition led by then-professor William Carson, famously placing ahead of classmate Tennessee Williams.

Revis, a recent transplant to St. Louis, currently teaches at Saint Louis University and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She previously served as artistic program director of the Lark Play Development Center in New York and as literary manager of South Coast Repertory Theatre in Costa Mesa, Calif., where she co-directed the Pacific Playwrights Festival.

She also previously served as literary director of the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta; as director of playwright services at The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis; and as director of new play development for Frontera @ Hyde Park Theatre in Austin, Tex.

Revis’s freelance work has included residencies with the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference in Waterford, Conn., and the New Harmony Project in Indianapolis, as well as projects with the Bay Area Playwrights Festival and with Actors Express and Horizon Theatre, both in Atlanta.

In 2002, Revis received the Elliott Hayes Award in dramaturgy.


WHO: Performing Arts Department in Arts & Sciences

WHAT: The Hotch, the 2011 A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Festival

WHEN: This Is It by Sarah Wagener, 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30; Straight and Narrow by Michael Greenwald, 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1; and Eternal Recurrence by Mike Kastelein, 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1

WHERE: A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre, Mallinckrodt Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.

COST: Free and open to the public

INFORMATION: (314) 935-5858