A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Festival 2018

Washington University presents 3 world premieres with 2018 Guest Dramaturg, Michele M. Volansky


A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre
2018 Guest Dramaturg: Michele M. Volansky
2018 Festival Assistant: Chisara Achilefu

Tom and Grace 

Written by Scott Greenberg
Directed by Andrea Urice
Friday September 28th, 7pm

Thomas is in love. Grace is in love too. But love is a trick of the eye, a whisper in the ear; love is as unreliable as a cloudy-day shadow - or maybe it’s just the ghost of those who we pray will love us back. If we reach out to touch it, it will probably giggle and disappear, but if we save it in a box, at least we’ll know it’s there.

Arriving At

Written by Ike Butler
Directed by Annamaria Pileggi
Saturday, September 29th, 2pm

I hate it when this happens. Stuck on a commuter train, no cell service, a couple is arguing, some dude has a suspicious package, the guy in leather looks like he just killed a cocker spaniel, the rich lady has to pee, and I’m fairly positive that the old fart in the corner lives here. And who the hell is humming Queen?


Written by Lucas Marschke
Directed by Jeffery Matthews
Saturday September 29th, 7pm

The Brooksfield household is a bit dysfunctional, but that doesn’t prevent them from making a family journey to Florida; neither does the blizzard, the prostitute, the drug dealers, the trigger-happy gas station attendant, or the avalanche of anxieties in a claustrophobic RV. The sunshine state is about as far away as a happy marriage in this hysterical and touching road trip.

2018 Guest Dramaturg
Michele M. Volansky

Michele Volansky is Chair and Associate Professor of Drama at Washington College (MD), from which she earned a B.A. in English. She has worked on nearly 200 new and established plays in her professional career, developing new works by such writers as Sam Shepard, Daniel Stern, Warren Leight, Jeffrey Hatcher, Bruce Graham, Tina Landau, Charles L. Mee and Bruce Norris, along with many others. Her work on Shepard’s rewrite of Buried Child (directed by Gary Sinise) and Dale Wasserman’s One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (directed by Terry Kinney and starring Gary Sinise) earned her two Broadway credits and participation in the Tony Award for Best Revival of Cuckoo’s Nest. She has guest dramaturged at the Arden Theater Company, South Coast Rep, the Atlantic Theatre Company, Victory Gardens and Next Theatre, in addition to her staff time at Actors Theatre of Louisville (1992-95), Steppenwolf Theatre Company (1995-2000) and Philadelphia Theatre Company (2000-2004). Her own play Whispering City was produced as part of the Steppenwolf Arts Exchange Program in the Fall of 1999. Since its inception, Dr. Volansky has served as Conference Dramaturg and Associate Artist for the Philadelphia-based new play development conference PlayPenn. She has served as an artistic consultant for the TCG playwright residency program, a reader for the Eugene O’Neill Center’s National Playwrights Conference and the New York Shakespeare Festival/The Joseph Papp Public Theatre’s Emerging Voices Program, as well as a grants review panelist for Philadelphia-area arts organizations. She is the 1999 inaugural co-recipient of the Elliot Hayes Award for Dramaturgy and was the President of LMDA, the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (2002-2004). Volansky’s book on playwriting and collaboration with Bruce Graham entitled The Collaborative Playwright was published in March, 2007 by Heinemann Press. She holds an M.A. from Villanova University and a PhD from the University of Hull (England); her dissertation explores the politics and advocacy of the critics Kenneth Tynan and Frank Rich.



Endowed by alumnus, novelist, poet and playwright A.E. Hotchner, this annual playwriting competition is open to all undergraduate and graduate students at Washington University. Many past "Hotch" plays have gone on to full production in the PAD season and around the country. Two of our playwrights have won Kevin Kline Awards, and most recently Marisa Wegrzyn, a three-time Hotch participant, was awarded the prestigious national Wendy Wasserstein Award 2009 for her play Hickorydickory -- which had its world premiere in our studio theater in 2005.

This event is sponsored by the Newman’s Own Foundation.