WHAT: On the Boards: a festival of new play readings by local playwrights

WHEN: Fridays and Saturdays in June, 7 p.m. (see complete schedule below)

WHERE: The LAVA Center, 324 Main St., Greenfield

CONTACT: info@thelavacenter.org or ‪413-376-8118‬

NOTE: Playwrights and producers available for interviews.

GREENFIELD, MA — The LAVA Center is proud to present “On the Boards,” a festival of new play readings by local playwrights.

For the past few months, LAVA has hosted a theater incubation series, during which six local playwrights have workshopped and developed new plays. Now they’re ready for an audience! Join The LAVA Center and the playwrights (Christine Benvenuto, P. H. Crosby, Nina Gross, Jan Maher, Silvia Martinez-Howard, and John McDonnell Tierney) for a festival of staged readings in June.


An Interview with Archie by John McDonnell Tierney

Friday and Saturday, June 2 and 3, 7 p.m.

Interview with Archie is a new play by John McDonnell Tierney that focuses on two themes — faith and dementia — and yet it is not “about” either. Rather, this play explores the experience of two men-of-the-cloth, one old, one young, with faith and dementia. Archie, a 90 year old retired Catholic Bishop who doesn’t believe Heaven exists, meets Elijah, a 20-year old Evangelical Seminarian whose whole purpose in life is to get to there.

John McDonnell Tierney, aka “Jack McT,” is a composer and playwright with an Off-Broadway track record and numerous plays and musicals in his portfolio. His musical, Humanity’s Child, premiered at the New York Theater Festival and played four weeks at the Players Theatre Off- Broadway in 2019. Extraordinary Hero, Jack’s full-length musical for virtual theater, was streamed on the Rogue Theatre Festival, 2022 and a trio of his comedies will play at the 2023 Festival in July. He is a contributing playwright to several online theater groups and is a director and actor as well. Jack works out of his home studio in Heath, MA where he lives with his wife Patricia and cat Willow.

“Time in Tatters” by Silvia Martinez-Howard

“Inheritance” by Nina Gross

Friday and Saturday, June 9 and 10, 7 p.m.

“Time in Tatters” by Silvia Martinez-Howard

This is a story of identity, uprooting, exile and traumas of war.

Silvia is a native of Argentina, who produced events for Amnesty International, in honor of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, and to the Minority Task Force on Aids, in New York City. Her eclectic work encompasses poetry, playwriting, ceramic sculpture, photography, textiles and jewelry. She teaches Spanish and loves cooking.

“Inheritance” by Nina Gross

Details to come.

“750%” by Christine Benvenuto

Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener” adapted by P. H. Crosby

Friday and Saturday, June 16 and 17, 7 p.m.

“750%” by Christine Benvenuto

A seemingly random encounter on a subway platform brings two people together. As their story unfolds, who they are and who they are to each other, their shared past and separate futures, turn out to be as labile and unstable as the intimate partner violence that has brought them to this moment.

“750%” will be performed by Shannon Chabot and Mary Budzn.

Christine Benvenuto’s plays have been produced by the Boston Theater Marathon, the Sixth Festival in NYC, The Braid in Los Angeles, and online. Her play Bridges was part of The LAVA Center’s social justice series last year. Her play Destination Wedding received its first public reading at LAVA last summer, and its second at Clamour Theater in Northern Florida as part of a playwright’s residency in March. She is the author of two books published by St. Martin’s Press, and her short stories, essays, and articles have appeared in many newspapers, magazines and anthologies.

Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener” adapted by P. H. Crosby

Who is Bartleby? Where did he come from? What does he want? The head of a Wall Street law firm in the 1860s wrestles with proper management of his office staff, including a strange newcomer.

“Bartleby the Scrivener” will be performed by Rick Malone, Tracy Trimm, Kevin McVeigh, Becca Mandel and Andra Daunhauer.

P. H. Crosby, a resident of Gill, is a writer of poetry, fiction and drama, published in Changing Men, The Other Side, War, Literature and the Arts (WLA), the Montague Reporter, Sparks of Calliope, Friends Journal, Blue Unicorn and other venues. A short play, “A Change in Climate” was produced online in 2020 by The LAVA Center, where Crosby’s adaptation of George Gissing’s The Odd Women also received a two-part stage reading in 2022 and 2023. Crosby has a Master of Arts in Teaching from Brown University and studied English and Drama at Catholic University and Greenfield Community College.

As We Were: Nine Days in October by Jan Maher

Friday and Saturday, June 23 and 24, 7 p.m.

Over sixty years ago, Bob Dylan recorded his first album, “Rocky and Bullwinkle” dominated Saturday morning television, and the world teetered on the precipice of all out nuclear war.

As We Were: Nine Days in October focuses on the impact of the Cuban Missile Crisis on the lives of ten students on a Midwestern campus. In the lounge of their small college, the students play chess, cards, and guitars; discuss homework, music, and Halloween pranks; flirt and banter. Abruptly, their cocoon is ripped open by JFK’s announcement that the world is on the brink of nuclear war. Each is wrenched into stark confrontations with identity, sexuality, values, mortality, themselves, and each other.

The Cuban Missile Crisis ends a mere nine days after JFK’s speech to the nation, but during that time the students and their world—our world—are forever changed.

Playwright Jan Maher was a freshman in college during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Events depicted are, as they say, “based on a true story,” though Maher freely admits she is primarily a writer of fiction.

All plays are also viewable online for two weeks. For more information and tickets, visit https://thelavacenter.org/on-the-boards/

On the Boards is made possible by grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the local cultural councils of Greenfield, Bernardston, Gill, Leyden, and Northfield.

The LAVA Center is a community arts space in Greenfield, MA whose mission is to create opportunities and build inclusive community in and through the arts and humanities. We are focused on making The LAVA Center a space where all artists, including marginalized communities and individuals, can have their voices heard. The LAVA Center is located at 324 Main St., in downtown Greenfield, MA. https://thelavacenter.org 

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