Announces Play On Festival Program

Now celebrating its fourteenth year, the Oakton College Play On Now celebrating its fourteenth year, the Oakton College Play On Student Playwriting Festival, Nov. 17 - 19, features community college students playwrights.

This year’s festival includes six plays written by community college students

Des Plaines (Nov. 6, 2023) - Now celebrating its fourteenth year, the Oakton College Play On Student Playwriting Festival, Nov. 17 - 19, gives community college playwrights a chance to shine. Be the first to see this year’s winning selections, written, directed, produced and performed by community college students.

“The Play On Student Playwriting Festival gives students the opportunity to experience the process of theater from inception to production,” said Mary Ringstad-Gagliano, Play On Festival Coordinator and Oakton professor of Speech and Theater. “Students develop their skills in every phase: writing, directing, acting and production.”

Students from community colleges in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin were invited to submit a script of a one-act play or storytelling monologue in any genre or style.

“When selecting the winning plays, we seek to build an evening that offers audiences a variety of genres and themes,” said Ringstad-Gagliano. “Applying design concepts from experimental laboratory theater, costumes and sets are minimalistic, giving a sense of uniformity to the world premiere of these diverse plays.”

Four Oakton theater students and two Oakton theater alumni will direct an ensemble of seventeen performers. Proceeds from the festival, all six plays, support the Performing Arts Scholarship Fund at Oakton.

In Search of a Better Place by Joel "Yoel" Davis
The one-act play explores systemic racism through a fictional debate between well-known Black activists and historians, weaving quotations from their writings as dialogue in the play. Historical characters include Bobby E. Wright, John Franklin, Alfred A. Moss, Dr. Frances Cress Welsing and William Cooper.

Davis is pursuing an Associate of General Studies degree through Oakton's Prison Education Program.

Rosa Luxemburg Would Have Eaten Her Vegetables by Ted Smukler
Written while watching his mother decline, the monologue is Smukler’s reflection on his mother’s life and their complicated mother-son relationship. A daughter of a Communist Party member who tried to organize workers during the 1930s and 1940s, Smukler’s mother grew up in a radical Jewish home speaking Yiddish.

“My relationship with my mother was complicated, but the piece is about love and redemption,” said Smukler.

Smukler has lived in Skokie for almost 20 years but grew up in Philadelphia. He has taken classes at Oakton.

STATIC by Kris Taylor
STATIC is a short play that encapsulates the eerie and lonely feeling of absence. A young boy
and his mother have two distinctive conversations with television static, which demands the ultimate sacrifice from the family. The playwright was inspired by the analog horror genre that has been prevalent in modern media.

Taylor was born and raised in Detroit and attends Oakland Community College in Auburn Hills, Mich.

The Strand that Beads You by Allison Fradkin
Comedic wordplay dominates the dialogue in this imaginative play set in a summer camp craft room. “The Strand That Beads You” embraces inclusivity with sensitivity, creativity and festivity. When it comes to being receptive to and respectful of the ways in which individuals identify, variety need not be a cause for anxiety. In fact, learning the lexicon is a lot like Ricky Ricardo's marriage to Lucy: “It's not easy, but it sure is a lot of fun.”

Fradkin lives in Deerfield. He has attended classes at Oakton and participated in numerous theater productions at Oakton.

Sucker Punch by Cydnei Walker
Late-stage capitalism meets the environmental apocalypse. An electrical blackout did not cause the sun to disappear, but after thousands of years of pollutants and a lack of electricity, massive clouds of smog began to cover the sun. Darkness fell upon the country as if it were a blanket. No sun led to changes that can also be seen among the people.
Which poses the greatest danger: climate change, corporate greed or vampires? Set in the year 3023, a mother and daughter wrestle with the conflicting issues of corporate immorality and social responsibility. Inspired by Shakespeare’s play, Othello.
Walker was a military child and moved around frequently. She graduated from high school in Manassas, Va, a suburb of Washington, D.C., but spent elementary and a few middle school years in Fayetteville, N.C. Walker lives in Detroit and attends Oakland Community College in Auburn Hills, Mich.

The Waiting Room by Jim Jacob
Jim, whose reasons for being in the waiting room are unclear, converses with patients Ann and Ronald while they wait for their appointments with Dr. Wilson. As we observe his interactions with others, we are reminded that listening is indeed the best gift.

Jacob grew up in Glen Ellyn, and currently lives in River Forest, Ill. He is currently enrolled in classes at Triton College in River Grove, Ill.

Performance dates and times: Nov. 17, 7:30 p.m.; Nov. 18, 7:30 p.m.; Nov. 19, 2 p.m.

Venue: Studio One Theatre at Oakton College, 1600 E. Golf Road, Des Plaines, IL 60016

Tickets and purchasing options: $10 general admission; $5 students and seniors. Tickets are available for purchase at the Box Office, or by calling (847.635.1900).

On Oakton’s Des Plaines campus, the Performing Arts Center regularly hosts student concerts, events and other in-house performances, in addition to outside productions. We are proud to produce performances that provide diverse opportunities to our students, community members and professionals. Browse the scheduled events of our current season, learn more about our facilities, and see current audition opportunities on Oakton’s website.