Joining Sword & Pen‘s inaugural theme was proposed by Fight Master David Woolley, inspired by the print of Emile Bayard’s “An Affair of Honor” that hung on his living room wall. Each entry to the contest was required to incorporate the moment depicted in the print.
The two winning one-acts, Chicagoan Byron Hatfield’s Mrs. Dire’s House of Crumpets and Solutions and New Zealander Tony Wolf’s Satisfaction, were staged at the Viaduct Theater, April 7 – May 14, 2006, under the title An Affair of Honor. Each playwright received the Ballantyne Award, which carried with it a $500 stipend.
Mrs. Dire’s House of Crumpets & Solutions – Byron Hatfield
directed by Alison Dornheggen*
fight choreography by the cast
CAST: Dawn Alden * (Esme), Mary Becker (Mother Dire), Mary Anne Bowman * (Viola), Amy E. Harmon * (Mrs. Dire), Stephanie Repin * (Mrs. Kinsington), Rachel Stubbs (Mary); Gillian N. Humiston (Understudy)
STAFF: Joshua D. Allard (Costume Design ), Jennifer Aparicio (Scenic Artist/Carpenter Intern), Libby Beyreis * (Producer), Beth Cummings (Assistant Director & Props Design), Lisa Garmoe (Scenic Artist), Matt Harding (Dialect Coach), Brenda E. Kelly * (Assistant Producer), Jesse Klug (Lighting Design), Julie Lutgen (Scenic Design), Kjerstine McHugh * (Stage Manager), Jonathan Molitor (Dialect Coach), David Winer (Sound Technician), John Zuiker (Sound Design)
Graphic Design by grumpy monkey graphics & design
* denotes BWBTC ensemble member
CATCHING UP WITH PLAYWRIGHT BYRON HATFIELD
How/when did you hear about Babes With Blades Theatre Company?
I befriended one of your members, Ali, and she was kind enough to suggest I submit a play to a new contest that Babes was sponsoring… and I found everyone I met to be delightful and professional and was excited to do so.
How/when did you hear about Joining Sword & Pen?
Over whisky. See above.
What made you decide to enter the competition?
I loved the progressive idea and honesty of of what you all stood for and were creating. It was a well researched, talented, and dedicatedly rehearsing machine.
What did you think when you won the competition?
I was thrilled. It was a play in which I loved all the characters and banter, and it was the first fight-oriented piece I had written.
Do you have a favorite memory from the development/rehearsal/production process?
Seeing it for the first time. I had no grasp of the actual nature of the historical combat that would be involved. I just wrote in brilliant stage directions such as “They Duel and ‘So and So’ wins.”
So, as I’m sitting there, watching the production for the first time with a friend, there was a moment during climatic sword duel when a character ripped her bodice free to allow for more movement of her sword arm. The person I was with looked over at me: “You seriously wrote in a topless moment in a play for an all-female combat group, you idiot?” I was like, “I did not. I did not know that was coming.”
It was such an honest and fearless moment of being true to the material that I’ve always remembered it.
It also encouraged me to do more dramaturgy work when I’m writing something.
What are you working on right now?
An American Carol, the story of a young senator on the eve of a critical vote, who’s visited by the ghost of American Past, Present, and Future. It debuts fall 2016.
For spring 2017, it’s Door Stops. The story of a woman’s repeated visits to the horrible bureaucracy of Purgatory as she muddles through repeated attempts to take her own life.
And just generally trying to run our theater, The Public House Theatre here in Chicago.
Where can people learn more about you and your work?
The Public House Theatre