Above: Members of the Kentucky Women Playwrights Seminar (KWPS), including Somerset
Community College English instructors Brenda White and Betty Peterson (far right),
gather in New York after watching the seminars latest work, Shh!, performed on Broadway.
Brenda White and Betty Peterson, English instructors at Somerset Community College
and members of the Kentucky Women Playwrights Seminar (KWPS), were recently in New
York, New York to see the seminars latest work, Shh!, performed on Broadway. Shh!
is directed by Dr. Deborah Martin, Associate Professor of Theatre amp; Film at Berea
College. The play was performed at the Dramatists Guild as part of the NYC Friday
Night Footlights Series on Broadway, Friday evening, May 23, 2014.
A collaborative work by nine Kentucky women playwrights, including White and Peterson,
Shh! explores the theme of secrets, risks taken and lives transformed in surprising
ways. Shh! weaves the threads of long hidden secrets through a tapestry of omissions,
half-truths, deceptions and misperceptions that test the very fabric of human relationships:
three old friends who think they know each other so well learn otherwise, siblings
slip a truth and the tables are turned, a soul is laid bare when the truth trickles
out, garage cleaning-day unearths more than junk and dirt, threatening the relationship
of father and daughter, siblings sabotage the others best intentions while coping
with their mothers illness, mans best friend has a lot to say about being a canine
in a humane world and so the unraveling goes. Each ten-minute play examines the question
of whether the truth can really set us free, and if so, from what or whom, and at
what price. Members of the KWPS are already at work on the next collaborative piece,
loosely based on the art of nineteenth century Impressionists such as Monet, Degas,
Kentucky Women Playwrights Seminar brings together Kentucky women writers to explore
the genre of playwriting. It fosters strong working relationships, creating a collaborative
environment in which the writers can be inspired creatively and develop their craft.
It seeks opportunities both local and worldwide in which to showcase the writers work
so that Kentucky may be recognized as a haven for strong women playwrights. The Kentucky
Women Playwrights Seminar, led by Trish Ayers, began in 2005 and has hosted several
productions since its inception. Playwrights contributing to Shh! are: Trish Ayers,
Karen Devere, Lacey Gresham, Kristin Hornsby, Betty Peterson, Donna R. Phillips, Patricia
Watkins, Brenda K. White and Glenda Dent White.
Eight of the nine KWPS members were in attendance at the premier of the concert performance
thanks to funding from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, as well as from a number
of generous patrons of the arts. The audience enjoyed the groups unusual collaborative
piece; unusual in the sense that each of the nine playwrights wrote her own ten-minute
play based on a common theme, rather than in the usual sense of group collaboration.
Grand Marais Playhouse, a community theatre in Minnesota, has expressed interest in
the work, and KWPS leader, Trish Ayers, is in contact with the artistic director there
about taking the play to Minnesota.
For more information about Shh! or to schedule a performance, contact Trish Ayers
or by calling (859) 200-1975.