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Posted on Thu. Jan. 17, 2013 - 12:01 am EDT

Winning play to debut at Northeast Indiana Playwright Festival

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The winners

The Fort Wayne Civic Theatre provided these descriptions of the winning plays in its Northeast Indiana Playwright Festival, as well as brief biographies on the writers:

First place

"The Wedding Gift," by Nancy Carlson Dodd

Every parent wants the best for their child and the wealthy Livingstons are no

exception. The story begins as they prepare for the lavish wedding of their

son Grant to the charming Ashley Ferguson. But Ashley’s parents, Arthur and Cynthia Ferguson, may have something else in mind - something other than a wealthy son-in-law. The Wedding Gift is a happy romp that takes you into the best homes and elegant country clubs. It’s full of surprises, laughs, and a very unusual wedding gift. This light hearted comedy is ready to entertain and introduce you to people you will never forget!

Staged Production June 1-8, 2013 Director: Gregory Stieber

Nancy Carlson Dodd is a Fort Wayne native and a graduate of Indiana University. She has always been active in community theatre, having received acting awards in Denver, Colorado, and in Fort Wayne.

Samuel French has published her children’s musical "The Magic Pebble," and she has written three other musicals for children, which are often produced. In 2010, her play "The Ladies

in Cabin 10" won the first Northeast Indiana Playwright Festival contest. Nancy has been a frequent contributor to the News-Sentinel's guest columns and continues to write for two

newspapers in Illinois. She recently married attorney George Dodd after a chance re-acquaintance in a grocery store. She is mother of three and grandmother of seven.

Second place

"Bernice Sizemore’s 70th Birthday," by Nancy Gall-Clayton

It’s Bernice’s 70th birthday. She’s lively and independent, so why has Carol gift-wrapped a gun and suggested that her mother move to a condo? And what has motivated Evan to visit after eight years of silence? It’s a bit overwhelming for a retired food editor who still concocts weird health tonics, square dances, practices yoga, and has just invited four friends to move into the house where Carol and Evan grew up. Of course, her children don’t need to know. Or do they? As the three sort through boxes of childhood

possessions they begin to understand, accept, and love one another – and also to love themselves.

Play Reading June 1, 2013

Director: Aaron Willoughby

Nancy Gall-Clayton was a Visiting Artist at Ohio State University and a Tennessee Williams Scholar at Sewanee Writers Conference. More than 50 of her plays have been on stages across the country and

in Australia and Canada – but none in her native Indiana! As a child, she enjoyed spending

holidays at her Grandfather Clayton’s farm in Hoagland, just 13 miles south of the Civic Theatre.

Nancy’s work is published by Dramatic, Meriwether, Smith & Kraus, and Motes. She chaired the high school playwriting competition for Southeastern Theatre Conference and belongs to the

Dramatists Guild and the International Centre for Women Playwrights. Nancy and her husband live in Jeffersonville.

Third place

"The Mark of a Dog’s Foot," by Anthony Seed, Jr.

Forty years after a bar fight, killing and cover-up that had involved them all, five lifelong friends gather at a favorite sports bar to consider their options as their crime could be exposed. The city has announced plans to dredge the old clay pit where they dumped the body of Barry, a notorious town bully and small time thief who had once been the town’s football hero. The five friends struggle with starkly differing recollections of the event. Their discussion exposes fear, guilt, ambition, denial and, ultimately, truth.

Play Reading June 1, 2013

Director: James Del Priore

Anthony Seed, Jr. took up play wrighting only two years ago. Seed has won recognition from 11 contests in

2011/2012, including being named a finalist for the 2011 Eugene O’Neill National Playwright Conference, and just announced as one of three winners in the Northeast Indiana Playwright Festival. A former award-winning newspaper journalist (Hoosier State Press Association awards

for writing and photography), and award-winning short-story writer, Seed is also a successful entrepreneur, Vietnam veteran and a graduate of Indiana University. He is a network playwright with Chicago Dramatists, a member of the Dramatists Guild and the Playwright Center. Four of his

six completed plays form a cycle of the Vietnam experience, both in war and for returning soldiers.

He and his wife, Eileen, have one son, Jason.


“The Wedding Gift,” a comedy play by longtime area writer and humorist Nancy Carlson Dodd, was named winner of the fourth annual Northeast Indiana Playwright Festival.

The Fort Wayne Civic Theatre announced the winner, runners-up and other details about the festival Tuesday.

Runners-up were, second place, “Bernice Sizemore's 70th Birthday,” by Nancy Gall-Clayton; and third place, “The Mark of a Dog's Foot,” by Anthony Seed, Jr., the Civic Theatre said in a news release.

The festival will take place May 31-June 2 at both the Arts United Center, 303 E. Main St., and adjacent Fort Wayne Museum of Art, 311 E. Main St.

The featured play presented will be “Lombard,” by Michael B. Druxman, which will star Jessica Butler as movie legend and Fort Wayne native Carole Lombard.

The featured play opens at 8 p.m. May 31 and will repeat at 2 p.m. June 2 and on weekends through June 9.

Carlson Dodd's winning play, which centers around a lavish wedding and an unusual gift from the bride's parents, will be presented as a fully staged production during the festival, with a premiere June 1. That performance will be followed by a post-show discussion with Carlson Dodd, who also won the first Northeast Indiana Playwright Festival in 2010 for her play “The Ladies in Cabin 10.”

“The Wedding Gift” also will be presented on weekends through June 8.

The second- and third-place plays will be presented as stage readings, with discussions afterward featuring each play's author.

The festival competition was open to current or former residents of Indiana and those residing in a 90-mile radius of Fort Wayne, the news release said. Scripts were submitted by 24 playwrights.

The entries were judged by a committee of local and national theater professionals.

Special guests at the festival will include Douglas Post, Chicago regional representative of the Dramatists Guild of America, and “Lombard” playwright Druxman, the news release said.

Post will lead a workshop on “Playwriting and Services of the Dramatist Guild of America” at 10 a.m. June 1. Druxman will present a workshop on “Writing for the Stage, Screen and Television” at noon June 2.

For more information, go to

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