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Sixth PJC New Works Festival opens Thursday

Published or Revised April 09, 2021

At top, virtual rehearsals were held to prepare motion, backgrounds, and other elements for a virtual performance. This photo features those involved with “The Wreck.” Below, the poster for the 6th New Works Festival: Pyro Playfest - Shipwreck’d.”

With a very timely theme of “Shipwreck’d,” the Sixth Annual Pyro Playfest opens virtually this Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. Free live performances continue on Zoom Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

The “Pyro Playfest: Shipwreck’d” features original works that have not been previously performed. Originally slated to open on the Duane Allen Stage in the Ray E. Karrer Theater last spring, the Playfest was just one of many planned events derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This Playfest ended up having the perfect title,” said PJC Drama Instructor and Festival Director Robyn R. Huizinga. “We had no idea when we chose it that it would be a perfect metaphor for the past year with so much going on in the world. I think we’ve all felt a bit shipwrecked. All of the characters in the plays are dealing with problems big and small, and some are handling them better than others. I couldn’t think of a more apropos group of plays for audiences to watch right now.”

Each performance includes six plays with no intermission. The crew is minimal, with Huizinga as Festival Director, Connor Kirkley as Festival Background Designer, William L. Walker as Festival Sound Designer, and Juliana Salter as "The Wreck" Sound Designer.

Plays in order of performance and associated cast include:

1. The Wreck, by Ella Doss: Three siblings go exploring. What they find will change their lives forever. (Casts will perform on alternating days.)

Mom: Ellie Judd/Jodi O’Connell
Dad/Swing: David Forward
Steve: John Wright/Carlton Bell
Mira: Kaleb Speakman/Madeline Stuckey
Max: Hunter Anderson/Brandon McCormick
Monster: Chris Krueger/Carlton Bell
Director: Juliana Stalter AD: Candace Weist
Swing/SM: Katelynn Messerlie

2. The Sandstorm, by Dwayne Yancey: A look at the last days of life on Mars.

Minister/Inspector: William Walker
Inspector/Minister: Robyn R. Huizinga
Swing: Frederic Doss
Director: Lisa Martin
AD: Kaleb Speakman

3. Siren’s Last Call, by Matthew Weaver: One guy, four girls, and three beautiful voices all meet at the local bar. What comes next is killer.

Janine: Sarah Rodriguez
Bud: Kaleb Speakman
Thelxiope: Juliana Stalter
Aglaope: Annabel Doss
Molpe: Madeline Stuckey
Swing: Jade Jeffcoats
Director: Brandon McCormick

4. One Lost Coconut, by Drew Austri: Finding happiness and sanity in the little things so you can be way less sad.

A: Hunter Anderson
B: Annabel Doss
C: Chris Krueger
Director: Frederic Doss

5. Siren, by Austen Naron: A play about accepting the things you cannot control and making peace with it and yourself (Content Warning: Suicide).

Bill: Frederic Doss
Corey: Brandon McCormick
Director: William Walker
AD/SM: Stef Bailey

6. Last Ride, by Dr. Kenneth Haley: A drop dead comedy about second chances that features two of Emily Dickinson’s most well-known subjects.

Guy: Carlton Bell
Death: John Wright
Immortality: Lisa Martin
Director: Robyn R. Huizinga
AD/SM/Swing: Connor Kirkley

Advance registration is required for each performance. To register go to After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the live performance on Zoom. For questions about the performance or the PJC Drama program and available scholarships, email Download the Playfest program here.