Why 2nd Act Players is hosting a #MeTooPlayFestival

The 2nd Act Players has held two script competitions in the past year and this year wanted to have a new competition with a theme that was extremely topical and focused on social change. Enter our #MeTooPlayFestival this May. Here’s why we’re doing it and why we invite all Chicago-area playwrights to enter.

The mission of 2nd Act Players is to showcase new talent for the stage, to include both actors and playwrights.

In our early years we struggled to do that with very limited resources, initially just doing one play a year. But we wanted to do more and last year hit upon the idea of sponsoring script competitions to garner as wide an array as possible of new scripts.

We did that first with a one-act script competition and then with a short-script competition and staged reading of winning scripts last September. We feel both those events helped us to fulfill our mission, so we were determined to continue this year.

But we also wanted a theme that was relevant for the times. As we were considering this late last year, the me too movement was gaining national and international attention. Time magazine’s decision to name The Silence Breakers as its collective person of the year galvanized us to action, we want to produce a festival of short plays that look at issues central to the me too movement.

I initially phrased this as plays revolving around women’s issues, but a theater associate pointed out to me the movement is not just for or about women. The movement’s founder notes on her site that she wanted to build “a community of survivors from all walks of life.

“By bringing vital conversations about sexual violence into the mainstream, we’re helping to de-stigmatize survivors by highlighting the breadth and impact sexual violence has on thousands of women, and we’re helping those who need it to find entry points to healing.”

The Wikipedia entry on the movement also notes that “this movement has grown to include both men and women of all colors and ages, and supports marginalized people in marginalized communities. There have also been movements by men aimed at changing the culture through personal reflection and future action.”

Our #MeTooPlayFestival embraces this wider definition. We are looking for short script (up to 20 page, 6 characters max) that look at issues of harassment, discrimination, bullying, and marginalization. Scripts should feature protagonists who face such situations and move into 2nd acts in their lives in the process.

Our mission also encompasses focusing on 2nd Acts, key turning points in people’s lives such as divorce, retirement, life-threatening illnesses and war.

We invite playwrights to submit their short scripts before our March 15 deadline. Simply go to our entry page today.

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