Innocence by Tom Deiker Wins Dreamwell’s First-Ever “Writer’s Joust”

Update: The review is in! Iowa Theatre Blog says Innocence is “…honest…unsettling…the cast is strong…Van Egdon is simply chilling.”

Read the “Backstage with Innocence” interview with the cast and team.

Dreamwell Theatre has selected the winners of its first ever Writers Joust: A Fear Festival. Innocence by Tom Deiker of Clive, Iowa was  chosen as the winner. The two runners up are The Night I Kissed Osama Bin Laden: A 9/11 Comedy by Joe Jennison of Mount Vernon, Iowa and Divergence by Janet Schlapkohl of Iowa City, Iowa. Innocence will open November 19th. The runners up will receive staged readings the weekend of November 12th.

In order to fit in with the theme of the 2010 season, “Taboo Bijou,” the submitted plays had to reflect the following theme: subjects we fear to talk about. Jennison’s play addresses our national tragedy with humor while Schlapkohl’s tackles the subject of family secrets. Jennison is a nine-time produced playwright whose plays have been staged at theaters in Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco. His play A Beautiful Man won “Best of Fringe” and “Best Comedy” at the San Francisco Fringe Festival in 2003. Janet Schlapkohl founded the “Combined Efforts Community Drama,” a group that offers opportunities for actors with and without special needs. Her monologues have been included in Riverside Theatre’s Walking the Wire productions.

The winning play, Innocence, tells the story of Pedro Lopez, “Monster of the Andes,” who raped and murdered over 300 young girls. Deiker’s play explores the choices made by individuals who encountered Lopez, and how those choices may have lead to more murders. Deiker is a published writer who has had his work placed in several dozen publications, including Cimarron Review, Fugue, Galaxy, Newsweek, and Plain Dealer Magazine. He also recently formed a Des Moines community theatre company, Lucubrations.

Dreamwell received many entries to the Writers Joust from writers all over Iowa. “We had so many great plays to choose from,” said Matt Falduto, Dreamwell founder. “We felt these three plays best expressed our theme.”

Dreamwell has produced original plays in the past, but this is the first time they have ever had a competition. “We wanted to try something new to encourage Iowa playwrights,” said co-Artistic Director Chuck Dufano. “We’re thrilled with the number of choices we had and excited beyond belief at the shows we’re going to present to the community.”

CHARACTERS
INTERVIEWER: male, age optional.
PEDRO LOPEZ: male, age 28.
MOTHER: Pedro’s mother, 50’s.
SISTER/PRINCIPAL/AYACHUCO WIFE: 30’s.
WARDEN: male, age optional.
TEACHER: Male, 40’s.
SHERIFF: male, age optional.
NUN: age optional.
AYACHUCO HUSBAND: Middle aged.