As a poor salesman, Dick Smith of Somers is a good actor.
Smith, a fixture of Westchester community theater for more than a generation, took home two acting awards playing Ralph in Hastings playwright Albi Gorn’s “Dearth of a Salesman” at the Eastern States Theatre Association Festival in Newark, Del., in May. (Check out the Eastern States Theatre Association Website.)
The two-person play involves a down-on-his-luck broom salesman who comes to a door behind which is a woman who doesn’t want to buy a broom.
(Maggie Kramer plays the woman, Helen.)
“I had to look up the word “dearth,” Smith says. “It means lack.”
There has been no lack of honors for “Dearth,” which came to the attention of Theater Association of New York State judges when it ran in Hand-to-Mouth Players’ Playwright and Directors Workshop in Buchanan last October. The judges selected the one-act to move on to the statewide TANYS festival in Batavia, N.Y. (Learn more about TANYS here.)
There, last November, “Dearth” won best short production and two performance awards for Smith: one from the judges, the other a “people’s favorite award,” voted by the audience.
“I was kind of bowled away by that,” Smith says.
The kudos were enough to earn “Dearth” an invite to the May’s regional festival in Delaware, where the play was awarded third place, Smith won for outstanding achievement in acting and Gorn won for outstanding achievement in playwriting. Smith’s costumes were also honored and his performance was given a People’s Choice award.
On July 17, Lower Hudson Valley audiences will get another chance to see the much-lauded work: “Dearth of a Salesman” will be presented as part of “Four Gorn Conclusions,” at The Barn on Hall Avenue in Goldens Bridge.
The other plays in the evening are “Regression,” written and directed by Gorn, “Welcome to Norway,” written and directed by Gorn’s wife, Robin Anne Joseph, and “Double Date,” written by Gorn and directed by Joseph.
Not a company to rest on its laurels, Hand-to-Mouth is holding auditions this week for October’s next Playwright and Directors Workshop of one-acts, its 19th, a production that will once again be judged by TANYS. (Learn about Hand-to-Mouth.)
Producer Gary Simon says the group chose six scripts from about 40 submitted by playwrights from across the country. The six chosen are from: Peekskill; Lewiston, Maine; Pittsburgh; Champaign, Ill.; Cranston, R.I.; and upstate Bloomingdale, N.Y.
The auditions — at 7 p.m. July 18 and 7:30 p.m. July 20 — will be held at Trinity-Boscobel United Methodist Church, 275 Church St., Buchanan. The one-act workshop will be Oct 1, 2, and 3.
The winners at next May’s ESTA Festival could go on to the national American Association of Community Theater Festival, which is held every other year. It will be held in Rochester, N.Y. next June. (Learn about the American Association of Community Theater.)
Simon says there’s no dearth of excitement among New York community theaters that the national festival will be held in the Empire State.
Wonder if they’ll need any brooms …
“4 Gorn Conclusions”
When: 8:15 p.m., July 17.
Where: The Barn on Hall Avenue, Goldens Bridge.
With: Jeannine and Eric Goche, Maggie Kramer, Gary Simon, Dick Smith.
What: The Hand-to-Mouth Players will hold auditions for its 19th Annual Playwright and Director’s Workshop of original one-acts.
Where: Trinity-Boscobel United Methodist Church, 275 Church St., Buchanan.
When: 7 p.m., July 18; 7:30 p.m., July 20.
Performances: Oct 1, 2, and 3.
Contact: Email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or call 914-734-8486.
Photo by Gary Simon: Dick Smith and Maggie Kramer in Albi Gorn’s “Dearth of a Salesman” at the TANYS competition last November.