Dark Comedy a WinnerGAMBIER, Ohio (November 24, 2010)
Gender, genitalia, and God drive the drama in Undescended, a new play by Wendy MacLeod that emerged from 276 entrants to win the Audience Choice Award at the 19th annual Denise Ragan Wiesenmeyer One-Act Festival presented by the Attic Theatre in Los Angeles.
MacLeod, James E. Michael Playwright-in-Residence, earned the honor for writing an offbeat comic monologue about a 40-year-old Starbucks barista whose new baby, born with undescended testes, may be the second coming of the Messiah. MacLeod described the work as a "dark comedy—moving in its own way—that challenges us to question the notion of gender identity."
Undescended was one of the contest's four finalists chosen by theater and film industry professionals to be produced for the festival. LA Weekly praised the production as "both intimate and ironic," crediting the play with "unexpected flashes of moral ambiguity and psychological nuance." Said MacLeod, "The award is nice—winning is better than not winning—but what means the most to me is the production in a good theater, with a good director (Brian Shnipper) and a good actor (Jennifer Skinner). That's the gold standard for playwrights."
Attic Theater was formed in 1995 to develop new plays, talent, and audiences for live theater. Its Attic Theatre Ensemble is one of the most important and prestigious groups in Los Angeles. The company's literary committee rates plays according to criteria including plot, characters, theme, and quality, with the highest-rated works selected for festival production.
MacLeod is the author of nearly three-dozen full-length, short, and one-act plays that have been produced in theaters throughout the United States and in theaters in London and Berlin. She is probably best known for The House of Yes, made into a 1997 award-winning film starring Parker Posey.
Her recently published Small Packages: Collected Short Plays by Wendy McLeod includes several pieces based on life at Kenyon. MacLeod is among a few playwrights prolific in the short form. "There's not a lot of demand for short plays or one-acts, but I like to write them because they give me the satisfaction of completing something quickly—full-length plays can take years to write."