The Athens Review
In 2012, the Texas Nonprofit Theatres (TNT) organization, a statewide group that oversees and monitors the theatre work of Texas Community Theatres, held a national original play competition to select four winners of new plays that have never been produced. The prize was to select the four winners and produce their plays at four different theatres in Texas. There were 100 applicants who submitted plays and the four winners were announced at TNT’s yearly conference in 2012.
The Henderson County Performing Arts Center has been one of the four producing companies since the inception of the national competition in 2008. Dennis Gilmore, HCPAC’s Executive Director, serves as chairman of the national project. “From the beginnings of the competition in 2008, TNT has developed this program to allow playwrights the opportunity to do the one thing that is very difficult to do; and that is to get their plays produced,” said Gilmore. “The four producing theatres in Texas reap the benefit of producing the World Premiere of the show and that is a great feeling to be with the playwright from the beginning to the end of the process.”
HCPAC selected a show by Marjorie Bicknell entitled The Boys Club to present to the audiences in Athens. Set in a prison cell, the story follows the events leading to the “trial of the century” as the founder of the Clooney Boys Club, Randy Clooney played by J Noswinger, is imprisoned for allegedly killing 14 boys from his Club. The events unwind in Clooney’s cell as he and his attorney, Jill Bennett, played by Cassandra Schwantes, argue and debate over the best defense strategy.
The show opens on Friday, March 1st and Ms. Bicknell will be present for the opening weekend of the show. The theatre will hold a reception for her on Friday night, March 1st after the show. All in attendance are invited to stay for the reception.
Ms. Bicknell is a working playwright, director and actress. She holds a BA in Theatre and English Literature from Mundelein College in Chicago and an MA in Speech with a concentration in Theatre/Oral Interpretation from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
Marjorie has studied playwriting at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, and the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, where she was a member of the theatre’s elite Playwrights Circle.
Her first full-length play, an adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, was produced at Theatre Center Chicago by Pary Production Company. The production was the recipient of three Joseph Jefferson Citations for outstanding performance of live theatre. Frankenstein is published by Heartland Plays. Marjorie is also the author of The Family Room, winner of the 2003 Pennsylvania Playwright Award and The Boys Club, a winner of the 2012 TNT POPS! new play contest. Other full-length plays include: Joint Custody, Queen of New Orleans and The Laws of War..
Marjorie is a member of The Dramatists Guild and a founding member of The Playwrights Alliance of Pennsylvania. When not working in local theatre, Marjorie is a freelance advertising copywriter and creative consultant. She has been privileged to work on advertising and direct marketing campaigns for companies such as Prudential Insurance, Colonial Penn Insurance, MCI Friends and Family, 1-800-COLLECT, Comcast, Verizon (Bell Atlantic) and Jenny Craig. She has won over 35 industry awards for her work. Marjorie lives in Camp Hill, Pa. with her wonderful husband, Ed Shapiro.