Past Tense: Six Short Plays
On June 18-29, 2021, The Forge Theater Lab presented Past Tense, an online showcase of six short plays about people coming face-to-face with their past selves. It featured works by Steven William Beck, Matt Cogswell, Cayenne Douglass, Ken Green, and Ashley Lauren Rogers.
All six videos were edited by Samantha deManbey. Graphics designed by Monique Reverie.
"The Architects of Time" by Cayenne Douglass
Featuring Jeanine Bartel and Nael Nacer
Directed by Lee Douglass
"Black Lipstick" by Ashley Lauren Rogers
Featuring Sydney Lipsett and Kathleen O’Connor
Directed by Samantha deManbey
"Filling in the Gaps" by Ken Green
Featuring Daniel T. Hankins and Cheyenne Winley
Directed by Rebecca Joseph
"Museum Tour" by Cayenne Douglass
Featuring Maureen Keiller
Directed by Caley Chase
"Reverse Enlightenment" by Steven William Beck
Featuring Mike Daniel, Felipe Ferreira, Michael Knight, and Brittany Messuri Rechenberger
Directed by Jack Crory
"One Angry Gay Man"
Written and performed by Matt Cogswell
Directed by Samantha deManbey
STEVEN WILLIAM BECK (“Reverse Enlightenment”) earned his MAT in English Literature in 2003 and has recently returned to Fitchburg State to pursue a degree in theater. At FSU he wrote and performed the monologue “The Mask” as part of the Our Reckoning online showcase. He is a board trustee of The Forge Theater Lab and acted in the staged reading of Good Grief by Mary Darling in the first season. About his playwriting, Steven says “I write as a hopeful form of advocacy for those with addictions and mental health issues. To speak for those who can't, won't, don't know how, or have left us already. I am still here and can be a voice for people like me."
MATT COGSWELL (“One Angry Gay Man”) is a founding member of The Forge Theater Lab and served on its board for their first season. A segment from his play Exposed Skin was part of its kickoff event, Generations, where he also directed “Jump Starter.” He directed and acted in their staged reading of Shadows in the Cave by Samantha deManbey. He has acted at Fitchburg State University in such productions as Romeo and Juliet (Capulet), The Boys Next Door (Jack Palmer), and two productions of Twelve Angry Jurors (Jurors Twelve, Two). Other acting highlights include The Boys Next Door (Norman Bulansky), Laughter on the 23rd Floor (Milt Fields), Company (David), Shrek the Musical (Shrek), and Ordinary People (Cal Jarrett). He has also collaborated with Lemon Punch Theatre Lab as an actor and playwright. He works as an adjunct faculty member, teaching public speaking and writing at Quinsigamond Community College and Mount Wachusett Community College. Additional theatrical works available for performance and production credits can be viewed on his website and on the New Play Exchange.
CAYENNE DOUGLASS (“The Architects of Time,” “Museum Tour”) has had work developed and/or produced at Ensemble Studio Theatre, Take Ten Theatre Masters, Boston Playwrights' Theatre, New Perspectives Theatre Company, Fresh Ink Theatre, ESPA Primary Stages, Dixon Place, The Tank, Clutch Productions, City Theatre Miami, FEAST: A Performance Series, Manhattan Repertory Theatre, and Edmunds Driftwood Players. She has participated in The First Stage Residency through The Drama League, The Barn Arts Residency, and The Emerging Artists Residency at Tofte Lake. This spring, her full-length play Maiden Voyage was the 2nd place recipient of The Lorraine Hansberry Award and was honored with Distinguished Achievement for both The Rosa Parks and Paula Vogel Playwriting Awards through The Kennedy Center. Cayenne has been published by Smith & Kraus in 3 monologue anthologies and her short play “Variable Rates of Kindness” will be published by Concord Theatricals in Theatre Masters’ Take Ten Anthology 2020. Most recently, Cayenne was selected to participate in The BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre workshop and The Sappho Project W*rk Lab. For more information visit www.cayennedouglass.com or follow Cayenne on IG: bruteful_theatre.
KEN GREEN (“Filling in the Gaps”) is a Chicagoan currently residing in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood. A former news reporter, sports reporter and editor, Ken began writing plays late in life, following a brief stint as a bad slam poet. He is a co-host and co-producer of Story Club Boston, a storytelling/reading series. He has been featured on the nationally televised storytelling show Stories from the Stage on PBS. Ken’s plays include 2020’s The Charles Lenox Experience, produced by New Repertory Theater in Watertown, Mass. The outdoor, socially distanced historical moving play was one of the first live, in-person theatre performances in the area during the pandemic. Learn more about Ken's plays on his website.
ASHLEY LAUREN ROGERS (“Black Lipstick”) is an award-winning writer and trans rights activist. Her play Oddity received an honorable mention on The Kilroys “The List,” 2020. Her play “Becky’s Xmas Wish” and a monologue from Chasing The Ghost will be appearing in Smith and Krauss’s Best Short Scenes and Women’s Monologues compilations. Ashley has served as a Trans Theatre Lab fellow in 2019, the Literary Director for Step1 Theatre Project, and artist in residence at Middlesex County Vocational-Technical School 2018-2019. Her works have been performed at Dixon Place, MITF, the Brick, Joe’s Pub, and others. “Becky’s Xmas Wish” was a finalist for the City Theatre National Short Play Award, Miami, and her work has been produced in Wisconsin, Cincinnati, Maine, Iowa, New Jersey, Detroit, and Minneapolis. Featured on Fusion TV’s Peabody Award-nominated Sex.Right.Now and panels for Revry.TV, Ashley is also the creator of the Is It Transphobic and The Right to Play podcasts.
Past Tense: Six Short Plays was supported in part by a grant from the Fitchburg Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council. We appreciate their support for our mission of developing new plays, and are proud to be part of the vibrant arts and culture community of Fitchburg!