Chicago woman wins Mountain Playhouse writing contest

The Tribune-Democrat

October 26, 2013

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JENNERSTOWN — Elizabeth Bagby of Chicago was named the 2013 winner of The Mountain Playhouse's International Comedy Playwriting Contest.

For her winning entry, the comedy/farce "Quartet and Fugue," Bagby earned $3,000 and the chance for the playhouse to conduct a live reading of the play before the end of 2014.

"Quartet and Fugue" is a one-act comedy centering on the chaos in the production of a wedding. It takes place in the back room of a wedding venue in Chicago on a Saturday afternoon when the Cubs are playing.

What is meant to be a beautiful celebration of love takes an unexpected turn when the groom discovers the "missed chance of his life" is the wedding quartet's violinist.

Strung into the comedy of mishaps is the undercurrent of the soon-to-be married couple's doubts about each other.

"It was the only farce among the finalists," said Teresa Stoughton Marafino, executive director of the Jennerstown playhouse. "She accurately captured the essence of the chaos surrounding the production of a wedding. There are brilliant moments in the play that show her potential to become a great farce writer."

Bagby has been married only two years and wrote this comedy after going through the rituals of putting together her wedding.

"It occurred to me how similar staging a wedding is to what goes on backstage in the theater," Bagley said. "I ended up hiring a stage manager as my wedding planner."

"Quartet and Fugue" also was a finalist for this year's Reva Shiner Comedy Award, which presents an unpublished full-length comedy with a cash prize of $1,000 and a full production as part of the Bloomington Playwrights Project's Mainstage season in Bloomington, Ind.

The submission deadline for the 2014 Playwriting Contest is Dec. 31.

To be eligible, a play must be a comedy or musical and must not have been professionally performed. The play also must be able to be performed by eight actors or less.

For contest guidelines or to enter the 2014 Playwriting Contest, visit