Camille Washington’s ODA MIGHT receives its world premiere November 7-17 (tickets and more info here), concluding our partnership with The David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists.

David created roles in three Plan-B productions: THE SCARLET LETTER by Jenifer Nii and THE END OF THE HORIZON and THE THIRD CROSSING by Debora Threedy. But more importantly, he was family. So we committed to produce five world premieres by emerging artists in partnership with The Davey Foundation…and the fifth is upon us.

We’ve celebrated motherhood through Carleton Bluford’s MAMA; worked retail at the holidays through Rob Tennant’s BOOKSMART; explored the very nature of storytelling through Morag Shepherd’s NOT ONE DROP; navigated survivor’s guild through Austin Archer’s JUMP; and are straddling the line between truth and reality with Camille Washington’s ODA MIGHT.

ODA MIGHT was chosen from a dozen submissions from local playwrights age 35 or younger at time of submission. Each play was read and scored blind by four panelists: Betsy Ross (David’s mother and Executive Director, The Davey Foundation). Artistic Director Jerry Rapier and the past two winners, Morag Shepherd and Austin Archer. Each ranked ODA MIGHT first. We thought you might enjoy some of their comments.

Wow – this is extremely well-written. I love the slow boil, love the twist and that it’s a thriller. – Jerry

What a well-developed story. I liked the getting there. – Betsy

The plot is captivating and the dialogue is smart. – Morag

The sheer originality of the play is enough to capture an audience’s curiosity, and the naturalism of its characters is pretty impressive. – Austin

It’s bittersweet to be the final Davey Foundation grantee. I’m honored to be a part of David Fetzer’s memory, and have been encouraged by participating in The Lab. What a fantastic legacy.

Camille Washington

Playwright, ODA MIGHT

Davey:

I wasn’t aware until the first day of rehearsal for ODA MIGHT that the David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists had an end date.
I thought I would always have a concrete, yearly reminder of your contributions on this earth.
A moment to reminisce fondly about our time on stage together.
About the massive crush my daughter developed on you.
I bristled at the mention of its ending.
It was kinda like when I heard you were gone.
I didn’t know how to do anything except sit in silence with my tears until the the stages of grief washed over me in rapid succession and I could refocus on the light and love you brought to me, to the world.
I smile because I got to be a part of the beginning of this creation to propel new artists in your honor.
I am grateful I get to be a part of the end.
I smile/cry – just a little.
I take a deep breath.
You tell me it is okay.
I let go.
Again.

Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin

Actor in the final Davey production, ODA MIGHT; and the first Davey prodcution, MAMA

When David passed away in December, 2012, an energy was unleashed. The internet was full of expressions of love and gratitude for David’s unique kindness, talent, selfless support of other artists, and, of course, his giggle.

It seemed important to harness this energy and continue David’s loving support of others to the extent we could. And so, The David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists was born in April 2013. One of my first conversations was with Jerry Rapier, as the foundation sought partners for our dream of empowering young artists. That conversation was the beginning of a loving, five-show partnership that resulted in some amazing theatre.

Camille Washington’s spectacular play, ODA MIGHT, will be our final collaboration with Plan-B. Good-bye is too difficult to say; thank you is simply not enough. It is hard to lose this, too, but as with David, the memories of what we did together will survive.

Betsy Ross

David's Mom & Executive Director, The David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists

The Davey Foundation facilitated a major leap forward in my artistic career when they partnered with Plan-B to produce my play. I can’t begin to thank them enough. The perfect tribute to the foundation’s namesake, their work has unlocked previously unreachable dreams for me and many other artists.

Austin Archer

Playwright, JUMP

The Davey Foundation has given me an artistic community and confidence that I never dreamed of. Winning the grant, and seeing my play performed with Plan-B, will always be one of the highlights of my life. I am humbled by all of the work that is produced in the David Ross Fetzer name, and I’m lucky to be part of it in some way.

Morag Shepherd

Playwright, NOT ONE DROP

The Davey Foundation and Plan-B have been instrumental in motivating me to write and have given me the inspiration and confidence to explore new forms and genres. As a first-time playwright, I was struck by how collaborative of an art form theatre truly is. I had spent my entire career as a writer up until then with my words living only on the page, but seeing how they were interpreted by other artists in real time gave me significant insight and (I hope) made me a better storyteller.

Rob Tennant

Playwright, BOOKSMART

I know what I’m about to say may sound cheesy, but it is the absolute truth from the bottom of my heart.

The world is filled with people who dream and told that if they work hard, those dreams will become reality.

But the truth is, dreams are usually dashed by life and self-doubt.

The Davey Foundation is an organization that gave us dreamers a chance to make our dreams reality. I was allowed to experience what it felt like to be a writer and to see my work come to life on the Plan-B stage, a gift that has set me on a path that has influenced my entire life for the better.

Having an opportunity like that is something you never forget.

Carleton Bluford

Playwright, MAMA

For five wonderful years, I have been fortunate to personally witness how David continues to light a fire in those within his influence: within five emerging playwrights in particular.

I think of him often with every Davey show, regardless of whether I’m designing sound or directing. I think about his gentle, warm and inviting presence, and how David, with his messy hair and flannel shirt totally surprised us with his audition for Arthur Dimmesdale in THE SCARLET LETTER. I mean he didn’t just have a good audition, he NAILED IT.

Thank you for the creative spark, THE FIRE, David. It will always shine bright.

Cheryl Cluff

Managing Director, Plan-B Theatre Company; Director, ODA MIGHT; Sound Designer, MAMA, BOOKSMART, NOT ONE DROP, JUMP, ODA MIGHT

The Davey Foundation brings David to my heart every year. It seems to embody so many parts of the man that I considered a friend. David exuded warmth, generosity, curiosity and a ready smile and laugh. He always seemed to look at everything as if it was new and exciting, even when it wasn’t. Mostly he seemed to want to give and nurture new ideas with love and kindness. That is why I think he’d love the foundation that bears his name because it helps to grow the part of his life that he seemed to cherish so very much and was always so willing to share with the world.

Jennifer Freed

Stage Manager, MAMA, BOOKSMART, NOT ONE DROP, JUMP, ODA MIGHT

The day David died, my son Oscar was exactly one month old. This bonded me and Betsy – and Betsy and Oscar – in a very intimate, nearly indescribable way.

Four short months later we met to talk about how a foundation in David’s name could be part of Plan-B. We bounced around a couple of ideas, including workshopping new plays. We knew the writers should be emerging and local; during that meeting I also got really excited and said we’d go further than workshopping; we’d produce new plays by emerging writers.

One a season.

For five seasons.

And now it’s time to celebrate one more time and then say goodbye.

David was family.

Now Betsy, Carleton, Rob, Morag, Austin and Camille are too.

Thank you Davey.

Jerry Rapier

Artistic Director, Plan-B Theatre Company; Director, MAMA, BOOKSMART, NOT ONE DROP

We are so thankful for The Davey Foundation’s support of JUMP, which made our collaboration with Plan-B and playwright Austin Archer possible. Austin’s JUMP felt so resonant with David’s own pursuit of creative risks in storytelling and his collaborative generosity.

Alexandra Harbold & Robert Scott Smith

Co-Artistic Directors, Flying Bobcat Theatrical Laboratory; Co-Directors, JUMP

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