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Recently Michael Merino was named as a winner of the Emerging Voices Playwright Competition. His winning entry, Maybe, was performed at the historic Lincoln Theatre in March 2009. Two of his short plays, Pompa y Circunstancia and Seat Yourself, were presented at the New Orleans Fringe Festival in November 2008. Seat Yourself was staged earlier at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center in Oxford, MS as part of the national ten-minute play festival. The work won first place in 2007 and was also performed in Paris, France at l'Ogresse.
Pompa y Circunstancia was selected as a semi-finalist at the Ninth Annual Theatre Oxford National Ten-Minute Play Contest. Along with a new one-act called Porcupine, the three works were read at Woolly Mammoth Theatre (Washington, DC) in March 2008.
Before hurricane Katrina hastened his departure in 2005, Michael Merino wrote much of The Quick Brown Fox Jumped over the Lazy Dogs and workshopped scenes from the play at the Contemporary Arts Center (New Orleans, LA) while he was on a seven-month work assignment for the Department of Defense. The play was later named as a semi-finalist at the Playwrights’ Center’s PlayLabs Festival (Minneapolis, MN) and was presented at the Kennedy Center’s Page-to-Stage New Play Festival (Washington, DC) last year.
His full-length play, Artist and Protector of Children: The Life of Henry Darger, was named as a finalist for the Southeast Theatre Conference New Play Project’s Charles M. Getchell Award. The work was also read at the Kennedy Center’s new play festival the prior year.
As a member of the Lower Garden Project Theater in New Orleans, he wrote and directed Priests Know More – Papal Command Performance, a Catholic folk Mass parody; Hemispheric Dysfunctionalism and the Cortical Titanic, a multi-media performance piece; Rasputin: The Fall of the Romanovs and the Russian Revolution, an historical epic/farce; and No Wonder, a play about the nuclear family and the arms race. He also adapted and directed No Fatties, No Femmes from a short story by Lorrie Moore and directed an original treatment of Georg Buechner’s Woyzeck.
At the Contemporary Arts Center, Michael directed Ron Tavel’s Screen Test and The Life of Juanita Castro in and collaborated on an anti-war performance piece called The Dream of Reason, inspired by the first Gulf War and the paintings of Goya. He wrote a libretto for a children’s opera, Jack and the Beanstalk, for the Metro Pelican Opera Company. He has appeared as an actor and collaborator in productions with The Dog and Pony Theatre Company and Doorika—all in New Orleans. Michael has been a member of Woolly Mammoth Theatre’s Playwrights PlayGround since 2004 (Washington, DC).
The Quick Brown Fox Jumped over the Lazy Dogs explores linguistic concepts such as metaphor, meaning, message, and messenger. The work presents a humorous political commentary on how individuals communicate and “mis-underestimate” one another while illustrating how — in this age of global telecommunications and a barrage of media outlets — nothing is being said.
cast: 5 actors; 2 or 3 women, 2 or 3 men
Artist and Protector of Children: The Life of Henry Darger depicts the secret fantasy world recorded and illustrated by outsider artist, Henry Darger. The play weaves together events from Darger’s traumatic childhood and his life as a janitor with heroic tales as a war correspondent on an imaginary planet where he, along with the saintly Vivian Girls, attempts to rescue enslaved children.
cast: 13 actors; 1 woman, 7 young women or girls, 4 men, 1 young man or boy
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