'ChainLinks: Perspectives?' comes to town
Mar. 17, 1999

by Daryl Khan

Staff Writer

John Healey, Potomac Theatre Company's managing director, sympathizes with the oft-criticized NCAA selection committee faced with determining the post-season fate of many college basketball teams.

He's been there, sort of.

Last fall Healey headed-up his own committee responsible for deciding the fate of a group of people hungry to play, so to speak, in March -- local playwrights competing for their scripts to be performed by Potomac Theatre Company.

While it may not be March Madness, Healey and company had the daunting task of pairing a crop of plays from metropolitan-area writers. The initial 135 submissions had to be reduced to seven that are scheduled to open this weekend in Founders Hall at The Bullis School in Potomac.

"And we originally only were planning on six plays," Healey said. "But we had so many good scripts this year we had to make the evening go as far as possible so we moved it up to seven."

The committee had to select which playwrights' work would make it to the stage for the company's annual "ChainLinks: Perspectives?" production. He said that after months of reviewing the submissions, he and his local reading committee whittled the selections down to about 15 scripts worth staging.

The NCAA selection committee has the unenviable task of deferring players' hopes and dreams for another year. Healey said he considers the difficult decisions he and his committee had to make in a comparable light.

"We have to judge by similar criteria," he said. "They have to think about good match-ups ... like St. John's and George Washington? Well, we have to do the same thing, picking out not only the best plays, but a combination that'll make for the best evening as well."

Healey and the committee were looking for a wide variety of subject matter and treatment in the scripts. As a result, he could not schedule a night of either all comedies or all dramas.

The performances start at 8 p.m. March 19, 20, 26 and 27; and at 2 p.m. March 21 and 28. Tickets are $10 for adults and $9 for seniors and students. Call 301-299-8571.

The plays that will be featured are: "Consider the Ravens" by John Becker of Kensington, "After All..." by Roy C. Berkowitz of Arlington, "Chicken Salad" by Paul J. Donnelly Jr. of Washington, "Conquest?" by Aaron Doris of Rockville, "breach" by Daphne R. Hull of Baltimore, "Compliance" by Christine McCullough of Springfield and "The Woman You've Been Waiting For" by Martha King de Silva of Washington.