2019-2020 Season



By Merri Biechler

World Premiere
March 27, 2020 - 10, April 11, 2020
Preview March 26, 2020
Studio Theatre ATB Financial Arts Barns

Featuring: Brian Dooley and Davina Stewart
Director: Trevor Schmidt

“That was not the deal. That was not the plan. You dying first is not the plan. You can’t leave me with him, I’d rather be an orphan. I can’t hold his hand and bring him juice and clean up his shit and tell him he’s going to be all right. He’s not! He’s not all right! He’ll tease me and call me fat and make fun of the way I walk and talk and you can’t leave me with him. I’d rather be an orphan. I won’t do it.”

Mae, a struggling young actress, loses both of her parents to cancer. Peggy- her kind, peacemaker mother- dies of cancer in 1995. Six years later, when Mae moves back home to care for her terminally ill father, she imagines moments of reconciliation and grace. But unlike Peggy, Al does not handle the treatment with any sort of grace and Mae struggles with her role as his caregiver. As her father's health declines, his obsession with the Sci-Fi Network and creating a machine to deliver him to another dimension intensifies. Mae summons memories of her mother for guidance, and with humor and compassion strives to reach her final goal...to give her father a good death.

This moving play chronicles the writer’s experience as caregiver to her mother and father before their deaths due to cancer. Confessions of a Reluctant Caregiver has now become part of the medical school curriculum in Ohio and is performed for students every year when they study geriatrics. CONFESSIONS OF A RELUCTANT CAREGIVER demonstrates on a personal level how families transition when faced with an incurable illness and illustrates with humor and compassion the importance of having discussions that focus on palliative care, hospice, and end of life issues. This script was the winner of the Jane Chambers Student Playwriting Award and a finalist in the Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition (Alliance Theatre, Atlanta) and the Princess Grace Award in Playwriting. It has been  adapted into a feature length film. The Passageway.

Performance Dates

Thursday, March 26, 2020, 7:30PM Preview (PWYC)
Friday, March 27, 2020, 7:30PM Opening 
Saturday, March 28, 2020, 7:30PM Performance
Sunday, March 29, 2020, 2:00PM Matinee (Preshow Director’s Circle Event 1:15PM)
Sunday, March 29, 2020, 7:30PM Performance
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 7:30PM Performance (NLT 2 for 1 Ticket at the door) 
Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 7:30PM Performance (Post Show NLT Guest Speaker Salon)
Thursday, April 2, 2020, 7:30PM Performance (Post Show Actor Talk Back)
Friday, April 3, 2020, 7:30PM Performance
Saturday, April 4, 2020, 7:30PM Performance
Sunday, April 5, 2020, 2:00PM Matinee 
Sunday, April 5, 2020, 7:30PM Performance
Tuesday, April 7, 2020, 7:30PM Performance (NLT 2 for 1 Ticket at the door) 
Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 7:30PM Performance
Thursday, April 9, 2020, 7:30PM Performance 
Friday, April 10, 2020, 7:30PM Performance
Saturday, April 11, 2020, 7:30PM Closing

Season subscriptions are still available starting at $50 - $80 for all three shows in the NLT season.

Subscription Form (PDF)
Buy Online

Or call 780-471-1586

Single tickets will go on-sale by September 1st


Merri Biechler - Playwright

Merri Biechler

Merri is the Assistant Director of the School of Dance, Film, and Theater. She’s a playwright, actor, educator, and the Managing Director of Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble, a professional theater company located in Southeast Ohio. She is the recipient of a 2014 Boomerang Fund for Artists award. Her play Tammy Faye’s Final Audition was part of the inaugural season on Tantrum Theater. Her plays have been produced, workshopped, and read at Centenary Stage Company, Mortar Theatre Company, Foundry Theatre Works (Los Angeles), Artist’s Laboratory Theatre, and Victory Gardens Theater, among others. Her plays have received awards and placed in numerous competitions, including the Centenary Stage Company Women Playwrights Series winner; Stavis Award nominee; David Mark Cohen Award finalist; P73 Playwriting Fellowship semifinalist (twice); Clubbed Thumb biennial commission finalist; Princess Grace Award finalist; Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition finalist; WordBRIDGE Playwrights Laboratory participant (three years); Seven Devils Playwrights Conference semifinalist; and Perishable Theatre’s International Women’s Playwriting Festival finalist. She wrote movies-of-the-week for ABC Television and received her MFA in playwriting from Ohio University. As an actor, she studied with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse and at his home on the island of Bequia, West Indies. She spent 18 months with the original Off-Broadway cast of Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding, appeared in the films He Said, She Said; The Thing Called Love; and Pieces of April; and guest-starred on episodes of Judging Amy, E.R., and Murphy Brown. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Actors Equity Association, SAG/AFTRA, and is proud to call Athens County her artistic home.








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