Tacoma Little Theater Play Advances to National Finals


Submitted by Tacoma Little Theater

Tacoma Little Theater production of The pillow man, a 2003 play by Irish writer Martin McDonagh, won top honors at the American Association of Community Theater: Region IX competition in Spokane, Wash., April 18-20. Its director, Blake R. York, along with its cast, qualified for the national finals held June 18-22 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

“I don’t know how proud I am of this cast and this team,” said Chris Serface, general artistic director of Tacoma Little Theater. “It’s a testament to the quality of theater in our community of Puget Sound. At the last festival, we were proud to cheer on our Tacoma theater colleague, Tacoma Musical Playhouse, as he made this trip. York won the AACTFest Region IX Award for Best Director. It was his first time directing an adult production on stage, but he has been TLT’s resident technical director since 2014. A frequent actor on stages throughout the region, he has also designed sets for troupes throughout the region. south of Puget Sound. His wife, Jen York, won an award for her contribution to The pillow manof the interrogation room, while Michele Graves won the award for best costumes.

Top Individual Acting Awards went to members of the Bellingham (Washington) Theater Guild and Verona Studio (Salem, Oregon). The regional judges, however, awarded a special prize to the ensemble acting on The pillow man casting for the one-hour short of the competition. This quartet includes Christian Carvajal, Andrew Fry, Sean Neely (nominated for best actor at the Prosser State Festival, Washington) and Jacob Tice. Her manager, both on stage at TLT and in competition, is Nena Curley.

Photo courtesy of TLT

“It’s such a Cinderella story,” Carvajal said. “We’re all in total shock about this. We only switched to regional when another team couldn’t make the trip, so it’s particularly gratifying for us to earn a place now among the best of the best. We think we represent these other teams as well. “

Since a weeklong trip to Pennsylvania was not within TLT’s planned budget, Serface is actively soliciting donations. “We can still use donations of money, of course,” Serface noted, “but we could also use air miles, accommodation and travel connections, gas cards – whatever you think will help. TLT to represent Tacoma and the other outstanding community theaters in Washington State. We will attempt to raise $ 15,000 in 52 days. I am confident that our wonderful community will help us achieve this. Those interested in donating are encouraged to contact Serface at 253-272-2281 or visit the TLT website.

About the game

In an unnamed totalitarian state, police officers Tupolski (Andrew Fry) and Ariel (Christian Carvajal) question a writer, Katurian (Jacob Tice), about the macabre content of many of his stories. Details of a recent spate of child murders echo these stories, casting suspicion on Katurian and his brother, Michal [sic] (Sean Neely). The pillow man won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Foreign New Play, the Olivier Award for Best New Play and two Tony Awards (for lighting and set design) in 2005.


AACTFest 2019 is the culmination of a two-year cycle of state and regional theater festivals, and will feature 12 community theater productions from the United States and the United States Army Overseas that received top honors in their own respective festivals. These winners represent the best community theater America has to offer. AACT National Company performances will begin on Tuesday, June 18 at the beautifully restored Majestic Theater at Gettysburg College in Lincoln Square. Further festival activities will be offered at the adjacent Gettysburg Hotel. The 2019 AACTFest National Festival includes a Theater Management Pre-Conference, Youth Leadership Conference and Festival, Educational Workshops, Top Vendor Exhibitions, Design and Monologue Competitions, Social Events, sightseeing, networking opportunities and an awards and celebration weekend.

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