Southeast’s Stilson Receives Good News from Script Festival



Feb. 25, 2011 – An original script written by Kenneth L. Stilson, professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Southeast Missouri State University, was recently accepted into the Last Frontier Theatre Conference’s New Play Lab.

The script, “The Cow and the Milk,” is Stilson’s second script accepted to the festival.  In 1999, his submission “Where the Lilies Grow,” was presented at Last Frontier and then picked up by the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Hollywood and produced at the Hudson Theatre before being adapted into the award-winning independent film, “Fire Lily,” which Stilson co-wrote with Fred Jones and Shirlee Wilson, faculty members in the College of Liberal Arts.

Stilson says he had been tossing thoughts around of this script for several years before putting it all together in October 2010. 

“The Cow and the Milk” is a biting social satire with a powerful Chekhovian twist about the complete disintegration of Boone and Bonnie MacDonald’s marriage, says Stilson.

It illustrates the constant struggle between Bonnie and their daughter Marybeth, trying to gain attention from Boone who has resolved to sit in his easy chair in only his Fruit-of-the-Loom underwear, drinking beer and eating corn nuts, apparently disinterested in the bickering around him.  Despite Bonnie’s overwhelming, continuous explosions of colorful language, the audience begins to notice tenderness about her character, even for her lazy husband. 

“This is a play about the choices we make and where we go wrongᾰand about a Momma trying to keep her daughter from making her same mistakes,” Stilson said of his work.  “The surprise ending is most compelling; as we become so involved in the petty bickering between the women, we lose sight of the long dark tragedy of what has become of Boone and Bonnie’s life.”

“The Cow and the Milk” will also be a featured stage reading by new play lab at the University of Missouri-Columbia where it will be workshopped and presented to the general public for critic and further development.

The Last Frontier Theatre Conference’s New Play Lab, which is in its 19th season, attracts playwrights from North America and Europe to receive mentoring and suggestions on their works from some of the top professionals in the theatre business.

“Many plays presented at this festival have gone on to major productions and publications,” Stilson said.