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Burnet writer’s play lands in celebrated Austin festival

DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR

BURNET — Raymond V. Whelan is no stranger to the written word after a long career as a journalist. But his dream took him beyond the front page and newsprint and landed him in front of live theater enthusiasts in a two-decade old Austin festival.

Whelan’s play, “Some Women See Things As They Are,” opened Jan. 23 at Frontera Fest in Austin. The 60-minute piece takes the stage again Jan. 31 and Feb. 3 at 6 p.m. The performances will be held at the Salvage Vanguard Theatre, 2803 Manor Road in Austin.

Hyde Park Theatre in Austin produces the five-week Frontera Fest to give more than 800 local and national artists a chance to get their work on stage before audiences. It’s an unjuried festival, so playwrights and actors aren’t competing but showcasing their talents.

“The festival promotes performances by people who normally might not have an opportunity to entertain the public,” Whelan said. “Frontera Fest means a lot to me. The program gives me a chance to demonstrate my creativity.”

This is Whelan’s second invitation to put on a play — or act — at Frontera Fest. Last year, his play “Southie Pride Ezzah Given” was part of the “short fringe.” This year, his latest play is in the “long fringe” category.

Long and short fringe categories are based on the length of the play, Whelan said. A long fringe is 90 minutes or less, while a short fringe is fewer than 25 minutes.

Whelan’s current production, which is set during the Kennedy White House, tells the story of first lady Jackie Kennedy and her personal secretary, Frannie, as they work “behind the scene.”

“‘Some Women’ is historical fiction,” Whelan said. “The story focuses on some of my memories of the 1960s, a pivotal point in recent American history,” he said. “Indeed, I was coming of age during that decade, and the show lets me describe my view of that period.”

For more on the festival, go to www.fronterafest.org.

daniel@thepicayune.com