Playwrights Local and Dobama Theatre Announce World Premiere of "Down by Contact"

New drama about the struggles of a retired quarterback and his family from playwright Les Hunter. Directed by Dale Heinen, the world premiere production runs August 17 through September 2 at the Tudor House of the Gilmour Academy in Gates Mills.

Cleveland, OH, July 11, 2018 --( Playwrights Local and Dobama Theatre announce Down by Contact, a drama by Les Hunter. Featuring direction by Dale Heinen, this world premiere explores the struggles of a former football star who suffers from the brain disease CTE, staged as a site-specific performance in the living room of his lavish mansion. The production runs August 17 through September 2 at the Tudor House (the former Drury Mansion) of the Gilmour Academy in Gates Mills.

In Down by Contact, down-and-out retired quarterback Carson Kaide must decide between his allegiance to his former teammates and his love for his family. Struggling with the debilitating brain disease CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), he tries to save the last vestige of his glory days: his lavish home. The lives of retired players and their families inspire the events of this new site-specific play, produced in Gilmour Academy’s stately Tudor House. This co-production from Playwrights Local and Dobama Theatre invites you to join Carson in his own home and get a private glimpse into the life that he’s desperately holding on to. You’ll meet his former teammate, Trypp, his wife Kelsey, and his son Tommy, who all, in their own way, try to negotiate past struggles to try to find a way forward, and to keep hold of each other as best they can.

Down by Contact is the third full-length production by playwright Les Hunter, who wrote for the collaboratively written Off-Broadway hit trilogy of plays, The Jackson Heights Trilogy (Theatre 167, New York City). Hunter’s full-lengths, one-acts, and collaboratively written plays have received over 40 productions across the country. He was a finalist for the Jewish Plays Project 2016 international Jewish Playwriting Contest for his play To the Orchard (Playwrights Local). Playscripts, Indie Theatre, and Brooklyn Publishers have published his plays. Hunter is joined for Down by Contact by director Dale Heinen, who has worked on new plays in Cleveland, Chicago, Glasgow, London, New York City, Dublin, Tokyo, and Brazil. For several years she was a dramaturge for Soho Theatre in London’s West End, and prior to that was co-Artistic Director of an equity off-Loop theatre in Chicago, during which time critics selected her three times as one of Chicago’s “Best Directors” in the trade paper PerformInk. Hunter and Heinen both previously worked together on Playwrights Local’s To the Orchard.

“This production of Down By Contact is exciting for us a number of levels,” said David Todd, Artistic Director of Playwrights Local. “Firstly, Les Hunter has written a new drama that truly deserves to be seen. Down By Contact addresses an issue that’s of critical importance, but it does so through a set of characters who are sharply drawn and compelling in their own right. In addition, the site-specific nature of this show is very unique, and really heightens the immediacy and realism of the live experience. There’s a great tradition of this type of work and we’re glad to bring ones of these shows to Northeast Ohio audiences. Lastly, our company is proud to partner on this project with Dobama Theatre and make another new play possible with their collaboration.”

The cast features John Busser as Carson, Corin B. Self as Trypp, Liam Stilson as Tommy, and Margi Zitelli as Kelsey. Design for the production is by Walter Boswell (set), Inda Blatch-Geib (costumes), Wes Calkin (lights), and Daniel McNamara (sound). The staff includes stage manager Leigh Tennant, social media coordinator Tyler Collins, production manager Lucas Clark, and assistant director EJ Dahl. Carpentry is by Tom Hayes and dramaturgy is by David Todd.

Performances run August 17 through September 2, with shows on Friday & Saturday at 8:00 pm and Sunday at 3:00 pm. All events will be at the special location of the Tudor House at Gilmour Academy (34001 Cedar Road, Gates Mills, Ohio 44040). Tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and groups, and $12 for students. Group packages can be arranged by contacting the Dobama box office at or (216) 932-3396. For tickets, go to

Playwrights Local is a theater company based in Cleveland. As a playwrights’ center, our goal is to provide a home for dramatic writing in Northeast Ohio. We offer classes and workshops, produce original plays, provide networking opportunities, and engage the community through outreach projects. Tax-deductible contributions to our 501(c)(3) group can be made at

For contributions supporting this production directly, please contact
Playwrights Local
Tom Hayes
(216) 302-8856