The Play

RAGTOWN - by Jayme McGhan

Ragtown is the shantytown where the workers and their families live as they build the Boulder Dam. Desperate times, dangerous work, dirty conditions produce a volatile mix, especially for a young Irish immigrant, figuring out what the American Dreams means in the desert and the depression. Based on original documents from the building of the Boulder (later Hoover) Dam.

Michael plays the father, Ennis McTierney, who by profession is a physician, but by circumstance works as a laborer on the dam.


Dates of performance:

Apr 6, 8 pm, Black Box Theatre
Apr 7, 8 pm, Black Box Theatre
Apr 8, 2 pm and 8 pm, Black Box Theatre
Apr 9, 2 pm, Black Box Theatre

Tickets $10, call 702-895-2787. More info on tickets, directions etc.: Performing Arts Center, UNLV

Script Synopsis


4 Cast Members- 5M, 2F

May 2, 1931. The Tierney family, recent Irish immigrants from Kilkenny, find themselves in the harsh Nevada desert waiting for work on the famed Boulder (later re-named Hoover) Dam. To increase their chances, they decide to take the dangerous journey from Las Vegas to “Ragtown,” a famed shantytown on the bank of the Colorado River erected to house over a thousand workers and their families. Ennis Tierney, a physician by trade, meets Harry “Tex” Merril, the “go to guy” for the International Workers of the World. In order to insure his spot on the dam, Ennis joins the wobblies, much to the distain of his eighteen year old son, Brodan. Fear of devastating pay-cuts for the workers is soon a reality and the union decides to organize a strike. Brodan is approached by Bud Dawson, a United State’s Marshall, and is made an offer to insure the strike does not happen. Tex is the only one who knows the name of the union organizer. If Brodan finds this man’s name and turns it over, his family will be given a real home in Boulder City and his father will be given his own clinic. Brodan becomes taken with Helen, Tex’s young and haunted wife, and is able to procure the name of the Wobblie organizer with her help. As the strike approaches, the desperation increases, and Brodan finds himself torn between his father’s wishes, his own desires, and the future of the thousands of workers on Boulder Dam.

Download script sample from the writer's website (PDF, off-site)

source: http://jaymemcghan.com/plays.html#ragtown

Nevada Conservatory Theatre Playwrights' Festival Opens April 6 at UNLV

Submitted by UNLV Information on Thu, 03/23/2006 - 17:50.

The Playwrights’ Festival, which is the final production in Nevada Conservatory Theatre’s Second Season, features three plays by playwrights in the MFA program produced in the Black Box Theatre at UNLV. All three plays have been entered into the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival National Playwriting Competition with respondents coming to adjudicate the productions.

Due to the controversial subject matter and language, the three plays are intended for mature audiences only. All three productions feature a unit set designed by Charles O’Connor, chair of the theatre department, and undergraduate student David Tolin.

Jayme McGhan’s “Ragtown,” which received the Las Vegas Centennial Grant, premieres on April 6. The play had a staged reading in New York City at the Irish Repertory Theatre on February 24.

The play deals with the workers in the squatter settlement during the construction of Boulder Dam. The desperate times and dangerous work become a volatile mix for a young Irish immigrant worker. Directed by Sarah Norris, the cast features Thomas Sawicki, Michael Tylo, Sherri Brewer, Lisa Easley, Taylor Haynes, April Kidwell, Alex Holmes, and Stephen Crandall. Costumes are designed by Katrina Hertfelder, with lighting by David Diaz.

Performances are April 6, 7, 8 at 8 p.m. with matinees at 2 p.m. on April 8 and 9.

Stan Waring’s “Pluck the Rose” opens April 13 for five performances. The play tells the story of a woman struggling to run a business and keep her family together during World War II.

Directed by Steve Rapella, the cast includes Tennile Foust, Trae Cullivan, Arthur Ross, and Phoenix Tolliver. Costumes design is by Judy Ryerson, with lighting by Laura Zeeb

Performances are April 13, 14 and 15 at 8 p.m. with matinees at 2 p.m. on April 15 and 16.

Ross Howard’s “The Loggerheads of Lambhuna Drive” opens April 20. This dark comedy introduces Dr. and Dr. Loggerhead who are about to welcome two new additions to their household who are not what they expected.

Directed by Mandy Peters, the cast features Brandon Burk and Melanie Ash as Dr. Ferdinand and Dr. Constance Loggerhead. Others in the cast include Devaune Ratteray, Ashley Vargas, Kama Cottengim, and Kaitlin Bennett. Costumes are by Katherine Covel with lighting by Gianna Malerba.

Performances are April 20, 21 and 22 at 8 p.m. with matinees at 2 p.m. April 22 and 23.

Talk Backs, which are discussions with the actors and members of the production staff, will occur immediately after the opening night performance and will be moderated by Dr. Jerry L. Crawford. “Ragtown” is April 6, “Pluck the Rose” is April 13 and “The Loggerheads of Lambhuna Drive” is April 20.

Tickets for each play are $10 general admission, $8 for students, seniors, military and handicapped, and on sale at the Performing Arts Center Box Office located in the southeast corner of the parking garage. The Box Office is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to

6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It may be reached by calling 895-ARTS (2787).

UNLV playwrights show their stuff in theater festival

Issue: 04/06/2006
By Zac Hestand
Rebel Yell

The time has come yet again for the UNLV Theatre Department to helm another play for our entertainment purposes. This time, not a revived classic or a Ten Minute plays series, but something fresh. April 6th marks the beginning of the New Playwright Festival.

The festival is three original works by our MFA Playwriting program. This may not sound like anything different, but it is. These plays are full-length (two acts or more), not 10 minutes or one-act pieces.

Don't worry; these full lengths are not going to be all in one night,but for three consecutive weeks.

Before a UNLV playwright earns his or her MFA, his or her must complete a thesis - in this case, a full-length play. Our three- playwrights are third years (three year master's program, folks), and these writers will give us their UNLV swan songs and move on to bigger and better things.

The playwrights of this festival are Jayme McGhan (author of "Ragtown," first play of the festival), Stan Waring ("Pluck the Rose") and Ross Howard ("The Loggerheads of Lambhuna Drive). Remember these names my fellow students, for one day their names will be the toast of Broadway or the West End.

With a festival like this coming up, it is time for me to start my lecture. Students, it is imperative that you support your peers through the arts. Whether they be playwrights, novelists or filmmakers, they are the future of creativity in America or abroad if they go in that direction.

If this festival is a success, it will (fingers crossed) return for another season of fun. Find the time to come to the show and be exposed to these local artists before they hit the big time.

"Ragtown" opens April 6 at 8 p.m. in the Black Box Theatre. Additional performances will be on the 7th and 8th at 8 p.m., with matinee shows at 2 p.m. April 8 and 9.

"Pluck the Rose" opens the following week and plays April 13, 14 and 15 at 8 p.m. with matinees on the 15th and 16th at 2 p.m.

The festival closes with "The Loggerheads at Lambhuna Drive." Show times are April 20, 21 and 22 at 8 p.m. with the matinee on the 22 and 23 at 2 p.m.

All shows will be in the Black Box Theatre. Tickets are $8; full-time students get free admission with student I.D.


Michael Tylo as Duke of Norfolk in A Man For All Seasons in 2005