Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Clearwater author's play picked for International CringeFest

“It’s always kind of nice to get accepted,” says playwright Dick Budin, who lives in Clearwater.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

“It’s always kind of nice to get accepted,” says playwright Dick Budin, who lives in Clearwater.

CLEARWATER — Playwright Dick Budin is a savant of silly, a bard of bad taste, a connoisseur of camp.

How else to explain his record of success at International CringeFest, a festival of "bad" theater and film held annually in New York City?

For the second time in three years, one of Budin's short works has survived a rigorous selection process and been deemed awful enough to meet the festival's high standards.

No joke.

About 1,000 plays, musicals and films were submitted to this year's CringeFest, which begins July 20 and runs through Aug. 9. Just 24 plays, four musicals and five films were chosen best of the worst.

"It's always kind of nice to get accepted," Budin said. "We have to live with rejection a lot. If you're an author, you live with rejection."

Bearded and squat, Budin, 70, is a retired mechanical engineer who started writing plays in the 1980s. His first work, which has never been produced, is a pirate musical based on the story of Jose Gaspar.

Budin describes himself as a "typical engineer" who grew up ignorant of art. He's unsure what propelled his enthusiasm for the stage.

Nevertheless, he's written some two dozen works and is active in community theater.

He's done plays for children and said most of his work is clean and wholesome. But some wacky and provocative currents stir in Budin, who lives in Clearwater's Island Estates.

His successful entry to this year's CringeFest is called The Adventures of Ray Noir, Beach Detective. It was inspired by Garrison Keillor's Guy Noir radio segments.

In the play, a blond bombshell solicits Ray to help find her missing husband. He's located, apparently dead, in a hot tub on the sailboat Grand Tetons, but with one piece of his anatomy very much alive.

The husband, a victim of Viagra and athletic lovemaking, can't be moved in such a state. A coroner is called who uses the swing of a golf club to help "deaden the raised."

Such ribald wordplay is everywhere:

Ray: "Suppose I meet you at the boat for a look around?"

Blond: "It's at the city dock — slip C2. Look for the Grand Tetons."

Ray: (To audience) "I had already looked at the Grand Tetons but I hope she hadn't caught me at it."

CringeFest claims to seek terrible work, but really it's in the hunt for the over-the-top, clever and funny, said Melba LaRose, artistic director of NY Artists Unlimited, a nonprofit that produces the festival.

"We actually mean naughty, irreverent, politically incorrect or bad satire," LaRose said.

This year, Budin's play will compete for the Golden Pineapple, the festival's top prize, against works such as The Flaming of the Shrew, When Bimbos Attack and Dragnes of God & The Naked Holy Ghost.

Sure, he would prefer a Tony, but chasing the Golden Pineapple will do.

"I'm too old," Budin said, "to live a life of an aspiring playwright trying to get a show on Broadway."

In 2007, Budin had his first triumph at the festival, when his play Come Again? was accepted. It's a modern telling of the nativity story set in Pennsylvania and features a Joseph who's in trouble with the IRS.

When he submitted Come Again? to the festival, he said he didn't know that cringe-worthy work was being sought. Still he was elated at having been chosen and now joins a handful of playwrights with two CringeFest credits.

"Recognition doesn't hurt," Budin said. "If you're known as having something in New York, it's worth something."

Budin said he's learned that bay area audiences are uncomfortable with dirty words and religious parody. His edgier stuff can't get produced around here, he said, but plays well in New York.

"Having grown up in New Jersey," he said, "maybe I speak the same language."

He plans to visit the festival with one of his four adult daughters and her adult children. In 2007, he made a similar trip and was somewhat shocked.

"It was a little bit too much for my ears," Budin said. "But we go because it's a family thing. See what grandpa is up to."

Will Van Sant can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4166.

FAST FACTS

Sample something better

To see some of Dick Budin's less racy work, visit the Gulfport Community Players' 9th Annual Summer One Acts, which features the work of local playwrights. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday through July 19. Performances are held at the Catherine A. Hickman Theater of Gulfport, 5501 27th Ave. S. Tickets are $15 and can be reserved by calling (727) 322-0316.

Clearwater author's play picked for International CringeFest 07/11/09 [Last modified: Saturday, July 11, 2009 1:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning edges Red Wings on road

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — The digs were different, the Lightning seeing the masterfully-done new Little Caesar's Arena for the first time.

    Lightning center/Red Wings’ killer Tyler Johnson gets past defenseman Trevor Daley on his way to the first goal of the game.
  2. Armwood pulls away to defeat Plant 27-7, remain undefeated

    Footballpreps

    SEFFNER — First-year Armwood coach Evan Davis pulled out all the stops to get his team psyched for Monday's annual grudge match against Plant.

    Armwood defensive end Malcolm Lamar (97) gets fired up before the start of the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
  3. Clearwater police: Car thief dead after owner fires gun

    Crime

    CLEARWATER — One man is dead after the owner of a car fired shots at the thieves who were stealing it Monday night, police said.

  4. Iraqi forces sweep into Kirkuk, checking Kurdish independence drive

    World

    KIRKUK, Iraq — After weeks of threats and posturing, the Iraqi government began a military assault Monday to curb the independence drive by the nation's Kurdish minority, wresting oil fields and a contested city from separatists pushing to break away from Iraq.

    Iraqi security forces patrol Monday in Tuz Khormato, about 45 miles south of Kirkuk, a disputed city that the government seized in response to last month’s Kurdish vote for independence.
  5. Trump and McConnell strive for unity amid rising tensions

    National

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, tried to convey a sense of harmony Monday after months of private feuding that threatened to undermine their party's legislative push in the coming weeks to enact a sweeping tax cut.

    President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell field questions Monday in the Rose Garden of the White House. “We have been friends for a long time,” Trump said.