Alum Lichtig Wins Goshen Peace Play Contest 2008

Robin Rice Lichtig, Antioch Alum and accomplished play wrightRobin Rice Lichtig, Antioch College alum (59-63) placed in the top three in the Goshen Peace Play Contest 2008 this summer for her one act play, “Blood Sisters.” This prestigious award is hardly the first Lichtig has received in her play writing career.

According to Lichtig, the world of play writing is a tough one. “Any where I send a script for a competition, they get any where from 500 to 1000 scripts.” However, for Lichtig and other playwrights, contests are only the beginning. “I remember you asked me ‘what does this [award] do for you’ – and I said ‘nothing’ and it really does do nothing at all, except that when you send the play out you can mention that it was a winner,” she said. “All it ever gets you: Sometimes you get a production. Sometimes you get $300 if you’re lucky, but really that’s about it.”

Lichtig specifically spoke about the difficulty of landing a major production. “There are almost no agents for playwrights; they’re getting out of the business. It’s financial.” she said. Lichtig went on to describe a conundrum she says she and others are experiencing. Landing a major production is very difficult, especially without an agent, but the agents still in the business only work for those who have had major productions.

Lichtig also spoke of another difficulty she’s faced, one that she “didn’t want to recognize for years.” “It’s something like 12% of all the plays that are done are by women, which is a worse percentage than it was 30 years ago.” she said. “It’s a very complex situation” she said, before going on to say that “part of the reason is that the artistic directors and the boards of directors of theaters are almost all men.” Only one or two women have plays in New York this season.

However, while unhappy with the current state of the theater industry, Lichtig continues her work play writing. For Lichtig, “to be a practical playwright, you should write a play that can be done on a bare stage.” However, she doesn’t see that as a limitation. One of her plays, for example, is set in “a very elaborate tree house” she said, and “this can all be done on a bare stage and very few props.” Louise Smith, theater professor at Nonstop Institute was drawn to “Blood Sisters” not only because of the writing, but also because it could be performed with few people in a small space, allowing for maximum flexibility; she hopes to do a reading of the play in Yellow Springs this winter.

While Lichtig’s repertoire includes imaginative and magical elements, her work also finds solid ground in social, political, cultural and environmental issues. Lichtig’s winning Goshen Peace Play “Blood Sisters” is based on real events from 2003, when three nuns were convicted in Denver for defacing a nuclear weapons site. “Robin clearly takes affective poetic liberties with the story and creates characters that are charming and unexpected.” Smith said, when asked about the play.

Lichtig’s work can be found outside of theaters, too. Her publishers include Bakers Plays, Dramatic Publishing, Smith & Kraus, Brooklyn Publishers, JAC Publishing and Promotions, ArtAge, Mae West Fest, and ManhattanTheatreSource.

In 1959, Lichtig entered Antioch College in the visual arts program. Within the year, she switched to political science; in 1963 she “ended up joining the PeaceCorp and dropping out of Antioch, which was a huge mistake.” For the next twenty years she remained politically and socially active and continued her education, including a masters degree in play writing at the age of 50 from Antioch McGregor. Since then, she’s authored over 40 plays and won numerous contests.


Louise SmithThis is a time of major decisions with major consequences. On the global level, we have choices about how we live on the planet and with each other. On the national level, we are faced with with either choosing to make history or suck up more of the same. Locally, our village is facing changes and choices on major issues such as energy, a new village manager, how we grow and thrive economically and what happens to the historic college that was a cornerstone of our identity as a town. In the next weeks and months, I will talk with faculty, students, staff, alumni and villagers on a weekly basis about where we are and where we are going globally, nationally, locally and even personally.

It is mid September. A year ago in June, we got the word that the college would be closing in a year. For many this was a shock. For some it was a gut feeling that came to fruition. For a few it was an inevitability in a long decline. Whatever your analysis, the event had unforeseen responses and repercussions. We all know the litany of endeavors to save Antioch College: the Alumni Association, the AC3, the efforts within the Village of Yellow Springs to bring pressure on the University and show support on the local level, National academic entities such as the GLCA and the AAUP have gotten involved in a variety of ways that are ongoing. The Antioch College faculty brought a lawsuit, set it aside and revived it. They also worked to gather roughly a thousand signatures from academic luminaries and fellow professors in favor of their cause and most potent of all, created the Nonstop Institute for Liberal Arts. The Alumni mobilized in unprecedented ways, building over 40 chapters around the country and funding the Institutional Advancement office for the campus as well as the Nonstop Institute. Current, past and future students engaged with the effort on every level, from collaborating to launch Non-stop to enrolling and pledging to return after a term on Antioch Education Abroad or co-op. The list goes on. It is not for lack of trying that the college is still in limbo.

So where exactly are we? There is now a new round of discussions about separation of the college from Antioch University underway. The existence of Nonstop gives us an orientation towards getting on with the journey of revitalizing the college for real, a kind of action research that will yield valuable insights and information about how and who we can be in the future. In the coming month, a meeting will be convened at Earlham College, sponsored by the GLCA that is called “Invent a College”. It would be a crying shame if the organizers of this event do not pay very close attention to what is already being invented every day here in our village. Nonstop has great potential and its leaders and participants are already developing the understanding that will move this effort forward.

Going forward means working with Nonstop and the other efforts that we can impact on a daily basis within our scope of power and influence. The October 1st Committee is working with the village leadership, villagers, faculty and alumni to preserve the campus. This committee has recognized, as many of us have, that the University has done a shoddy job at best and an intentionally negligent job at worst, of putting the buildings to sleep until we figure all of this out. Whatever the intention, the result is the same: a major compromising of the physical and historical assets of the college. We need to look behind us, where we have come from to the historical aspects of the college that we are stewards of. Without that we will fly headlong into creating an entity that bears absolutely no resemblance to what was. And while this may be desirable to a small portion Antiochians, for many of us, our passion for the place is grounded in shared values, understandings and memories that cannot be separated from our roots on the campus. In the coming weeks and months, it will also become apparent how our village has built its identity around the college. The health of the village financially and socially is in great jeopardy.

All of us have had our own personal response to the major upheaval that we have collectively experienced. I took a bit of a left turn. Several years ago, when our numbers had fallen and grandiose plans were put in place to revive us, I realized that my personal journey was taking me elsewhere. I spent four years at University of Dayton earning a Masters of Science in Education in Community Counseling. Ironically, while being a student at another institution, I came to value Antioch all the more. I also found that I liked how therapy and teaching theater talked to each other in my brain. I worked for a year as an intern at Wilmington College counseling students there. (I hope to do this again with Nonstop.) However, I knew I needed to challenge myself and move forward on this new road. This summer I took a position as therapist on an ACT team at South Community Behavioral Health in Dayton.

ACT stands for Assertive Community Treatment and my job entails home visits to clients who have persistent and serious mental illness. The people I talk to are mostly diagnosed with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder and the challenges they face are numerous : managing finances, medication compliance, skills of daily living and the acute isolation that comes with a lifetime of living with a severe mental disorder. I commute every day to Moraine where the agency is located and then spend a good portion of my nine hour day driving around parts of Dayton I have never seen before. I am challenged in complex and unexpected ways to respond to people who have great need. I work with a team of people in a “transdisciplinary” way. While I am a therapist, I am also doing case management and assessing med compliance. The nurse clearly does counseling and the case manager is surprisingly knowledgeable about medication side effects. There are more acronyms in mental health than Antioch ever had (ACT, IDDT, ODADAS, ODMH, CCOE, DID, PTSD, OCD, ODD etc.) and the politics involved in the health care system are far more screwed up than academia. So I feel right at home—wait—Why in heaven’s name did I do this anyway?

Sometimes I think that despite myself I am living out some kind of Antiochian ideal. For fifteen years I was a professional actor. The next fifteen I was a teacher and for the next fifteen years I plan on developing into a therapist and reinventing my art practices to reflect all of the learning I have been doing. Nonstop is part of this next phase of my life, one in which the walls of the hospital and the college fall away, where definitions of who I am become more expansive and fluid, and where I are humbled and inspired by situations that make me muster more than I knew I had to give.

Are you at the crossroads? Write me at I want to hear your story.

Nonstop Independent Groups & Community Centers

The Womyn’s Center

Molly Thornton, Womyn\'s Center Coordinator

The Womyn’s Center is a supportive space for female-bodied and female-identified individuals of varying identities and backgrounds to get excited, educated, and share experiences of womanhood. The content of conversations and activities is open to the interests of the participants, but often include such titillating topics as menstruation, body image, gender roles, cunts, feminist theories, abortion, health, sex, women’s rights, violence against women, arts, crafts, and of course community. I can’t wait to have “Love Your Body Night”, the most widely anticipated Womyn’s Center event, with food, art making, and body positive celebration! I’m also super excited about DIY activities, alternatives to the western version of reproductive health, and women in the media. I’d love to see radical discussions take place within the frame of a loosely defined Stitch ‘n’ Bitch, inviting crafters of all varieties to participate. Also, aside from scheduled meetings and parties, womyn should feel free to ask me about impromptu or non-structured female time, space, and support as needed.

Interfaith Dialog

Jessie Clark, Interfaith Dialogue Coordinator

I am Jessie Clark and I will be coordinating the Interfaith Dialog Independent Group (IG). In this IG, we will be engaging in intriguing discussions about spirituality, religion and all the juicy bits in between. The discussions will take place over tea at the Dharma Center. A time has yet to be figured out. If you have ever pondered the meaning of life or have a general interest in the theories of others come join us! The focus will be on exchange and mutual discussion, sharing religious woes and oohs (epiphanies), what bothers us and what is helpful to us in thinking about the spiritual life (need there be such a thing?). We are interested to here what you think about these hot topics. Atheist & religious misfits also welcome. For more information e-mail me at Hope to see you there!

The Queer Center

Ashley McNeely, Co-Queer Center Coordinator

The queer center is being coordinated by Nic Viox and Ashley McNeely for the fall term at Nonstop. The queer center is a resource for members to celebrate being queer and engage with each other about issues concerning queer identity and queer culture. The queer center will be sponsoring many events this term, such as queer movie nights, sex week, and GenderFuck.

We are still looking for a meeting space and have yet to determine a weekly schedule. Please contact us (Nic Viox ; Ashley McNeely

Upcoming Nonstop Presents Events

Oct. 2: The Junkyard Ghost Revival

7pm, Apollo Room, Student Union, Wright State University

Celebrated spoken word theater, The JGR- Derrick Brown, Andrea Gibson, Anis Mojgani, and Buddy Wakefield- will guide the audience through a tour of their personal junkyards.
[Co-sponsored with with Women’s Center at Wright State]

Oct. 4: The History of Jazz

9am-12pm, Bryan Center, Room A, 100 Dayton Street.
1-4pm, Senior Citizens Center, 227 Xenia Avenue.

Steve Schwerner, Antioch College emeritus faculty, will teach a day-long workshop on the History of Jazz, starting with its origins in the African-American tradition to the present day world music it has become.

Oct. 5: Founder’s Day

The Nonstop Community will celebrate the founding of Antioch College in 1852 by Horace Mann, the father of public education in the US, with assorted festivities.

Click here for more Nonstop Presents events.