New Plays Rise in the Rolling Hills of W. Virginia at Contemporary American Theater Fest, Starting July 8

News   New Plays Rise in the Rolling Hills of W. Virginia at Contemporary American Theater Fest, Starting July 8
The Contemporary American Theater Festival (CATF) in quaint Shepherdstown, West Virginia, stages two world premieres in its four-play 2005 season, July 8-31.

The 15th anniversary slate created by producing director Ed Herendeen includes Sam Shepard's dark Off-Broadway comedy, The God of Hell, Melinda Lopez's Sonia Flew, plus the world premieres: American Tet by Lydia Stryk and Father Joy by Sheri Wilner.

Pay-what-you-can preview nights played July 6-7 in the college town that is commutable from Washington, D.C.

American Tet "offers a poetic juxtaposition of loss and beauty in relating the experiences of American soldiers in Iraq and their families at home."

Father Joy "is a humorous and lyrical story that deals with father-daughter bonds and the fleeting nature of art."

"Our 2005 playwrights have applied their special gifts to today's scene," Herendeen said in a statement. "Their plays will explore some of the most urgent human and social issues of our time." Sonia Flew, directed by Herendeen, "chronicles a family's history through the turbulent times of the Castro revolution and the current post-9/11 world. In the winter of 2001, Sonia's son enlists in the Marines, tearing apart the carefully constructed modern world she lives in. She slips out of time and finds herself back in 1961 in Cuba as her parents are preparing to send her away, against her will, to America."

American Tet playwright Lydia Stryk has written over 10 full-length plays including Lady Lay, The Glamour House, The House of Lily, Monte Carlo and most recently, Safe House, On Clarion and American Tet. Her plays have been produced by Denver Center Theatre Company, Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Perseverance Theatre, and seen at new play festivals and reading series nationwide and Off-Broadway.

Sheri Wilner's play, Hunger, premiered at CATF in 2000. It was subsequently produced by the Epiphany Theatre Company in New York and published. Father Joy was work-shopped at the 2003 O'Neill Playwrights Conference, and received readings at four theaters. Labor Day and Bake Off each won the Heideman Award at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Other plays include The Bushesteia, Relative Strangers and Joan of Arkansas. She was awarded a 2005-06 Jerome Fellowship residency at the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis.

Shepard is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Fool for Love, A Lie of the Mind, True West and Buried Child.

The 2005 CATF acting company includes Lee Sellers (The God of Hell and Sonia Flew), Ako (American Tet), Michael Goodwin (American Tet and Father Joy), Carolyn Swift, Anderson Matthews, Michael Alperin, Bonnie Black, Jonathan Bustle, Veronica Cruz, Kaci Gober and Tanya Perez.

Shepherdstown, two hours from Baltimore and Washington, D.C., is a small college town on the Potomac. Galleries, shops, bed and breakfasts are part of the experience there.

For tickets and information visit or call (800) 999-CATF (2283).


Since 1991 CATF has produced 55 new plays, including 19 world premieres. The Festival has showcased new works by leading playwrights including Sam Shepard, Joyce Carol Oates, John Patrick Shanley, Lisa Loomer, Lee Blessing, Richard Dresser and many others. Managing director Barbara Rollins stated, "We are proud that our growing audience has shared this journey with us for fifteen years. We invite adventurous theatregoers to join us in celebration of our anniversary season this summer."

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