Olympia Dukakis and Judith Ivey Take First Look at New Plays in A.C.T. Festival

News   Olympia Dukakis and Judith Ivey Take First Look at New Plays in A.C.T. Festival
Olympia Dukakis, Judith Ivey, Carey Perloff and Adam Bock are among the artists to take part in American Conservatory Theater's First Look New Plays Festival, Jan. 20-Feb. 18 in San Francisco.

Featuring five new plays, the First Look New Plays Festival will present two script-in-hand 8 PM readings of each piece workshopped at the California company's Zeum Theater.

"The five plays are in varying stages of development and have vastly different needs to address," stated A.C.T. associate artistic director Johanna Pfaelzer in a release. "They represent the broad spectrum of A.C.T.'s interest in new writing, including plays inspired by the classics, reimagined translations, and truly original work."

The First Look lineup is as follows:

  • Jean Racine's Phèdre - adapted by Timberlake Wertenbaker (Jan. 20 and 21)
    Brigitte Jaques-Wajeman directs Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis (in the role of Oenone) in the newly commissioned translation of the Racine classical tragedy. The cast will also feature Scott Wentworth as Theseus and Ellen Karas (Hilda) in the title role.


  • Donna Wants - by Karen Hartman (Jan. 27 and 28)
    Jonathan Moscone directs A.C.T. company member René Augesen in the title role of the work billed as "a modern, gender-reversed telling of the Don Juan legend."
  • The Shaker Chair - by Adam Bock (Feb. 3 and 4)
    Anne Kauffman directs the work presented in collaboration with Encore Theater and the Z Space. The work made its world premiere earlier this year at the Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival.
  • Warsaw - by Paul Webb (Feb. 10 and 11)
    Carey Perloff (who has a work featured in the festival) also assumes directing duties for this 1930s-set work which "follows a group of Polish student revolutionaries and soldiers who must confront the mounting horrors before them."
  • Waiting for the Flood - by Carey Perloff (Feb. 17 and 18)
    Judith Ivey directs the play which "revolves around a wildly disparate cast of female characters in the 1940s and present day who meet for tea as the world is on the brink of disaster." A.C.T.'s inaugural First Look series took place in September 2003 with Philip Kan Gotanda's Yohen and continued in January 2005 with the American premiere of Marie Ndiaye's Hilda. Other works to have been developed through the program include Victor Lodato's Slay the Dragon, Cindy Lou Johnson's The New Americans, Jamie Pachino's Splitting Infinity, Michael Springate's Freeport, Texas, Carey Perloff's Luminescence Dating, Luigi Pirandello's One, No One... (translated and adapted by Marco Barricelli and Beatrice Basso), Itamar Moses' The Four of Us, Edwin Sanchez's La Bella Familia, and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's The Velvet Sky.

    Tickets to A.C.T.'s First Look New Plays Festival at the Zeum Theater (Fourth and Howard Streets in San Francisco, CA) are available for $10 (adults) and $7 (students, seniors and A.C.T. subscribers). A festival pass, good for one admission to all five productions, can also be purchased for $40 by calling (415) 749-2228 or online at www.act-sf.org.

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