Rebeck, Bell, Schmiedl and Ordaz to Climb Denver Center's 2007 New Play Summit

News   Rebeck, Bell, Schmiedl and Ordaz to Climb Denver Center's 2007 New Play Summit
The four new plays of Denver Center Theatre Company's second and expanded Colorado New Play Summit have been announced.

Public readings of four new works (up from three in 2006) will be presented Feb. 9-10, 2007, in tandem with the world-premiere full staging of Jason Grote's 1001, directed by Ethan McSweeny.

Theatre professionals, critics and playwrights from around the country have been invited to the Summit, to be held in DCTC's Ricketson Theatre. The event will boast readings of the following:

  • Visitors' Guide to Arivaca (Map Not to Scale) by Evangeline Ordaz: An "up-to-the-minute drama of a Mexican couple desperate to emigrate to the U.S. Stranded in the harsh Sonoran desert by a swindling 'coyote,' they struggle to survive against crushing odds. This fast-moving docudrama brings a much-needed global perspective to its hot-button theme with gritty realism, humor, and theatrical bravura. Visitors' Guide was originally commissioned by Borderlands Theatre, Tucson, AZ."
  • Shadow of Himself by Neal Bell: "Commissioned by The Civilians and inspired by interviews conducted by the company on the question of masculinity and warfare, this retelling of the Gilgamesh epic is a provocative clash between the ancient and the modern. By turns violent, comic, erotic, tragic and profound, Shadow sparks insights into war, mortality and the enigma of male identity. Neal Bell's plays Ready For the River and The Open Boat were featured in DCTC Prima Facie festivals in 1998-99; River was given a DCTC main stage production in 1990."


  • Our House by Theresa Rebeck: "A rising TV news anchor is tripped up by her own ambition when she covers a hostage crisis — perpetrated, she learns too late, by a man who despises her. In Our House, Rebeck skewers the trend toward TV news-as-entertainment, and TV anchors as media stars. Morphing swiftly from comic to catastrophic, Rebeck's biting wit and gift for social satire raises Our House into the theatrical territory shared by her earlier plays The Water's Edge, Bad Dates and Spike Heels. An original DCTC commission."
  • Plainsong by Eric Schmiedl: "Based upon the novel written by Kent Haruf. Set on the high plains of eastern Colorado, Kent Haruf's novel was a finalist for the National Book Award. In this faithful adaptation, Haruf's compelling story comes vividly to life, exploring themes of grief, loneliness, kindness and benevolence. A high school teacher is left alone to care for two young sons while two elderly bachelor brothers who know little about life beyond their farm gate come forward to help a pregnant 17-year-old with no place to turn. As the characters' lives intersect, they come together to create a new sense of family in the community. An original DCTC commission." Other playwrights currently working on Denver Center commissioned works include Lee Blessing, author of Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award and Olivier Award- nominated A Walk in the Woods and winner of the 2006 Steinberg New Play Award for A Memory of Water; Constance Congdon, author of the widely produced Tales of the Lost Formicans, who is commissioned to write a new play about "water rights in the West"; Colorado native Steven Dietz, author of Pulitzer Prize and Steinberg New Play Award nominee Last of the Boys; José Cruz González, author of September Shoes, commissioned to write the company's first Spanish-language play about the Latino experience in Colorado; Michele Lowe, author of Outer Critics Circle Award nominee String of Pearls; Octavio Solis, author of Santos & Santos, Man of the Flesh, and El Paso Blue.


    "We called the event a 'summit' because of the glorious Rocky Mountains, but also because we want to build this event into a 'peak' experience – we hope to create a new play festival that will become a must-see event for theatre professionals from across the United States," DCTC artistic director Kent Thompson stated.

    The 2007 Colorado New Play Summit will also include a nationally-known panel of playwrights and theatre professionals discussing "Crossing Cultures in the Contemporary World" — the role playwrights play when writing "across the racial, gender, sexual and political boundaries" of contemporary society.

    Bruce K. Sevy is DCTC's associate artistic director and director of new play development.

    Press and industry people can register for the Summit at the Tony Award-honored Denver Center Theatre Company's website,


    Directed by Sharon Ott, 1001 received its first reading at the 2006 Summit. Thompson directed a summer 2006 reading of 1001 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Conference.

    1001, to be presented at DCTC's The Space Theatre Jan. 18-Feb. 24, 2007, spins themes and variations from the classic "A Thousand and One Arabian Nights" to explore the incarnations of love, sex, religion, cruelty and war from ancient Baghdad to the post-9/11 New York City.

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