Four Emerging Plays Get Showcase at Denver New Play Summit Feb. 9-10

News   Four Emerging Plays Get Showcase at Denver New Play Summit Feb. 9-10
It's snowing new plays in Denver.

Denver Center Theatre Company's second Colorado New Play Summit will be held Feb. 9-10, with playgoers and theatre industry guests attending the world premiere production, 1001, and readings of four emerging works.

Jason Grote's critically acclaimed 1001, seen in a summer 2006 workshop directed by Denver Center artistic director Kent Thompson at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, is now a fully realized production at DCTC's Space Theatre (performances began Jan. 18 and continue to Feb. 24). Ethan McSweeny directs.

Nearly 150 theatre professionals, playwrights, dramaturgs, directors and actors are gathering in Denver this weekend, according to a spokesman for the Tony Award-honored resident theatre.

On Feb. 9-10, four readings of new plays will surround the world premiere of 1001. The plays being presenting in reading at the Summit are:

  • 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 to Arivaca 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 that are violent, comic, erotic, tragic and profound — Shadow of Himself 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 new play festivals in 1988 and 1989; Ready for the River received a DCTC main stage production in 1990.
  • Our House conceived by Theresa Rebeck and Daniel Fish, written by Theresa Rebeck. "A rising TV news anchor is tripped up by her own ambition when she covers a hostage crisis — perpetrated by a man who despises her. In Our House, Rebeck skewers the trend towards 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 'Plainsong' 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. The 2007 Colorado New Play Summit will also include a panel discussing "Crossing Cultures in the Contemporary World" – the often controversial, often enlightening role playwrights play when writing "across the racial, gender, sexual and political boundaries" of contemporary society. Denver Center artistic director Kent Thompson will moderate the discussion with playwrights Thomas Gibbons, Jason Grote, Julie Marie Myatt, Evangeline Ordaz and Octavio Solis.

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    1001 "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 era," according to DCTC. "Playwright Jason Grote combines savage wit, political insight, Borgesian time-warping, and theatrical ingenuity in a dazzling tour de force that Sheherezade herself would envy."

    Other playwrights currently working on Denver Center commissioned works and attending the Summit include Colorado native Steven Dietz, author of Pulitzer Prize and Steinberg New Play Award nominee Last of the Boys; Michele Lowe, author of Outer Critics Circle Award nominee String of Pearls; and winner of The Kennedy Center's Roger L. Stevens Award, Octavio Solis, author of Santos & Santos, Man of the Flesh and El Paso Blue.

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