March 26, 2001
By Deb Hammacher
Faculty works as well as some by internationally known playwrights fill the bill of the March 25April 8 Brave New Works (BNW) marathon of new play readings. Theater Emory and its Playwriting Center will host the biennial event, which offers playwrights the chance to hear their works in progress and brainstorm with other writers. An additional new element this year features theater professionals discussing various aspects of working in the field.
Audiences will get to see the completion of a work in development at
BNW two years ago, David Kranes Beautiful Dreamer, the story
of 19th century American songwriter Stephen Foster. Noted playwright Naomi
Wallace will have the first reading of Fugitive Cant, her commission
for the Royal Shakespeare Company, which also serves as a precursor to
a Theater Emory festival of her work in October. Prolific playwright-in-residence
Steve Murray will have a reading of his new work, Manna, and first-time
playwright Susan Bentley offers a rewrite of a Greek tragedy with Becoming
One of the most unusual projects is a two-playwright adaptation of journalism
professor Gary Pomerantzs book, Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn,
which tells the history of Atlanta through the families of black former
mayor Maynard Jackson and white former mayor Ivan Allen Jr.
Five years ago Dana White in the ILA recommended Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn to me as the best way to learn about Atlanta, said Murphy, who leads BNW. Then two years ago Gary joined the journalism faculty here and moved in [the Rich Building], so I stuck my head in and told him I thought his book would make a wonderful play. Pomerantz agreed, so African American playwright Valetta Anderson and white playwright Peter Hardy were commissioned to jointly tackle the project. Michael Kinghorn, literary manager for the Alliance Theater, is helping to steer the project.
Murphy confessed hes not sure how the two parts are going to come
together, but is excited about the creative process.
Valettas already given me 14 pages of the script, and I didnt
expect us to have anything until week two, he said.
The schedule of readings and guest artist sessions is as follows, and
all take place in the Theater Laboratory, room 117 of the Burlington Road
Building, 1804 N. Decatur Rd.:
March 25, 6:30 p.m.:
Becoming Ariadne by Susan Bentley, a rewrite of a Greek
This is the final year of a six-year grant from the college, so Murphy
and Acting Producing Director Pat Miller are hunting for new money. Murphy
is confident that BNW will go on regardless, but will have to be scaled
back substantially if external funding isnt found.
The event began informally in 1989, Murphys first year at Emory,
with the development of English Professor Frank Manleys play, The
Evidence. Murphy is proud of the track record.