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October 4 , 2004
2004-05 Theater Emory season devoted to Brave New Works
BY deb hammacher
For the first time in the 22-year history of Theater Emory (TE), an entire season is dedicated to developing new work. During the 2004–05 season, TE will delve into the research and development of more than 30 new, substantive theater pieces with help from University faculty, staff, students, alumni and noted guest artists and scholars from around the world, as well as launch an exciting new initiative to nurture new playwrights in cities around the country.
“As artists and scholars at a research university, we are charged to investigate the past even as we pioneer toward the future,” said TE Artistic Producing Director Vinnie Murphy. “Great research and theater are alike in that they are the result of active pursuit of what we don’t know.”
In essence, the 2004–05 season will be one long Brave New Works Festival. Brave New Works is a program of the Playwriting Center of Theater Emory and typically emerges in a biennial, two- to three-week laboratory developing new work. In the 15 years of Brave New Works, more than 120 new theater pieces have been developed in the lab, with more than 60 percent of them going on to professional productions across Atlanta, the United States, Canada, Europe and South America.
The program started with a Sept. 22–25, bare-bones production of the modern French classic Roberto Zucco, by Bernard-Marie Kolts, about a man using people to find himself. Noted French theater artist Arthur Nauzyciel, at Emory this fall as a Coca-Cola Artist-in-Residence, directed the performance as an environmental production in the Michael Street Parking Deck.
The rest of the season is loosely grouped thematically around the issues of race and ecology. Readings include five works commissioned by the Playwriting Center of Theater Emory. Among them are: Lewis and Clark Reach the Euphrates, by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Robert Schenkkan (Oct. 17); and Antebellum, by rising star Robert O’Hara, that blends Atlanta and Berlin in the late 1930s as Gone With the Wind and Adolf Hitler have their premieres (Oct. 22–24).
Among the ecology projects scheduled for spring are The Baker Woods Project (Feb. 27, 2005) and Frogs (April 15 & 17), an environmental exploration of ideas in Gertrude Stein’s Theatrical Landscape that will be presented across campus.
A total of 10 separate pieces will be read between Oct. 6 and Nov. 21, including Anomia, by 2003 Emory College graduate Brian Green.
“I am incredibly honored and thrilled to have my play read,” said Green, who works at the Schwartz Center as an arts associate. “It’s a phenomenal feeling to be involved at all in such an artistically challenging and vibrant artistic community; I’d be happy just to be here, but to have these artists whom I admire and respect working on something I’ve written is nothing less than mind-blowing.”
With “An Evening with David Kranes” on Monday, Oct. 18, Theater Emory toasts the former artistic director of the Sundance Playwrights Lab, launches the Sister City Playwrights exchange, and celebrates the publication of three scripts commissioned by the Playwriting Center of Theater Emory.
In Sister City, Murphy has spearheaded an initiative among theaters in Atlanta, Boston, New York, Minneapolis, Seattle, Chicago and San Francisco to nurture the careers of strong regional playwrights.
“The idea behind Sister City Playwrights is to help catapult regional artists to the national level,” Murphy said. “All of these cities have talented writers who do tremendously well in their regions but have trouble moving up to the next level. The goal is to build a national network to help these artists make that leap.”
The network will work to coordinate residencies, co-commission new work and help funders, critics and the public better understand and support the process of creating new theater work.
A complete list and schedule of Brave New Works offerings is available at www.emory.edu/THEATER. All fall events will be presented in the Schwartz Center Theater Lab and are free and open to the public, however due to the projects’ evolving nature, attendees are urged to visit the website or call 404-727-5050 to confirm the schedule.
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