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Release date: March 16, 2001
Contact: Deb Hammacher, Assistant Director, 404-727-0644, or dhammac@emory.edu

Theater Emory Presents Biennial New Play Festival, Brave New Works

Works by first-time, faculty and internationally-known playwrights fill the bill of the March 25-April 8 Brave New Works (BNW) marathon of new play readings. Theater Emory and the Playwriting Center of Theater Emory host the biennial event that offers playwrights the chance to hear their works in progress and brainstorm with other writers. In a new element this year, theater professionals will discuss 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 Ariadne."

Faculty projects in BNW, include "Somewhere Else," the first part of a trilogy by theater studies associate professor Tim McDonough; "1001 Nights," by Theater Emory producing artistic director Vincent Murphy; and "Getting There," a first play by skit.dog, an incognito member of the faculty. One of the most unusual faculty projects is a two-playwright adaptation of journalism professor Gary Pomerantz's book, "Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn," that tells the history of Atlanta through the families of black former mayor Maynard Jackson and white former mayor Ivan Allen Jr.

"Five years ago 'Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn' was recommended to me as the best way to learn about Atlanta," says Murphy, who leads BNW. "Then two years ago Gary joined the journalism faculty here and moved in down the hall, 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, the literary manager for the Alliance Theater, is helping to steer the project.


The schedule of readings is as follows, and all take place in the Theater Laboratory, room 117 of the Burlington Road Building, 1804 N. Decatur Rd., Emory:

o
Sunday, March 25 at 6:30 p.m. "Becoming Ariadne" by Susan Bentley, a rewrite of a Greek tragedy
o
Sunday, March 25 at 8:30 p.m. "Getting There" by skit.dog, a comedy set on an urban subway
o
Saturday, March 31 at 6:30 p.m. "Somewhere Else" by Tim McDonough, the first of a three-part series on how we all come from somewhere else
o
Saturday, March 31 at 8:30 p.m. "1001 Nights" by Vincent Murphy, an all-woman Marx Brothers-style romp that explores if it's possible to find forgiveness from the murderous, sexual rage in the original story
o
Sunday, April 1 at 6:30 p.m. "Beautiful Dreamer" by David Kranes, the story of songwriter Stephen Foster
o
Saturday, April 7 at 6:30 p.m. "Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn" by Valetta Anderson and Peter Hardy, adapted from Gary Pomerantz's Atlanta history of the same name
o
Saturday, April 7 at 8:30 p.m. "Manna" by Steve Murray, another urban "comedy of manners" from a master of the genre
o
Sunday, April 8 at 6:30 p.m. "Fugitive Cant" by Naomi Wallace, a commission for the Royal Shakespeare
Company

The guest artist sessions cover nearly every aspect of developing new theatrical work for aspiring playwrights. The sessions are 5-5:45 p.m. in the Theater Laboratory.

o

Friday, March 23: "Guarding the Playwright's Vision" featuring Michael Evenden, Michael Kinghorn and Megan Monahan

o

Sunday, March 25: "Creating as a Group" featuring Synchronicity Performance Group

o

Friday, March 30: "Working as a Writer in Atlanta" featuring Jim Grimsley, Steve Murray, Joseph Skibell

o

Saturday, March 31: "Writing and Directing Your Own Work" featuring Tim McDonough, Vincent Murphy and Robert O'Hara

o

Sunday, April 1: "Unique Collaborations" featuring Elizabeth Wong, David Kranes and Klimchak

o

Tuesday, April 3: "Playwriting and Recent Work" featuring Rebecca Gilman

o

Saturday, April 7: "Adapting Literature Into Plays" featuring Peter Hardy, Valetta Anderson and Murphy

BNW began informally in 1989, Murphy's first year at Emory, with the development of Emory English professor Frank Manley's play, "The Evidence." Murphy is proud of the track record. "We've developed 81 plays, and more than half have gone on to professional productions, including abroad and with prestigious domestic companies," says Murphy.


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