Some of the best contemporary playwrights working today will debut new work in Fayetteville this week as part of TheatreSquared’s sixth annual Arkansas New Play Festival.
The event this year has expanded to include its first ever fully-staged play, a workshop production of Arkansas writer Jamey McGaugh’s B Side: Myself.
Traditional festival highlights like the regular staged readings of new plays, a showcase of 10-minute plays by Arkansas high school students, and the annual 24-Hour Play-Off competition, will remain fixtures of the festival.
The three other featured plays set to debut at the fest this year include Just Like Us by Karen Zacarius, Disfarmer by Werner Trieschmann, and What God Hath Wrought by John Walch.
The actors, directors and playwrights involved in the Arkansas New Play Festival have been working on the plays for a few weeks now.
“For three weeks in June, we give playwrights the unparalleled opportunity to develop new scripts in close collaboration with professional actors, dramaturgs and directors,” said TheatreSquared artistic director, Robert Ford. “New plays are the lifeblood of the American theatre.”
The festival was expanded thanks to a $15,000 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, along with a major gift by TheatreSquared patron Barbara Bennett Shadden.
“As Arkansas’s only professional outlet for playwrights to develop new work, this festival is incredibly important to us and to our audiences,” said managing director Martin Miller. “We are thrilled to have new support to the festival to include a fully staged production for the first time this year.”
The festival will take place at TheatreSquared’s Nadine Baum Studios, located at 505 W. Spring Street in Fayetteville. The full schedule of events is below.
Tickets to the entrire four-day event are $35, on sale now at waltonartscenter.org.
2014 Arkansas New Play Festival Schedule
Thursday, June 12
7 p.m. – B Side: Myself
9 p.m. – Festival launch party
Friday, June 13
6 p.m. – Just Like Us
8 p.m. – Disfarmer
Saturday, June 14
1 p.m. – Young Playwrights Showcase
4 p.m. – What God Hath Wrought
8 p.m. – B Side: Myself
Sunday, June 15
2 p.m. – B Side: Myself
6 p.m. – The 24 Hour Play-Off
Play descriptions provided by TheatreSquared
B Side: Myself by Jamey McGaugh
It’s the musician’s nightmare: the audition of a lifetime with a deep-pocketed record producer and an international rock star, but the rest of the band is nowhere to be found. This fully staged workshop production directed by Sean Patrick Reilly features live rock music. Thursday June 12, 7 p.m.; Saturday June 14, 8 p.m.; Sunday June 15, 2 p.m.
Just Like Us by Karen Zacarius
Based on the Helen Thorpe’s bestselling book, this new play follows four Latina girls whose immigration status begins to erode their opportunities — and their friendships. Playwright Karen Zacarías is the winner of the National Latino Playwriting Award and is playwright-in-residence at Arena Stage. Friday, June 13, 6 p.m.
Disfarmer by Werner Trieschmann
This comedic portrait tells the story of an eccentric photographer from Heber Springs, Arkansas who charged a townsfolk and visitors to have their picture taken in the early forties—and caused a minor speculative mania decades later when New York gallery owners “discovered” his work and descended on the small Arkansas town. Returning for its third outing at the Arkansas New Play Festival in newly expanded form. Friday June 13, 8 p.m.
What God Hath Wrought by John Walch
Customer Service Superagent Meg Chambers can handle any request — she’s the last stop on the Habañero’s service line, dealing with escalated complaints about everything from exploding burritos to too-weak salsa. But when a mysterious Morse code message comes in from, apparently, 1857, she may finally have met her match. New York-based playwright John Walch is the winner of the American Theatre Critics Association’s Osborn Award. Saturday June 14, 4 p.m.
Arkansas Young Playwrights Showcase
In partnership with the University of Arkansas Brown Chair of English Literacy, TheatreSquared is proud to present, for the fifth year, the Arkansas Young Playwrights Showcase. Students from across the state have been invited to submit ten-minute scripts, and six will be selected for public readings at the Arkansas New Play Festival. Saturday June 14, 2 p.m.
The 24-Hour Play-Off
TheatreSquared hosts Fayetteville fringe comedy group Ceramic Cow Productions to present the tenth annual 24-Hour Play-Off, a perennial favorite for artists and audiences. Teams of community artists will write, rehearse and perform new ten-minute plays—all in just 24 hours. Join the judging on Sunday night and help choose the Grand Prize winner! Sunday, June 15. 6 p.m.