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Friday, April 27, 2007

A Peek at the Process

I think that one of the most important things in modern theatre is the development of new works. That’s not to say that producing a good ol’ reliable chesnut from time to time isn’t important, too, but if all we ever do is produce popular works from other decades, then where will the stories of our era come from, right?
Well, last night I got to see a couple of new works from young playwrights and an original film as well.
On the Auraria Campus in Arts Building Room 278, a handful of CU Denver students (with the help of a couple of generous pros) presented three very innovative and very personal projects.
Amanda Von Nostrand performed a very funny and touching piece about a young woman’s struggle with her identity, Bunny Loves Me, This I Know, co-written with Laura Grey and directed by Ariel Bradler. Von Nostrand’s talent as a playwright is surpassed only by her diverse ability as an actress.
Following Bunny was the screening of a beautifully moving short film by Danielle Mondragon: it will all be green. The plot description in the program is “A young couple must deal with the reality of one’s impending death . . . or do they?” To elaborate any further would be to spoil the story.
Finally, Josh Griffith presented a reading of his play Shake Your Spear at Shakespeare, about a production of MacBeth being rehearsed and performed at a maximum-security prison.
All in all, it was a very entertaining and varied evening, and I recommend seeing one of the two remaining presentations: Friday, April 27th, and Saturday, April 28th. Doors open at 7:30 pm, and again that’s in Room 278 in the Arts Building on the Auraria Campus.

On the subject of new works, I would like to re-print a letter here sent to me (via Denver playwright Marcus France) from Rick Bernstein, the Executive Director of Miner’s Alley Playhouse:

Dear Friends of the theatre,

I am sending this special invitation out to all of you to join us for a reading of Terry Dodd's new play "Home By Dark" this Saturday April 28 at 1:00pm at Miners Alley Playhouse. This production is scheduled to open at Miners Alley Playhouse in September, 2007. As a new work we are very interested in having you hear this first reading and getting an honest reaction to what you hear.

For those of you in the theatre world, as you know this is a most important first step in the workshop process to preparing a script for production. We value your input. For those of you who have supported Miners Alley Playhouse over the years as patrons, your feedback is most important as you are who we are ultimately telling the story to.

So if at all possible, please join us. You are welcome to email back with a confirmation or just show up around 12:30pm or 12:45pm and we will start promptly at 1:00pm. The play is a one-act that runs approximately 90-minutes. We will have a discussion directly after the read to hear your reactions.

Thank you very much for your support. We will hope to see you this Saturday!

Rick Bernstein, Executive Director
Miners Alley Playhouse

I would like to second Rick’s point about how important play readings are to the playwrighting process.
I would be willing to wager that every great play you’ve ever seen as well as all of my current recommendations for the week (Gypsy, Working, The Elephant Man, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg) all enjoyed this point in their development. What a great opportunity for theatre lovers to be involved in what could be the next Take Me Out or Proof or Anna in the Tropics!
I’m going to try to be there, and I think the more of you all that can be there, too, the better.

And, of course, let me throw out another reminder about the birthday cards for Shane, this time minus the ranting. (Guinness World Records are still wankers, though.)

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