Friday, July 22, 2011

New Stages, New Format

In an appropriate feat of timing, yesterday—the hottest day of the year—we announced the final plays in our upcoming Red Hot season: Dartmoor Prison, by Carlyle Brown; Chicago Boys, by Kathleen Tolan; and Ask Aunt Susan, by Seth Bockley. Together, these new plays make up what we’re calling New Stages Amplified; each work will receive 12 performances which will be fully staged, but on more pared-down sets than we’re used to, as these are still works in progress. Following each performance, we’ll host open discussions with the artists on the work, where audiences will be encouraged to share their thoughts, insights, and observations. For more information on the plays and their respective dates, check out the New Stages Amplified page on our website.

New Stages Amplified is an expansion of our popular (if under the radar) New Stages reading series. A little background information for anyone not intimately acquainted with New Stages: For the past nine years New Stages has been our plays-in-progress festival, which typically consists of two consecutive weekends of staged readings of new work, all free to the public and held in the Owen Theatre. For us, the series has offered a way to identify exciting new work; for the playwrights, the series provided them with a chance to collaborate with actors and a director on their work, hear the play aloud (and the audience’s reaction to it), and tighten their scripts in the hopes that they will soon become fully produced plays. All told, New Stages has helped develop 47 new works—including Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Ruined, this season’s Mary, by Thomas Bradshaw, and next season’s The Convert, by Danai Gurira.

Though the series is popular and fruitful, we’ve often longed for more time and more resources to allow the works to grow, and New Stages Amplified will provide us with an expansion (or amplification) of that process. Now, instead of simply offering free readings of new plays as we have in the past, this edition will feature more fully realized productions. In addition to these three works, we’ll also host three concert readings of new plays on Mondays during the run of New Stages Amplified. Stay tuned for more information on this exciting new series!

Meanwhile, check out this week's links:

The effects of unemployment, splashed on the walls of cities. (The New York Times)

The musical takes on Texas. (Dallas Observer)

In San Francisco, a photographer climbs into a camera. (SFGate)

A baby bump belly painting bandwagon. (New York Daily News)

To text or not to text—why is that even a theatergoer's question? (Chicago Tribune)

Do you feel lucky? (The Washington Post)

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