On Kicking Off a Week of New Works

Tomorrow night we kick off a new week of work.

We have eight amazing actor/director teams who have been working hard these last three weeks to put together these new play readings.  Altogether, this reading has brought together about 40 South Carolina theatre artists. Our directors come from Wofford and USC Upstate as well as the theatre community in Greenville and Spartanburg, and they have, in turn, brought their communities in to collaborate with them.

Our plays, like our artists, cover a lot of ground, tales of love, grief, murder, fairytales, marriage, superheroes, dreams, horror, insanity, anger, new life, religion, neighbors, and more.   I think everyone who comes to this festival will be awestruck by the imagination and humanity of these wonderful plays.

What’s made it all possible is everyone’s commitment to the Spartanburg theatre community: from HUB-BUB and the Spartanburg Little Theatre, our sponsoring organizations,  to our directors, who balanced not only their own lives but the lives of their actors, to our amazing production manager, Meggie Watson, who will be graduating college and house managing our opening reading on the same day.

That’s inspiring commitment. I am so honored to have had the chance to be a small part of each of bringing these plays to life.

Don’t miss it.

 

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Thoughts on The Ding Dongs

One week from today, Brenda Withers’ awesome and funny play THE DING DONGS,or, What is the Penalty in Portugal? will be happening at the Black Box Theatre.  We checked in with our recently graduated director, Dr. George Pate, formerly of the Spartanburg Youth Theatre, for some of his thoughts on this excellent work.

If you want to see more, make sure to reserve your seats for Thursday, May 22nd at 7:30pm!

From George:
“When I first started reading The Ding Dongs, I was a bit unsure what to make of it. It was instantly funny, weird, and charming, but I worried that it might not go beyond wacky characters in a wacky premise. Those fears were completely unfounded. The thing I admire most about this play is the way it manages to make a radical shift in tone without changing its style at all. Natalie and Joe’s cheerfulness never fades but transforms from silliness to pure menace solely through the careful addition of new information. And that’s one of the scariest things imaginable, isn’t it? Not the drooling monster emerging from the darkness, but the smiling neighbor capable of the same levels of violence. Not that Natalie and Joe are monsters, not by a long shot. And I think that’s the final triumph of this piece. It gives us a set of truly terrifying characters who we cannot, finally, fully hate or demonize. They are simultaneously victims and agents of a systemic cruelty that neither they nor Redelmo can escape. They are as compelled by this dangerous ideology as they are complicit with it.”

Master Cheat Sheet: FRAGMENTS

Earlier this week we created the fastest way to choose one play in the festival. However, some people like to browse a little more, to learn about their options. For that, we present the

2014 NEW PLAY EXCHANGE CHEAT SHEET

FRAGMENTS

 (May 25th at 3pm)

See it if you like…

Stories About: MENTAL HEALTH, PSYCHOLOGY, DREAMS
 Movies:  GIRL, INTERRUPTED, I HEART HUCKABEES

PLAY SOUNDBYTE

ADRIANA : What does it matter? It doesn’t seem like it happened to me. It’s like it’s just some story I’ve told so many times and I don’t even know if it’s true. Like it happened to someone else and if you go to her–good Lord, she’ll talk your ear off with stories of how good of a mother she was. She’s very convincing. She almost convinced me. She’s found Jesus now, so all her sins don’t matter anymore. Everybody loves a redemption story, right? When you’ve got God on your side, your past doesn’t exist. And now? It’s just a story. Just a story I tell. You know when say a word aloud so many times, it doesn’t even sound like a word anymore? A collection of sounds, smashed together to form some meaning to some people, but to you it’s just sound. That’s what it is: sound. “

Master Cheat Sheet: OLD FAMILIAR FACES

Earlier this week we created the fastest way to choose one play in the festival. However, some people like to browse a little more, to learn about their options. For that, we present the

2014 NEW PLAY EXCHANGE CHEAT SHEET

OLD FAMILIAR FACES

 (May 23rd at 7:30pm)

See it if you like…

Stories About: SHAKESPEARE, MENTAL ILLNESS, COMPLICATED LOVE
 Movies:  SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD

PLAY SOUNDBYTE

LEE: That’s right, you’ve got one of those.

 (Beat. She looks out over the ledge, suddenly gloomy…) 

‘There on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook’ – Sometimes I think
…Sometimes I think, you know even though she’s a wreck and maybe kinda flimsy…Ophelia might be the strongest character in the entire canon.

 (OlIVER laughs. LEE pays him no attention, she’s transfixed by the height.) 

Do you have any idea how brave you have to be to let yourself be crazy?

Master Cheat Sheet: THE HAZARDS OF LOVING WHILE BROKEN

Earlier this week we created the fastest way to choose one play in the festival. However, some people like to browse a little more, to learn about their options. For that, we present the

2014 NEW PLAY EXCHANGE CHEAT SHEET

THE HAZARDS OF LOVING WHILE BROKEN

 (May 22nd at 7:30pm)

See it if you like…

Stories About: COMPLICATED LOVE, COPING AFTER DEATH
 Movies:  THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, YOU CAN COUNT ON ME

PLAY SOUNDBYTE

MEL: Parents aren’t supposed to bury their children
KERRY: And college seniors aren’t supposed to be widows. (Beat) The whole thing is just. (Beat) Seeing you here, you know, it’s really real.”

May23

Master Cheat Sheet: THE DING DONGS

Earlier this week we created the fastest way to choose one play in the festival. However, some people like to browse a little more, to learn about their options. For that, we present the

2014 NEW PLAY EXCHANGE CHEAT SHEET

THE DING DONGS, or, What is the Penalty in Portugal?

 (May 22nd at 7:30pm)

See it if you like…

Stories About: CRAZY NEIGHBORS, STRANGERS, BELONGING
 Movies:  THE STEPFORD WIVES, PLEASANTVILLE

PLAY SOUNDBYTE

REDELMO:  You ring the doorbell, then this package, then you ask me for a knife…

JOE: Oh, we just want to open the box. We don’t want to be dangerous with the knife, we just want to open the box. “

Master Cheat Sheet: DREAM WALKER

Earlier this week we created the fastest way to choose one play in the festival. However, some people like to browse a little more, to learn about their options. For that, we present the

2014 NEW PLAY EXCHANGE CHEAT SHEET

DREAM WALKER

 (May 21st at 7:30pm)

See it if you like…

Stories About: ROLE PLAYING, DREAMS, BROTHERS
 Movies:  ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, VANILLA SKY

PLAY SOUNDBYTE

DAWN And we walked away from the river, and I showed her each thing that belonged to her, and with each thing she remembered, she grew a little older, and when we reached the car, and she laughed at remembering what driving with the top down did to her hair, she turned around and saw Dawn again -“

Master Cheat Sheet: SUPER

Earlier this week we created the fastest way to choose one play in the festival. However, some people like to browse a little more, to learn about their options. For that, we present the

2014 NEW PLAY EXCHANGE CHEAT SHEET

SUPER, or How Clark Graves Learned to Fly

 (May 20th at 7:30pm)

See it if you like…

Stories About: SUPERHEROES, PRECOCIOUS KIDS
 Movies:  MUD, CAPTAIN AMERICA, BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD

PLAY SOUNDBYTE

SUPER: I’ve never seen you raise a hand in anger.
You use your hands to create, not to fight.
CONSTRUCTO: I know. My mind, it wasn’t right, red hot with temper. I will never raise my hand in battle again. “

Master Cheat Sheet: ONCE UPON A BRIDE THERE WAS A FOREST

Earlier this week we created the fastest way to choose one play in the festival. However, some people like to browse a little more, to learn about their options. For that, we present the

2014 NEW PLAY EXCHANGE CHEAT SHEET

ONCE UPON A BRIDE THERE WAS A FOREST (May 19th at 7:30pm)

See it if you like…

Stories About: MARRIAGE, MODERN FAIRYTALES, QUESTS Movies:  HOOK, THE PRINCESS BRIDE, ENCHANTED

PLAY SOUNDBYTE

“JOSIE: I’ll be fine. I’ll call you at the first sign of a tear. 
WARREN: At the first tightening of your throat.
JOSIE: At the first tremble of my heart. “

May19