Tuesday, March 31, 2009

World Theatre Day Observance: Seven Jewish Children by Caryl Churchill, Cambiare Productions and Austin Circle of Theatres, March 27

The speech for World Theatre Day written by Brazilian author Augusto Boal was read by Robert Faires of the Austin Chronicle. Boal's comments are brief, but they sum up a lifetime of theatre, political activism and teaching, following his arrest by the Brazilian military government in 1972 and twelve years in exile. Boal's principal concept is expressed immediately in the opening:

All human societies are “spectacular” in their daily life and produce “spectacles” at special moments. They are “spectacular” as a form of social organization and produce “spectacles” like the one you have come to see.

Even if one is unaware of it, human relationships are structured in a theatrical way. The use of space, body language, choice of words and voice modulation, the confrontation of ideas and passions, everything that we demonstrate on the stage, we live in our lives. We are theatre! . . . .

One of the main functions of our art is to make people sensitive to the “spectacles” of daily life in which the actors are their own spectators, performances in which the stage and the stalls coincide. We are all artists. By doing theatre, we learn to see what is obvious but what we usually can’t see because we are only used to looking at it. What is familiar to us becomes unseen: doing theatre throws light on the stage of daily life.

About 30 persons came to the Dougherty Arts Center for the Theatre Day commemoration, the staged reading of Caryl Churchill's Seven Jewish Children, and the discussion of the play. The group was diverse. By the end of the event we'd encountered students, actors, a playwright, the organizers, a Jewish couple in their late 60s, a Palestinian man, a Frenchwoman and two women from Palestine.

Seven Jewish Children is a stark piece of only about 170 lines, divided into seven sections of unequal length. Playing time is hardly ten minutes, and one can scan the text in far less than that. The version available on-line from the Royal Court Theatre contains no stage directions, other than the comment that the piece may be read or performed without fee anywhere, by any number of people.

Read More at AustinLiveTheatre.com. . . .

Upcoming: Performance Encounters Fundraiser with Letitia Rodriguez, El Sol y La Luna, April 5

Received as e-mail:

Performance Encounters @ El Sol y La Luna
2009 Fundraiser

For Paloma Patrones, dancing to Boleros Tropical con Leticia Rodriguez and chillin' at the NEW El Sol y La Luna
Sunday, April 5th
5 - 8 pm
600 E 6th, El Sol y La Luna

Suggested donation $10-20/person
(food and drinks sold separately)
Parking is available at the Convention Center or along the curb areas.
(Map to El Sol)

For more information call: 825-1499 or
email us @ pe4u@sbcglobal.net www.PerformanceEncounters.org

PE is a 501(c3) non-profit organization.
All proceeds are tax deductible.

To realize visions, a tall yarn, a good pair of dancing shoes,
and a supportive community goes a long way. - Anon. 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

Upcoming: The Age of Arousal, Austin Playhouse Larry L. King Theatre,

UPDATE: ALT review of Age of Arousal

Received from Austin Playhouse, March 30:


by Linda Griffiths
April 10 - May 10, 2009
Austin Playhouse Larry L. King Theatre

Austin Playhouse proudly presents one of the first U.S. productions of Linda Griffiths’ witty, wild, and stunning new play,
Age of Arousal.

Age of Arousal, Griffiths’ has created a fantasy-filled re-working of George Gissing’s 19th century novel, The Odd Women. In late 19th century England, a population imbalance had almost twice as many women as men running around London. This meant that many women would never find husbands, would never be paired; they would be odd.

Fusing the political battle of the 19th century suffragettes with the personal battles of the sexes,
Age of Arousal creates a unique world to explore love, desire, and the cost of equality. Populating this world are six compelling characters brought to life by some of Austin’s most accomplished actors.

Read More. . . .

Upcoming: UT Nilsson Lecture on Tom Stoppard, April 1

From UT news, March 30:

Fourth Annual Nilsson Lecture Features Performance

AUSTIN, Texas — The fourth annual David O. Nilsson Lecture in Contemporary Drama takes on meta-theatre as noted stage actors tackle scenes from Tom Stoppard's playful play about plays, "The Real Thing."

"'The Real Thing' in Real Time: An Interactive Performance/Discussion of Tom Stoppard" will take place at 5:45 p.m. on April 1 at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, and is hosted by the University of Texas Libraries and the Fine Arts Library.

British actors Eunice Roberts ("Inspector Morse," "Twelfth Night," "Tartuffe") and Matthew Radford ("Macbeth," "One for the Road," Austin Shakespeare) join Austin's David Stahl ("Richard III," "Gross Indecency," "A Macbeth") onstage, with commentary by Dr. James Loehlin, director of Shakespeare at Winedale, and Department of English faculty member Dr. Kurt Heinzelman.

Alternating performance and discussion will present a uniquely interactive evening of drama.

The David O. Nilsson Lecture was founded through the generosity of Dr. David O. Nilsson, a retired mathematics instructor at The University of Texas at Austin, scholar and Henrik Ibsen aficionado.

Past lectures have featured the Swedish novelist Lars Gustaffson (speaking on paradox in Ibsen's "The Wild Duck") and a panel of local playwrights, including internationally renowned Kirk Lynn and Keene Prize winner George Brant (discussing the state and fate of theater).

A reception precedes the event beginning at 5 p.m. Free and open to the public.

Upcoming; Grease, Texas School for the Deaf, April 3 - 4

From the Austin American Statesman, March 30:

UPDATE: Feature article by Kira Matica, with photos, on Austin.com


Texas School for the Deaf rocks 'Grease' in a whole new way

Saturday, March 28, 2009

During the number "You're the One That I Want," Kalie Kubes and Skye Alanis are flirtatiously dancing with eyes just for each other, as well they should, because they are playing Sandy and Danny in the musical "Grease." Artistic director Russell Harvard, however, interrupts.

"You are performing for the audience. They came to see you. They want to see your face," he instructs in American Sign Language. "You're looking too much at each other." Kubes and Alanis are deaf actors in the Texas School for the Deaf's presentation of "Grease."

Full text of feature article by Ricardo Gándara, March 30, 2009

Read More. . . .

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Heidi Chronicles, City Theatre, March 26 - April 19

Wendy Wasserstein, playwright of The Heidi Chronicles, died in 2005, cut down in full artistic activity by lymphoma. Her play Third,
which premiered that year, was performed in Austin last September by the Paradox Players. The City Theatre has just opened The Heidi Chronicles for a four-week run, featuring a talented young cast, clever staging and some still unanswered big questions.

One of five children of a wealthy Jewish family in Brooklyn, Wasserstein graduated from Mount Holyoke, then obtained master's degrees from City College of New York in 1971 and from the Yale School of Drama in 1976. Her graduate thesis project at Yale was produced off-Broadway in 1977, featuring Glenn Close, and then on PBS with Meryl Streep. Wasserstein wrote three more plays and then in 1989 The Heidi Chronicles won the Drama Desk award, the New York Critics' award for best new play, a Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

The juries for those awards must have recognized this play for its comic, yet earnest take on the emotional plight of highly educated American women. Female thirty-somethings faced contradictions and were assailed by cognitive dissonance when choosing between aspirations for careers and the allure of the safe, mostly suburban world of motherhood. If intelligent women were -- or should be -- the equals of men, why did so many of them decline to compete? And how could capable, successful female professionals establish the comfort, intimacy and family ties that seemed to accrue naturally to mothers and housewives in their warm and fuzzy little worlds?

In her portrayal of Heidi Holland from high school through her young middle age as a respected university professor, Wasserstein deliberately does not answer that question.

Read More . . . .

Upcoming: A Number by Caryl Churchill, Different Stages at City Theatre, April 23 - May 10

UPDATE: Click for ALT review

Info received March 27:

A Number
by Caryl Churchill
April 23 − May 10, 2009

Different Stages at City Theater, 3823 Airport, Suite D
Wednesdays - Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.

"Pick your Price": $15, $20, $25, $30
For tickets, call 474-8497

Different Stages continues its 2008 − 2009 season with Caryl Churchill's A Number.

When Bernard discovers that he is a clone, his father must explain choices he would rather forget.

Read More. . . .

Friday, March 27, 2009

Arts: UT Student Wins $10,000 Yale Playwriting Prize

announced on-line by the University of Texas, 3/25/2009

Graduate Student Wins Yale Drama Series Prize for Emerging Playwrights

Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig Awarded for “Lidless”

M.F.A. in Playwriting candidate, Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig has been named recipient of the 2009 Yale Drama Series Prize for Emerging Playwrights for her play, Lidless.

Cowhig will receive a $10,000 award from the David C. Horn Foundation as well as a staged reading of her play at the Yale Repertory Theatre in September. In addition, Yale University Press will publish the script of Lidless, originally presented as part of department's annual production, UT New Theatre (UTNT).

Cowhig is a third-year Fellow at the James A. Michener Center for Writers.

Read more about Lidless in The Broadwayworld.com article, Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig Wins Yale Drama Series Award and the The New York Times article, Guantánamo Play Wins Yale Award.

Upcoming: Paint The Town by Insurgent Theatre of Milwaukee, Salvage Vanguard, March 29

Received March 27:

Salvage Vanguard Theatre and Church of the Friendly Ghost present an interdisciplinary event blending radical theater with music. Milwaukee based Insurgent Theatre is bringing “PAINT THE TOWN”, a full length original play to Salvage Vanguard Theater on March 29th. The play will be presented in two acts, pierced by an intermission of startling experimental music performances from Douglas Ferguson, Yellow Crystal Star, and Amir Coyle.

PAINT THE TOWN is a modern and timely tale of revolution, love, terrorism, and their collision. With homage to Brechtian production values, “PAINT THE TOWN” assaults the audience with the tale of an inspired revolutionary, the perfect family who loves her, and the man who slaughters her family in a wave of brutal terrorism to set her free from the bondage of the establishment.

“… Paint the Town smolders with rage at the horrible joke our world has become. Rex Winsome takes a scalpel to the values our society holds dear, and nobody is left unscathed …. It’s an angry, smug, terrifying play inflected with Brecht, Artaud, and Dogme.” - Jeff Grygny, Drama Critic for Shepherd Express Milwaukee.


ONE NIGHT ONLY. Tickets are $5 at the door.

Theatre News: Holly Williams Appointed Interim Chair, UT Department of Theatre and Dance

from UT news, March 27, 2009:

AUSTIN, Texas — Holly Williams, associate professor and senior associate chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at The University of Texas at Austin, has been appointed interim chair of the department, effective June 1.

Williams succeeds Bob Schmidt, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, who is stepping down after serving as both interim and chair of the department since 2006, and senior associate chair from 1996-2006.

Full text of press release

Upcoming: Arthuriosis, A Metal Opera, the Getalong Gang, Blue Theatre, April 9 - 18

UPDATE: KUT-FM: Michael Lee's "Arts Eclectic" audio spot on Arthuriosis (2 min.)

UPDATE: Joey Seiler's review in the Statesman's Arts360 blog, April 13

UPDATE: Click for
The Onion's Decider article on-line, with picture and interview of husband-and-wife artistic directors Spencer Driggers and Zenobia Taylor, concluding: ". . . this guy rips, man. They keep asking if they’re being too ridiculous and cheesy and wanky, and it’s like, “No, you can’t be wanky enough.”

UPDATE: Geoff West's interview of Spencer Driggers in the Statesman's Austin360 "Seeing Things" blog, April 10: "King Arthur Meets Heavy Metal"

UPDATE: Review of Arthuriosis by Robert Faires in Austin Chronicle of April 16

Arthuriosis video on YouTube (2 min. 20 sec.)

Received March 26:

Gird your loins for Arthuriosis, a metal opera based on the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. The legacy of a wizard! The treachery of a usurper! The mystery of a Grailgnome!

Read More at AustinLiveTheatre.com. . . .

Upcoming: In 2 the West, Molière, & Muntu, Austin Community College, April 3 - 4

As part of its spring festival Carnival ah!, Austin Community College offers several dramatic pieces on April 3 and 4 at its Rio Grande campus. From ACC announcements:

Theater – Run through an actor's warm-up, or try your skill in an improvisation workshop. Or just sit back and enjoy two plays, including special performances of the Austin classic "In 2 the West" and "Moliere 2009: A French Classic Reloaded." Natalie Marlena Goodnow will present her one-woman show "Muntu."

Read More. . . .

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Upcoming: Much Ado About Nothing, TexArts Great Shakes, April 3 - 5

Received from Tex-Arts, Lakeway:

"Great Shakes" Teen Youth Theatre
does Much Ado About Nothing
April 3, 4 at 7:30 p.m.
April 5 at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m.

Upcoming: The Man With A Flower in His Mouth by Pirandello, Southwestern University, March 26 - 29

Found on-line:

The Man With A Flower In His Mouth
By Luigi Pirandello
Translated by Eric Bentley
Directed by Tyler King

Southwestern University

March 26-29, 2009
8pm | Thursday - Saturday
3pm | Sunday
Heather McGaughey Rehearsal Hall

The play is a one-act ”dialogue” which takes place between a man who is dying and a peaceful businessman who has missed his train. In other words, between someone who intensely lives the little time left to him and someone who is rich with time to spend idly and irresponsibly, waiting for the morning train and entirely absorbed in the usual affairs of life.

"We’re like so many puppets hung on the wall, waiting for someone to come and move us or make us talk."
– Luigi Pirandello, Henry IV

Pirandello (1867–1936)—the Italian playwright, novelist and short-story writer—was winner of the 1934 Nobel Prize for Literature. With his invention of the “theatre within the theatre” in the play Six Characters In Search of An Author, he became an important innovator in modern drama.

Box Office (512) 863-1378
Heather McGaughey Black Box Theater (SWU Fine Arts Center)
Southwestern University Fine Arts Center 1001 E. University Avenue Georgetown, TX 78626
Full map and directions

Arts Community Met the Candidates, Paramount Theatre, April 1

UPDATE: Report and comment by Travis Bedard, Cambiare Productions, April 5 : "A clanging cymbal, a noisy gong"

UPDATE: Jeanne Claire van Ryzin's account of this meeting, published April 2 in the Statesman's Austin 360 "Seeing Things" blog

Received from Zach Scott Theatre:

Performing and Visual Arts
Organizations of Austin


Support the Arts and Make Your Voice Heard!
Hear the Candidates' visions and positions on
City issues including those affecting Arts

WHEN: April 1, 2009 at 7:00 PM
(April 1, no foolin')

WHERE: Paramount Theatre, 713 S. Congress Avenue

MODERATOR: The Honorable Betty Dunkerley

QUESTIONS: cister@austin.rr.com

PARKING: Free, starting at 6 PM
One American Center, 600 S. Congress Avenue

Refreshments and Snacks Available

Partners: Austin Circle of Theatres and City of Austin's Create Austin

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

CANCELLED: Gary Garrison, Playwright and Exec Director of Dramatists' Guild, Blue Theatre, April 1


Found on-line:

Dramatis Personae Workshop:


A workshop with Gary Garrison, Executive Director of the Dramatists Guild of America We are often taught how to write, but seldom taught how to be a writer. This workshop will explore the fundamental truths every writer should be aware of with regards to their career, craft and artistic collaborators.

7:30-9:30 PM Weds. April 1, 2009 Blue Theater 916 Springdal Rd.
Free to ASW members/ $10 General Public Info/Reservations: info@scriptworks.org, 512-454-9727

Read More . . . .

Upcoming: My Child, My Alien Child, Zell Miller III at the Hyde Park Theatre

UPDATE: review by Austin Live Theatre, April 3

Received March 23:

Hyde Park Theatre

My Child, My Child, My Alien Child

Written and Performed by
Zell Miller III

Directed by
Ken Webster

April 2-18, 2009
Thursdays-Saturdays at 8:00 PM

Read More . . . .

Human Sketches by Trey Deason, Sam Bass Community Theatre, March 20 - April 4

This is a "world premiere," in public-relations-speak, and the folks at the Sam Bass Community Theatre once again show their inventiveness and their determination to be more than a simple source of weekend amusement for the suburbs of Austin.

SBCT isn't a large group and they don't have the ample venues or resources of some other out-of-Austin theatres. But they make up for that in pluckiness. Following close on their accomplished production of funnyman Steve Martin's quasi-absurdist piece Picasso at the Lapin Agile, they're now doing Human Sketches. The script was chosen from more than twenty original pieces submitted for SBCT's So You Think You're A Playwright? competition.

It's a winner in more ways than one. Author Trey Deason's two-act piece is well crafted, peopled with sharply drawn central characters and examines serious, interesting issues -- although perhaps not those you might expect from the M.C. Escher sketch used on the poster.

Read More . . . .

Monday, March 23, 2009

Upcoming: A Flea in Her Ear, Austin Playhouse, March 27 - May 3

UPDATE: Review by Austin Live Theatre, published March 30

Received March 23:

Austin Playhouse presents

A Flea in Her Ear

by Georges Feydeau

March 27 - May 3, 2009

Austin Playhouse proudly presents a sumptuous production of Georges Feydeau's masterpiece, A Flea in Her Ear. Filled with tons of laughs, this gorgeous production transports audiences to turn-of-the-century Paris for an evening of incredible entertainment. Pictured here are
Andrea Osborn and David Stokey

Read More . . . .

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Upcoming: The Hand That Cradles the Rock, Gaslight Baker Theatre, Lockhart, March 26 - April 11

Received March 22 from the Gaslight Baker Theatre in Lockhart:

The Hand that Cradles the Rock

A hilarious comedy by Warren Graves, directed by Tysha Calhoun (who bought us 2008’s hit dramedy, “Amateurs”)

Take a young woman’s overnight success, add her new baby, mix with a young husband who is suddenly in charge of that baby, sprinkle with grandmother, her frisky boyfriend, spice it up with an unexpected visitor…and you have a recipe for a belly full of laughs.

Read More . . . .

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bombs in Your Mouth, Hyde Park Theatre, February 26 - March 28

Losers are just more interesting than winners.

There are just so many ways that they can go wrong. And it's so satisfying to watch as that happens. That's part of comedy -- that's why we laugh when the clown slips on the banana peel or when Moe gives the other stooges a savage poke. We chortle because we know that they're not really hurting.

And in Boms in Your Mouth by Corey Patrick at the Hyde Park Theatre, that's where Joey Hood and Liz Fisher take us by surprise. Their characters are, indeed, hurting, and the comedy here skitters on the edge. It's a wild balancing act, one that humanizes those losers.

On the way home after the play, I suggested that Bombs in Your Moth is a comedy, because these unlikely half siblings do come to a hard-won reconciliation with one another. My wife, a gentler soul, disagreed. She saw too much pain in their pasts and too many uncertainties in their futures.

Half-brother Danny and half-sister Lily come together in Minnesota for the first time in six years because their father has died. The man was a sociopath, to hear them tell it, a cold and exploiting individual who systematically belittled them and their mothers, who died or perhaps disappeared. Lily abandoned home six years ago and has been living in New York, completely and deliberately out of touch.

Danny stuck it out in Minnesota, cloistered in the tiny, dilapidated house with their father, who over the last five years declined into paranoia and dementia. Dad scribbled a will and mostly incoherent reminiscences in pencil on a roll of toilet paper, but one thing he made clear: he wanted to be cremated and to have his ashes scattered at a specific urban intersection.

That's where we arrive -- at the moment of that absurd, pathetic and posthumously abusive ceremony. Lily was hustled to the site, still dragging her luggage, to stand next to her grim faced brother in the half light, in the din of traffic and the swoop of passing joggers, to face a crowd of mostly unknown faces. She's furious, hateful, and vulgar. After she storms off, Danny responds with equal but less eloquent vituperation. And he flings the ashes into the gutter, where they belong.

After that, the siblings have a long, long way to come to get back to one another. In the claustrophobia of that crummy one-bedroom house, we the audience watch them after that disaster of a memorial service. Director Ken Webster does not rush them into it; there are long, eloquent spiky silences and mute business early in the action. Lily in her working city-girl attire slams her carry-on luggage onto the coffee table, fiddles with her laptop, puts it away, strips off her knee-high black stockings and replaces them with pink socks. Danny paces past, mute, and disappears into the bedroom. He eventually comes out, clad in pjs but wearing a squall in his furiously knit eyebrows. And finally, with the thrust of anger and non-repentant ungrief, they go into verbal combat with one another.

Hood, Fisher and Webster have captured something very precious here -- the bond of brother and sister, that mutual history, knowledge and trust that stretches with an elasticity that can accommodate even the worst circumstances. If played between husband and wife, these scenes of flaming recrimination would probably mark the death of a relationship. Between siblings, they move instead to purgation and catharsis.

There's sharp comedy mixed with the revelations that unfold, some of them from the scribblings on the toilet paper roll. As Lily and Danny lower their guards, familiar behaviors surface -- a drinking game, for instance, and a bout of arm wrestling. They fill in the six-year void, unemployed Danny with stories of their father's decline and Lily with horror stories of work in a New York ad agency. She is smarter than Danny -- but in fact no more successful, a fact that he spies out with the sneakiness typical of a litle brother. Neither has a partner or love interest.

The beer runs out. There are no forks in the house, because Dad in his paranoia imagined them as devilish pitchforks. Hunger strikes, and there's some exquisitely funny physical comedy as they try to deal with a cold, gloppy meal of uncut spaghetti.

Their past has disappeared. Not only has their deranged father died, with final attempts to poison their relationship, but the house across town inhabited by Lily and her mom went up in flames the day before, probably due to arson. Repeated telephone calls to Danny from a friend gradually prompt fuller revelations and a police investigation. In the end, blood is thicker than water, siblings are closer than any spouses, and home is -- well, home is somewhere that hell is not.

These two actors are concentrated, spontaneous, and completely convincing. As has regularly been the case at the Hyde Park Theatre, they are telling us a story of contemporary misfits trying to make sense of a contrary and threatening world. There are no easy outs, implies Ken Webster, both in his choice of plays and in his direction of them. But the Hyde Park Theatre's stories of intensity and catharsis give us illumination in our own less threatened lives.

Review by Joey Seiler on Statesman's Austin360 blog, March 2

Review by Spike Gillespie on Austinist.com, March 3

Review by Ryan E. Johnson on Austin.com, March 4

KUT's audio piece on Arts Eclectic, March 18

Review by Hannah Kenah in the Austin Chronicle, March 19

Upcoming: Cohen New Works Festival, UT, March 30 - April 4

Found on-line.

UPDATE: Feature article by Robert Faires in Austin Chronicle of March 26

The University Co-op Presents the Cohen New Works Festival is a celebration of new work created by UT Department of Theatre and Dance that celebrates original works created by UT students, faculty, and guest artists. Audiences will experience a variety of performances, readings, choreography, guest artist panels, and workshops. The Festival is collaborative and multi–disciplinary in nature and offers students events that culminate in a week-long showcase every other April held throughout campus. It is not just an event, but a celebration of a continuously ongoing process--the creation of new work. Inaugurated in 2001 as a new play festival, The University Co-op presents the Cohen New Works Festival was created and named in honor of David Mark Cohen, former head of playwriting within The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance. Cohen was killed in a car crash on December 23, 1997, but during his life, he was an adamant supporter of new work.

Today, The New Works Festival has evolved to include not just plays, but all mediums of student-generated new work. It is the largest festival of its kind, being run and organized entirely by a committee of graduate and undergraduate students, with the support of faculty co-producers. 2009 will mark the fifth New Works Festival in 10 years and includes multiple exhibitions at the Blanton Museum of Art and three outdoor site-specific works. With generous support from the University Co-op, all events are free.

schedule of performances

Guest Artist Focus Groups:

* Monday, March 30 2:30–4:00pm 2.112
The Business of Show Business
Panel discussion with David Conte, Ed Raymond and Bruce Ostler, moderated by Denise Martel

* Tuesday, March 31 11:00–12:30pm 2.136
Amy Greenfield and Kelly Hargraves , facilitated by David Justin

* Tuesday, March 31 4:00–5:30pm 2.112
Intellectual Property Law
Louis Bonham, facilitated by Rachel Durkin-Drga

* Wednesday, April 1 3:00–4:30pm 2.136
Directing New Work
Sarah Benson, facilitated by Katie Pearl

* Thursday, April 2 11:00–12:30pm 2.136
New Play Development
Wendy Goldberg, facilitated by Steven Dietz

* Saturday, April 4 12:00-1:30pm 2.112
Capturing the Moment: Photography
David Bjurstrom, facilitated by Susan Mickey

bios of invited guest artists
full feature on Cohen festival, history, and photos

All UT Cohen New Work Festival drama events are now listed the ALT Calendar.

Upcoming: UT Drama Season 2009-2010


FALL 2009

The Best of the Fest

The most popular selections from the 2009 University Co-op presents the Cohen New Works Festival

There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom
A play for young audiences written by Louis Sachar (Holes) and directed by M.F.A. in Drama and Theatre for Youth candidate, Brian Fahey

The Trojan Women
World Premiere adaptation by M.F.A. in Playwriting candidates, Kimber Lee and Meghan Kennedy; directed by M.F.A. in Directing candidate, Halena Kays

Pride and Prejudice
Adapted for the stage from the Jane Austen novel

Dance Repertory Theatre Fall Showing
Free public showing of works in progress by UT's student dance company


Dance Repertory Theatre Concert

The final product of skillful choreography and collaborative performance originally presented in the Fall Showing

Our Town
Written by Thornton Wilder and directed by M.F.A. in Directing candidate, Marie Brown

The Difficulty of Crossing a Field
New music theatre by Pulitzer-prize winning composer, David Lang, and Obie-award winner, Mac Wellman; directed by M.F.A. in Directing candidate, Luke Leonard

The Gingerbread Man
World Premiere experimental work by Obie-award winning director, Katie Pearl and award-winning playwright and UT alumnus, Kirk Lynn

M.F.A. Actor Showcase
Final performance by the M.F.A. Acting class of 2010 featuring a series of scenes and songs designed for presentation to industry professionals

UTNT (UT New Theatre)
Yearly showcase of new plays written by 3rd year MFA in Playwriting candidates

Ears, Eyes + Feet
Collaborative works by student and faculty composers, choreographers, and video artists from each of the College of Fine Arts academic units

Performance dates, times and locations will be announced as they are confirmed.
Fore more information, visit www.finearts.utexas.edu/tad.

Upcoming: The Trojan Women, staged reading at The Salvage Vanguard, March 21

From an SVT e-mail (not mentioned on the website):

UT MFA Playwrights Play Reading Series:

Sunday March 22 at 6pm [note: SVT lists March 21, which is a Saturday]

A New Adaptation by Meghan Kennedy and Kimber Lee. The war is over. A great city has fallen. Among the rubble women wait to hear their fate at the hands of the victorious army, struggling to survive, refusing to give in, and somehow finding hope in the most unexpected places.

(This script is scheduled for production by the University of Texas Department of Drama in the 2009-2010 season).

Friday, March 20, 2009

Upcoming for World Theatre Day: Seven Jewish Children, staged reading by Cambiare Productions, March 27

UPDATE: Review of Seven Jewish Children, published by Austin Live Theatre on March 29

Received March 20:

Caryl Churchill's Seven Jewish Children to Premiere in Austin

To celebrate World Theatre Day, Austin Circle of Theaters teams with Cambiare Productions to present a staged reading of Churchill’s controversial new work, Seven Jewish Children. Free.

As part of the global celebration of World Theatre Day, Austin Circle of Theaters in collaboration with Cambiare Productions will present a staged reading and discussion of Caryl Churchill's controversial new work, Seven Jewish Children, at the Dougherty Arts Center (1110 Barton Springs Road, Austin) on March 27, 2009 at 8PM.

In the aftermath of the Israel/Gaza war in January of this year, noted playwright Caryl Churchill crafted this emotional response. Structured to reflect seven key moments in Israel’s history, Churchill's short piece asks how parents would explain these complex events to their child. The February premiere at the Royal Court Theatre created a firestorm in the London press as editorials and columns debated whether or the play was inherently anti-Semitic.

This Austin premiere, read by a cast of Austin luminaries, with a discussion to follow facilitated by Robert Faires and C. Denby Swanson, is the perfect way to celebrate the power of live theater to move us and to stimulate conversation even on the most delicate of topics.

The program will begin at 8:00 PM; admission is free.

The performance will be streamed live at CambiareProductions.com

The author requests donations to the UK charity, Medical Aid for Palestinians, which can be given online at www.map-uk.org/ or at the performance.

World Theatre Day was created in 1961 by the International Theatre Institute (ITI). It is celebrated annually on the 27th March by ITI Centres and the international theatre community. Various national and international theatre events are organized to mark this occasion. One of the most important of these is the circulation of the World Theatre Day International Message through which at the invitation of ITI, a figure of world stature shares his or her reflections on the theme of Theatre and a Culture of Peace. The first World Theatre Day International Message was written by Jean Cocteau (France) in 1962. The 2009 International message was written by Augusto Boal.

Boal’s message, together with Churchill’s provocative work and Travis Bedard’s passion to engage Austin in World Theatre Day inspired ACoT to get behind Cambiare Productions’ effort. Helping emerging artists and theatre groups do their thing has long been part of what ACoT is about.

About Austin Circle of Theaters (ACoT): ACoT is a not-for-profit performing arts service organization working to create greater public awareness, participation, and support for our local performing arts community. Founded in 1974, ACoT membership includes more than 130 large and small arts organizations in Central Texas as well as their practitioners and enthusiasts. Its website, NowPlayingAustin.com, is a portal for all arts and cultural activities in Austin.

Austin Circle of Theaters is funded in part by City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division and by a grant from Texas Commission on the Arts.

About Cambiare Productions: Cambiare Productions is committed to stories in all forms with a focus on collaborative creation, and the use of technology in live performance. For more information on Cambiare Productions please visit www.CambiareProductions.com.

TEXT of Churchill's play, published by the Royal Court Theatre, London (.pdf)

Wikipedia on the piece and the controversy

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Upcoming: Human Sketches, Sam Bass Community Theatre, March 20 - April 4

UPDATE: Austin Live Theatre review of Human Sketches

Received March 17:

Sam Bass Community Theatre presents the world premiere of

Human Sketches

Written by Trey Deason
Directed by Sean Hunter

Rebecca Guare is a single mother and a college dropout trying to make ends meet. Leticia Martindale is a successful and acclaimed New York artist who finds herself at a creative standstill.

Rebecca desperately needs a purpose. Leticia desperately needs inspiration. Two women from wildly different lifestyles try to find what they need in each other, and ultimately find much more than they originally bargained for.

Human Sketches, an original contemporary play by local playwright Trey Deason, is a heartfelt and moving depiction of the unique bond between artist and model. This beautiful story demonstrates how pain can inspire, how art can heal, and how so much humanity can be contained within a simple sketch.

Performance Dates & Times: March 20 - April 4, Thu - Sat 8:00pm, Sun 2:00pm
Prices: $15 general admission, $13 seniors/students/educators, Thursdays $10 general admission
Rating: Adult language and content - Not suitable for children

Reservations can be made at www.sambasstheatre.org, by calling (512) 244-0440 or by emailing reservations@sambasstheatre.org. Please include your name, a contact phone number, the number of seats you would like to reserve and the specific show you wish to attend if you call or email. Reservations for groups of 6 or more must be prepaid by sending a check to Sam Bass Community Theatre, P.O. Box 767, Round Rock, TX 78680-0767.

Location: Sam Bass Community Theatre, 600 N. Lee St (in Memorial Park), Round Rock, TX

Monday, March 16, 2009

Upcoming: Time Steps, the 11th annual Out of Ink Ten Minute Play Showcase, Austin Scriptworks, March 26-28, April 2 - 4

Found on-line:

Time Steps

the 11th annual Out of Ink Ten Minute Play Showcase

March 26-28 and April 2-4, 2009 @ 8 PM
Blue Theater, 916 Springdale Road

Reservations: info-at-scriptworks.org/ 512-454-9727

Flashbacks, maternal admonitions, and all kinds of dances promenade through Time Steps, the 11th annual Out of Ink ten-minute play showcase. Eight plays were selected from submissions created during a 48-hour writing retreat, called the Weekend Fling. During the Fling, writers are given three “ingredients” and two days to write their hearts out and create a ten-minute play.

This year’s ingredients were:

1. The play must go backward, from beginning to end
2. Include a sudden dance break that causes a shift in the action
3. Include three things your mother told you not to do

At the end of the Fling, the plays were read in an ASW Salon at the State Theater. A selection committee picked eight of the plays to produce in the Out of Ink Festival. The selection committee included Michael John Garces, Artistic Director of Cornerstone Theatre in Los Angeles, Natalie George, local producer and lighting designer, and Emily Fordyce, ASW board member.

The Time Steps scripts were written by:
Katherine Catmull, Aimée Gonzalez, Meg Haley, Max Langert, Marshall Maresca, Susan McMath Platt, Sarah Saltwick and Timothy Thomas.

The plays will be performed by an ensemble of actors including Kelli Bland, Kenneth Bradley, David Dubose, Kathleen Fletcher, David Gallagher, Anne Hulsman, Michelle Keffer, Rhonda Kulhanek, Christopher Loveless, Nicole Marosis, and Zeb L. West.

They’ll be directed by T.J. Gonzales, Heather Huggins, Ellie McBride, and Christina J. Moore .

Tickets: $12 general admission, $10 students/seniors/ASW/ACoT
March 26 is a Pay-What-You-Wish preview

KUT-FM AUDIO FEATURE on the 2009 Out of Ink Festival

Interviews of Time Steps playwrights on Austinist.com, by Jooley Ann, March 25:

Marshal Ryan Maresca

Tim Thomas

Max Langert

Meg Haley

The Grapes of Wrath, Zach Scott Theatre, March 12 - May 10

A brooding orange light dominates the empty central space at the Zach Theatre's Kleberg Stage. A haze roils fitfully against a panorama of emptiness. A man in overalls, wearing a slouch cap and heavy work boots, holds a saw between his knees. He gently applies a bow to it, bends the
saw, and an eerie, keening melody begins The Grapes of Wrath.

John Steinbeck's story follows the Joad family from the 1930s Oklahoma Dustbowl, driven by implacable weather and unforgiving bankers to abandon everything except a grim hope of finding work and land in California.

Read More . . . .

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Interviews: Paul Beutel, Managing Director of the Long Center

Paul Beutel, managing director of the Long Center since mid-2008, recently told Rob Faubion of austinonstage.com,

"Like any new organization, The Long Center has faced the challenges of achieving operating efficiencies. The challenge has been compounded, of course, by the current economic climate. As we have learned more about what it takes to operate the Center on a daily basis, we have confronted the economic challenges and managed to trim our operating budget by an amazing 20%. "The budget trimming did involve the elimination of eight staff positions and job re-ordering. Client and audience services, however, have not been compromised."

Click for full text of Faubion's exclusive interview

Austin Business Journal profile of Beutel by A.J. Mistretta with Qs and As, February 13, 2009

Austin Chronicle article by Robert Faires about Beutel's appointment, September 5, 2008

Friday, March 13, 2009

Upcoming: Heron and Crane, Vortex Repertory, April 11 - 25 (daytime performances)

Received March 12:

DA! Theatre Collective
proudly presents…

Heron & Crane

an original children’s production
written by Kirk German
adapted from a Russian Folk-Tale
directed by Kirk German and Heather Huggins
Featuring Jude Hickey and Michelle Brandt

Saturday, April 11 11am; 1pm
Sunday, April 12 1 pm
Saturday, April 18 11am; 1pm
Sunday, April 19 11 am; 1pm
Saturday, April 25 11 am; 1 pm

Where: The VORTEX 2307 Manor Road, Austin, TX 78722
Tickets: call (512) 479-PLAY or go online at: http://www.datheatrecollective.org

DA! Theatre Collective is proud to present Heron and Crane, our hilarious and dynamic adaptation of a beloved Russian folk-tale about two strong-willed swamp-birds who discover that becoming friends requires a little give-and-take…. or maybe a lot. The hour-long show includes an interactive 30-minute show (created with 80% re-used and recycled materials), a post-show discussion where the audience helps decide the fate of the two rambunctious birds, and a new and different final scene every time! The show explores issues about diversity, ecology, conflict resolution, problem-solving, and friendship through original music, choreography, and audience interaction.

Heron and Crane features Collective members Jude Hickey (Best Actor, Austin Critics Table Award, The Pillowman) as Crane and Michelle Brandt as Heron; Kirk German (B. Iden Payne Nominee, Best Director of a Comedy) writes and co-directs with Heather Huggins; Lisa del Rosario (Austin Critic’s Table Nominee, Best Performance of a Dance) choreographs, with an original score by Austin musicians Travis Cooper & Melissa Jurrens.

Over the past four months, DA! has taken the traveling version of Heron and Crane to a diverse sampling of elementary schools in three different central Texas school districts. During that time, over 4,000 area students have seen the show, half of them for free through our matching program, created specifically to bring arts programming to Title One schools in our region.

And NOW, the Heron and the Crane are nesting at The VORTEX for three weeks this April, to be enjoyed by kids of ALL ages-- the young and the young-at-heart alike! This weekend matinee run of Heron and Crane will take place in the Yard at The VORTEX. Performances run from April 11th to 25th. Saturday performances begin at 11 am and 1 pm. Sunday performances are at 1 pm, with an additional 11 am show on the 19th. Use of The VORTEX is made possible through the support of VORTEX Repertory Company.

As part of DA!’s ongoing commitment to enhance the level and scope of education in our artistic community and to provide high-quality arts education to all members of our society, tickets for this incarnation of Heron and Crane are extremely affordable: $4 for youth and $6 for adults; groups of 8 youth and 1 adult can purchase a Flight Package for only $25; larger groups may apply for an additional discount.

To make reservations, call (512) 479- 7530 x 5 or go online at: http://www.datheatrecollective.org

DA! is proud to be sponsored by Hyde Park Theatre and Target. This project is funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division and by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.

DA! Theatre Collective
c/o Hyde Park Theatre
511 W. 43rd Street
Austin, Texas 78751
(512) 479- 7530 x 5