Sunday, September 28, 2003

Workshops often first stop for local playwrights

Cincinnati is still at the stage where local playwrights are most likely to see their work tried out in readings and workshops.

Joseph McDonough's One was a rare case - its only workshop (in July) was scheduled after it had won a slot in the Playhouse in the Park season.

Other local playwrights on area stages this season:

• Kevin Barry's A Note on the Type, Know Theatre Tribe, May 6-22. Barry's work has been a staple for Know for the past few years, with premieres including In Rebel Country and American Standard.

In 15th-century Britain, a nun hires a traveling monk to translate a rare manuscript fragment. In seven days and seven scenes they uncover a secret that challenges their faith and changes their future.

• Spoken word is all the rage these days and a collection by Cincinnati Shakespeare's Taylore Mahogany Scott has been compiled into Everybody Wanna Be a... which looks into the soul of a young African-American woman. It plays Dec. 7-9, 14-16 and 28-30 at the festival.

• Thom Atkinson's Cuttings, Ensemble Theatre's Off-Center/On-stage series, Oct. 30-Nov. 1. Cuttings was part of ETC's Theatre of the Mind reading series last year and advances to a workshop in October.

• Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative will have six readings at the Aronoff's Fifth Third Bank Theater in 2003-04. Fall readings are: Oct. 21, Birds Alone by C. J. Gambill; Nov. 18, Fugitive Slave by Henry Burke and Dick Croy.

• CPI will embark on its first "developmental workshops" this season with three scripts showcased at the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art and Ensemble Theatre. Titles will be announced in October.

For information on Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative contact executive director Chuck Wente at (859) 291-6996.

Also keep an eye open next spring for the 4th Biennial Midwest Regional Black Theater Festival and the first Cincinnati Fringe Festival.

Black Theater Festival executive producer Don Sherman promises that, as in previous editions, local playwrights will be represented in readings, workshops and possibly even in a full production. Decisions are expected in December.

The Fringe Festival's Jason Bruffy expects at least a half-dozen of the 35 events planned for the fringe (May 12-29) to be local scripts.

He's currently accepting new scripts for the Fringe's "Unheard Voices" competition through Nov. 30.

"A lot of people were asking to be part (of the fringe) but they didn't want to produce their own work.") Unheard Voices was his solution: two plays will be selected for staged readings.

The Fringe Festival schedule is expected to be announced in January.

Jackie Demaline

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