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Happy Birthday, Arizona! Centennial Plays reflect the past and imagine the future of our state

The Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

Photo courtesy of Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

October 13, 2011

The ASU Herberger Institute School of Theatre and Film MainStage Season.

Six short plays selected from a nationwide search for playwrights’ impressions of Arizona as the state marks its 100th year of statehood have their encore performance Oct. 21–29.

The plays range from a young African-American woman’s memory of working in fields with Mexican migrant workers to a comic view of the gunfight at OK Corral.

Each play offers a unique take on Arizona’s Centennial, according to Professor Guillermo Reyes, who is chairman of the Arizona Centennial New Works Series at ASU School of Theatre and Film in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.
The plays were selected and piloted at the Phoenix Theatre New Works Festival last summer, and will have their encore at MainStage.

Dan Schay, Phoenix Theatre’s managing director, will reprise his role as director. The production is part of the Arizona Centennial Project New Works Series.
Here is a brief description of the plays that could surprise, offend and/or delight audiences, according to Reyes.

Beverly Smith-Dawson’s One Summer is a gentle memory about growing up in Arizona as a young African-American woman goes off to work in the fields alongside Mexican migrant workers.

Daniel Hahn’s Naked Arizona lampoons the tough task of selling Arizona’s image to the rest of the world in light of recent political events that may have soiled the state’s reputation in some circles.

Leigh Kennicot’s The Last Train at La Posada is a surreal play of a woman haunted by the ghost of a Native American while waiting for a train at La Posada, a station abandoned long ago.

Robert Brophy in Catfight at the OK Corral, Summer 1881 offers a comic view of the famous gunfight.

Mario Mendoza’s A Mad Dog in the Fog is a surreal impression of a nurse who must decide whether to provide organ transplants to a group of dying owls in an Arizona in which health care has been decimated.

Laura Neubauer places a romantic comedy, Queen Bee, in the sightlines of the Hoover Dam and connects the environment of the desert to a couple’s romantic troubles.

James Garcia in American Dream: The Life and Times of Raul H. Castro, provides a portrait of the state’s first and only Mexican-American governor.

The show contains mature language and themes and may not be appropriate for younger audiences.

Nelson Fine Arts Center Room 133, ASU Tempe campus

Oct. 21-22, 27-29 at 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 23 and 30 at 2 p.m.

$8–$16; Seniors, ASU faculty, staff and students receive special rates. Special discounts for groups available.

Public Contact
Herberger Institute box office, 480.965.6447
School of Theatre and Film. 480.965.5337 

The School of Theatre and Film in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University provides a comprehensive range of courses in performance and directing; design and production; new work development; theatre and performance studies; film; and theatre for youth. Its Theatre for Youth program is nationally ranked in the top three and the dramatic writing/playwriting program is ranked 15th among public institutions by U.S.News & World Report. To learn more about the School of Theatre and Film, visit

Media Contact:
Laurie A. Trotta Valenti
ASU Herberger Institute 
School of Theatre and Film