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Festival of New Work Highlights Talented Playwrights


Gus Edwards (E.J.) and Maria Enriquez (Mrs. Worthmore) in Skylark Dreams, part of the ASU Herberger MainStage Theatre Festival of New Work, Nov. 9–19, 2006.


Photo by Tim Trumble

October 18, 2006

TEMPE, Ariz. – Theatre lovers who want a sneak peek at the newest work by ASU graduate student playwrights can enjoy two productions and two staged readings in the ASU Herberger College MainStage Theatre Festival of New Work, Nov. 9-19. Audiences will discover wide-ranging characters who face familiar and foreign situations in the search for themselves.

The most compelling aspect of The Festival of New Work is that it provides an opportunity for graduate playwrights to see their work in front of an audience – a critical part of the play development process. 

“It’s all about process and a venture into the unknown,” says Guillermo Reyes, head of playwriting in the School of Theatre and Film. “We’re exploring new ideas and concepts. These are our playwrights, living breathing entities working through their imagination on the local stage.” 

A keynote address by Carol Sorgenfrei, professor of playwriting and performance studies at the University of California, Los Angeles kicks off The Festival of New Work. The pre-show discussion is free and open to the public at 5 p.m., Nov. 9 in the Lyceum Theatre, 901 S. Forest Mall on the ASU Tempe campus. 

The first production in The Festival of New Work is Skylark Dreams by Wind Woods. The play is directed by Theatre professor William Partlan. Theatre professor and Valley favorite Gus Edwards plays a featured role. The play is about finding courage to face one’s true self and then finding the strength to start all over. Denise is the owner and head mechanic of an auto garage. She’s obsessed with the dream that a mysterious customer with whom she fell in love, will one day return for his Buick™ Skylark. She continues to work in the garage that has not only become a lot for abandoned vehicles, but also of abandoned dreams. Show times are 7:30 p.m., Nov. 9 & 16; 2 p.m., Nov. 12 & 19 in the Lyceum Theatre, 901 S. Forest Mall on the ASU Tempe campus.

The House Where Nobody Lives by Paul North is directed by Guillermo Reyes. The play is about being lost and choosing to remain that way. It measures the desperation of inaction and follows the characters through their individual illusions toward an unknown end. Questions of fate, free will and death challenge the mind and explore the extent that people will go to make themselves forget. Show times are 7:30 p.m., Nov. 11, 15 & 17; 2 p.m., Nov. 18 in the Lyceum Theatre, 901 S. Forest Mall on the ASU Tempe campus.

In addition to the new plays, two staged readings of Lloronas and Bottom Line also are a part of The Festival of New Work. Theatre-goers have the rare opportunity to see the plays in their development phases. 

Lloronas is a reading by Carlos Manuel and directed by Patrick Demers. The story is adapted from a well-known Mexican folktale about a woman who drowns her children to avenge her cheating husband. Marisela’s struggle is mirrored in the 17th century, where Xochilt, becomes “La Llorona” (the crying woman), while Marisela becomes a representation of the Mexican folktale. Readings are 2 p.m., Nov. 11 and 7:30 p.m., Nov. 18 in the Nelson Fine Arts Center room 133, located at the corner of 10th Street and Myrtle Avenue on the ASU Tempe campus. 

Bottom Line is a reading by Gregory L. Farber and directed by Chris Hamby. The tale explores the relationship between corporate culture and American society. An experimental multimedia work, this satire portrays many characters’ struggles through the worlds of business, media and politics. This play is a darkly comic portrait of money’s corrupting influence. Readings are 7:30 p.m., Nov. 12 & 19 in the Nelson Fine Arts Center room 133, located at the corner of 10th Street and Myrtle Avenue on the ASU Tempe campus.

Tickets for The Festival of New Work productions are $7 - $22; tickets for the staged readings are $7 and available athttp://mainstage.asu.edu/, or through the Herberger College Box Office, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays, and noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays, 480-965-6447. Both plays take place in the Lyceum Theatre, at 901 S. Forest Mall on the ASU Tempe campus. The staged readings take place in the Nelson Fine Arts Center room 133, located at the corner of 10th Street and Myrtle Avenue on the ASU Tempe campus. 

The Herberger College School of Theatre and Film 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 creative writing/playwriting program is ranked 15th among public institutions by “U.S. News & World Report.” Learn more about the School of Theatre and Film at: http://theatre.asu.edu