Plays explore themes of race, religion, family

<p>ASU’s Herberger School of Theatre and Film will premiere three plays in upcoming weeks as part of its annual Festival of New Work.</p><separator></separator><p>This year’s events are designed to highlight promising new plays from ASU graduate student playwrights and the national artistic community. They explore themes of race, religion and ties that bind families together.</p><separator></separator><p>The performances include:</p><separator></separator><p>• “Black Sheep Gospel” by Katie May, directed by Bill Partlan, 7:30 p.m., Nov. 16, Nov. 20, Nov. 29 and Dec. 1: The play explores the memory and perceptions of three sisters who reunite when their stepfather is about to die. Each sister – a B-movie actress who left home as a teen, a lesbian-scientist fighting for her view of the world, and the youngest who adopted the religious philosophy of their stepfather – approaches the life and death of the patriarch from her own unique point of view. Ultimately, however, the women must confront their pasts and their own relationships to move forward.</p><separator></separator><p>• “Jonny May’s Soul Kitchen” by Wind Woods, 7:30 p.m., Nov. 17-18, Nov. 30, and 2 p.m., Dec. 2: During the times of the controversial gentrification of North East Portland, Jonny May struggles with the decision to sell her family restaurant, or resist the changing times by continuing to nourish the community that raised her. At the same time, her young nephew, freshly radicalized at college, chooses to fight the “Powers That Be” head-on, with dire consequences for all.</p><separator></separator><p>• “Triangle” (staged reading), by Laurie Brooks, directed by Gary Minyard, 2 p.m., Nov. 18 and Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m., Nov. 20 and Nov. 30: This new work, to be performed at Nelson Fine Arts Center, room 133 (not Lyceum Theatre), was commissioned by the School of Theatre and Film from award-winning playwright Laurie Brooks, who is known for her thoughtful plays for young audiences. Set against the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911, Brooks uses imagery, movement and language to explore the immigrant experience, and the turning point at which children become adults. Audiences attending the staged reading will have the opportunity to see a play evolve into a full production next spring. The performance is suitable for youth and adults.</p><separator></separator><p>The cost for the performances ranges from $7 to $22. There is also a “buy one, get one free” special on the first Friday of any MainStage production.</p><separator></separator><p>For more information, call the Herberger College box office at (480) 965-6447.</p>