T2 Announces 2013 Arkansas New Play Festival

TheatreSquared Announces Lineup of Bold New Work

June 14-16, 2013 in Northwest Arkansas

New Partnership with University Theatre
Offers Patrons A Month of New Works in NWA

For Further Information, Contact
Martin Miller, Managing Director
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NORTHWEST ARKANSAS— May 20, 2013—TheatreSquared today announced the lineup for the 2013 Arkansas New Play Festival, the theatre’s fifth annual celebration of bold new works for the stage. The festival will feature staged reading performances of four plays by professional playwrights, a showcase of ten-minute plays by Arkansas high school students, and Northwest Arkansas’s seventh annual 24-Hour Play-Off. For the first time, the Arkansas New Play Festival is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Tickets are $7 (staged reading performances), $10 (The 24 Hour Play-Off), or $30 for a New Play Pass including all festival events, and can be reserved by calling the Walton Arts Center Box Office at (479) 443-5600 or online at theatre2.org.  Through a new “Month of New Plays” partnership with the University of Arkansas Department of Drama, New Play Pass buyers may also add admission to six new work performances by UA students for just $10. Performances will take place at Walton Arts Center’s Nadine Baum Studios (505 W. Spring St., Fayetteville). Each new play reading will be followed by a conversation with the playwright, director and cast.

“Four leading playwrights are bringing scripts in raw form to Northwest Arkansas this June,” said T2 Artistic Director Robert Ford. “We’re thrilled to match them with TheatreSquared’s artists and audience and help shape these bold new works. If you love storytelling and great theatre, this is a weekend you won’t want to miss.”

Arkansas New Play Festival Performance Schedule:

Friday, June 14 
6:30pm – Don Chipotle by Juan Francisco Villa ($7)
8:30pm – Raw Vision by Les Wade ($7)

Saturday, June 15   
2:00pm  – Arkansas Young Playwrights Showcase (Free)
6:30pm – If I Did This by E.M. Lewis ($7)
8:30pm – Swimming with Van Gogh by Susan Felder ($7)

Sunday, June 16   
6:30pm – The 24 Hour Play-Off  ($10)

A lineup of additional new play performances by UA Department of Drama students is available at drama.uark.edu.

Professional New Play Lineup:
DON CHIPOTLE, by Juan Francisco Villa — Friday, June 14, 6:30pm
Two 11-year-old boys—a hero and his sidekick—set out on a quixotic quest through the streets of the Lower East Side to locate the missing Twin Towers. A raw, comic fable that draws on the Columbian-American experience in New York, this new play shines a bright light on social hypocrisies and the adventurous spirit of youth.

RAW VISION, by Les Wade — Friday, June 14, 8:30pm
An African-American brother and sister, both 30-something, live a ramshackle existence well off the grid in southern Louisiana. She is the brilliant, if deeply conflicted, caretaker of her artist brother, whose paintings have recently begun to turn up on the New Orleans art scene.  When an outside interloper — who can't seem to keep his story straight — insinuates himself into their close-knit world, all three lives are changed forever. A gorgeously poetic drama, Raw Vision will remind many of the Oscar-nominated film, Beasts of the Southern Wild, in its heartfelt portrayal of a stubbornly offbeat way of life.

IF I DID THIS, by E.M. Lewis — Saturday, June 15, 6:30pm
A brainy, edge-of-your-seat thriller about a ghost writer, an acquitted murder suspect who is his subject, and the literary editor who may (or may not) be his best friend in the world. A brilliantly theatrical jigsaw puzzle, this play goes to the heart of the question, “What is truth?”  — or maybe, “Whose ‘truth’ is really true?” Part film noir, part theatrical tease, If I Did This will toy with your perceptions and touch your heart.

SWIMMING WITH VAN GOGH, by Susan Felder — Saturday, June 15, 8:30pm
Set in a lighthouse just off the coast of Lake Superior, Swimming with Van Gogh tells the story of a middle-aged painter who stumbles into sudden prominence, only to come face-to-face with her own worse doubts—not to mention an old flame, a mid-career artist who knows just how to keep her off-balance. When an adoring young art student invades her lighthouse retreat, the chemistry becomes overpowering. This play takes a profound look at the possibility, and impossibility, of originality and renewal as an artist.

Special Performances:
In partnership with the University of Arkansas Brown Chair of Literacy, TheatreSquared is proud to present, for the fourth year, the Arkansas Young Playwrights Showcase. Students from across the state have been invited to submit scripts, and six will be selected for public readings at the Arkansas New Play Festival.

THE 24-HOUR PLAY-OFF — Sunday, June 16, 6:30pm
TheatreSquared is partnering with Fayetteville-based Ceramic Cow Productions to present the Northwest Arkansas 24-Hour Play-Off, a perennial favorite for artists and audiences alike. Teams of artists will write, rehearse, and perform a new ten-minute play, all within the space of 24 hours, in competition for a grand prize sponsored by local businesses. 

Through a new partnership with the University Theatre at the University of Arkansas, the 2013 Arkansas New Play Festival will be offered together with six additional student performances scheduled throughout June by professional artists-in-training at the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.   A $40 “Month of New Plays” Package will include admission to all TheatreSquared’s Arkansas New Play Festival events and to student performances scheduled at 7:30pm on June 7, 8, 19, 20, 22, 23, 26, and 27. A complete listing of Department of Drama performances offered during the Month of New Plays is available at drama.uark.edu.

Featured Playwrights:
Juan Francisco Villa (Don Chipotle) is a Colombian-American actor and playwright, and a native of the Lower East Side of New York City. This summer he will appear in the World Premiere of Mojada by Luis Alfaro to be directed by Chay Yew at Victory Gardens. His nationally produced solo play Empanada for a Dream made the Best of 2012 list on the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Reader. He also received a 2012 ITB Patrick Lee Award for Outstanding Solo Performance and was a 2012 NY IT Award Nominee for Solo Performance and Original Full Length Script. Chicago credits: Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf, Rivendell, SALSATION, 16th Street Theater, and Teatro Vista. NYC credits: Rattlestick, Mabou Mines, INTAR, terraNOVA Collective, Rising Circle, Monarch, HERO, Lark, Collaboration Town, BAX, 59E59, and La Mama. Los Angeles credits: Los Angeles Theater Center and Celebration Theater. He is an ensemble member of Teatro Vista in Chicago and InViolet in NYC. He is a member of AEA-SAG/AFTRA and a graduate of Maggie Flanigan’s Meisner Conservatory in NYC.

Les Wade (Raw Vision) is an award-winning playwright and scholar of dramatic theory and criticism. His play, Raw Vision, was previously workshopped at Kitchen Dog Theatre's 2006 New Play Festival in Dallas and at 93 Feet East in London. Other plays include Shelter of Last Resort: Gonzo's Blue Dream (New Play Festival—Swine Place Theatre at Louisiana State University) and The purple Bird and the coler Tree (New Plays for the Next Century Festival—Atlanta's Horizon Theatre Company), which received a production by the LSU Department of Theatre. He is currently a faculty member at the University of Arkansas Department of Drama and holds a Ph.D. in Dramatic Art from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

E.M. Lewis (If I Did This) wrote the 2009 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award-winner Song of Extinction, which premiered in Los Angeles (Production of the Year—LA Weekly; Outstanding New Play—Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle) and has since received multiple productions and been published by Dramatics magazine and Samuel French. Other titles include Heads (2008 Primus Prize; Best of 2007—LA Times), Infinite Black Suitcase (available form Samuel French), and Strong Voice. She has developed work at the Ashland New Plays Festival in Oregon, the William Inge Center for the Arts in Kansas, and HotCity Theater's Greenhouse Festival in St. Louis—where her most recent work, Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday, premiered in 2012. She is the recipient of a 2010-11 Hodder Fellowship in playwriting from Princeton University and a 2012 Playwriting Fellowship from the New Jersey Council for the Arts.  New projects underway include The Gun Show, The Stone Languages, and Magellanica: A New and Accurate Map of the World.  Member: Dramatists Guild.

Susan Felder (Swimming with Van Gogh) has been a professional actor, director and educator for more than 20 years. Most recently, her play Wasteland received a critically acclaimed world premiere at Chicago's Timeline Theatre Company. Other scripts include Temple Spirit, which was workshopped by The House Theatre of Chicago; and Jumping Mouse, a short play written for Kids in Distress. Selections from her musical Waking Eden were chosen to be performed at the Royal George for Chicago Musical Theatre Works. As a director and actor, she has worked at theaters in Chicago—including Steppenwolf, Goodman, Northlight, Next, Chicago Shakespeare, Court, Remy Bummpo and others—and throughout the country, including at Orlando Shakespeare, Indiana Repertory and Montana Shakespeare. She teaches theatre at Loyola and Northwestern Universities in Chicago.  She holds an MFA from the Academy for Classical Acting at George Washington University and is a member of Actor’s Equity Association.

Tickets for The 2013 Arkansas New Play Festival are on sale beginning today at the Walton Arts Center Box Office, and can be reserved by calling (479) 443-5600 or visiting theatre2.org. Staged reading tickets are $7 and 24 Hour Play-Off tickets are $10, with a Play Fest Pass granting access to all TheatreSquared events available for $30 ($15/under 30), and a Month of New Plays Package granting admission to both the Arkansas New Play Festival and seven additional University of Arkansas Department of Drama performances for $40.

TheatreSquared's locally produced and nationally acclaimed productions reach 22,000 patrons each year. The company is Northwest Arkansas's only year-round professional theatre, offering a unique audience experience in its intimate 175-seat theatre at Walton Arts Center's Nadine Baum Studios. In 2011, TheatreSquared was recognized by the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards, as one of the nation's ten most promising emerging theatres. For further information, contact TheatreSquared at 479.445.6333 or visit the theatre's website at theatre2.org.

The 2013 Arkansas New Play Festival is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Major funding for the TheatreSquared Season 7 is provided by The Walton Family Foundation, Inc., and the Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

Major marketing support for TheatreSquared Season 7 is provided by the Fayetteville Advertising and Promotions Commission. Media sponsors include NWA Media, CitiScapes, Fayetteville Flyer, KUAF and MailCo USA.

Martin Miller