TheatreSquared today announced the lineup for the 2012 Arkansas New Play Festival, the theatre's fourth annual celebration of new works for the stage. The festival will feature staged reading performances of four professional plays, a showcase of ten-minute plays by Arkansas high school students, and Northwest Arkansas's sixth annual 24-Hour Play-Off. In partnership with the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, T2's lineup of new works will also be presented at Oxford American Magazine's new venue in Little Rock (1300 Main Street, May 17-18). The lineup of events in Northwest Arkansas 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.
"The Arkansas New Play Festival is the state's only dedicated professional outlet for the development of new work, and seeks to give voice to emerging playwrights whose stories resonate with the shifting demographics of mid-America," said T2 Artistic Director Robert Ford. "This year's lineup is incredibly exciting-with music, bold storytelling and strong Arkansas ties. I can't wait to hear the conversations they spark."
"Last year's new play festival was a highlight of our 36th season," said Bob Hupp, Arkansas Repertory Theatre Producing Artistic Director. "We are pleased to partner once again with our friends at TheatreSquared in Fayetteville. Their work brings a new dimension to what we can offer audiences in central Arkansas and this year's lineup of readings promises to be especially dynamic."
Friday, May 18
7:30pm – Uprooted by Clinnesha D. Sibley ($7)
Saturday, May 19
6:00pm – The Spiritualist by Robert Ford ($7)
8:00pm – The Ballad of Rusty and Roy by Janelle and Troy Schremmer ($7)
Sunday, May 20
1:00pm – Arkansas Young Playwrights Showcase (FREE)
3:30pm – "The Football Project" by Samuel Brett Williams ($7)
6:00pm – The 24 Hour Play-Off ($10)
UPROOTED, by Clinnesha Dillon Sibley - Friday, May 18, 7:30pm
A richly drawn treatment of a timeless scenario by an award-winning Arkansas playwright. What happens when long-separated siblings reunite after the death of a parent? When successful film actress Venus Kettle returns to Indianola, Mississippi, to her mother's "home going," she is greeted by her sisters with a wide range of emotions, from enthusiastic glee to cold-shoulder resentment. In the meantime the play follows the parallel story of Venus's brother, who is incarcerated in a facility in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Uprooted is moving tribute to the redemptive power of family.
THE SPIRITUALIST, by Robert Ford - Saturday, May 19, 6:00pm
TheatreSquared Artistic Director Robert Ford brings The Spiritualist back to the Arkansas New Play Festival for a second year of development, adding new revisions and, for the first time, original music. Inspired by true events, this comedic drama introduces Rosemary Dunn, an English widow who cooks for the school lunch service and communes with the spirits of dead composers. When an enterprising American reporter tries to unmask the self-proclaimed psychic as a fraud, he finds there may be more at play than simple musical sleight-of-hand.
THE BALLAD OF RUSTY AND ROY, by Troy and Jonny Schremmer - Saturday, May 19, 8:00pm
This new play with live, original music, follows the story of two half-brothers, both musicians with roots in Texas who have found their way to New York City along starkly divergent paths. One has an enthusiastic following on the New York music scene, the other among toddlers at the neighborhood church playgroup where he works. Circumstances reunite the two brothers, but a deeply troubled past involving a boyhood road trip threatens to tear them apart once again. Featuring songs – and performances – by Dusty Brown, who himself has a burgeoning career as a singer-songwriter in New York, an early version of The Ballad of Rusty and Roy was featured at the New York Fringe Festival.
THE FOOTBALL PROJECT, an untitled work by Samuel Brett Williams - Sunday, May 20, 3:30pm
November, 1998: a high school football team boarded a bus to travel to play in the state championship game. The entire town came out to see the team off-but the bus never left. One third-string player who played for mere seconds in the previous game forged his grades and caused the team to be disqualified from the championship. The town's response was unprecedented. There were death threats, thoughts of suicide, vandalism and then a surprising amount of goodwill and even a bit of unexpected heroism. A snapshot of a town in crisis, examining one of the rare places where the ordinary and the epic, the petty and the profound collide: high school football.