Beginning on April 24, the University of Utah will be hosting readings from student playwrights Daniel Amsel, Alex Coltrin, Haley Pulsipher, Wesley Mathis and Daily Utah Chronicle writer Catherine Heiner as part of the New Play Workshops. These workshops offer an intimate look into what goes into the making of a play while also providing scholarship opportunities for participating theater students.
The sessions will kick off with a reading of Amsel’s “On the Subject of Tinder,” which examines dating culture in social media and how it can be affected by opposing political views. This reading will be directed by Louis Hillegass IV. Next is “Generations,” written by Coltrin tackles themes of gender identity, parenting and bullying. It will be directed by Kelsey Jensen. Both of these one-act plays will be performed on Monday, April 24.
On Apr. 25, Pulsipher’s “Adrift” with direction by Monica Goff will immerse the audience in the story of a group of homeless women located in Portland in the mid-20th century and the difficulties which accompany their situation.
April 26 will feature Mathis’ “La Maldacion de San Simon” with direction from Isabella Reeder. This reading deals with a man’s quest to rid himself of a curse which has plagued him with terrible luck.
Heiner’s “Shots Fired” will be performed Apr. 27. Directed by Beret Brems, the show addresses the controversial issue of “trigger warnings,” specifically in academic contexts. “Shots Fired” also serves as one of Heiner’s two thesis projects through the Honors College and it attempts to view triggering occurrences as a concept rather than sticking to a single situation. The workshop process will examine what components of the narrative were crucial in maintaining this wider scope.
Given the fact that these readings are staged, they will allow audiences a first look at these stories in a more intimate setting than can be offered by a full-on production. Each performance will also be accompanied by a panel discussion in which dialogue between audiences and the writing and creative team(s) is encouraged.
For those majoring in theater, the department has just announced the addition of two new scholarships. The Promising Playwright Award requires students be enrolled full-time as a major in the Department of Theatre, have a minimum 3.0 GPA, complete specific course requirements, attend the New Plays Workshop and most importantly, submit an original play for consideration.
Students interested in applying for the scholarship should also note that future enrollment in THEA 4220 New Plays Workshop is also necessary. Developed by the Department of Theatre, this class is designed to give students a comprehensive and invaluable look into the process of workshops. Students are able to take part in every aspect of the workshop and writers can see their scripts come to life while also receiving constructive feedback.
Applications for the Promising Playwrights Award scholarship can be completed and submitted at the following address: http://theatre.utah.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Early-Playwriting-Scholarship-2017.doc
Readings will be held on Apr. 24, 25 and 27 at 7 p.m. in Studio 115 of the Performing Arts Building.