Thank you One and All for a Fabulous Fall Festival 2019!
“We had an array of settings and situations, casts of characters, and carefully wrought moments that were so real, they reminded us of what we all love: new plays. Here’s to 2020!”
Thank you to our audiences and members, the actors and directors, our dedicated volunteers, our host playwright and artistic team, the playwrights, and everyone in between. We love the community Ashland New Plays Festival fosters and the new works we all get a hand in supporting. New stories, new plays, are the lifeblood or theater. We’re so grateful to be on this collaborative journey with all of you. As many of the playwrights echoed this weekend, we’ve created something special, worth celebrating and sharing. Thank you everyone! And, yes, here’s to 2020!
ANPF 2019 Directors
Jackie Apodaca | Michael J Hume | Kym Moore | Chip Walton
ANPF 2019 Actors
by Michael Gotch
Directed by Chip Walton
Chris Butler | Christopher Michael Moore | Mia Morris | Corey Renfree
Todd Sible | Erica Sullivan
by David Johnston
Directed by Michael J Hume
Sean Boulton | Eileen DeSandre | Taya Dixon | Richard Elmore
David Fraioli | U. Jonathan Toppo
The Way North
by Tira Palmquist
Directed by Kym Moore
Rebecca S’Manga Frank | Aaron Galligan-Stierle | Kimberly Monks
Greta Oglesby | Carlos-Zenen Trujillo
The Night Climber
by Joshua Rebell
Directed by Jackie Apodaca
Katie Bullock | Wren Eustis | Elizabeth Gudenrath | Patrick Russell
Robert Sicular | Amy Kim Waschke
ANPF 2019 Playwright Profiles
Dear Playwrights: ANPF 2020 Script Submissions Now Open
Submit your script for consideration at ANPF 2020. Submissions will close when 450 scripts are received or on December 31, 2019, whichever comes first. Go to our Submit a Script page for instructions and to see the current count of scripts received.
ANPF Host Playwright Emerita E.M. Lewis part of OSF American Revolutions
E.M. Lewis is a playwright of extraordinary depth, care and wisdom. She has shared her amazing work with ANPF audiences both as a playwright–with her ANPF 2008 winning play Song of Extinction and our recent full production of The Gun Show–and as a new play advocate–with her many seasons as ANPF Host Playwright.
We are thrilled to share her amazing news: she is one of six playwrights chosen for Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s latest round of American Revolutions commissions. Also exciting is the fact that this powerful line-up features all women, including: Zakiyyah Alexander, Jaclyn Backhaus, E.M. Lewis, Mary Kathryn Nagle, Sara Novi and Sanaz Toossi.
“American Revolutions tells a story of our history. Who we commission tells the story of who we are now,” said OSF Artistic Director Nataki Garrett. “This is a remarkable group of artists.”
Theatre Talk 2019 Illuminates the Art of Theater
We had a wonderful 2019 ANPF Theatre Talk summer salon series. Our guests shared engaging stories about life, art, inspiration and topics in between. Thank you to Jessica Ko, Octavio Solis, Amy Kim Waschke, and Erica Sullivan for making our 8th Theatre Talk season so enjoyable and memorable!
We’ll be returning in 2020 for another Theatre Talk line-up. Stay tuned! Our guest list and advance Discount Passes are usually announced and released in the spring.
All talks begin at 7:30 pm and will be held at OSF’s Carpenter Hall, 44 S Pioneer Street, in Ashland. Tickets are $10 at the door (cash or check) or you can save when you buy online and bundle the talks. The Discount Passes include all four talks for $32.
Theatre Talk focuses on the ways guests’ lives merge with their process, skill and inspiration to create art, giving audiences insight and understanding into their work. Come find out how a simple conversation can illuminate and enhance your appreciation of theater!
Meet the ANPF 2019 Winning Playwrights!
We are excited about our four winning plays and can’t wait to share them with audiences at this year’s Fall Festival, October 16–20!
“This was the deepest pool of finalists we’ve had in my tenure at ANPF,” shared ANPF’s Artistic Director Kyle Haden, “These four plays stood out. The stories are all very different, but are all well-crafted and will stick with you.”
The winning playwrights will travel to Ashland for the festival week of receptions, rehearsals, a playwriting workshop, and other festivities that culminate with dramatic readings of their plays performed by world-class actors, many from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Southern Oregon University’s Theatre Department. ANPF offers the unique opportunity for playwrights to develop their previously unproduced works by providing skilled directors, actors and guidance from ANPF’s artistic team and ANPF Host Playwright Beth Kander. Talkbacks with audiences follow each performance.
View synopses and more information about the playwrights on our Current Winners page.
ANPF also sincerely congratulates the twelve finalists, listed below:
Harbor by Liz Appel
White Party by Brent Askari
This Holy and Unruly Cause by David Beardsley
The Captives by Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich
Signature Photo by Michael Bucklin
Even Flowers Bloom In Hell, Sometimes by Franky Gonzalez
Up The Ladder, Down The Slide by David Valdes Greenwood
Last Dance by Suzanne Logan
Hitch by James McLindon
Visionaries by Mark Rigney
Pasado Mañana by Paul Stein
The Three O’Clock Briefing by Bo Wilson
As always, we wish to extend our deepest gratitude to the amazing ANPF volunteer readers for all their hard work in the selection process. We look forward to seeing everyone at the Fall Festival, October 16–20, in Ashland!
The Gun Show by E.M. Lewis in Ashland, Oregon
We are so grateful for the incredible weekend of The Gun Show by award-winning playwright E.M. Lewis on June 14 and 15. The play is honest, poignant and powerful. Audience members shared their personal gun stories following the performance and deepened the connection and impact felt among everyone in the room.
“Went to this play last night in Ashland, Oregon. It is a powerful play, it’s purpose is to start a conversation. A conversation which will bring both sides to a mutually respectful understanding. It is based on true stories. [We] were inspired by the actor who kept us following every word and opened our minds to the other side. However the highlight was meeting the author E. M. Lewis after the show. A brave and honest woman who wants to talk. Would highly recommend if it comes your way.” – Carole Greene Dua, audience member
Many thanks to Andrew William Smith for his nuanced, down-to-earth, powerhouse performance; to Lisa Velten Smith for all her thoughtful directing, for deftly connecting the action and movement of the play to the space and making it feel at home; to E.M. for her vulnerability, courage, and beautiful, heart-breaking, funny writing, for supporting your actor and giving us a transformative experience of theater, community, and coming together.
We couldn’t have brought this play to Ashland without the artistic direction of Kyle Haden and associate artistic direction of Jackie Apodaca; the play’s generous underwriters Jane and Bill Bardin; the generous director underwriters Roger Pearce and Julie Benezet; the efforts of board members, volunteers and staff; and this incredible theater-supporting and loving community. Thank you!
About the play:
“I am here to tell a public story and a private story. A story about guns in America and a story about my own experiences with guns in America.”
And so begins the riveting one-hour play. Lewis tells her story with raw honesty and gives audiences important insight into the nuances of America’s gun debate. Since the play’s 2014 Jefferson Award-nominee world premiere in Chicago, it has gone on to receive critical acclaim and sold-out performances across the country and an international premiere in 2017 at Edinburgh Fringe Festival. ANPF’s production was directed by Lisa Velten Smith.
In The Gun Show, Lewis takes aim at her own relationship with firearms, from her experiences in a farming community in rural Oregon to the big cities of Los Angeles and New York. Lewis’s stories are brought to life by Andrew William Smith, who completed a month-long production of The Gun Show in March at Pittsburgh’s Quantum Theatre.
Read more about the play and Lewis’s thoughts behind it in this Mail Tribune article: “Play tackles gun debate in America.”
You can listen to an interview with Lewis, William Smith and Velten Smith on JPR’s Jefferson Exchange.
“I didn’t try and go down the middle. I tried to reach out toward both sides and include everybody in the conversation. This is not a centrist play, this is an inclusive play.” – E.M. Lewis
E.M. Lewis is a former ANPF winning playwright (Song of Extinction, ANPF 2008) and served as host playwright for eight ANPF Fall Festival seasons. Her work has been produced around the world and published by Samuel French. Among her many accolades as a playwright and librettist, she received the Steinberg Award for Song of Extinction and the Primus Prize for Heads from the American Theater Critics Association, the Ted Schmitt Award from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle for outstanding writing of a world premiere play, an L.A. Weekly Award for Production of the Year, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, a playwriting fellowship from the New Jersey State Arts Commission, and the 2016 Oregon Literary Fellowship in Drama.
Click here to learn more.
Play4Keeps: Where new plays live!
Ashland New Plays Festival is pleased to announce our new initiative Play4Keeps Podcast, a year-round Festival of New Plays available on demand.
Play4Keeps is a subscription podcast service presenting powerful new plays performed by some of our best actors. Plays are written to be spoken, written to be heard—hear what you’ve been missing.
Compelling, convenient, and affordable, this ever-growing treasury of new works for the stage features plays by accomplished playwrights in a format that suits your lifestyle. At the gym, on the trail, in the car, wherever you listen, your mobile device is your ticket to Play4Keeps.
You can help us build and perfect this exciting new platform for theater. We are currently beta testing Play4Keeps among our friends and supporters.
Founding subscribers will receive an annual premium subscription for $5 per month and are guaranteed that rate for life. That’s a 40% discount from the regular $99 fee and will only be available for a very limited time.
The premium subscription gives you all-access to our living library which begins with 16 plays in 2018 and will grow to 36 plays in the first full year. By December 2020, there will be 60 plays to choose from and our collection will continue to grow.
If you want to know what’s happening in theater, hear from the best playwrights and experience new works for the stage. Let us bring them alive for you. Start exploring Play4Keeps now!
Past ANPF Winning Play Wins Pulitzer Prize for Drama 2018
The 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama was awarded to Cost of Living by Martyna Majok, a play that headlined Ashland New Plays Festival’s Women’s Invitational in 2016.
Cost of Living is “an honest, original work that invites audiences to examine diverse perceptions of privilege and human connection through two pairs of mismatched individuals: a former trucker and his recently paralyzed ex-wife, and an arrogant young man with cerebral palsy and his new caregiver,” the Pulitzer Prize Board said.
Following the ANPF presentation of Majok’s play in March 2016, it later received fully-staged productions at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and then at New York’s Manhattan Theatre Club.
“Cost of Living is a beautiful play,” said ANPF Artistic Director Kyle Haden, “I’ve been excited to watch its journey after our reading here in Ashland during the Women’s Invitational, through its major productions, and now being recognized with one of the highest honors a play can receive. I couldn’t be more thrilled for Martyna.”
The Ashland reading of Majok’s play was enthusiastically received by the local audience. It was directed by Penny Metropulos, long associated with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The acting company was Armando Durán, Regan Linton, Valerie Anne Huntington, Christopher Imbrosciano, and Samuel L. Wick.
“All of us at ANPF are very pleased by Martyna’s well deserved success,” ANPF Board President James Pagliasotti said, “Bringing powerful voices like hers to our audience is what the Women’s Invitational was intended to do.”
Majok (pronounced my-oak) is a native of Poland and grew up in the U.S. She studied at the University of Chicago, Yale School of Drama, and Julliard. Her plays have been produced at many leading theaters.
Click here to learn more about ANPF’s past winners.