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.
Ashland New Plays Festival’s Theatre Talk 2019
ANPF Theatre Talk, now in its 8th season, is a monthly summer salon series that features conversations with theater professionals. 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.
Our guests this year are Oregon Shakespeare Festival actor Jessica Ko on Monday, June 3; award-winning playwright and author Octavio Solis on Monday, July 8; OSF actor Amy Kim Waschke on Monday, August 12; and OSF actor Erica Sullivan on Monday, September 23.
All conversations begin at 7:30 pm and will be held at OSF’s Carpenter Hall, 44 S Pioneer Street, in Ashland. Tickets to individual talks are $10 at the door (cash or check) or advance Discount Passes can be purchased online or by check to all four talks for $32.
Purchase your Discount Pass today!
Click here to learn more about our guests or how to mail in your payment.
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!
Submissions for ANPF 2019 Now Closed
Dear playwrights! Thank you for submitting your new works for consideration at ANPF’s 2019 Fall Festival. Now begins the ANPF readers’ journey of reading your plays. Finalists and winners will be announced early summer 2019. Submissions for ANPF 2020 will open July 2019. Thank you for sharing your words and stories with us. We look forward to discovering your new works!
ANPF’s flagship Fall Festival is an international playwright competition that culminates in dramatic readings of four new plays chosen from hundreds of submissions in blind readings by a dedicated team of local volunteers with final selection by our artistic director. This unique and much-loved five-day festival in Ashland, Oregon, features outstanding actors and directors, many from Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Southern Oregon University’s Theatre Department. Talkbacks with audiences follow each performance.
The winning playwrights receive a $1,500 stipend and local accommodations. The ANPF 2019 Fall Festival will take place October 16–20, 2019. Click here to learn more.
Gratitude and Cheer for Fall Festival 2018
What an amazing Fall Festival! Thank you so much to all those who made the experience, the readings, the whole event, so wonderful: our winning playwrights, ANPF members, underwriters, readers, audiences, volunteers, staff, crew, actors, and directors.
This was Ashland New Plays Festival’s 27th year presenting new works for the stage and we are thrilled with the impact these impressive plays had on us and the community. The Abuelas by Stephanie Alison Walker will receive its world premiere at Teatro Vista in Chicago in February 2019 and we heartily wish for full productions of The Excavation of Mary Anning by Ian August, Primary User by Nate Eppler, and COLD SPRING by Victor Lesniewski.
If you attended this year’s Fall Festival, we’d love to hear from you through our online survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VRVJKNN
A winner will be selected from the survey respondents and they’ll receive two free Festival Passes to 2019’s Fall Festival. Surveys close November 7, so get your responses in sooner rather than later!
ANPF’s Fall Festival 2018
ANPF 2018 was our 27th season presenting the best new works to audiences in the Rogue Valley! From October 17 – 21, 2018, at the Unitarian Center in Ashland, we offered our winning playwrights the invaluable opportunity to share new works with discerning theater-goers and collaborate with world-class actors and directors under expert guidance from our artistic director and host playwright.
The four winning plays were presented as dramatic readings in matinee and evening performances. ANPF 2018’s festival featured new work by Ian August, Nate Eppler, Victor Lesniewski, and Stephanie Alison Walker, who was a returning winner. Click here to read more about the playwrights and their plays. View the full schedule below:
ANPF 2018 Actors and Directors
The Excavation of Mary Anning
By Ian August
Directed by Penny Metropulos
Shannon R. Davis | Marie-Claire Erdynast | Alejandra Escalante*
Livia Genise* | Jennie Greenberry* | Michele Mais* | Meghan Nealon
By Nate Eppler
Directed by Kyle Haden
Esther Chen* | Catherine Lynn Davis* | Scott Ford | Elizabeth Gudenrath*
Daniel José Molina*
By Victor Lesniewski
Directed by Terri McMahon
Jackie Apodaca* | Tiffany Cooper* | Sophie Green
U. Jonathan Toppo* | Christine Williams*
By Stephanie Alison Walker
Directed by Ricardo Gutierrez
Alina Ceñal* | Angela Hernandez | Willem Long* | Scott Patrick Ragle*
Nancy Rodriguez* | Nolan Sanchez | Vilma Silva*
* Appearing through an Agreement between ANPF and Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
Penny Metropulos | Kyle Haden | Terri McMahon | Ricardo Gutierrez
ANPF 2018 Winning Playwrights Announced
We are excited to announce the winning playwrights and plays for our annual Fall Festival 2018!
Ian August for The Excavation of Mary Anning
Synopsis: In 19th century England, fossil hunter Mary Anning combs the earth for glimpses of the ancient past while also fighting to claim her legacy in a society that refuses to acknowledge her worth.
Ian August is a New Jersey-based playwright and librettist. His works have been performed across the U.S., as well as in Canada, Australia, the UK, South Korea and Bermuda. He is a founding member of the Princeton-based Witherspoon Circle and a graduate of the Philadelphia playwriting workshop The Foundry.
Synopsis: A cutting-edge chatbot unintentionally becomes a digital monument when one of its creators dies unexpectedly, leaving his loved ones to argue over ownership of the digital remains – and their own grief.
Nate Eppler is a playwright and new play advocate currently serving as Playwright-in-Residence for Nashville Repertory Theatre. In addition to his work as a playwright, Eppler serves as Director of the Ingram New Works Project, a nationally recognized and locally valued program designed to connect artists and audiences across extraordinary new plays. He is represented by The Gersh Agency.
Victor Lesniewski for Cold Spring
Synopsis: After a teenager accuses his baseball coach of sexual assault, four parents attempt to deal with the response of their close-knit community while the ramifications resound through their own relationships.
Victor Lesniewski’s plays have received world premieres at TBG Theatre and The Wild Project in NYC. He was the only American to be shortlisted for the inaugural Theatre503 Playwriting Award and was a 2015-16 Uncharted Artist in Residence at Ars Nova. He is currently an Artistic Patriot at Merrimack Rep and a member of The Playwrights Union.
Stephanie Alison Walker for The Abuelas
Synopsis: A visit from two strangers exposes a 37-year-old secret about the
ongoing and devastating repercussions of the military dictatorship in Argentina in the 1970s and ‘80s. The Abuelas explores the heart’s capacity for resilience and forgiveness even in the face of the most incomprehensible betrayal.
Stephanie Alison Walker is a returning ANPF Fall Festival winner, previously winning in 2016 for The Madres, which is receiving four consecutive productions in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Diego, and Austin, as part of a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere this year. The Abuelas is a companion piece. Walker is a NNPN Affiliate Artist and a member of the Playwrights Union and Antaeus Playwrights Lab. She lives in Los Angeles.
We look forward to welcoming the four winning playwrights to Ashland for our annual Fall Festival from October 17–21, 2018.
A week of receptions, rehearsals, a playwriting workshop, and other festivities will culminate with dramatic readings of their plays, which will be performed by some of our finest actors in both matinee and evening performances at the Unitarian Center, 87 Fourth Street, in Ashland. Talkbacks with Ashland’s sophisticated audiences will follow each performance.
Ticket sales will open to the public in September. ANPF members will have priority access to select their tickets when they receive their Festival Passes.
We wish to extend our deepest gratitude to the amazing ANPF volunteer readers for all their hard work in the selection process and choosing the top 15 finalists.
“As usual, the readers gave me a fascinating group of finalists,” Artistic Director Kyle Haden said, “After doing some close reading, I couldn’t be more excited about our four winners. We have a wide array of stories where there’s something for everyone here. I’m really looking forward to introducing these playwrights and their work to Ashland audiences this October.”
Finally, we sincerely congratulate the other eleven finalists, listed below,
Omen Road to Starrville by Erik Champney
Chaos is Come Again by Quinton Cockrell
Butterflies and Margarine by Oded Gross
Teach by Donna Hoke
Nancy F@&*ing Reagan by Daniel Hurewitz
Eight Nights by Jennifer Maisel
Age of Consent by Ruth McKee
Otis by Shanti Reinhardt
The Harder Courage by Leslie Slape
Late in the Game by Barbara Snow
Random Access by Mary Carol Stunkel
ANPF Theatre Talk Summer 2018
ANPF Theatre Talk is a salon series of conversations with prominent local actors and other theater professionals, inspired by James Lipton’s television series Inside the Actors Studio. All conversations begin at 7:30 p.m. and are held at the Bellview Grange.
Tickets for individual talks are $10 and are available at the door with cash or check. Subscription Passes are available every spring with a bundled discount price for all four talks.
This season features conversations with:
Join us and find out how a simple conversation can uniquely illuminate the art of theater!
For more information, click here to view Theatre Talk’s page on our website.
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.
Ashland New Plays Festival’s 2018 Season
We are pleased to announce our 27th season of dramatic readings showcasing new theatrical works, along with a program of talks with theater professionals.
ANPF’s flagship annual Fall Festival from October 17 through 21 will unveil four new plays in dramatic readings by casts of professional actors. The plays will be selected from 400 entries currently being read by local volunteer readers, with the final decisions to be made in June by ANPF artistic director Kyle Haden. They will be performed at Ashland’s Unitarian Center.
In carrying out its mission to support new works for the stage, ANPF is “working to develop underrepresented voices in theater, including women and playwrights of color,” said Haden.
The 2018 season opens Sunday, March 25, with a dramatic reading of Meridith Friedman’s Your Best One, directed by Paul Mason Barnes, in the Music Recital Hall at Southern Oregon University. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. performance go on sale online Feb. 11. Members receive early access.
Four actors who previously appeared at ANPF in 2015 in Friedman’s The Luckiest People will reprise their roles in Your Best One – Rex Young, James Edmondson, Paul Michael Garcia, and Kate Berry.
Next in the schedule will be an extensive workshop in Ashland of another as yet untitled Friedman play, culminating in a Sunday, May 13, dramatic reading of the work at Southern Oregon University’s newly renovated Main Stage Theatre. Eventually, the Friedman plays will form a related trilogy.
“ANPF increasingly is focusing on the workshopping model for presenting new plays, in which playwrights are given a place to refine their work in preparation for production,” said Board President James Pagliasotti.
Also on this year’s schedule is ANPF’s popular Theatre Talk series, hosted again this year by John Rose and moving to Bellview Grange. Guests for the talks June through September are OSF actors Nancy Rodriguez, Rex Young, Alejandra Escalante, and Daniel José Molina.
A special added feature will be a March 30 talk for members only, featuring Christopher Acebo, Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s nationally prominent associate artistic director. Click here to learn how to become a member.
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