2017 Year in Review
As we close our 26th season of supporting new works for the stage, we wanted to look back at this amazing year and thank you for your continued support.
This season was our most successful yet. Our flagship Fall Festival this October brought us four incredible new plays that resonated deeply with audiences:
“Strong performances bring rich life to already exciting and well-crafted new plays.”
“Great theater is good words plus good actors. The rest is detail. You have it all.”
“It gets stronger and stronger every year. A joy to experience.”
“Hearing artists speak on their art is fascinating. It’s pleasurable to be part of artistic development.”– ANPF 2017 audience survey responses
From June to September, Theatre Talk welcomed its second summer of sold out salon series interviews. Thanks go to the series’ volunteer organizers, subscribers, and our inspiring guests: Rodney Gardiner, Britney Simpson, Vilma Silva, and Steven Sapp.
In May, our Director’s Choice presentation of CONSTELLATIONS by Nick Payne played to a full house and was a “triumphant evening of intimate theatre.” The two-character play starred OSF’s Alejandra Escalante and Daniel José Molina in sterling performances.The first performance of our 2017 season was in March when we presented a powerful reading of Octavio Solis’ modern verse translation of EDWARD III in collaboration with the Hitz Foundation and Play on! 36 Playwrights Translate Shakespeare, an Oregon Shakespeare Festival initiative.
2017 was also an exciting year for past ANPF Winners. Six playwrights saw their plays receive world premieres, including:
- Meridith Friedman’s THE LUCKIEST PEOPLE (ANPF 2015) at Curious Theatre
- Steven Haworth’s FERNANDO (ANPF 2011) at Ice Factory 2017
- Jamie Pachino’s OTHER THAN HONORABLE (ANPF 2013) at Geva Theatre
- Martyna Majok’s COST OF LIVING (Women’s Invitational) at Manhattan Theatre Club
- Lauren Yee’s KING OF THE YEES (Women’s Invitational) at Goodman Theatre
- Jiehae Park’s HANNAH AND THE DREAD GAZEBO (Women’s Invitational) at OSF
In addition, Bo Wilson’s THE BOATWRIGHT (ANPF 2013) had a regional premiere at Firehouse Theatre.
Next year, Stephanie Walker’s THE MADRES (ANPF 2016) will have its world premiere at Teatro Vista in Chicago. And at OSF, ANPF 1999 winner Karen Zacarias (THE SINS OF SOR JUANA) will bring her play DESTINY OF DESIRE to OSF’s 2018 season. Click here to learn more about ANPF’s past winners and where they are now.
We sincerely thank all the playwrights, performers, audiences, volunteers, and community members who support ANPF and made 2017 such an exceptional year.
Thank You for an Amazing Festival!
Thank you to everyone who joined us at ANPF 2017. Whether you were there in person or in spirit, your support was felt and appreciated. The Fall Festival was wonderful and full of those special moments, people, and performances that make Ashland New Plays Festival unique and well worth supporting.
If you would like to catch up with all of our photos and news from the festival, visit our Facebook page.
Many thanks as well to everyone who filled out our online and paper surveys.
ANPF 2017 Actors
A DARK SKY FULL OF STARS
By Don Zolidis
Directed by Claudia Alick
Emily Ota | McKenna Twedt | Jennifer Lanier | Erica Sullivan
Briawna Jackson | Aida Leguizamon | Savanna Padilla
GO. PLEASE. GO.
By Emily Feldman
Directed by Jackie Apodaca
Kris Danford | Michael Gabriel Goodfriend | Kyle Haden
Lisa Viertel | Liisa Ivary | Michele Mais | Rachel Kostrna
By Callie Kimball
Directed by Stefanie Sertich
Jackie Apodaca | Maddy Fleming | U. Jonathan Toppo
James Ryen | Cameron Gray
Note: The role of Sofonisba is now played by Jackie Apodaca
WHAT WE WERE
By Blake Hackler
Directed by Holly L. Derr
Sherilyn Lawson | Lolly Ward | Jamie Ann Romero
Nolan Sanchez | Brianca Knight
ANPF 2017 Directors
Claudia Alick directs A DARK SKY FULL OF STARS by Don Zolidis
Jackie Apodaca directs GO. PLEASE. GO. by Emily Feldman
Stefanie Sertich directs SOFONISBA by Callie Kimball
Holly L. Derr directs WHAT WE WERE by Blake Hackler
ANPF 2018 Submissions Now Closed
ANPF 2017 Winners Announced
The four winning playwrights are:
View our Current Winners page for details!
ANPF 2017 Finalists
Ashland New Plays Festival is pleased to announce the 12 finalists for ANPF 2017, our annual fall festival. ANPF is very grateful to all the talented playwrights who sent us their work, and we offer our sincere congratulations to the finalists, listed below alphabetically by author:
THE HOUSE OF THE NEGRO INSANE by Terence Anthony
THE WORST MOTHER IN THE WORLD by Kari Bentley-Quinn
HONOR KILLING by Sarah Bierstock
THE BIG HEARTLESS by Dale Dunn
GO. PLEASE. GO. by Emily Feldman
BURNING CITIES by Simon Fill
WHAT WE WERE by Blake Hackler
MISS KELLER HAS NO SECOND BOOK by Deb Hiett
SOFONISBA by Callie Kimball
TAIL OF THE BELL by Gabriel Neustadt
SMOKEY HOLLOW by Rob Zellers
A DARK SKY FULL OF STARS by Don Zolidis
The four winning playwrights will be announced publicly next week. Watch this space, follow us on social media, or join our mailing list for the news.
Script Submissions Now Accepted
We look forward to welcoming your script! Submissions will be accepted until 400 scripts are received or through December 31, 2017, whichever comes first. A running tally of submissions will be shown on our website. Visit our Submit a Script page for our guidelines and instructions on how to enter.
Theatre Talk Salon Series 2017
Once a month from June to September, join moderator John Rose for engaging conversations with esteemed actors. This year’s talks feature Rodney Gardiner, Britney Simpson, Vilma Silva, and Steven Sapp. Visit our Theatre Talks page for more information about tickets and subscription passes.
A Dramatic Reading of Constellations by Nick Payne
From London, to Broadway, to Ashland! ANPF was proud to present this special, one-night-only dramatic reading of the “spellbinding, romantic journey” of acclaimed play CONSTELLATIONS by British playwright Nick Payne.
CONSTELLATIONS, which debuted in London in 2012 and on Broadway in 2015, is the story of one couple’s relationship spread out over numerous tracks in multiple universes. “It’s hard to explain,” says the reading’s director and ANPF Associate Artistic Director Jackie Apodaca, “but easy–I think–to understand.”
A New York Times review raved about CONSTELLATIONS as perhaps “the most sophisticated date play Broadway has seen” and described its universal appeal: ”This story of parallel universes is universal in every sense of the word.”
ANPF’s presentation of CONSTELLATIONS starred Oregon Shakespeare Festival actors Daniel Jose Molina and Alejandra Escalante as Roland and Marianne, whose story begins with a simple encounter that then delves into the infinite possibilities of their relationship. Watching the various threads of their potential futures, audiences are asked to think about the difference between choice and destiny. Molina and Escalante are already known to audiences as the intense rivals in OSF’s current production of HENRY IV, PART ONE, and TWO, as well as the romantic leads in ROMEO AND JULIET, produced at OSF in 2012.
“With just a pair of black music stands and their own intrepidity to prop themselves up, Escalante and Molina dug into issues as diverse as betrayal, revenge, the first flush of love, terminal illness, family dynamic, and the cruel isolation of everyday life that anyone who has loved and lost would find excruciatingly relatable. The pair riff off of each other like Monk and Coltrane, and it’s not hard to see why they are currently among the brightest stars on Bardway.” – Excerpt from ‘Constellations’ playwright a word-smithing star, a review of ANPF’s performance by Jeffrey Gillespie.
“Direction by Jackie Apodaca was seamless, and staging by Rachel Kostrna was deft. Each brief interaction between the players is punctuated by exquisite cello accompaniment from Isabella Thatcher, who was sensitive enough to choose Bach as a strong referential melody that suited the action perfectly.
Everyone involved brought their best, and Payne is a contemporary voice to be reckoned with, so it’s no surprise that “Constellations” was a triumphant evening of intimate theater for those of us lucky enough to attend. Let’s hope Ashland New Plays Festival will continue to move in this direction. ‘Constellations’ was a worthwhile night for all involved.”
The dramatic reading was ANPF’s 2017 Director‘s Choice event, an annual fundraising benefit. It was held on Monday, May 8, at 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Center, 87 Fourth Street, in Ashland.
“Who knew that higher physics could be so sexy, so accessible—and so emotionally devastating? CONSTELLATIONS, Nick Payne’s gorgeous two-character drama…may be the most sophisticated date play Broadway has seen. [Payne is] a wise and compassionate young playwright…And though CONSTELLATIONS is a supremely articulate play, it knows that words inevitably fail, that they are never enough to bind two people together forever. Time, it turns out, is a more effective breaker of hearts than human beings, with all their conflicted intentions, can ever be. This story of parallel universes is universal in every sense of the word.” —The New York Times
Edward III, a (new) play by William Shakespeare
On March 27, Ashland New Plays Festival presented Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Play on! translation of Edward III by William Shakespeare, translated by Octavio Solis.
Solis is one of 36 playwrights across the country hard at work on modern verse translations of 39 plays attributed to Shakespeare. Learn more about Play on! here, and read more about ANPF’s Edward III performance by clicking here.
When: Monday, March 27, at 7:30 p.m.
Where: SOU Music Recital Hall, 405 S Mountain Ave, Ashland
Tickets were $20 – $25, reserved seating, sold online and at the door, subject to availability.
This special, one-night-only performance was directed by Dawn Monique Williams, and starred:
Edward – Armando Duran
Prince Edward – Devin White
Warwick/Phillip/Villers – Sam Osheroff
Derby/Ensemble – Tamra Mathias
Audley/Ensemble – Jamie Peck
Montague/King John/Ensemble – Jon Cates
Lodowick/Artois/Ensemble – John Pribyl
Duke of Lorraine/Ensemble – Kyle Haden
King David/Bohemia/Ensemble – Robin Goodrin Nordli
Douglas/Salisbury/Ensemble – Nancy Rodriguez
Charles/Ensemble – Stephen Michael Spencer
Countess/Queen/Ensemble – Vilma Silva
For more information about the event, visit our Tickets page.
There are many articles related to Play on! and their modern verse translations of Shakespeare.
Check out “Translating Shakespeare? 36 Playwrights Taketh the Big Risk” by Jennifer Schuessler.
Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Artistic Director Bill Rauch writes about the innovative and controversial project on American Theatre Magazine’s website, “Why We’re Translating Shakespeare”.
Scott Kaiser, playwright and Director of Company Development at OSF, talks with Oregon Public Broadcasting about the translations (click here if video does not load):
A new Shakespeare play? Technology helps reveal Shakespeare authorship: “Plagiarism Software Finds a New Shakespeare Play” by Gaëlle Faure, TIME Magazine.
Play on! director Lue Douthit describes the innovative and controversial project in “Spelunking with Shakespeare” on HowlRound.com.
Understanding Shakespeare through a Modern Verse Translation
A contemporary playwright translates Edward III for today’s audiences, to be performed as a dramatic reading March 27 in Ashland, Oregon
By Kara Q Lewis
Afternoon light filters over the laptop of playwright Octavio Solis, who focuses on the screen, puzzling out ways to decipher a difficult verse from William Shakespeare’s play Edward III. After getting sick two weeks earlier, Solis began working from bed. His wife teases him about not using his brand new writing studio. He works intensely and relentlessly: “I get obsessive about it,” he says, “I work on it ‘til 1 or 2 in the morning and then it’s the first thing I do when I wake up.” He continues:
“I’ve enjoyed every second of it. It taps into the part of my brain that likes puzzles. I’m decoding something really intricate and special. The process has revealed Shakespeare’s craft as a writer. I’m getting into Shakespeare’s head, like when I try to think like Will Shortz so I can solve New York Times crosswords.”
Solis is part of Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s project Play on! 36 playwrights translate Shakespeare. The playwrights have been paired with a dramaturg and commissioned to create modern verse translations of plays attributed to Shakespeare. The project aims to “bring fresh voices and perspectives to the rigorous work of translation” while making “39 unique side-by-side companion translations of Shakespeare’s plays that are both performable and extremely useful reference texts for both classrooms and productions.” Solis’ version of Edward III will be presented as a staged reading by Ashland New Plays Festival on March 27.
The Play on! project comes with controversy. For some, Shakespeare’s words should remain unaltered. The belief is that today’s audiences should intuit and grasp one of Shakespeare’s play’s meaning from skilled actors and directors in its original language. Another issue raised is one of funding. As one New York Times op-ed contributor, James Shapiro, writes, “I’d prefer to see [the project] spend its money…enabling those 36 promising American playwrights to devote themselves to writing the next Broadway hit.”
The director of the project, Dr. Lue Douthit, has worked at OSF for over 20 years and says she is frustrated as a theatergoer. She understands the meaning of Shakespeare’s works, having discussed, written about, studied, annotated, and adapted the bard’s plays. And yet, she gets lost in the language. In a HowlRound forum, she writes: “I can hear it at 16 rpms, but not often at the zippy 78 speed that the language is designed to run.”
Solis responds to the controversy: “I understand why this project exists,” he says. “In scholarship, [the language] feeds the scholar’s soul to read and study it. But in performance there are some elements that are over our heads no matter what.”
For instance, he explains that there are many references and metaphors from Shakespeare’s time that have lost their impact, like those related to Ovid’s Metamorphosis and the lives of Roman generals. In one specific case with Edward III, Solis had to research the identity of “the queen of shades,” and upon discovering it, re-wrote the line to provide context that she is “Diana of the moon…”
Sidestepping the discussions and lively debate over the translations, we come face to face with the playwrights and their work. Solis is enthusiastic and passionate about this project: honoring Shakespeare’s poetry and getting to understand the preeminent playwright’s motives in order to clarify and strengthen his play’s power for today’s audiences.
Save the Dates for 2017