Ashland New Plays Festival staged a dramatic reading of Your Best One, a play by Meridith Friedman, on March 25, 2018, in the Music Recital Hall at Southern Oregon University.
Friedman, whose previous work The Luckiest People was presented at ANPF 2015 to great acclaim, continues the story of those characters in her new work. Your Best One centers on the Hoffman family, the irascible widower Oscar and his grown children Richard and Laura and their families, as they rally together–and against each other–with their trademark wit and inherited neurosis when one of their own is faced with a serious health crisis.
The play starred actors Rex Young, James Edmondson, Paul Michael Garcia, and Kate Berry. The four are well-known to Ashland audiences and previously appeared in The Luckiest People in 2015. They will reprise their original roles. Your Best One also starred Cameron Davis and Aurelia Grierson. Paul Mason Barnes directed.
Part of a trilogy commissioned by Denver’s Curious Theatre Company, each play stands on its own so whether audiences are familiar with the first play or are new to the story, all will relate to these compelling and very human characters.
“Life is constantly vacillating between sadness and euphoria, to quote my favorite Billy Joel song,” said Friedman, who is currently residing in Los Angeles and writing for television, “And I want to create theater that explores the everyday tragedies and triumphs that bring us to the heights and depths of our experiences.”
ANPF’s Spring 2018 performance on May 13 continued the Hoffman family story with the third installment, I Can Go, of The Luckiest People trilogy.
Ashland New Plays Festival Works Its Magic on Your Best One
“We are fortunate to have so many theater followers in Ashland and the Rogue Valley,” [says ANPF Artistic Director Kyle Haden], “We follow theater here like Southern towns follow college football. There’s a real passion, a real knowledge that’s deeper here than most places. Ashland’s an ideal spot to workshop plays, host forums for audience commentary and help playwrights improve their work. The festival is a great mechanism for helping shape stories into what playwrights want them to be.”
Sunday, March 25, 2018, at 7:30 p.m.
Southern Oregon University Music Recital Hall, 450 South Mountain Avenue, Ashland
$20, tickets available online and at the door, subject to availability
Online sales close at 3 p.m. the day of the performance. The box office opens at 6:30 p.m. at SOU’s Music Recital Hall.
Eight years have passed since the death of the Hoffman family’s beloved matriarch. When one of their own is confronted by a sudden health crisis, the family rallies together–and against each other–with their trademark wit and inherited neurosis, contending with health insurance, child custody, inheritance, and superfoods. Your Best One, a stand-alone sequel to Meridith Friedman’s highly-acclaimed ANPF 2015 winning play The Luckiest People, which received its world premiere at Curious Theatre Company in Denver, is a rich exploration of our capacity to continue “growing up” past adolescence.
ANPF’s dramatic reading is directed by Paul Mason Barnes and reunites the original ANPF 2015 cast, including Rex Young, Jim Edmonson, Paul Michael Garcia, and Kate Berry, to continue the story of these compelling and very human characters. Your Best One also stars Cameron Davis and Aurelia Grierson.
This play is a must-see from a fresh voice in American theater. It will have its world premiere at Curious Theatre spring 2018.
All of my grandparents ended up in Hawaii at the end of their lives–two from Great Neck, NY, and one from Lake Geneva, WI. I’m not sure you have ever seen 3 people unhappier to be in paradise. I think watching my parents navigate caring for their own parents, while raising me and my siblings, really planted the seeds for what would become this trilogy.
Click here to continue reading about Meridith, her inspirations and playwriting.
About The Luckiest People (ANPF 2015) by Meridith Friedman
World premiere at Curious Theatre Company, 2017
After the matriarch of the Hoffman family passes away, Richard is blindsided when his elderly father, Oscar, demands to leave his assisted living facility. With his sister Laura living in Shanghai, and Richard soon to become a first time father with his partner David, he is less than thrilled at the prospect of housing his–to put it mildly–difficult father. Accusations begin to fly and defenses are drawn, spiraling father and son, brother and sister, and spouses into a heated game of finger pointing with unintended consequences. The first in a trilogy of plays about the Hoffman family.
The Luckiest People in the Press
“Friedman resolves…dilemmas with compassion, insight and ambiguities that seem right for the mood she establishes. I’ve seen all the winners of the nuVoices new play festivals since Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte created the event in 2012, and none has deserved a longer or more fruitful life.” — Charlotte Observer
“…all the characters in this witty, intelligent and frequently very funny play are trying to live loving, connected lives — even if they themselves don’t quite know it yet.” — Westword Denver
“While familial dysfunction has been a staple of theatre from the beginning of the art form…Friedman goes a different route, taking us on an wholly unpredictable journey of love and loss, epiphanies and endurance.” — Colorado Drama
“…truly a delight to be able to fall into the story and transport yourself into the strife and determination of this delicate play…this play is about my family. And your family. ” — Denver Theater Perspectives
About the playwright
Her work has received productions at Curious Theatre Company, Kitchen Dog Theater, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, LOCAL Theatre Company, Actor’s Theater of Charlotte, Stage Left Theatre, and more. Additionally her work has been developed and workshopped at The Kennedy Center, Chicago Dramatists, The Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals, Ashland New Play Festival, the NNPN National New Play Showcase, and others.
Meridith has been a Playwright-in-Residence at Curious Theatre Company, a Dramatist Guild Fellow, and the recipient of a Downstage Left Playwriting Residency at Stage Left Theatre and a Dramatist Guild Writers Alliance Grant. She recently completed the book for the musical, THE 30TH YEAR, which was part of the inaugural New Musical Discovery Series in Orlando. She is currently co-writing the book for a new musical about art theft, and developing an original television pilot about the Supreme Court. Learn more at her website.
Your Best One Actors
Gratitude for a beautiful performance
Many thanks to everyone who made ANPF’s memorable and touching dramatic reading of Your Best One possible, from our audience and ANPF members to the playwright, cast, director, staff, and volunteers. ANPF is a community effort that we are proud to be part of!