I've been geeking out on lots of plays lately and, because it's impossible to produce all the things, I'm sharing some of them with you! If you've been thinking about pitching a show to WTFringe (or you just like to learn about totally cool plays), this listicle is for YOU!
P.S. All of these scripts can be found on the New Play Exchange!
1. Teach by Donna Hoke
Description from New Play Exchange: Five actors, three characters, one story: Ten years ago, Ken and Chris were teacher and student. Now, they are principal and teacher, and Emerson's suspiciously high grade gives Ken license to grill Chris until the young teacher is forced to confront both past and present. While most plays question the audience, TEACH's unique gender fluid construct exposes the biases that make audiences question themselves. Though its production requirements are simple, TEACH is anything but.
Why I love it: Hoke masterfully innovates form to investigate the interplay between gender and power dynamics through the lens of teacher/student relationships. It's so smart and interesting the way that the male and female versions of the teacher (Chris) and the student (Emerson) pick up and drop off storytelling responsibilities! The play is written to be performed without an intermission and with minimal set making it a great fit for Fringe presentations.
2. The Little Mermaid (for ages 5+) by Jacqueline Goldfinger
Description from New Play Exchange: A new adaptation of THE LITTLE MERMAID for ages 5+. A Classic Fable of Love, Music, and Adventure from the timeless tale by Hans Christian Anderson. This adaptation of MERMAID focuses on finding true friendship and the power of love. In order to make it fun for younger audiences, this adaptation is told by a present day family using multi-sensory and story theater techniques.
Why I love it: On my search for works that will make a great fit for the WTFamily series of programming, I found this precious jewel of a play. While the play is spectacularly entertaining for little and big people, it is also spectacularly well-crafted. Using the device of a family sheltering during a hurricane, Goldfinger dials into the world of a young child, including her fears, her fantasy life, and, most importanly, her family. When I was reading this play, I pictured the Blum family, one of Raleigh's most theatrical families, performing it together! Can we sign a petition and make that happen?
3. Arbor Falls by Caridad Svich
Description from New Play Exchange: In a small town called Arbor Falls, a preacher wrestles with their faith as they try to hold onto the last vestiges of a church with barely a congregation to call its own. Into this town arrives a traveler whose presence exposes the spiritual and moral values upon which it stands. ARBOR FALLS is part of the AMERICAN PSALM seven-play cycle that began with RED BIKE.
Why I love it: This play is intimate and poetic and provides so much material for a director and actors to mine and decide on together. Svich welcomes the director to choose the gender of both the Preacher and their Lover intentionally. Seriously, you cannot go wrong with any play by Caridad Svich--she's such an important and influential voice and it would be wonderful to see more of her work on Triangle area stages. Also, do yourself a favor and follow her @csvich on Twitter!
4. A Play About David Mamet Writing A Play About Harvey Weinstein by Mathilde Dratwa
Description from New Play Exchange: It's basically what it sounds like.
Why I love it: There's an immediacy, an of the moment-ness to this play. It looks deeply and vengefully at issues of gender representation in theatre and asks us (in particular, white women) to look long and hard at the colonization problem and how, for women of color, that may be a bigger problem than the patriarchy problem. There's a lot of meta devices that make for theatre magic while allowing the characters (along with the actors playing them) along with audience members to analyze their compliciteness within the power structures that seek to hold us back.
5. You Are What You by Mora V. Harris
Description from New Play Exchange: Competitive eater Francie is desperate to find a way to help her younger sister Trisha eat. When celebrity chef Electra Sinclair arrives on their doorstep, she thinks she may have found just the thing to set Trisha on the road to recovery. Yet Trisha's illness worsens as she begins seeing visions of a talking Pot Roast, and Francie becomes distracted by an ex hell-bent on exploiting her in a cogent work of non-fiction. The sisters struggle to take care of each other and nourish themselves in this comedy about learning from the things we crave.
Why I love it: I was privileged to direct a staged reading of this play for Burning Coal last year and I just can't get it out of my head. It's funny and over-the-top and surreal while also being incredibly grounded and steeped in a decidely femme humanity. The women in this play are desperate to connect and to fill an emptiness deep within. Humor, heart, complex women, a talking Pot Roast....this play has it all!
Ok! That's five plays I hope you'll check out and maybe consider producing! You can find out all you need to know about WTFringe on our website.
Until next week, I am.....
Yours in parity,