New Play Festival at SUNY-New Paltz puts the emphasis on women

Actors Katherine Cryer-Hassett, Jenny Berger & Jeremy Sepadan at SUNY-New Paltz.

Actors Katherine Cryer-Hassett, Jenny Berger & Jeremy Sepadan at SUNY-New Paltz.

March is Women’s History Month, and this Friday, March 8, is International Women’s Day. The eve of that event marks the opening of SUNY-New Paltz’s two-week-long New Play Festival, supplying an excellent excuse to present a selection of new works for the stage with a common focus on women. More than half of this year’s plays and sketches, which will be presented as staged readings, were written by women playwrights, and all spotlight pivotal female characters and themes that resonate in women’s lives. Some of the authors are professional local playwrights; others are SUNY-New Paltz students or alumni.

Coordinated by Nancy Saklad, associate professor of Performance, the Festival is designed to provide a setting for playwrights to have their new works heard, with an opportunity for feedback. This year’s play readings include Stars by Lydia Nightingale; Green Sound by John Patrick Bray; Crazy, Crazy on You by Lynn Elson; Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear by Alex Oates; White to a Wedding by Brendan Quinn; and Clara Vox by Raquel Steres. They will be directed by Robert Miller, a member of the Communication and Media faculty, who is artistic director of the Mohonk Mountain Stage Company.

Also on the program will be two sets of review sketches written by students in Laurence Carr’s Creative Writing and Drama classes, which Carr will direct. One group, collectively titled Stand Alone Together, includes works by Chelsea DeMott, Vincent Carnevale, Brenna Landerkin, Clark Slater, Aaron Tremper and Matt Hunter. At the Gallery includes sketches by Samantha Mossman, Stacy Carter, Allison Leskowitz, Sara Troeller, Rachel Wong and Rachel E. Bailey. SUNY-New Paltz Theatre Arts students Jonathan Buckmaster, Kelly O’Connor and Brendan Quinn also will direct several plays.

The 2013 New Play Festival program will be performed at 8 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, March 7 through 9 and 14 through 16, with 2 p.m. matinées on Sundays, March 10 and 17. There will be a public reception for the playwrights on March 10, following the 2 p.m. performance, and audience “talkbacks” after the Friday night performances on March 8 and 15. All New Play Festival shows will take place in the Parker Theatre on the college campus, whose intimate proscenium-style performance space is especially conducive to such an interactive process.

Tickets cost $10 for the general public, senior citizens, non-New Paltz students, New Paltz faculty and staff, and $5 for SUNY-New Paltz students. They can be purchased in person at the Parker Theatre box office Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and in the Theatre’s lobby one hour prior to each performance. You can also obtain them by calling the box office at (845) 257-3880 or by visiting www.newpaltz.edu/theatre.

New Play Festival, Thursday/Friday/Saturday, March 7-9 & 14-16, 8 p.m., Sunday, March 10 & 17, 2 p.m., $10/$5, Parker Theatre, SUNY-New Paltz, 1 Hawk Drive, New Paltz; (845) 257-3880, www.newpaltz.edu/theatre.

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