2012 Arkansas New Play Festival set for May 18-20

The 2012 Arkansas New Play Festival is set for this weekend (May 18-20) at Nadine Baum Studios.

Fayetteville’s TheatreSquared, which originated the festival in 2009, will host the Northwest Arkansas portion of the event which also includes performances in Little Rock on Thursday and Friday.

The performances will feature four new plays from Clinnesha D. Sibley, Robert Ford, Jonny and Troy Schremmer and Samuel Brett Williams.

Admission is $7 per play.

Aside from the four plays, there are two admission-free showcases planned. The Arkansas Playwrights Workshop Showcase is set for 11 a.m. Saturday, May 19 and includes public readings of Goat Song Revel, a new work by Dan Borengasser. The Arkansas Young Playwrights Showcase will take place at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 20 and includes students from across the region who have been invited to submit scripts, five of which will be selected for public readings.

The festival will culminate with the 24-Hour Play-Off, which will feature teams of five artists who will write, rehearse, and perform a new ten-minute play, all within the space of 24 hours. The 24-Hour Play-Off begins at 6 p.m. Sunday, May 20, and admission is $10.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the TheatreSquared website at theatre2.org.

Northwest Arkansas Performance Schedule

Friday, May 18
7:30 p.m. – Uprooted by Clinnesha D. Sibley ($7)

Saturday, May 19
11 a.m. – Arkansas Playwrights Workshop Showcase (FREE)
6 p.m. – The Spiritualist by Robert Ford ($7)
8 p.m. – The Ballad of Rusty and Roy by Jonny and Troy Schremmer ($7)

Sunday, May 20
1 p.m. – Arkansas Young Playwrights Showcase (FREE)
3:30 p.m. – “The Football Project” by Samuel Brett Williams ($7)
6 p.m. – The 24 Hour Play-Off ($10)

The plays

Uprooted by Clinnesha Dillon Sibley
A richly drawn treatment of a timeless scenario by an award-winning Arkansas playwright. What happens when long-separated siblings reunite after the death of a parent? When successful film actress Venus Kettle returns to Indianola, Mississippi, to her mother’s “home going,” she is greeted by her sisters with a wide range of emotions, from enthusiastic glee to cold-shoulder resentment. In the meantime the play follows the parallel story of Venus’s brother, who is incarcerated in a facility in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Uprooted is moving tribute to the redemptive power of family.

The Spiritualist by Robert Ford
TheatreSquared Artistic Director Robert Ford brings The Spiritualist back to the Arkansas New Play Festival for a second year of development, adding new revisions and, for the first time, original music. Inspired by true events, this comedic drama introduces Rosemary Dunn, an English widow who cooks for the school lunch service and communes with the spirits of dead composers. When an enterprising American reporter tries to unmask the self-proclaimed psychic as a fraud, he finds there may be more at play than simple musical sleight-of-hand.

The Ballad of Rusty and Roy by Troy and Jonny Schremmer
This new play with live, original music, follows the story of two half-brothers, both musicians with roots in Texas who have found their way to New York City along starkly divergent paths. One has an enthusiastic following on the New York music scene, the other among toddlers at the neighborhood church playgroup where he works. Circumstances reunite the two brothers, but a deeply troubled past involving a boyhood road trip threatens to tear them apart once again. Featuring songs – and performances – by Dusty Brown, who himself has a burgeoning career as a singer-songwriter in New York, an early version of The Ballad of Rusty and Roy was featured at the New York Fringe Festival.

The Football Project” (an untitled work in progress) by Samuel Brett Williams
November, 1998: a high school football team boarded a bus to travel to play in the state championship game. The entire town came out to see the team off—but the bus never left. One third-string player who played for mere seconds in the previous game forged his grades and caused the team to be disqualified from the championship. The town’s response was unprecedented. There were death threats, thoughts of suicide, vandalism and then a surprising amount of goodwill and even a bit of unexpected heroism. A snapshot of a town in crisis, examining one of the rare places that the ordinary and the epic, the petty and the profound collide: high school football.