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TWU Home > Marketing & Communication > News Releases

TWU Drama to take part in national playwriting festival


DENTON — While sitting down with her morning cup of coffee and the “New York Times” one day last summer, Sharon Benge, director of the drama program at Texas Woman’s University, read an article that piqued her interest.

The article stated that Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks and co-producer Bonnie Metzgar were planning a world premiere of “365 Days/365 Plays,” Ms. Parks’ initiative to write one play per day for a full year. The event would include professional and university theaters throughout the United States performing one week’s worth of plays, creating the 365 National Festival — the largest theater collaboration in the history of American theater.

Ms. Benge was intrigued with the idea and went to work. TWU’s application was accepted by the Yale Playwriting Program, which is managing university participation in the festival. TWU joins more than 600 theaters nationwide in the play cycle, which began Nov. 13, 2006, and ends Nov. 12, 2007.

“It’s exciting to be part of a national initiative, and to be able to work with professional and university theaters in premiering this new work,” Ms. Benge said.
Participating theaters may choose how, when and where to perform their seven plays. There also are “The Constants,” three short plays that will be performed by all participating theaters. Each theater is free to choose how the plays are incorporated into its performances.

TWU’s productions will take place March 26 through April 1 in the new Redbud Theater, possibly in multiple spaces in the complex. The performances will be directed by Joshua Hancock of Kilgore as the final project for his master of arts degree in drama. Dr. Patrick Bynane, TWU assistant professor of drama, will supervise.

Mr. Hancock said the subject matter of the plays that fall during TWU’s week ranges from war to relationships to politics. “They are interesting plays, so the conventional set-up probably will not be used,” he said in discussing where the plays will be staged. He began preparations before the university’s winter break, assembling stage crews for the different plays. “I’ll audition and cast almost immediately when we get back from the break,” he said. “It will be a cast of eight actors who will work each of the plays, changing roles as they change plays.”

For more information on the 365 National Festival, visit www.365days365plays.com.

Suzan-Lori Parks is a playwright, screenwriter and novelist whose plays include “Topdog/Underdog,” winner of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; “The American Play;” “The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World;” and “In the Blood,” a 2000 Pulitzer Prize finalist. Her work for film and television includes “Girl 6,” directed by Spike Lee; and the adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God” for Oprah Winfrey Presents, which premiered in 2005 on ABC.

Bonnie Metzgar is a playwright, director and producer who has collaborated with Ms. Parks since 1989. Ms. Metzgar served for eight years as associate producer at the Public Theater in New York City under George C. Wolfe, and was the founding producer of Joe’s Pub. She currently is associate artistic director of the Curious Theatre Company in Denver, and teaches in the Brown Graduate Playwriting Program.


For Further Information Contact:

Karen Garcia
Senior Copywriter
Tel: (940) 898-3456
e-mail: kgarcia@twu.edu

Page last updated January 22, 2009

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