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TWU Drama to take
part in national playwriting festival
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Tel: (940) 898-3456