published Saturday, April 14th, 2012

Drama festival highlights new plays in Chattanooga

IF YOU GO

What: The Festival of New Plays.

Where: The Chattanooga Theatre Centre, 400 River St., Circle Theatre.

When: See dates below, all curtain times 8 p.m.

Admission: $10 per reading, $20 for all three; $10 for "The Leopold Project."

Phone: 267-8538.

Website: www.theatrecentre.com.

Chattanooga Theatre Centre director George Quick said the Festival of New Plays was one of the things that drew him to the Chattanooga area.

"I think it's important to encourage people to create new works for the theater," Quick said.

The 7th bienneial festival opens this weekend as part of HATCH, a citywide arts event. Three plays will be read, one per weekend. Five actors will participate in the readings, allowing audiences the opportunity to see them in different roles.

From 18 entries, the three winners were selected through a blind process by a committee of six people, including staff members and volunteers.

"They're people who know plays and know play structure and writing," Quick said.

They take into account story, character development, structure and whether the work achieves its goals.

"If it's a comedy, is it funny," said Quick, "and if it's a drama, does it make us think?"

The second weekend's work, titled "Mr. Mundoo," was written by TJ Carson, 17, the winner of the Young Playwright Award. "As I read the play, I didn't know (the age of the playwright), my impression was 'If this is written by a young person, it's pretty amazing,' and then it turned out that was true," Quick said.

Starting next week, local storyteller Jim Pfitzer will workshop his one-man show, The Leopold Project, on Wednesday and Thursday nights for two weeks.

Contact Holly Leber at hleber@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6391. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/hollyleber.

No Loiteringby Hunter Rodgers

When: Tonight

Plot: Almost everyone in the human race has vanished. Three people remain, but for how long? As they struggle to make sense of a senseless situation, their drive to survive, to carry on, and to live in a civilized manner is tested to the breaking point.

Mr. Mundoo by TJ Carson

When: April 20, 21

Plot: A man walks into a police station and asks to see a detective. Not to report a crime but to say he's committed several. Police often attempt to get into the mind of a killer... but what if he let you in his and jumped into yours?

Following Orionby Dakota Brown

When: April 27, 28

Plot: Struggling with the agoraphobia that grew out of the loss of his mother and his autism, Oz looks to the stars to find his place in the universe while his brother and others attempt to find a place for him themselves.

The Leopold Projectby Jim Pftizer

When: Wednesday, Thursday, April 25, 26

Plot: A one-man show about the life of Aldo Leopold, considered by many to be the greatest conservationist and ecologist in American history

To get tickets

Tickets ($10 for each reading) are available at 423-267-8534 or TheatreCentre.com. A staged reading pass (good for three readings) may be purchased for $20. Current Chattanooga Theatre Centre Circle Series subscribers can see all three readings as many times as they like.

about Holly Leber ...

Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...

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