Impressions from the 2013 Colorado New Play Summit

As I wait for the lights to go down for the start of what will be the first of five staged play readings (plus two fully produced plays, the late-night Playwrights’ Slam, a lot of meals and drinks and socializing over this very full three days of theatre and theatre people), I realize that I am already predisposed to like the majority of the plays I will see this weekend at the 8th Annual Colorado New Play Summit.

That positive bias — based on nothing more than the two sentence descriptions of each of the plays in the Summit materials and a familiarity with the works of two of the seven playwrights  – is well placed given how high the bar is to having a new play read here.  This is, of course, not a random selection of plays, but a very carefully juried event.   Hundreds of scripts are read each year by the host theatres of new play festivals.  So, a certain amount of excellence can be expected.reading

However, words on paper read differently than they sound out loud; tastes differ; some things just don’t play that well.    That’s at least  in part what staged readings are for — to see what doesn’t work — so the playwright (often working with other artists) can figure out how to make the play work on stage, with a goal to developing the play toward a full production.   I think few, if any, attendees expect to like everything they see at this kind of event.

The plays read at the Summit were:

  • The Vast In-Between by Laura Eason
  • Black Odyssey by Marcus Gardley
  • The Most Deserving by Catherine Trieschmann
  • The Legend of Georgia McBride by Matthew Lopez
  • Just Like Us based on the book by Helen Thorpe, adapted by Karen Zacarias

and the two full play productions (graduating up from readings at the 2012 Summit) were:

  • Ed, Downloaded by Michael Mitnick, and
  • Grace, or The Art of Climbing by Lauren Feldman

I am not a theatre critic and this blog is not about reviewing plays.    I will share my enthusiasm for good theatre when I see it or possibly talk about something I find puzzling, but this space is definitely not about theatre reviews.  In the programs for each of the five staged readings at the Colorado New Play Summit is this notice:  ”This is a work in progress.  It is not to be reviewed.”  I don’t think it counts as a review to say I was rather stunned by the high quality of all five of the staged readings at the Summit and the two fully produced plays as well.  From what I heard, I am far from alone in those views.   Bravo!


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1 Comment

  1. Bob Fairbrook
    Feb 14, 2013

    Even with a careful professional “juried” selection process the 2013 Denver New Play Summit exceeded all my expectations. All seven shows were entertaining, funny, poignant and moving in varying degrees and I am confident that I will see many of them again in full productions at other theatres. The Denver Center is really doing a lot of great theatre!

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