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Archives: 2016 New Play Lab at the Inge Festival 


The New Play Lab during the William Inge Theatre Festival aids the development of new scripts by emerging playwrights.
Scripts selected for the Play Lab have a rehearsed reading by professional actors and directors, and are presented in front of a panel of outstanding respondents.  The
schedule below shows the participating playwrights of the  2016 Play Lab at the Inge Festival.  

Also, enjoy this article about the 2016 William Inge Theatre Festival, published in American Theatre magazine






In honor of our 35thAnniversary, the William Inge Theater Festival and Conference featured its first ever New Play Lab.  Thirty plays were presented for the first time, Wednesday through Friday, April 20-22, of 2016.   Panelists of nationally-renowned theater professionals, including Master Teachers David Henry Hwangn (2012 Inge Honoree), Lee Blessing, and Mac Wellman, and Inge New Voices HonoreesCatherine Trieschmann (2012), Catherine Butterfield (1999), and former Inge Playwright in Residence, Obie for Lifetime Achievement Awardee, Caridad Svich, responded to the new works, immediately following each reading.

The Second Annual Play Lab will be held as part of the 2017 William Inge Theatre Festival, April 19-22, 2017. Prospective playwrights are encouraged to watch the Inge Center website for news on how to submit.  

The New Play Lab offered playwrights attending the Festival the opportunity to interact with and have their work seen by professional theater artists from around the country, Festival attendees and the public. In addition, all play lab writers worked directly with professionals in hands-on writing workshops.   

Karen Carpenter, Artistic Director, says, “We are thrilled to realize our mission of helping playwrights further their new work at the Inge Festival.  As hosts of playwrights in residence and their resulting developmental workshops at the Inge Center for the past 15 years, and the crossroads for major theater artists during the Festival, we are uniquely positioned to give a forum to new works that serves to further the playwrights’ process, on the road to production.”

The Living Room Theatreof Kansas City partnered with the Inge Festival to produce the Play Lab readings; casting professional actors and directors to rehearse the plays prior to their presentation here.

Plays were chosen for the Play Lab by a panel of “blind” readers. This Play Lab explored variety in the one act play format: from structure, style, and storytelling, to the very stories we tell and those who tell them, in honor of William Inge and his exploration of the one act in both style and form in the latter years of his life. Submissions from traditionally underrepresented voices were strongly recommended.

The following plays were presented: 

A Life Enriching Community by Philip Middleton Williams

 A Paper Forest by Claudia I. Haas

Amanda Transcending by Connie Bennett

Another Part Of The Field by Francis RTM Boyle

Bang by Daniel Born

Dear Independence, Love Saigon by Deb Sandoval

Delusions Of Grammar by Craig Coyne

Drinks With Mother Teresaby James Trivers

En Plaine Air by Kenneth N. Kurtz

Exit Interview by Eoin Carney

Gentlemen’s Pactby Karen JP Howes

Heathen by Susan Jackson

Judges Decision by Michael Goldstein

Kain’s Curse by Jonathon Ward

Monkey Play by Rand Higbee

Picture Me Rollin’ by Diana Burbano

Platter Tudes by Vicki Vodrey

Soldier Of Fortune by Paul Bowman

Someone To Lean On by Elizabeth Keyser

Style by L.C. Bernadine

Tea & Misery by Terence Patrick Hughes

Terminal by Anne Welsbacher

That Kissb y DC Cathro

The Circus Still Comes To Town by Tom Cavanaugh

The Rescue by Susan Dunlap

The Tale Of The Yooper by Adrienne Thompson

Three Months To The Day by Kathryn Ryan

Trapped Like A You Know What by Jared Strange

True Believers by Joshua Kaplan

Whence You Cameby D.S. Magid.

Responding panelists included:

David Henry Hwang

Throughout his career, playwright David Henry Hwang has explored the complexities of forging Eastern and Western cultures in contemporary America.  His extraordinary body of work, over the past 30 years, has been marked by a deep desire to reaffirm the common humanity in all of us.  He is best known as the author of M. BUTTERFLY, which won the 1988 Tony, Drama Desk, John Gassner, and Outer Critics Circle Awards, and was also a finalist for the 1989 Pulitzer Prize. The play enjoyed a one-year run on London’s West End and has been produce in over four dozen countries to date.  His play GOLDEN CHILD premiered off-Broadway at the Joseph Papp Public Theater, received a 1997 Obie Award for playwriting and subsequently moved to Broadway where it received three 1998 Tony Nominations, including Best New Play.  His play YELLOW FACE, which premiered at Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum and New York’s Public Theater, won a 2008 Obie Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.  Mr. Hwang’s Broadway musicals include writing the book for Rodgers & Hammerstein’s FLOWER DRUM SONG, which earned him his third Tony nomination in 2003 for Best Book of a Musical.  He co-wrote the book for Disney’s international hit AIDA, with music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice, which won four 2000 Tony Awards and ran over four years on Broadway, and he was the bookwriter of Disney’s TARZAN, with songs by Phil Collins.


Lee Blessing

Lee Blessing has written over thirty plays, including A WALK IN THE WOODS (nominated for Tony and Olivier Awards and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), GOING TO ST. IVES, A BODY OF WATER, THIEF RIVER, Two Rooms, ELEEMOSYNARY AND COBB. Two of his plays have opened recently – the world premiere of COURTING HARRYat History Theatre in St. Paul, MN and Great Falls – which had its south-of-the Equator debut at the Ensemble Theatre in Sydney, Australia. Blessing’s plays have earned two Steinberg American Theater Critics Association awards, as well as Obie, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and L.A. Critics Association awards, among others. Three of his plays have also been cited in Time magazine’s list of the year’s ten best.  His TNT movie “Cooperstown” won the Humanitas Award.  For more than a decade he headed the Graduate Playwriting Program at Rutgers University.


Mac Wellman

Mac Wellman is the I. Fine Professor of Play Writing at Brooklyn College, and in 2010 he became a CUNY Distinguished Professor.  Wellman is author to more than forty plays.  His recent work includes

3 2’S ; or AFAR AT DIXON PLACE in October 2011, THE DIFFICULTY OF CROSSING A FIELD (with composer David Lang) at Montclair in the fall of 2006 (and elsewhere more recently), and 1965 UUfor performer Paul Lazar, and directed by Stephen Mellor at the Chocolate Factory in the fall of 2008. He has received numerous honors, including NEA, McKnight, and Rockefeller grants and Guggenheim and Foundation of Contemporary Arts fellowship.  In 2003 he received his third Obie, for Lifetime Achievement.  In 2006 his third novel, Q’s Q was published by Green Integer, and in 2008 a volume of stories, A Chronical of the Madness of Small Worlds, was published by Trip Street Press as well as a new collection of plays The Difficulty of Crossing a Field from Minnesota Press. His novel Linda Perididowon the 2011 FC2 Catherine Doctorow Prize for Innovative Fiction. He is a co-founder of the Flea Theater in New York City.




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