Briefs: Theatre Lab, Miami New Drama, Palm Beach Dramaworks

THEATRE LAB MOVES LIVE PERFORMANCES; SLATES MASTER CLASSES & READINGS

The virus has put live performances on stage in an enclosed auditorium on indefinite hiatus, but Theatre Lab isn’t letting that stop its operations.

The resident professional company at Florida Atlantic University’s Boca Raton campus is hosting emerging and established playwrights to share readings of their newest plays online followed by a discussion about the work, their process, and the importance of new play development.

The first event in the series will be a master class with Rachel Teagle followed by a reading of her play, The Impracticality of Modern-Day Mastodons. The play was scheduled for a full production as part of Theatre Lab’s annual Heckscher Theatre for Families programming.

“Currently we are using the show to create inventive new educational outreach programming to support teachers and engage students from the area and around the country in the arts,” said Matt Stabile, Theatre Lab producing artistic director. “By offering our audiences an opportunity to meet this play and playwright this October, we hope to build excitement for the full production next summer.”

The remaining three events in the series will be new audio plays commissioned by and written exclusively for Theatre Lab. In addition, prior to the readings, playwrights will offer a 90-minute workshop designed to guide participants through the various stages of playwriting.

Participants in the master class series will be encouraged to use the series to develop their own short plays. As in past seasons, the short plays developed as part of this series will be eligible for submission to Theatre Lab’s 2021 New Play Festival, which offers an opportunity for budding and established playwrights to see their work produced at Theatre Lab.

The master class and playwright’s forum events will take place on the following dates:

Sunday, Oct. 4, 2 to 3:30 p.m.: Playwright’s Master Class with Rachel Teagle

Sunday, Oct. 4, 4 p.m
.: Playwright’s Forum. Reading of The Impracticality of Modern-Day Mastodons followed by talkback with Teagle. This play is being used as the centerpiece of Theatre Lab’s educational outreach program, The Future PAGES Project, this fall and will be produced by Theatre Lab in 2021 as the Heckscher Theatre for Families Production.

Sunday, Oct. 11, 2 to 3:30 p.m.: Playwright’s Master Class with Jeff Bower

Sunday, Oct. 11, 4 p.m.: Playwright’s Forum. Reading of a new audio play by Jeff Bower followed by talkback with playwright.

Sunday, Oct. 18, 2 to 3:30 p.m.: Playwright’s Master Class with Jahna Ferron-Smith

Sunday, Oct. 18, 4 p.m.: Playwright’s Forum. Reading of a new audio play by Jahna Ferron-Smith followed by talkback with playwright.

Sunday, Oct. 25, 2 to 3:30 p.m.: Playwright’s Master Class with Vanessa Garcia

Sunday, Oct. 25, 4 p.m.: Playwright’s Forum. Reading of a new audio play by Vanessa Garcia followed by talkback with playwright.

All sessions will take place on Zoom. Master Classes are $30 per event and readings are $15 per event. More information is at www.fau.edu/theatrelab.

Due to contractual obligations and a desire to keep the previously announced “season of world premieres” intact, Theatre Lab is moving the announced 2020-21 season including a rolling world premiere of Predictor by Jennifer Blackmer, a rolling world premiere of Refuge co-created by Andrew Rosendorf and Satya Chavez, and a world premiere of local playwright, Gina Montet’s Overactive Letdown, to the 2021-22 season.

“While these three plays will have to wait another year for their full productions, we have a litany of exciting new plays we want to produce,” said Matt Stabile, producing artistic director. “As soon as we are cleared to welcome patrons back into the space, we plan to do so, starting with last season’s postponed production of To Fall In Love by Jennifer Lane and, hopefully, adding at least one other new play to culminate the Spring season.”

MOISÉS KAUFMAN PREVIEWS NEW PLAY ABOUT CORRUPTION IN VENEZUELA TO BE MOUNTED LATER BY MIAMI NEW DRAMA

Miami New Drama and Tectonic Theater Project will present selected scenes for free online of a work-in-progress by Moisés Kaufman  about the corruption and abuses of the current Venezuelan government.

Scenes from Las Aventuras de Juan Planchard will be broadcast through You Tube on October 6 and is planned for a full production at Miami New Drama at some point in the future.

Kaufman, famed for leading the Tectonic troupe in creating The Laramie Project, is a co-founder of the Florida company dedicated to presenting works reflecting the multi-cultural citizenry of South Florida.

Kaufman’s new play chronicles the life of Juan Planchard, a young Venezuelan “revolutionary” who takes advantage of his government contacts to steal from the country. He lives an opulent lifestyle of drugs and excess common to the oligarchs benefiting from the Bolivarian Revolution. As such abuses of power lead the country into a spiral, Juan himself becomes caught in the destruction he’s helped manufacture.

Kaufman and Miami New Drama co-founder and artistic director Michel Hausmann are both natives of Venezuela. “Miami has become the capital of the Venezuelan exile community, and this important story about the governmental corruption and abuses that precipitated that exile will have a profound resonance here,” Hausmann was quoted in a news release.

The play, Kaudman’s first written in Spanish and to be presented with English subtitles, is based on a best-selling novel by fellow Venezuelan Jonathan Jakubowicz. A news release presented the play as “a blazing indictment of the ruling class in Kaufman’s native Venezuela, is particularly resonant in today’s United States and anywhere democracy is being undermined.”

Kaufman was quoted in the news release: “I’ve witnessed my native country devastated by the Bolivarian revolution. Chavez, Maduro and their
amoral cronies and henchmen have bankrupted one of the richest countries in the world, and brought about famine, disease, and scarcity of basic goods. I’ve been eager to write a play about the situation there but couldn’t do it because
I’ve been gone for 25 years. But then I read Jonathan’s novel and I knew I’d found the story I wanted to tell. “

The online stream of the selected scenes will be directed by Kaufman and feature acclaimed Venezuelan and Venezuelan-American actors. The cast includes Daniela Bascopé, Elba Escobar, María Gabriela de Farias, Rafael De La Fuente, Christian McGaffney, Iván Tamayo,,Franklin Virguez and Amanda-Lynn Williams.

The recorded presentation will premiere for free on YouTube and will be followed by a live Zoom Room conversation with Kaufman, Jakubowicz and Hausmann. The production of the full-length play will take place in Miami—and is planned to tour Latin America eventually.

DRAMAWORKS HIRES DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT

Carla S. Bryant, an experienced hand in business, government, education, and the arts, was hired in May as  Director of Development for Palm Beach Dramaworks.

Carla Bryant

Bryant, who grew up in South Florida, has diverse work experience in human capital strategy, marketing, and education. As a federal government contractor in Washington DC, she obtained several multi-million dollar contracts by utilizing strategic business development practices to support federal agencies. She also supported the development office of the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts during its inaugural year. Bryant has served on several arts and national boards including the Burt Reynolds Institute for Theatre Training, Florida Stage, Caldwell Theatre Company, and the Girl Scouts of the USA, engaging in a variety of fundraising initiatives.

“Carla is an immense talent, who will be a huge asset to PBD,” said Managing Director Sue Ellen Beryl. “Bill [Producing Artistic Director William Hayes] and I have known her for years, and have welcomed her volunteer assistance several times on high level projects. She is a consummate professional with expertise in many areas. We were delighted that we had the opportunity to offer her a permanent role at Dramaworks and are excited to be working with her.”

Bryant added, “I am so happy to be returning to my first love, the arts, and to be part of PBD. I know it sounds like a cliché, but I had reached a point in my career where it was important to me to give back to the community. I grew up in this area, and I actually go way back with this theatre. Long before it was Dramaworks’ home it was a movie house, and I saw one of my first films here. So, there’s a real personal connection. I believe that the arts are invaluable to our society, as they touch us in meaningful and profound ways and are a reflection of our humanity. Theatre makes a difference in people’s lives, and I think that’s something we’re even more acutely aware of right now, when we have to do without live theatre. But we’ll be back, and I’m thrilled to be able to contribute to this wonderful organization.”

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