March 11 concluded the Philadelphia Theatre Company’s [email protected] Festival at the beautiful Suzanne Roberts Theatre. The two-week festival celebrates the importance of development in theatrical works. The first week of the festival kicked off Feb. 29 with “Philly Reality,” a product of the PTC education department. The monologue show is produced and created by students of PTC’s ActOut Saturday theater program with the help of teaching artists who are working professionals who teach their craft to youth all around the city. In homage to PTC’s production of “The Scottsboro Boys,” this year’s Philly Reality was developed around the theme of the Civil Rights movement, particularly, in Philadelphia.
The second week of [email protected] began with a reading of “Hope and Gravity” by Philadelphia playwright Michael Hollinger. Following “Hope and Gravity” was a presentation of the first annual Terrence McNally New Play Award, a $10,000 prize awarded to the research and development of new work. Bill Cain, author of “Equivocation,” accepted the award to aid in the development of his current project, “Unvarnished,” a piece about the life of Philadelphia artist Thomas Eakins.
Throughout the rest of the week, [email protected] showcased the work of 13 other playwrights: some lauded, some barely established and many local. The playwrights sat in-house for staged readings of their works in progress, which spanned from sci-fi to period pieces. PTC hosted a dialogue March 8 with industry professionals Charles Busch, Gordon Greenberg and Abigail Poegrebin titled “Creating the New American Musical.” The dialogue discussed the cultivation of Busch’s new musical, “Stars of David.”
I was able to make Saturday’s reading of “Detroit ‘67” by Dominique Morisseau. The piece, which is still under construction, follows the lives of two adult siblings living in Detroit in 1967. The siblings are faced with race relations, police brutality and the riots they incite as a result.
March 11 marked the closing event of [email protected], which included readings of eight short plays by local writers: “The Narcoleptic Pillow Fight” by Alex Dremann, “Rochambeau” by Sarah Mantell, “Riot Grrrls Reunion” by Darin J. Dunston, “Cliff-Diving” by David S. White, “Backfire” by David Lee White, “Lannie’s Lament” by Jacqueline Goldfinger, “Wet” by P. Seth Bauer and “Alterations” by Quinn D. Eli.
Don’t worry if you missed [email protected] this year. The Philadelphia Theatre Company hosts many free events throughout the year as well as professional shows. For their spring season, PTC will be premiering “The Outgoing Tide” by Bruce Graham, Drexel’s own playwriting professor. “The Outgoing Tide” is a quirky family drama that follows an older couple and their adult son, who must find a way to resolve their money issues as well as their differences. In conjunction with teaching Playwriting I, Playwriting II and Creating Stand-up Comedy at Drexel, Graham is a Barrymore Award recipient who has written over a dozen plays and holds writing credits on several successful screenplays.
“The Outgoing Tide” premieres at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre Friday, March 23.at 8 p.m. The show will run through April 22. Tickets are available for purchase directly at the theater or at www.philadelphiatheatrecompany.org.