The 13th Annual Phoenix Theatre Hormel New Works Festival is now in full swing and will run through August 1. For anyone who loves theater, this is a golden opportunity to bask in the remarkable creative process that raw, new works go through on there way to refinement and fulfillment.
The Examiner recently talked with Robert Kolby Harper, Associate Artistic Director for Phoenix Theatre and the Artistic Director for the Cookie Company. As an educator, he has been the Department Head of Theatre and instructor for Arizona School for the Arts for the past six years as well as a Faculty Associate for ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, School of Music.
Robert Kolby Harper
Today we continue our discussion on the 13th Annual Phoenix Theatre Hormel New Works Festival, highlighting the 2nd Draft Series component and listing the remaining play readings still to come. Later this week, we will get more up close and personal with Mr. Harper as he discusses his roles as an educator, Associate Artistic Director for Phoenix Theatre and the Artistic Director for the Cookie Company.
Q: Could you describe the New Works Festival 2nd Draft Series?
A: I started the 2nd Draft Series two years ago to feature pieces by local playwrights. Once a play is written and goes through a couple of drafts, it gets to a point when playwrights need to hear and see their work performed. I thought that we could bridge the gap with our New Works development, trying to increase the program to perform year round, exploring these fledgling works. Currently we only do our New Works Festival in the Summer which is not always the best time to feature a special event in Phoenix. Until we get our new space built, we can’t move it to a different time of the year.
The goal of 2nd Draft is to give these adolescent pieces an opportunity for the author to hear his words and get feedback in the earlier stages of creativity. Basically, we do two readings, each on a Saturday morning at 11 AM. It’s very down and dirty. I get the cast together. We meet at 10 AM. We highlight the script and the playwright talks to actors directly about the motivations for writing the play. We don’t really get the chance to rehearse but the actors have the ability to ask the author questions on how he wishes them to approach character. The readings are free or by donation only. We do a guided talk back at the end. The playwright goes away with all those notes and has about three to four months to do revisions and then we do it again. We choose three to four plays a year for the season and they get two readings. My goal is that a 2nd Draft Series play gets submitted and picked for the New Works Festival.
Remaining Schedule for New Works Festival:
Living in the Spaces, by Rod Hayward, directed by Daniel Schay, Friday, July 16 at 7:30 PM; Saturday, July 17 at 3 PM and 7:30 PM.
Divine Fruit/Kundalini Rising, by Nathan Sanders, directed by William Partlan, Friday, July 23 at 7:30 PM; Saturday, July 24 at 3 PM and 7:30 PM.
Robot Songs, by Scott McCarrey, directed by Robert Kolby Harper, Friday, July 30 at 7:30 PM; Saturday, July 31 at 3 PM and 7:30 PM.
Burning in the Night, by Dale Wasserman, adapted by Richard Warren, directed by Daniel Schay, Sunday, July 11 at 3 PM and 7:30 PM; Sun., July 25 at 3 pm and 7:30 PM.
After every reading, an audience discussion and interactive question and answer period will be held between the playwright, director and the audience.
Informal Readings the 2nd Draft Series :
The Pornographer (2nd Read) by Kirt Shineman, Saturday July 24 at 11:00 AM.
Dinner on the Inside by Christian Krauspe, Saturday July 31 at 11:00 AM.
24 Hour Theatre Project August 1, beginning at 7 PM.
Graphic artwork and photograph courtesy of Phoenix Theatre.
For more information about ticket availability, prices and schedule for The 13th Annual Phoenix Theatre Hormel New Works Festival, please contact Phoenix Theatre directly either by phone at (602) 254 2151 or ON LINE.
Phoenix Theatre 100 East McDowell Road Phoenix 85004