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June 28: Playwrights, Actors, Audiences Create Theater in Summer New Play Festival


Eric Sloss

Playwrights, Local Actors, Audiences Create New
Theater in Carnegie Mellon's Summer New Play Festival     

PITTSBURGH—The 2007 Summer New Play Festival at Carnegie Mellon University begins July 12 and will showcase local actors in new plays written by graduate students and alumni of the School of Drama's Dramatic Writing program. In addition to the playwrights, actors and directors, the audience will also get a chance to play a role by discussing the work with the cast and crew after each performance. The playwrights will then incorporate the audience's feedback into their plays.    

The festival will present performances of young playwrights' intriguing new works starring professional actors from Pittsburgh and New York. The writers include second-year master of fine arts students France-Luce Benson, Jon Paul Nickel and Carol Godart, and alumni Jason Williamson (A'06) Andrea Lepcio (A'00) and Giacondo Trevellini (A'05). (See play schedule and descriptions below.)    

Following each play, Carlyn Aquiline, literary manager of the Pittsburgh City Theatre, will facilitate a discussion by guiding the audience with questions formulated in conjunction with the playwright.    

"The Carnegie Mellon Summer New Play Festival creates a dynamic environment in which playwrights, actors, directors and audiences all contribute to the genesis of exciting new theater," said Williamson, who organized this year's festival.    

All plays will begin at 8 p.m. in the Helen Wayne Rauh Studio Theater in the Purnell Center for the Arts. Tickets are free and available at the door 30 minutes prior to the performance. For more information, contact Williamson at

2007 Summer New Play Festival Schedule

Thursday, July 12
"Thread Count" by Carol Godart
A story about life, love and germs.

Friday, July 13
"One Nation Under" by Andrea Lepcio
Set in 2004, a federal bench judge with Supreme Court aspirations comes face to face with the asthmatic son of an Army reservist when her son becomes a military contractor in Iraq.

Saturday, July 14
"Last Train to Circville" by Giacondo Trevellini
Since the incident, Circville has spiraled from the heights of circus glory to the depths of forestry hell, but there's a new midget in town and the winds of change are blowing.

Thursday, July 19
"Ether Steeds" by Jason Williamson
In a sea of jagged teeth, a lonely misfit aches for a connection with her broken mother and a quiet drifter.

Friday, July 20
"Floating Underwater" by France-Luce Benson    
On an island where lust and fantasy are sold, Leidy sets out on a journey to uncover the truth of her dark past and heal her soul.

Saturday, July 21
"22 Ways to Succeed and Be Seen" by Jon Paul Nickel
Hate your job? Feeling inadequate? Tired of being unhappy? In 22 simple steps, you can make all your worries disappear.