Published: Aug 19, 2008 06:05 PM
Modified: Aug 19, 2008 06:05 PM
The Roundtable, The ArtsCenter's resident playwrights lab, will present "It Happened at Weaver Street," a series of staged readings featuring original short plays inspired by Carrboro's Weaver Street Market.
Why Weaver Street?
"We'd been knocking around the idea of writing material centered on a local theme for some time now," said Paul Newell, coordinator of The Playwrights Roundtable, now in its fifth year at The ArtsCenter. "And Weaver Street struck us as a setting of rich possibilities. Of course, as locals know, there's a people-watching appeal to the whole scene on the lawn there. Something about it invites you to slow down and observe humanity. As playwrights, we thought, 'Why not see where it all could lead?'"
Thus Weaver Street Market became the inspiration for this summer's theme show.
A "theme show," as Newell explained, is a format the Roundtable periodically employs to generate new material.
"Sometimes we'll showcase stand-alone short works," he said. "Other times, we'll test-run a full-length play and ask for audience feedback. Still other times, we'll experiment with a form that's more ensemble-based -- which tends to mix it up."
The seed idea for "It Happened at Weaver Street" came from Roundtabler Debra Kaufman, whose short play, "Vow of Silence," features a meditative type on a "speaking fast."
"The character struck us as the kind of person you'd imagine encountering at Weaver Street," Newell said. "So we expanded on this meditative man, weaving him through transitions, bringing his inner thoughts to life, and, ultimately, revealing the world of the Weaver Street lawn from his perspective."
The character, who calls himself "Tree," will be played by Rajeev Rajendran, Weaver Street Market guru by day, Roundtable actor by night.
"This project is particularly exhilarating, and terrifying, because it's more like a single play than anything we've ever done," Newell said. "With individual playwriting there's always a bit of stumbling along the way as you try to figure out where your play is going. Add five more playwrights to the mix and it's six times the stumbles, six times the adventures, six times the fun!"
The playwrights featured in "It Happened at Weaver Street" are Newell, Kaufman, Mark Cornell, B Holroyd, John Paul Middlesworth (coordinator) and Annie Taft.
The ensemble includes John Boni (also a member of The Roundtable), Ava Christie, Jane Holding, John Honeycutt, Barbette Hunter, Danielle Koppel, Laura Janelle Royster (also a member of The Roundtable), Jennifer Saylor, and Andy Snee.
The Roundtable is a play development lab run by and for playwrights. Its purpose is to encourage the creation, development, and production of plays by North Carolina writers.
The lab group mounts at least one staged reading a year for a script by a local lab member, as well as hosting monthly meetings and readings. Membership is by referral or invitation. For more information, contact email@example.com
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