New Play Festival highlights student work
A fall tradition returns to the High Country, only this time it's happening in February. It's the New Play Festival at Appalachian State University, a chance to showcase penned talent and see the debut of something special.
"It's been in existence since I've been here in 1987," director Martha Marking said.
This year brings a trio of plays to the forefront, carefully selected by a committee from the seven submissions.
"We do take an actual vote as to which plays should be done," Marking said. "We don't know when we are reading them whose plays they are."
This year, senior theater major Zach Smith had his play selected. While he's written and entered plays before, "Kayla" is his first play to be accepted in the festival.
"A friend of my girlfriend was having this conversation with her about the word 'facade,'" he said, misusing the word, like talking about magazines being facades."
"I just thought it was funny," he said.
So funny, he put pen to paper.
"The play started as a comedy and is more of a tragedy now as characters developed," he said.
An actor first, Smith calls playwriting a side project.
"It's pretty interesting, though, sort of having the direction being on my shoulders instead of someone else's and having to make decisions other than listen to them," he said.
Other plays presented at the festival include "Murder at Black Rock Mansion, Part II" by Jason Edwards and "Mental" by Ryan Sheehe.
In other playwriting at ASU news, you may recall student Jonathan Fitts, playwright of December's "The Pursuit of Mr. Rockefeller." We're told his play has been selected to be performed at the College Regional Theatre Festival, and representatives from the Kennedy Center will be in attendance.
There's a chance the Boone-born production could be invited to perform at the Kennedy Center in April.
In the meantime, check out the New Play Festival Feb. 9 through 12 at the Greer Studio Theatre (downstairs), 287 Rivers St. Show times are 7:30 p.m. each night. Adult tickets are $10. ASU faculty/staff tickets are $8. ASU student tickets and K-18 are $6. The event is sponsored by ASU Playcrafters.