Creative Class 2016: Werner Trieschmann

cc16-treischmannWerner Trieschmann is a playwright-teacher-writer-you could keep adding hyphens and words.

His numerous plays — including Dog Star, Wrought Iron, and Killers — have been staged by Moving Arts in Los Angeles, Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York City, The New Theatre in Boston, Mobtown Players in Baltimore, and Red Octopus Productions in Little Rock. Werner was a resident at the Mount Sequoyah New Play Retreat in Fayetteville. His play Lawn Dart won first prize in the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans New Play Competition. He was the first playwright to receive the Porter Prize, an Arkansas literary award recognizing outstanding achievement by an Arkansas writer.

Werner’s play Disfarmer about Arkansas photographer Mike Disfarmer, was featured in Theatre Squared’s Arkansas New Play Festival. It was subsequently mounted at the first ACANSA Arts Festival.

His full-length comedy You Have to Serve Somebody is published by the Dramatic Publishing Company; several of his short plays are published by Playscripts, Inc.; his dark one-act comedy Killers is published through Original Works Publishing; and a monologue from Killers is included in the The Best Women’s Stage Monologues 1999, published by Smith & Kraus. Werner has an MFA in Playwriting from Boston University. He is a Theatre Arts professor at Pulaski Technical College and an adjunct faculty member at Hendrix College, his alma mater.  He has also served as a dramaturg at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre and was a writer for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.  

Grants for Rep, ASO, Oxford American announced by National Endowment for the Arts

nea-logo-960Three Little Rock based cultural institutions were among the eight Arkansas recipients of National Endowment for Arts grants recently announced.

These were Art Works and Challenge America grants. Art Works grants supports the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts and the strengthening of communities through the arts. Challenge America grants offer support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics or disability.

The Arkanas Repertory Theatre received $15,000 to support a production of An Iliad by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare.  The playwriting team has adapted Homer’s Trojan War epic into a compelling monologue that captures both the heroism and horror of warfare. A key theme is the personal cost of war. The theatre will continue and deepen its ongoing partnership with the Little Rock Air Force base and will engage with the service members and their families during the project. During the performance run, veterans returning from service overseas will share their personal stories as part of a post-performance community conversation. Activities will occur in the theater’s newly constructed second stage and center for community engagement on the Main Street Creative Corridor.

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra received $10,000 to support performances and educational workshops that will culminate in the world premiere performance of a composition by D.J. Sparr, featuring guitarist Ted Ludwig.  The composition is inspired by Ludwig’s flight from New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. In addition to performances, electric guitarists Ludwig and Sparr will lead workshops for student musicians and community members from central and southeastern Arkansas, including a high percentage of low-income residents.

The Oxford American received $20,000 to support the publication and promotion of the magazine.  Exploring the complexity and vitality of the American South, the magazine publishes poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and criticism by emerging and established authors. The magazine will be promoted through social media, the magazine’s website, a weekly e-newsletter, and events throughout the South.

In addition, TheatreSquared in Fayetteville received $25,000 for its Arkansas New Play Festival. This is presented in Fayetteville and Little Rock. The Little Rock performances are in conjunction with the Arkansas Rep.

Other Arkansas recipients were the Walton Arts Center, Sonny Boy Blues Society (for the King Biscuit Blues Festival), Ozarks Foothills Film Festival and John Brown University.

Free readings of two new plays today at Arkansas Rep as part of TheatreSquared New Play Festival

ark new play festIn partnership with TheatreSquared, located in Fayetteville, The Rep will host two staged reading performances in The Rep’s Lobby, located on the ground level.:

Saturday, June 27
Free of Charge
2 p.m. – Uncle by Lee Blessing
7 p.m. – Dust by Qui Nguyen


2 p.m. – Uncle by Lee Blessing
From Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award nominee Lee Blessing (A Walk in the Woods), Uncle is a comedy about an academic sabbatical gone terribly awry. Dr. Paul Waymiller is facing a “publish or perish” deadline on his book about Chekov’s masterpiece, Uncle Vanya. With his career in the balance, he refuses to be distracted by anything—be it his imminent divorce, Vanya himself, or the interdimensional wormhole that’s opened up in his backyard.ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
Lee Blessing has written more than thirty plays, including A Walk in the Woods (nominated for Tony and Olivier Awards and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), Going to St. Ives, Independence, A Body of Water, Thief River, Two Rooms and Eleemosynary. Recent notable premieres include For the Loyal at Illusion Theatre in Minneapolis, Courting Harry at History Theatre in St. Paul and Great Falls at the Ensemble Theatre in Sydney, Australia. Blessing’s plays have earned two Steinberg/American Theater Critics Association awards as well as Obie, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and L.A. Critics Association awards. His TNT film “Cooperstown” won the Humanitas Award. Blessing headed the Graduate Playwriting Program at Rutgers University for over a decade.

7 p.m. – Dust by Qui Nguyen

Dust is the story of Thuy, a girl who sets out to find her ex-G.I. father – who has kept her existence a secret from his wife for 16 years. Blending live hip-hop, raw emotion and wry wit, Dust recasts the American dream through the eyes of an Amer-Asian teenager in this redemptive, cross-cultural coming-of-age story.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT

Qui Nguyen is a playwright, screenwriter and co-founder of the OBIE Award-winning Vampire Cowboys of New York City. His work, known for its innovative use of pop-culture, stage violence, puppetry and multimedia, has been lauded as “Culturally Savvy Comedy” by The New York Times, “Infectious Fun” by Variety, and “Tour De Force Theatre” by Time Out New York. This past season, The Chicago Tribune praised him as a “refreshing, break-the-rules writer” as Time Out Chicago named his play She Kills Monsters one of the 10 Best Plays of 2013.Recent honors include being named a 2014 Sundance Institute/Time Warner Fellow; a 2014 McCarter/Sallie B. Goodman Fellow; a 2013 Sundance Theatre Lab Fellow; a recipient of a 2013 AATE Distinguished Play Award (She Kills Monsters); a 2012 TCG Young Leader of Color; and receiving 2012 & 2009 GLAAD Media Award nominations for his plays She Kills Monsters and Soul Samurai.

His company, Vampire Cowboys, often credited for being the pioneers of “geek theatre”, holds the unique distinction of being the first and currently only professional theatre organization to be officially sponsored by NY Comic Con. They’ve been praised by the Village Voice as “New York’s Best Army of Geeks” and currently in-residence at The New Ohio Theater and IRT.

Grants for Rep, ASO announced by National Endowment for the Arts

nea-logo-960Two Little Rock cultural institutions were among the nine Arkansas recipients of National Endowment for Arts grants recently announced.

These were Art Works and Challenge America grants. Art Works grants supports the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts and the strengthening of communities through the arts. Challenge America grants offer support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics or disability.

The Arkansas Repertory Theatre received $10,000 to support the production of Matthew Lopez’s The Whipping Man. This play is set during Passover 1865.  As the annual celebration of freedom from bondage is being observed in Jewish homes, a wounded Confederate officer returns from the Civil War to find his family missing and only two former slaves remaining.

The Rep  will partner with the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and the Jewish Federation of Arkansas to explore the play’s themes and the role of both the African-American and Jewish communities in Arkansas history.

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra received $10,000 Little to support performances, workshops, and related outreach activities featuring violinist Randall Goosby. Goosby, the first-place winner of the 2010 Sphinx Competition, will be in residence in Central Arkansas conducting free workshops and music demonstrations for community members and student musicians drawn from economically disadvantaged schools.

In addition, TheatreSquared in Fayetteville received $10,000 for its Arkansas New Play Festival. This is presented in Fayetteville and Little Rock. The Little Rock performances are in conjunction with the Arkansas Rep.

Other Arkansas recipients were the Walton Arts Center, Fort Smith Symphony, Sonny Boy Blues Society (for the King Biscuit Blues Festival), Low Key Arts of Hot Springs, Ozarks Foothills Film Festival and John Brown University.

Arkansas New Play Festival returns to Little Rock this weekend

NewPlayFestThe Arkansas Repertory Theatre is again playing host to the Little Rock staging of TheatreSquared’s Arkansas New Play Festival.

TheatreSquared Artistic Director Robert Ford and Executive Director Martin Miller have announced the lineup of new plays for TheatreSquared’s sixth annual Arkansas New Play Festival. B Side: Myself will feature rock music by Arkansas playwright Jamey McGaugh. Staged reading performances will also include Just Like Us by Karen Zacarías, What God Had Wrought by John Walch, and Disfarmer by Werner Trieschmann.

The Little Rock leg of the Arkansas New Play Fest will take place at The Rep on 601 Main Street in the Black Box Theatre on the 2nd Mezzaine level:

Saturday, June 7

3:00 p.m. – B Side: Myself (100 min)

6:00 p.m. – Just Like Us (90 min)

 

Sunday, June 8

2:00 p.m. – Disfarmer (90 min)

5:00 p.m. – What God Hath Wrought (120 min)

Arkansas New Play Fest performances are $7 per ticket or $20 for a Weekend Pass. Tickets can be purchased at tickets.therep.org or by calling The Rep Box Office at (501) 378-0405.

“New plays are the lifeblood of the American theatre,” said Ford. “For three weeks in June, we give playwrights the unparalleled opportunity to develop new scripts in close collaboration with professional actors, dramaturgs and directors. At the end of this intensive creative process, audiences in Fayetteville and Little Rock will be given unusual access to these bold new plays before they take the national stage — and directly impact how they are shaped.”

  • B Side: Myself by Jamey McGaugh will feature original music performed by a live rock band. It’s the musician’s nightmare: the audition of a lifetime with a deep-pocketed record producer and an international rock star, but the rest of the band is nowhere to be found. This production will be directed by Sean Patrick Reilly and feature cast members Jim Goza, Kieran Cronyn, Bob Hart, Maggie Ferran, and Coleman Clark as well as musicians Kate Knox, Dan Robinson, Bryan McCue, and Bryan Tamara.
  • Just Like Us by Karen Zacarías, who is playwright-in-residence at Arena Stage, was originally premiered in Denver and is being substantially reimagined for the festival. Based on Helen Thorpe’s bestselling book, this new play follows four Latina girls whose immigration status begins to erode their opportunities — and their friendships. Directed by Tlaloc Rivas.
  • Disfarmer, by Werner Trieschmann, returns for its third year of development at the Arkansas New Play Festival (2009, 2011) in newly expanded form. Based on a true story, this comedic portrait tells the tale of an eccentric photographer from Heber Springs, Arkansas, who in the early forties charged a townsfolk and visitors to have their pictures taken—and decades later caused a minor speculative mania when New York gallery owners “discovered” his work and descended on the small Arkansas town. Directed by Keira Fromm.
  • What God Hath Wrought, by John Walch, is a “transatlantic farce” with original music. Customer Service Superagent Meg Chambers can handle any request — she’s the last stop on the Habañero’s service line, dealing with escalated complaints about everything from exploding burritos to too-weak salsa. But when a mysterious Morse code message comes in from, apparently, 1857, she may finally have met her match.  New York-based playwright John Walch is the winner of the American Theatre Critics Association’s Osborn Award. Directed by Shana Gold.

2012 Arkansas New Play Fest

The Arkansas Repertory Theatre presents TheatreSquared’s 2012 Arkansas New Play Fest on Thursday, May 17 and Friday, May 18 at The Oxford American building at 1300 Main Street.

Arkansas New Play Fest features professional staged readings. Each script is rehearsed, staged and performed by professional artists, script in hand, for the public and playwright.

Following each reading, there will be a talk back session with the playwright and the cast.

Thursday, May 17
7 p.m.
Uprooted by Clinnesha Dillon Sibley
9 p.m.
The Ballad Of Rusty and Roy by Troy And Jonny Schremmer

Friday, May 18
7 p.m.
The Spiritualist by Robert Ford
9 p.m.
The Football Project by Samuel Brett Williams

Featured Plays

UPROOTED
by Clinnesha Dillon Sibley
A richly drawn treatment of a timeless scenario by an award-winning Arkansas playwright. What happens when long-separated siblings reunite after the death of a parent? When successful film actress Venus Kettle returns to Indianola, Mississippi, to her mother’s “home going,” she is greeted by her sisters with a wide range of emotions, from enthusiastic glee to cold-shoulder resentment. In the meantime the play follows the parallel story of Venus’s brother, who is incarcerated in a facility in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Uprooted is moving tribute to the redemptive power of family.

THE FOOTBALL PROJECT
by Samuel Brett Williams
November, 1998: a high school football team boarded a bus to travel to play in the state championship game. The entire town came out to see the team off—but the bus never left. One third-string player who played for mere seconds in the previous game forged his grades and caused the team to be disqualified from the championship. The town’s response was unprecedented. There were death threats, thoughts of suicide, vandalism and then a surprising amount of goodwill and even a bit of unexpected heroism. A snapshot of a town in crisis, examining one of the rare places that the ordinary and the epic, the petty and the profound collide: high school football.

THE SPIRITUALIST
by Robert Ford
TheatreSquared Artistic Director Robert Ford brings The Spiritualist back to the Arkansas New Play Festival for a second year of development, adding new revisions and, for the first time, original music. Inspired by true events, this comedic drama introduces Rosemary Dunn, an English widow who cooks for the school lunch service and communes with the spirits of dead composers. When an enterprising American reporter tries to unmask the self-proclaimed psychic as a fraud, he finds there may be more at play than simple musical sleight-of-hand.

THE BALLAD OF RUSTY AND ROY
by Troy and Jonny Schremmer
This new play with live, original music, follows the story of two half-brothers, both musicians with roots in Texas who have found their way to New York City along starkly divergent paths. One has an enthusiastic following on the New York music scene, the other among toddlers at the neighborhood church playgroup where he works. Circumstances reunite the two brothers, but a deeply troubled past involving a boyhood road trip threatens to tear them apart once again. Featuring songs – and performances – by Dusty Brown, who himself has a burgeoning career as a singer-songwriter in New York, an early version of The Ballad of Rusty and Roy was featured at the New York Fringe Festival.

Tickets are $7 per show or $20 for a two-day pass to all four readings.