Announcing the 2017/18 Script-In-Hand Series!

As the only professional theatre company in the United States producing full seasons of new work by l0cal playwrights, we invite you to join us for three public readings of plays-in-progress. Announcing the 2017/18 Script-In-Hand Series sponsored by Lee & Audrey Hollaar (click here to reserve your free-but-required tickets)! THE PRIESTHOOD November 15 by Carleton Bluford author of MAMA (2015) I was thinking about growing up in a place that is predominately occupied by the Mormon religion.“The Church” has always been in the news politically, all of my friends have been affected by it in some way or another, and there really is no escaping it if you choose to live in the Beehive State. Most of my friends are very liberal and have ended up turning their backs to the Church. However I grew up with many Mormon friends who are still Mormon who were kind to me, nice to me, loved and didn’t judge me, and stood up for me on many occasions. Sometimes even saving my life, literally. They have families and jobs and they seem very happy. Whether they are or not is not for me to decide, as there are two sides to every story. So in writing THE PRIESTHOOD, I wanted to discuss a very controversial event in the Church’s history examining those two sides. I also wanted to make it deeply human because, in the end, talking about spirituality and the soul is very personal. The Church’s 1978 decision to allow blacks to hold the priesthood is called a revelation from God. Some people say the Church just bent from heat of...

Playwright Matthew Ivan Bennett’s Sweet 17 at Rose Exposed

Plan-B Theatre has premiered 16 ten-minute plays by Matthew Ivan Bennett; the 17th premieres this Saturday as part of ROSE EXPOSED…THE SKY IS FALLING! Matt has also premiered seven episodes of RADIO HOUR and his full-length plays BLOCK 8, DI ESPERIENZA, MESA VERDE, ERIC(A), DIFFERENT=AMAZING and A/VERSION OF EVENTS at Plan-B. RADIO HOUR EPISODE 4: FRANKENSTEIN received a Utah Broadcasters Association Gold Award; MESA VERDE was nominated for the American Theatre Critics Assocation/Steinberg Award for Best New American Play Produced Outside New York; and ERIC(A) toured coast-to-coast and was named Best Drama at the United Solo Theatre Festival. THE CAUSE was read at the Great Plains Theatre Conference and his play A NIGHT WITH THE FAMILY was read at Salt Lake Acting Company, received its world premiere at Omaha Community Playhouse and was produced by PYGmalion Theatre Company.  So this is my (sweet) seventeenth 10-minute play produced by Plan-B at the Rose Wagner. If we watched all of them back-to-back, it would take about two and a half hours and would need a cast of at least 12 actors with each actor appearing in multiple roles. Or around 40 actors if each one played one role. Each play took me at least ten hours to write, or theoretically a week of my life without stopping to sleep or eat but just type. Some of these plays are oddball comedy, like “Smells Like Bacon,” in which a philosophy professor falls for a stripper and gets advice from a psychic named Pig. Some of them seeded many months of work, like the 10-minute play “Adaptation” that became the full-length historical drama called...

Austin Archer on creating our third subscription offering: JUMP

Austin Archer’s play JUMP is the current recipient of the Plan-B Theatre grant from The David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists and is the third subscription offering of our 2017/18 Season (our 27th! – click here for tickets and subscription info – performances April 5-15). Most recently, Austin contributed “Swipe Right” and “Swipe Left” to Plan-B’s (IN)DIVISIBLE and directed IN THE HEIGHTS for Good Company Theatre. His play THICK METAL BALL was produced at Weber State University. As an actor, he has appeared onstage at GCT, Utah Rep, SLAC and PTC.  How will you die? Will you see it coming? What if you’re given a second chance? JUMP explores the impact of survival on those we love. A co-production with Flying Bobcat Theatrical Laboratory. I’ve been writing songs for over a decade (music catalog here). It started slowly when I was in high school. I’d finish a song every few months or so, and I was never pleased with the result. I wanted to be a great songwriter like Bob Dylan or Elliot Smith. I believed that if I kept it up I’d eventually get better at it. And while that was true, I thought I’d get better after ten or twenty songs. In reality, I don’t think I started to get decent until I’d written maybe 100. By then I was in college and finishing a new song about every other week. I’d adjusted my methods, I’d grown as a guitarist and lyricist, but I still wasn’t where I wanted to be. As time passed my obsession grew deeper. I’d write song after song, most of them only lasting in my...

Jenifer Nii on creating our second subscription offering: THE WEIRD PLAY

Jenifer Nii’s latest play, THE WEIRD PLAY, is the second subscription offering of our 2017/18 Season (our 27th! – click here for tickets and subscription info – performances March 1-11). Jenifer proudly calls Plan-B her creative home. She has previously premiered five plays with the company: KINGDOM OF HEAVEN (the first original musical in our history created with composer and co-lyricist David Evanoff); THE SCARLET LETTER and SUFFRAGE (garnering back-to-back nominations for the American Theatre Critics Association/Steinberg Award for Best New American Play Produced Outside New York); RUFF! (our third annual Free Elementary School Tour); and WALLACE (co-written with Debora Threedy).  Whom do you love? What do you love? How do you love? And why? THE WEIRD PLAY lives in the space between romance and devotion. A co-production with Sackerson. It’s all in the title, I suppose. I just couldn’t think of another way to describe the content or the process of my latest play. It’s all different, and weird. My hope is that it’s a good weird, and not just weird weird. THE WEIRD PLAY began as a challenge to myself: to step outside everything I was comfortable with and everything I’d done before, to face head-on the aspects of theatre that had frightened me in the past. I wanted to experiment with language, to discover whether I could retain my “voice” using another style of expression – and a style I wasn’t seeing presented in theatre at the time. I wanted to utilize the set, light, props, and movement in a way I hadn’t tried before. It’s the first time I’ve scripted in any detailed way a vision of what I wanted...

Eric Samuelsen on creating our season opener THE ICE FRONT

Eric Samuelsen’s latest play, THE ICE FRONT, opens our 2017/18 Season (our 27th! – click here for tickets and subscription info – performances November 9-19). Eric has been writing for Plan-B since 2004. Most recently, he was one of 12 playwrights creating short pieces for the Script-In-Hand Series event (in)divisible. He has previously premiered MIASMA, AMERIGO, BORDERLANDS and THE KREUTZER SONATA (a co-production with NOVA Chamber Music Series) at Plan-B. The company’s entire 2013/14 season, the #SeasonOfEric, was fully dedicated to his work and featured the world premieres of NOTHING PERSONAL, RADIO HOUR EPISODE 8: FAIRYANA, 3 and CLEARING BOMBS, which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. Fluent in Norwegian, Mr. Samuelsen is an Ibsen translator – his translations of A DOLL HOUSE and GHOSTS have been produced as part of Plan-B’s Script-In-Hand Series. His plays have been produced from California to New York. The actors of the Norwegian National Theatre find themselves in an uneasy truce with Nazi cultural authorities during the German occupation of Norway. When they are forced to perform a Nazi propaganda piece, conscience comes face-to-face with The Final Solution. THE ICE FRONT honors the heroism and dangers faced by the trilogy of Nazi victims – Jews, Gypsies and Homosexuals – by questioning what it means to be an artist, to be a patriot, to be human. It has taken me 30 years to write THE ICE FRONT. While living in Norway for three years, I found the story I could use as the vehicle for this celebration in my research files from my doctoral dissertation. In 1990, in the Norwegian National Theatre archives, I discovered the...

Playwright Elaine Jarvik on creating RIVER.SWAMP.CAVE.MOUNTAIN., this year’s Free Elementary School Tour

Elaine Jarvik’s plays BASED ON A TRUE STORY and MARRY CHRISTMAS premiered at Plan-B. Her other plays include DEAD RIGHT (Humana Festival of New Plays) TWO STORIES and [a man enters], Salt Lake Acting Company; THE COMING ICE AGE, PYGmalion Theatre Company; and NOT QUITE RIGHT, Teatro Paraguas. Elaine’s latest play, RIVER.SWAMP.CAVE.MOUNTAIN., created specifically for K-3, will tour as our fifth annual Free Elementary School Tour this fall. Click here for details on bringing RSCM to your school and for details on the October 14 performance as part of RDT’s Ring Around the Rose Series, as well as free performances at six Salt Lake City Library branches as well as three libraries in Davis County: Centerville, Davis County Central and Roy (presented by Davis Arts Council).   Five-year-old JJ (who has lots of questions) and eight-year-old Izzy (a know-it-all who doesn’t know it all) are siblings who have recently lost their grandmother. They embark on a funny and touching hero’s journey to try to make sense of loss, grief, death and life. Featuring Ashley Maria Ramos and Benjamin Young. Designed by Aaron Swenson. Directed by Cheryl Cluff. I volunteer at The Sharing Place, a support group for children who are grieving the death of someone close to them. Perhaps that makes it sound like I’m the kind of person who can walk into a funeral home and not get weak in the knees. But, in fact, I am still at some level a grown-up version of the child who could barely walk past the Funk and Wagnall’s encyclopedias on our hallway bookshelf because one of the “B” entries was “blood.” I grew up...

Thank you Jesse Portillo!

NOT ONE DROP (2017) NOT ONE DROP (2017) VIRTUE (2017) ONE BIG UNION (2016) KINGDOM OF HEAVEN (2016) BASED ON A TRUE STORY (2016) BOOKSMART (2015) THE KREUTZER SONATA (2015) PILOT PROGRAM (2015) A/VERSION OF EVENTS (2015) MAMA (2015) CHRISTMAS WITH MISFITS (2014) 3 (2014) CLEARING BOMBS (2014) NOTHING PERSONAL (2013) SUFFRAGE (2013) ERIC(A) (2013) ADAM & STEVE AND THE EMPTY SEA (2013) HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH revival (2012) THE THIRD CROSSING (2012) THE SCARLET LETTER (2012) LADY MACBETH (2011) BORDERLANDS (2011) MESA VERDE (2011) SHE WAS MY BROTHER (2010) AMERIGO (2010) DI ESPERIENZA (2009) BLOCK 8 (2009) EXPOSED (2007) Jesse Portillo has been designing lighting for Plan-B since in 2007. He became our resident lighting designer in 2010, having designed all but one Plan-B production since. He’s heading east to join the faculty of the College of Charleston in South Carolina, but we’ll see him back at least once next season. Above are images from most of Jesse’s Plan-B designs. Below are thoughts from his collaborators about him and his work. Break a leg in South Carolina – we love you and will miss you; we’ll miss your eye and especially the catty things you say from the top of the genie! Read more about Jesse on Howlround. We have worked together a helluva lot over the past decade. I should have realized that all those letters of recommendation would result in you actually moving on. Here’s the most recent one – the last paragraph says it all. Shit. I will miss you tremendously. Jerry Rapier, Artistic Director (and director of many a Plan-B show lit by...

Why (in)divisible?

All performances of (in)divisible through June 18 (presented as part of our Script-In-Hand Series) are technically at capacity, but you can still see the show. Free + summer = a certain number of no-shows! Click here for details, waitlist and walk-up info. Below each of the 17 actors share their thoughts on what drew them to participate in (in)divisible. Everything in (in)divisible is rooted in real-life experience and the parameters are pretty strict: no mentioning of Trump or Clinton, or even allusions to them – when those names surface in conversation, listening seems to cease. And listening is the goal. The lack of respect for those with whom we differ is at the root of the quagmire we find ourselves in as a country. Identifying people by labels creates polarity. And the more polarized we become, the less chance there is for real communication and real change. We’re not asking people to agree; we’re asking people to listen to those whom they may normally write off as “the other.” The greatest challenge of (in)divisible has been for each playwright to write their own point of view. The opposite point of view was much easier: it could be looked at objectively as a piece of theatre, as a character to treat as truthfully as possible. But when faced with representing their own point of view, each playwright felt immense pressure to avoid being preachy or didactic. The result is pretty magical: each playwright examined their own biases and fears and is boldly and frankly sharing what they found. Grasping for a wisp of magic, in a thundercloud … – Joe Debevc While growing up Japanese American in Utah,...

A gathering of theatre artists of color in SLC

  If this is you, please join us on Monday, June 12 at 6pm in the Studio Theatre at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center for what hope will be the first of many gatherings of Theatre Artists of Color in Salt Lake City. How to RSVP: join the Facebook event or email Jerry Rapier, Artistic Director. The first goal is to get to know each other and create a stronger network. The second goal is to provide a space to discuss the challenges of working as theatre artists of color in and around Salt Lake City. The third and ultimate goal is to dig deep to see what stories we are able to authentically explore onstage in future seasons and how we can diversify who writes them, who tells them onstage and who designs them. Please help us spread the word. See you at the...

(in)divisible is coming June 8-18 and it’s free!

(in)divisible is our response to the response to the election. But it’s not about Trump. Or Clinton. Or Sanders. Or Obama. Or any other political figure. As the project took shape, we followed two ground rules: (1) none of the above could be mentioned or even alluded to because when they are mentioned, listening ceases; and (2) everything had to be rooted in real-life experience. (in)divisible is about our country. (in)divisible is about its citizens. (in)divisible is about us. Twelve local playwrights have each created two five-minute pieces: one liberal and one conservative. Scroll down to see who they are and their thoughts on the pieces they’ve created – stories from some people you’ll agree with, some people you’ll disagree with, all who just happen to be just like you. (in(divisible is a reminder of what it means to listen. Click here to reserve your free tickets and see who’s in the cast. We ask that in lieu of a ticket purchase you make a contribution to The Children’s Center at the theatre.   Click here to reserve your free tickets...

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