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 seven Salt Lake City Library branches.   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 in a family of fearful people who were adept at skirting painful topics, and that definitely included death and...

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...

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