Carleton Bluford’s MAMA

Carleton Bluford is a member of The Lab at Plan-B, a cadre of 10 local playwrights. He has created roles in Plan-B’s WALLACE by Jenifer Nii, THE THIRD CROSSING by Debora Threedy and MARRY CHRISTMAS by Elaine Jarvik; he will also appear in A/VERSION OF EVENTS by Matthew Ivan Bennett later this season. MAMA, winner of the inaugural Plan-B Theatre grant from The David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists, is his first full-length  production. Way back in the day, when cell phones had a limit on texting, so ancient times, I helped create a ten-minute play festival at Weber State University. The students wrote their own plays and the thought of creating a different world that someone would see excited me. Larry Dooley then offered a playwriting class and from that melting pot of creation came the student-written, one-act play festival. Obviously, since I had written a full length play and a number of one acts by then, I assumed that I was a playwright and had some passionate and crazy things to say to the people. I immediately found the first company I looked up that focused on new plays and submitted everything I had, all the while expecting to be called post haste because of course, once Jerry Rapier at Plan-B noticed my genius, he’d be more than willing to produce my masterpieces. But he didn’t call. What he did do was cast me in a show and then allow me to do a two-year production and marketing internship with Plan-B, along with a two-year playwriting workshop where I sharpened my pen. I learned a lot...

Playwriting intern Megan Fevurly on her time with Plan-B

Megan Fevurly is in her second year in the MFA Dramatic Writing Program at the University of Idaho. She spent a weeklong internship with us at Plan-B earlier this month, the company’s 8th intern since 2007. Megan is a Denver-based playwright. Her plays have received readings and productions at Curious New Voices, University of Denver, The Edge Theatre, University of Idaho and Towne Street Theatre. She is a self-professed theatre geek, working at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and as an advisory board member for the Athena Project, also in Denver. Being an intern at Plan-B Theatre is an experience I will forever cherish. Their commitment to new work is exemplary and this support of local artists is nothing short of commendable. I had the opportunity to meet and learn from their resident artists and playwrights, seeing them in action at the first rehearsal of a new staged reading [MARRY CHRISTMAS by Elaine Jarvik], and the final rehearsals and opening of a new play [CHRISTMAS WITH MISFITS]. I was also asked to lead a talk-back of the new play with students from the Salt Lake Arts Academy in the audience (an academy with which Plan-B has a great relationship of fostering the performing arts with its students), and have a play of my own read by the ten playwrights of Plan-B’s Lab, who provided me with wonderful feedback to help further develop the piece. Through it all Plan-B’s wonderful team mentality, community involvement,and their passion for theatre is evident in the high-quality work they produce, and I am very honored to have learned from them and will lead by their example as I...

Who is Restore Our Humanity and why is Plan-B raising funds for them with MARRY CHRISTMAS?

Plan-B Theatre celebrates the first anniversary of marriage equality in Utah December 20-23 with the world premiere of Elaine Jarvik’s MARRY CHRISTMAS. From Restore Our Humanity: “When Restore Our Humanity sought to bring marriage equality to Utah back in 2012, such an expedited timeline was completely unedpected. When Judge Robert Shelby ruled in favor of marriage equality in Kitchen v. Herbert, nearly 1,300 LGBTQ couples were able to legally marry before the State of Utah was able to obtain a stay on the order. The next step in the case was to move on to the District Court in Denver. A win there helped secure marriage equality for the other states of the 10th Circuit Court. The State of Utah continued to deny the reality of marriage equality and chose to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. When the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari (cert.), marriage equality won! Now LGBTQ persons in Utah may freely marry the partner of their choice and share in the same benefits heterosexual couples have been granted for more than a century. While the case may be won, there is still work to do in raising the funds to pay for all the effort put forth over two grueling years of legal battles. Please join us in celebrating victory for LGBTQ Utahans, let’s raise the funds to pay a debt we all share for this victory, a debt that currently stands at $731,024.81.” From Plan-B Theatre: “This is personal. Two Plan-B staff members and two Plan-B board members were among the nearly 1,300 couples married during “the 17 days” – in fact, each couple...

Audience response to CHRISTMAS WITH MISFITS

Here is a sampling of audience response to CHRISTMAS WITH MISFITS, receiving its world premiere at Plan-B Theatre through December 21. The only tickets are Friday, December 19 at 8pm and Saturday, December 20 at 4pm and 8pm – all other performances are sold out! Click here for more information and tickets. [Playwright Julie] Jensen uses wry humor to make a point about Christmas without sacrificing the humanity of her characters, and director Cheryl Ann Cluff and the actors [Kirt Bateman, Colleen Baum and Jeanette Puhich] deftly maintain that balance between laughter and sensitivity. – Barbara Bannon from her review in The Salt Lake Tribune I LOVED IT. Julie Jensen can just have you laughing and then break your heart in the same sentence, and the acting was fantastic. – Nell Gwynn CHRISTMAS WITH MISFITS is the most unique and enjoyable holiday show in Utah this year. Everything from the set to the lights to the costumes to the acting and directing come together to create a simple, sweet, honest show that is exactly what everyone needs to hear this holiday season. Plan-B has done it again. – Keaton Wren CHRISTMAS WITH MISFITS is a tender and charming look at the underbelly of Christmas. You will know these people and their wants, disappointments and honesty. With just the right touch of humor, Julie Jensen pushes aside the cloying sweetness of the season, to reveal that for many, Christmas is less than joyful. – Amy Wadsworth A hilarious, heartwarming look at Christmas from the perspective of “the rest of us.” CHRISTMAS WITH MISFITS proves that you don’t have to be...

Props Designer Arika Schockmel on uncommon props for CHRISTMAS WITH MISFITS

Arika Schockmel previously designed makeup for Plan-B’s 2012 revival of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH. Christmas Truth #1: From 2002 to 2009, I was one of those people who forced Christmas upon other people. Cheerily. Maniacally. Mercilessly. Let me explain: in 2002 my father was diagnosed with cancer. It was swift and aggressive, and deep down we knew it was to be his last Christmas with us. So I baked and cooked with gusto. I decorated voraciously and with wild abandon. We had drinks and Christmas crackers and “Snapdragon” and “The Minister’s Cat” and music and by Jove, it worked! His last Christmas was as good as we could make a last Christmas. And working so had made the empty/full of fear pit inside me feel less empty and fearful. So the following Christmas the stakes were higher, weren’t they? I not only had to create a Christmas that somehow softened my father’s absence, I had to create Christmas or CHRISTMAS WOULD NOT HAPPEN. So began a seven=year obsession that involved up to seen individual decorated trees, a massive collection of asbestos-infested vintage Christmas lights, a sprawling, multi-cultural Nativity that included Santa, Buddha, and Shiva, and a creepy amount of 1940’s Gurly candles. Christmas Truth #2: Children can make Christmas magic. More to the point, they can make YOU see the magic of Christmas. In November 2010 my daughter was born. Through the post-partem, sleep-deprived haze I recall Christmas somehow occurred with no effort on my part. There was possibly one tree (I REALLY wasn’t sleeping much back then), but the Gurly candles sat undisturbed in 2009’s used wrapping...

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