The Mayor-Elect and our Trustees share why they are thankful for Plan-B

“I moved to Salt Lake City after college. Around the same time a group of young theatre artists in the city founded Plan-B Theatre Company. The tickets were inexpensive and the quality of the work was high. I went to many of their productions during a time of personal and political self discovery . . .Their productions affected my view of the world around me and my place in it. My commitment to supporting local arts and culture and my belief in the benefit of a strong local arts community stems, in part, from the impact the work of Plan-B has had on me.” – Jackie Biskupski, Mayor-Elect, Salt Lake City “I’m thankful for the opportunities Plan-B provides for local playwrights.” – Trustee Benjamin Brown “I’m thankful for Plan-B because it shares the Utah experience in a very distinctive, engaging way.” – Trustee Rebecca Chavez-Houck “I’m thankful for Plan-B because I know every dollar I give is maximized to produce thought-provoking theatre.” -Trustee Brian Doughty “I’m thankful for Plan-B because it ignites ideas and inspires conversation of those ideas with friends and family.” – Trustee Tami Marquardt “I’m thankful for Plan-B because the stories stay on my mind long after the stage lights go out.” – Trustee Jesse Nix “I’m thankful for Plan-B’s pursuit of the most intelligent, heart-wrenching, funny, thoughtful and refreshing theatre in Salt Lake.” – Trustee Rick Pollock “I’m thankful for Plan-B’s extraordinary commitment to arts in the schools.” – Trustee Kay Shean Donors like you are why we are able to do what we do. As 2015 comes to a rapid close, please consider a year-end gift to Plan-B. Click here to give. Happy new year and see you at the... read more

Playwright Eric Samuelsen on creating THE KREUTZER SONATA for the 2015/16 Season

THE KREUTZER SONATA by Eric Samuelsen receives its world premiere in a co-production with NOVA Chamber Music Series October 18-November 9 featuring violinist Kathryn Eberle, pianist Jason Hardink and actor Robert Scott Smith, directed by Jerry Rapier. When Jerry Rapier asked me to read Tolstoy’s novella “The Kreutzer Sonata,” my first reaction to it was a strange one. I thought; what a sad guy. The story’s protagonist and narrator, Pozdnyshev reveals himself as narcissistic, arrogant, sexist and, ultimately, violent. Also, unattractively self-pitying. But he’s also astute (and cynical) in his ruthless deconstruction of the patriarchal culture in which he was raised, and its destructiveness. His marriage is – as he well knows – a hideous farce, lacking the most rudimentary interpersonal connection, or even, most of the time, compassion or kindness. But he’s also capable of mourning, of sorrowful contemplation of the institutional prison in which both he and his wife are incarcerated. He knows himself, and he knows her, well enough to know that they should never have married. What he can’t do is escape. What it reminded me of was August Strindberg’s “Inferno,” a novel written just seven years after Tolstoy wrote Kreutzer. Strindberg’s excoriating account of the horror show of his marriage to Frida Uhl, and his subsequent descent into madness has a similar flaying honesty, though Strindberg’s novel also suggests the possibility of redemption through Swedenborgian spirituality. But Pozdnyshev allows himself no similar escape. His paranoia and the grotesque fantasies with which he indulges and nurtures his neuroses can find no release, no ultimate resolution. What Nora, in Ibsen’s A DOLL HOUSE, calls ‘the greatest... read more

Playwright Carol Lynn Pearson on creating CARAVAN, part of the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions

CARAVAN by Carol Lynn Pearson receives its world premiere as a Script-In-Hand Series reading as part of the global Parliament of the World’s Religions on Friday, October 16 at 3:45pm, bringing people of faith together to work for a more just, peaceful and sustainable world. The first Parliament of Religions was held at the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition, and was the first formal meeting of the religious East and West. In 1988 the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions (CPWR) was founded to organize a centennial celebration of the original Parliament. Since 1993, four Parliaments have been held in Chicago, Cape Town, Barcelona and Melbourne. The 2015 Parliament is here in Salt Lake City October 16-19, 2015. There’s a great big Family Quarrel going on today. Worldwide. Impossible to miss. Many of the children of Father Abraham and the two mothers, Sariah and Hagar, are battling it out. Some of the adherents of these three great world religions—Judaism, Christianity and Islam—clearly have forgotten the wonderful heritage that unites us and instead focus on differences, on ancient hatreds, on property rights, and even ownership of God. Wars seems not to solve it. Negotiations have yet to bring peace. An old Jewish says it all: “An enemy is someone whose story you do not know.” Long ago I memorized words by a devotee of drama that might surprise you, Brigham Young: “If I were placed on a cannibal island and given the task of civilizing its people, I would straightway build a theatre for the purpose.” And he did build a theatre—the fabulous and famous Salt Lake Theatre. Story is magic. And theatre is magic.... read more

Playwright Matthew Ivan Bennett on creating RADIO HOUR EPISODE 10: OTHERWHERE for the 2015/16 Season

RADIO HOUR EPISODE 10: OTHERWHERE by Matthew Ivan Bennett receives its world premiere in a co-production with KUER’S RadioWest on October 30, 2015 featuring Doug Fabrizio and Jay Perry, with original music by Dave Evanoff, directed by Cheryl Cluff. This is the only thing that will be written about this year’s 10th anniversary episode of RADIO HOUR—we’re hoping for a WAR OF THE WORLDS moment, so we have to tell you somewhere, at least once, that it’s not real. During my undergrad days, a favorite late-night pastime of mine was listening to AM radio talk shows. Particularly, I liked listening to Coast-to-Coast AM, with fringe topics ranging from UFOs to dreams to free energy devices. Actually, the title of my first play came from Coast-to-Coast AM, when host Art Bell asked everyone to “send white light to Terrence.” He meant Terrence McKenna, the psychedelic researcher. I didn’t write a play about him, but I jotted down WHITE LIGHT OF TERRENCE and that sparked the idea for a play about a young man who has visions. The entertainment value of Coast-to-Coast is that, even if you don’t believe a word some guest is saying, it’s obvious that he believes it. And that’s very scary to contemplate sometimes. For instance, one of my all-time favorite shows was when Art Bell opened a line specifically for the Anti-Christ. He got several of them—and some of them sounded…well, convincing. They may have merely been good actors, or people with personality disorders, but they seemed to believe themselves. When Jerry and Cheryl approached me with the idea of writing a fictional guest for Doug Fabrizio’s... read more

Playwright Rob Tennant on creating BOOKSMART for the 2015/16 Season

BOOKSMART receives its world premiere December 3-13, 2015 in partnership with The David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists, featuring Tyson Baker, Anne Brings, Joe Crinch, April Fossen and Sarah Young, directed by Jerry Rapier. It took me a lot longer than most people to get a “real” job. Starting in high school, and continuing throughout my 20s into my early 30s, I worked in the service industry. A little retail, but mostly food service. I was a busboy, a waiter, and a restaurant manager. The work was lucrative enough and it fit into my lifestyle of squandering my youth on late nights and a lot of hanging out. It was fun. It was also awful. Customer service is a constant assault on human dignity. I complained about it. A lot. I complained about the hours. I complained about the pay. I complained about what I perceived as a lack of influence on operations of the business itself. I complained about all kinds of things, but I never actually did anything about any of them. At least nothing productive. I didn’t have the resources. I didn’t have any support. I didn’t even know where to start, and all of that frustration was further demoralizing. So now, I’ve been given the chance to finally do something about it: I’m having actors complain for me, on stage, to a paying audience. Progress! Seriously though, these are serious issues. The concept of work in the U.S. is changing, but the need for people to receive just compensation for meaningful work has not changed. The minimum wage has less buying power than ever,... read more

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