Matthew Ivan Bennett on RADIO HOUR EPISODE 11: YULETIDE

RADIO HOUR EPISODE 11: YULETIDE by Matthew Ivan Bennett receives its world premiere in a co-production with KUER’S RadioWest on December 8, 2016 featuring Doug Fabrizo, Jay Perry and Teresa Sanderson, with original music by Dave Evanoff and eFoley by Jennifer Freed, directed by Cheryl Cluff. One year, when I was a kid, the toy I really, really wanted was a toy microphone you could “broadcast” with over the radio. I don’t remember who made it — Fisher Price? Mattel? — but it was bright plastic yellow. I got it! And I played with it all day long in my Christmas pajamas. This is how it worked: you would select an empty static station on the radio, like 107.3 FM, and then you’d set the toy to 107.3, and you could hear yourself through the radio! It only had a range of 20 feet or so, but what I’d do was hide in the coat closet, behind my dad’s tan wool trench coat and under the boxes of Kodak slides, and I’d wait for my family to walk into the dining room before greeting them with what I thought was a booming phantom voice: “Aggghhh!” Usually, I gave myself away by panting heavily into the mic or snickering. Another year what I really, madly, deeply desperately needed was the He-Man Snake Mountain play set. Again, I wanted it because it had a microphone. It had, I think, some sort of echo effect, so you could sound just like a cartoon villain in his lair. Probably, Mr. and Mrs. Claus regretted giving me these toys because they were loud and I used them...

Matthew Ivan Bennett on his play WHAT WE HAD TO

Matthew Ivan Bennett has premiered several plays at Plan-B, most recently A/VERSION OF EVENTS, DIFFERENT=AMAZING and ERIC(A), which won Best Drama at United Solo in New York. Recently, he was a finalist at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and has twice been a finalist at the Austin Film Festival. He has also acted for Plan-B, SLAC, Utah Shakespeare Festival and Eclipse in Chicago. Matt is a member of the Dramatists’ Guild. Matt’s play WHAT WE HAD TO opens the 2016/17 Script-In-Hand Series Wednesday, November 16. The event is free and at capacity – click here to wait list. “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.” That poem — which began with Pastor Martin Niemöller — has haunted world politics for at least 60 years. It’s been appropriated by left wing and right. Recently, I remember it being re-worded by gun advocates in the reverberations of the Sandy Hook Massacre. The poem is an exhortation. It says, “Fight back — at the first hint of despotism, fight back.” It demands courage against any and every “They.” It is also the story of someone who did not fight back. The logic of Niemöller’s poem would have us believe that tyranny surges in the...

Ten things playwright Debora Threedy wants you to know about Joe Hill before ONE BIG UNION opens November 10

Playwright Debora Threedy returns to Plan-B with ONE BIG UNION, where she has premiered her plays THE END OF THE HORIZON, WALLACE and THE THIRD CROSSING at Plan-B. THE END OF THE HORIZON and ONE BIG UNION were workshopped as part of Utah Shakespeare Festival’s New American Playwrights Project and THE THIRD CROSSING won the Fratti-Newman Political Play Contest. Her short play THE TIGERS OF AKANUMA premiered as part of SHADOWS OF THE BAKEMONO (Meat & Potato Theatre) and her play DESERT WIFE toured Utah for more than a year.  ONE BIG UNION celebrates the impact and music of Joe Hill. So we asked Debora to share ten things she wants you to know about him before you see the play. 1. Joe Hill was born Joel Hagglund (pronounced HEG-looned) in 1879 in Gavle, Sweden, and emigrated to America in 1902. The house where he was born serves today both as the branch office of a Swedish union and as the Joe Hill Museum, which draws 15,000 visitors a year. 2. His father was a railroad man and, when Hill was seven, his father was knocked under an engine, suffering severe internal injuries. Despite this, he never sought medical treatment until a year later, when the chronic pain became unbearable; he died on the operating table. His death threw the family into acute poverty; Hill left school at twelve and went to work in a rope factory. 3. In 1896, when he was seventeen, he developed splotches on the side of his nose and his wrist that were diagnosed as tuberculosis of the skin, a then often fatal disease; after four...

Ten Foods I Like An Awful Lot: Melissa Leilani Larson’s THE EDIBLE COMPLEX opens October 8

Melissa Leilani Larson returns to Plan-B with THE EDIBLE COMPLEX following PILOT PROGRAM in 2015. Other recent productions include PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (BYU), MARTYRS’ CROSSING (Edinburgh Fringe), LITTLE HAPPY SECRETS (SLAC’s Fearless Fringe). Current projects: JANE AND EMMA (Clearstone Productions), EAST OF THE SUN (workshop, Nautilus Music Theatre), SWEETHEART COME (2016 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference semi-finalist). Film: FREETOWN (2015 Ghana Movie Award, Best Screenplay). Dramatists Guild ambassador for Utah, MFA from Iowa Playwrights Workshop. THE EDIBLE COMPLEX, created specifically for grades 4-6, opens October 8 with a public performance as part of Repertory Dance Theatre’s RING AROUND THE ROSE Series before touring to more than 40 elementary schools in 6 counties as Plan-B’s 4th annual Free Elementary School Tour (presented in Davis County by Davis Arts Council and in Wayne County by the Entrada Institute). THE EDIBLE COMPLEX  includes ten foods as characters that Mel likes an awful lot. Yes, the Food acts too. She we asked her to tell us why!  1. The Grilled Cheese Sandwich is the first food to make an appearance in THE EDIBLE COMPLEX, and for good reason. It’s one of the first things I learned to cook for myself when I was a kid, and it’s still very much a favorite. So simple to make, and yet incredibly satisfying. And—like the Grilled Cheese in the play says herself—so good with a tall, cold glass of chocolate milk. 2. Sometimes I trick myself into being healthful. Sometimes friends help. A good friend who is a great cook often invites me to join him and his family for dinner. One thing he makes that I never tire of: Turkey Tacos. Supposedly...

Ten things that helped Morag Shepherd write NOT ONE DROP, opening March 23

Playwright Morag Shepherd, originally from Scotland, makes her Plan-B debut with NOT ONE DROP, the current winner of the Plan-B Theatre grant from The David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists. She is the resident playwright at Sackerson, where her plays THE WORST THING I’VE EVER DONE (performed in a box by one actor for an audience of one at a time, co-written with Matthew Ivan Bennett and Shawn Francis Saunders), BEFORE THE BEEP (performed in weekly installments via voicemail), BURN and POPPY’S IN THE SAND have premiered, the latter also playing Great Salt Lake Fringe and San Diego International Fringe Festivals. If playwrights Caryl Churchill and Sarah Kane had a baby, NOT ONE DROP would be that weird, wacky baby. Morag shared with us the ten things that helped her write the play – enjoy! 1. Björk’s Hyperballad 2. Deconstruction art by toylikeboylike 3. Jacques Derrida’s essay Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences (1966) 4. Björk’s Pagan Poetry 5. Deconstruction art of Todd Mclellan 6. Oscar Bateman-Rapier’s book Jumping Spiders. 7. Roland Barthes essay The Death of the Author (1968) 8. “The theatre, which is in no thing, but makes use of everything – gestures, sounds, words, screams, light, darkness – rediscovers itself at precisely the point where the mind requires language to express its manifestations . . .” – Antonin Artaud 9. The documentary Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present 10. Vodka, wine, Diet Coke,...

Announcing the 2016/17 Season

The 2016/17 season explores what it means to speak the truth, featuring world premieres by four Utah playwrights. Subscriptions are $53 and include ONE BIG UNION by Debora Threedy, VIRTUE by Tim Slover and NOT ONE DROP by Morag Shepherd. THE EDIBLE COMPLEX by Melissa Leilani Larson is available as an add-on for $6. Click here to subscribe. ONE BIG UNION | a world premiere by Debora Threedy |  November 10-20, 2016 Joe Hill was executed in 1915 by the state of Utah for a murder he may or may not have committed. Considered a martyr by organized labor, Joe Hill’s songs envisioned gender and racial equality and criticized the gross income disparities of his time. Joe Hill remains an enigmatic folk hero but beyond the mythology lies a larger story of protest through music, more relevant than ever a century after his death. From the author of THE END OF THE HORIZON, WALLACE and THE THIRD CROSSING. A play with music featuring Daniel Beecher, Carleton Bluford, Roger Dunbar, April Fossen, Tracie Merrill and Jay Perry. Musically directed by David Evanoff, choreographed by Stephanie Howell, directed by Jason Bowcutt.   VIRTUE | a world premiere by Tim Slover | February 16-26, 2017 Poet, composer, writer, herbologist, midwife and Christian mystic, Abbess Hildegard would have been a revolutionary now as well as in the Twelfth Century when she lived. Her vigorous, otherworldly life raises profound questions: In a battle between spiritual conviction and institutional rules, which should win? What counts for more: theology or experience? And especially, who may we love? A play with music featuring Jay Perry, Shane Rogers, Emilie Eileen Starr and...

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