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...

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...

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....

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...

Eric Samuelsen bids farewell to the #SeasonOfEric

Eric Samuelsen has written for Plan-B Theatre Company for a decade where, in addition to the #SeasonOfEric, his plays MIASMA, AMERIGO and BORDERLANDS also received their world premieres. It’s very rare for a fully professional American theatre company to devote time and resources to new work by local playwrights. It’s exponentially rarer for companies to do entire seasons devoted to the work of a single playwright. I expect, rarest of all, would be for companies to market that season using the playwright’s first name. So: the Season of Eric. And I’m Eric; apparently sufficiently known (or at least notorious) to warrant not just a season of my work, but a marketing campaign based on my first name. It’s immensely flattering and a tremendous honor. Obviously, the greatest five events in my life were when I married Annette, and when each of our four children were born. I’m not kidding when I say this: The Season of Eric comes sixth. We started off with GHOSTS. My PhD dissertation was on Henrik Ibsen, most of my scholarly publications were on Ibsen; I’m an Ibsen guy. And I can say this unequivocally; I love GHOSTS. And of course the ending of the play is powerfully and movingly tragic. But I’ve seen GHOSTS in production many times, and I’ve always felt there was something essential missing. Humor. Dour old Ibsen, the stuffy Victorian moralist. As I translated the play, I kept cracking up; I loved Ibsen’s subversive satirical wit. In our Script-In-Hand Series production, we only had a few days to rehearse, but it was so thrilling to hear laughs in the house....

Jessamyn Svensson on GHOSTS

Jessamyn Svensson is a theatre student at Utah Valley University making her Plan-B debut as Regina Engstrand in the Script-In-Hand Series reading of Henrik Ibsen’s GHOSTS, in a new translation by Eric Samuelsen. Regina Engstrand is, to me, a desperately hopeful individual — a state of being that any person is familiar with, whether we are trying to quell it in order to not get our hopes up too high, or something we cling to like addicts because maybe, just maybe, holding onto that feeling will get us to the end of the day. Having said that, I feel like the presence of hopeful desperation in a person, especially a woman during the time and place GHOSTS is set [Victorian Norway], is very interesting. It’s what drives Regina to do the things that she does which seem contradictory throughout the course of the play; she peppers her language with French to try and (1) prove to Oswald that she is his match, and (2) elevate herself in order to more fully separate herself socially from her father. She affects her behavior toward Pastor Manders to seem more pious and acts completely subservient to Mrs. Alving. The fact that a woman during this time could only take her fate into her own hands by  the selling of her body, to me, as a modern-day feminist is utterly abhorrent. But that is all marriage is to Regina, an opportunity, a strategic move she makes in order to change her life. An exchange of herself, body-and-all, for a step up the social ladder. Granted, that’s still what marriage is today but now,...

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