Rob Tennant on his play QUARTER HORSE

Rob Tennant is a member of The Lab at Plan-B, where his play BOOKSMART enjoyed a sold-out run last season. Rob’s play QUARTER HORSE is the next offering of our 2016/17 Script-In-Hand Series this coming Wednesday, March 29, directed by Robert Scott Smith, stage managed by Joe Killian, with Emma Scotson as the Reader and featuring a cast of Olivia Custodio, Sky Kawaiw, Shawn Francis Saunders and Matthew Sincell. The reading is free and at capacity – click here for details. The hardest I’ve ever laughed was on day four of an ill-advised weeklong outdoor adventure. I was one of eight young men camping beside an ankle-deep “river” in the middle of the most remote piece of desert in the USA, days behind schedule with limited food and silt-clogged water filters. Bone-tired from a 12-hour day of slogging through mud with a small boat in which I was supposed to be riding, someone broke the settled quiet gloom with a simple statement. “We’re all going to die out here,” he said. We all laughed until we cried, our guffaws returning to us off of redrock canyon walls for minutes on end. There’s room for comedy in any situation – gallows humor is a powerful thing. A world in which we have run out of oil and are forced to ride bicycles everywhere isn’t necessarily a dystopia for me. To each their own. What terrifies me is the prospect of a future where we’ve done everything wrong and it’s all for naught because we haven’t learned from our mistakes. A world where individual interest continues to be prioritized above communal good. A world where...

Morag Shepherd on her play NOT ONE DROP

Playwright Morag Shepherd makes her Plan-B debut with NOT ONE DROP, receiving its world premiere March 23-April 2. Originally from Scotland, she is the resident playwright at Sackerson, where her plays THE WORST THING I’VE EVER DONE (co-written with Matthew Ivan Bennett and Shawn Francis Saunders), BEFORE THE BEEP, BURN and POPPY’S IN THE SAND have premiered, the latter playing Great Salt Lake and San Diego International Fringe Festivals. I moved around a fair amount as a child. I was born in Scotland, lived in a few different places in England, Scotland again, England again, the east coast of the States, and now here in Salt Lake City. I’m a citizen of the United Kingdom, but now feel more American. Moving around so much as a child, it was hard for me to keep an identity straight. I felt more like I was a mix and melded into the places and people I were around, to the point that I would adopt the accent of whoever I was talking to. Something I still do, because I’m cool like that. I was a member of the LDS faith, believed in god, went on a mission – the whole shebang – and now I’m not sure what I believe. And my point in saying all of that? If there is one thing that I kind of know, that I maybe believe in, it is that people change, places change, ideas and spaces alter, and it all weaves together like a spider web. Consequently, lines and boundaries that are liquid, elusive, and adoptive, are some of the foremost issues I play with in...

Jenny Kokai on her play THE ART OF FLOATING

Jennifer A. Kokai is a member of The Lab at Plan-B and teaches at Weber State University. Jenny’s play THE ART OF FLOATING is the next offering of our 2016/17 Script-In-Hand Series this coming Wednesday, February 22. The reading is free and at capacity – click here to wait list. In THE ART OF FLOATING, Marian spends her days hanging out at the senior center and drinking wine with her best friend Fran. One day her estranged granddaughter MacKinzie calls up and asks to live with her. Her dog has died, and this has occasioned a crisis of faith about what happens to pets after death. Marian and Mackinzie don’t know each other, they don’t know much about each other, and they have very different points of view on the world. And then a dirigible crashes in Marian’s backyard. Generally, I am not one for autobiographical plays. But this play is basically an attempt for me to sort out some things I’ve been trying to understand since I moved to Utah five and a half years ago. Death and the LDS church. While I have obviously had experience with death before, since moving to Utah my family has had three grandmas, one college roommate, and four pets die. Off the top of my head. One grandma, in particular, left a huge gaping hole in me that even now, three years later, just hangs out. I know where the hole is and how to avoid it most of the time. But it’s still there. She was my most favorite person on earth, the person I called to talk to all the time, and I’m still...

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...

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