Rachel Bublitz on creating THE FINAL DEBATE for ROSE EXPOSED: BREAKING NEWS

Rachel Bublitz returns to Plan-B, premiering her short play THE FINAL DEBATE as part of ROSE EXPOSED: BREAKING NEWS on August 25. Most recently, she premiered her monologues “Blue” and “Red“ as part of Plan-B’s (IN)DIVISIBLE and CHEERLEADERS VS. ALIENS for YouthTheatre at Park City’s Egyptian Theatre. Whenever I write something with a theme I try and list as many different ideas that could work with the theme as possible. This is a list with as few as ten-ish ideas but sometimes as many as 100. What I really appreciated as an artist when tackling the theme “Breaking News” was how layered it was. “Breaking News” could mean up-to-the-minute information on huge events happening locally and globally, but it can also be a small and personal event; essential information being passed from one human to another, often with the connotation of not being the best news. I knew I wanted to write a short play that was something huge and something small; something global and something deeply personal. Writing a play dealing with school gun violence  wasn’t the first idea on my list, but once it was listed in my notebook I knew I had to try it. THE FINAL DEBATE is one of the most emotionally taxing plays I’ve written. It uses “Breaking News” in both the intimate and public senses, while also (hopefully) being a piece of theater that makes you laugh, makes you think, and maybe cry. I know it made me cry all through writing the first draft. I have two children, and sending them back to their school after one of these horrifying events...

Playwright Jennifer A. Kokai on creating ZOMBIE THOUGHTS

Jennifer A. Kokai has previously written “Bird Brains” for Plan-B’s portion of ROSE EXPOSED: FLIGHT and the monologues “Mitch” and “Janine” for (IN)DIVISIBLE. Jenny is an Associate Professor at Weber State University, where she teaches playwriting. When I was asked to write a play for Plan-B’s Free Elementary School Tour, I immediately turned to the closest elementary expert: my (now) eleven-year-old son.  But Oliver is not a typical elementary-aged kid. He has the verbal comprehension skills of someone in college. As the child of a theatre professor, he has seen Stoppard’s ARCADIA and Ibsen’s HEDDA GABBLER. He’s a sophisticated yet generous audience member. But when we’ve seen plays aimed at folks his age, he is often troubled by simplistic storylines and banal morals. Kids, he tells me, deal with real problems and these plays rarely offer an opportunity to think through a difficult situation or learn how to function better in real life.   Oliver also has learning and emotional disabilities that have challenged me as a parent: there is nothing more heartbreaking than not being able to give your child what he needs. In kindergarten, Oliver exasperated his teachers with incessant questions, impulse control issues, difficulty relating to other children, and disinterest in assigned work and procedures. We changed schools for first grade, but things got worse. The more his teacher criticized him, the more anxious he became about messing up, and the more he messed up. We changed schools for second and third grade: the pattern continued. Oliver began to talk about harming himself and wanting to die. So, outside of work and school, we hid in the house...

11-year-old playwright Oliver Kokai-Means on creating ZOMBIE THOUGHTS

Oliver Kokai-Means makes his professional playwriting debut with ZOMBIE THOUGHTS, Plan-B’s sixth annual Free Elementary School Tour. As an actor he most recently appeared in FUN HOME at Salt Lake Acting Company. My name is Oliver. I am a kid who likes soccer, who likes sports, and who likes and is really good at reading, and video games, and is not what some people would say normal is. Because I have anxiety. My anxiety has caused problems for me because I don’t like being with people I don’t know, so first days are extra hard for me. It has also caused me problems with teachers who don’t understand, and with making friends. Our play ZOMBIE THOUGHTS is about a pig named Pig and a nine-year-old kid named Sam who has anxiety [I was nine when we started writing the play]. They are in a video game and they go on an adventure with different levels and try to beat them, but they have a hard time and they fail most of the time. They try and work on it and then they finally beat a level and then they have to fight The Machine. They technically beat The Machine but it doesn’t go away because you can’t beat anxiety. The audience gets to make a lot of choices in the play, like they’re the ones playing the video game. I identify with Sam. One of the things that happens in anxiety is you get scared of all this stuff, and some of the stuff that you’re scared of doesn’t even exist. Zombie Thoughts are where you do something but...

Announcing the 2018/19 Script-In-Hand Series

As the only professional theatre company in the United States producing full seasons of new work by local playwrights, we invite you to join us for three public readings of plays-in-progress. Announcing the 2018/19 Script-In-Hand Series! DONNA October 24 by Jenifer Nii A re-imagining of DON QUIXOTE: modern-day women find and face their own windmills – which, it turns out, warrant more than just tilting. SHORT PLAYS FROM THE THEATRE ARTISTS OF COLOR WRITING WORKSHOP at the Edward Lewis Theatre Festival at the City Library (Main Branch) February 10 Plays and playwrights and cast TBA. BALTHAZAR April 3 by Debora Threedy What if Portia’s appearance in court dressed as a man in Shakespeare’s THE MERCHANT OF VENICE was not the first time she’d cross-dressed? An exploration of gender, gender rebels and the nature of desire. Click here for details – tickets (free but required) available September...

Subscribe to our 2018/19 Season!

We invite you to join us for our 28th season of unique and socially conscious theatre created by Utah playwrights! A season exploring how truth finds us and what we do with it once it does. A season about sexuality, race and privilege. A season about us, here, now. Click here to subscribe for only $59. a world premiere by Matthew Greene October 18-28, 2018 November 4, 2018 – United Solo Theatre Festival, New York “I’d been loved. And that changes a person.” A gay Mormon faces excommunication a week after marrying the man of his dreams. A solo play about faith, hope and catharsis. Featuring Austin Archer. Designed by Keven Myhre (set), Jerry Rapier (costumes), Matt Taylor (costumes). Stage managed by Jennifer Freed, Morag Shepherd. Directed by Jerry Rapier. From the author of ADAM & STEVE AND THE EMPTY SEA, featuring the author of JUMP a world premiere by Elaine Jarvik February 21-March 3, 2019 “I guarantee you there will come a time when your name won’t ring a bell among the living.” The original worst-ever (and possibly first gay) President James Buchanan and actor-assassin John Wilkes Booth defend their (in)actions before a live studio audience. A dark comedy about race, privilege, sexuality and legacy. Featuring Aaron Adams, Jason Bowcutt, Anne Brings, Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin. Designed by Cheryl Cluff (sound), Thomas George (set), David Rees (lighting), Arika Schockmel (props). Stage managed by Jennifer Freed. Directed by Cheryl Cluff. From the author of RIVER.SWAMP.CAVE.MOUNTAIN., BASED ON A TRUE STORY & MARRY CHRISTMAS a world premiere by playwrights TBA March 28-April 7, 2019 “You won’t be satisfied, you never are.” An evening...

Playwright Matthew Ivan Bennett on RADIO HOUR EPISODE 12: STAND

RADIO HOUR EPISODE 12: STAND by Matthew Ivan Bennett receives its world premiere in a co-production with KUER’S RadioWest on April 26, 2018 featuring Shane Mozaffari, Jay Perry and Isabella Reeder, with original music by Dave Evanoff, eFoley by Joe Killian and direction and sound design by Cheryl Cluff. Click here on Monday, April 23 at 9am to listen to Matt on RadioWest discuss the history, idea and literature of dystopia; then again on Thursday, April 26 at 9am to listen to STAND live. When I tell people what my new play is about – “Oh, it’s a dystopian spy thriller set in the mid-21st century in which the alt-right has taken over” – they usually shiver. Granted, I haven’t tried out my one-liner on someone who identifies as alt-right. But, really, the play is less about politics and more about moral choices. At the center of RADIO HOUR EPISODE 12: STAND is Agent Alicia Mora, a thoroughly rational person who decides – at least initially – to work for a flawed regime instead of a flawed rebellion. The harrowing unspoken question for her is, “Which side is doing the least harm overall?” Of course, all of our choices in life, and especially in drama, are constrained. Rarely are we afforded the chance to coolly decide what will hurt everyone less and then do that. The decision gets complicated by other questions. The question of personal comfort. The question of belonging. The question of how you’ll feed your children. The question of rightness. The question of an imagined ultimate outcome for your tribe. Or, for Agent Mora, the questions of...

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