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Innovation showcased at PJC’s second New Works Festival

Published or Revised January 11, 2017

New Works rehearsals

At top: Dalton Smith (left, director of Coyote’s Moon) demonstrates his concept of how the character Coyote will move to Alex Greer, the actor playing Coyote. Middle: Director Christine Van Pay (far right) works with PJC actors in a read-through of On the Porch: …a conversation no one heard. Bottom: PJC New Works Festival Director and PJC drama instructor Robyn Huizinga (left), works with Heather Collins (center) and Danbri Erwin (right) as they block out movement in a scene from Outta the Blue.

The second annual New Works Festival at Paris Junior College opens April 14 with the theme of “Pyro Playfest: Deep in the Heart of Texas.” The festival will be held in the Ray Karrer Theater at 7:30 p.m., April 14-17, and 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, April 16-17.

The festival began with an open call for plays, according to festival director and PJC drama instructor Robyn Huizinga. A play selection committee made up of instructors and students scored submissions on elements such as plot, dialogue and themes. The panel picked five scripts, and one was selected by Huizinga as the “Festival Director’s Choice.”

“Each of the plays contains a ‘Texas Theme,’” said Huizinga. “We left this a bit broad on purpose for the playwrights to be able to play with it a bit. We have selections ranging from a comedy set on a large Texas ranch to a theatre for young audiences piece set in the Southwest featuring animals native to Texas. We even have a taste of the Texas Revolution.”

To bring the audience into the experience, the festival again features three-quarter thrust seating on the stage. Due to the limited seating, reservations are required and may be made by calling 903-782-0488 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Tickets are $10 or free with current PJC ID.

Festival Play Cast and Crew Lists

Festival Director’s Choice

Outta the Blue, by Dr. Norman Bert. Director - Huizinga; Assist. Dir. - Caleb Curtis; and actors Sol - Michael Risinger, Mary - Heather Collins, and Rapper - Danbri Erwin.

Play Selection Committee’s Choices

Bricks and Stones, by Bradley Nies. Director - Christine Van Pay; Assist. Dir.: Candace Weist; actors include Alfred - Cameron Beshirs, Mildred - Crystal Finney, Jenny - Abby Cannon, and Nannie - Raven Maxwell; Stage Manager: Paula Vaughan; Lighting Designer: Saveuyon Brown; Costume Designer: Jadon McGraw; and Set Designer: Curtis.

Coyote’s Moon by Donna Latham. Director - Dalton Smith; Mentor Dir. - Will Walker; actors include Coyote - Alex Greer, Little Rabbit - Amber Nelms, and Storyteller - Donna Massoud; and ensemble - Weist and Stephen Bailey; Stage Manager: Beshirs; Lighting Designer: Miriam Castro; Costume Designers: Erwin and Brown; Set Designer: Weist.

Mesquite-Smoked Monologues by Austen Naron. Director - Walker; Assist. Dir. - Beshirs; actors include Miesha Green, Kayla Phillips, Jontel Jones, and Curtis; Stage Manager: McGraw; Lighting Designer: Curtis; and Set Designer: Vaughan.

On the Porch: ...a conversation no one heard by John Presley Wright. Director: Christine Van Pay; Assist. Dir. - Vaughan; actors include Kent - Curtis, Ellie - Abby Cannon, Sonny - Jontel Jones, Colt - Brown, Alma - Kayla Phillips, Helen - Lisa Martin, Ben - Alex Greer, and Gert - Kinsey Hutto; Stage Manager: Weist; Lighting Designer: Beshirs; Costume Designer: Castro; and Set Designer: Heather Collins.

Texas Project by Brian Miranda. Director: Huizinga; Assist. Dir. - Amber Nelms; actors include Brian - Jadon McGraw, Muse - Ashley Palmer, Texas - Shelby Scholta, and Mexico - Green; Stage Manager: Stormy Wilhite; Lighting Designer: Collins; Set Designer: Beshirs; and Costume Designer: Draughn.

Festival Set Supervisor: Huizinga; Festival Sound Designer: Walker; Festival Lighting Supervisor: Smith; Festival Costumer: Vaughan; Festival Prop Designers: Antavius Draughn and Palmer; Festival Board Operators - Lights: Miriam Castro and Sound: Smith.

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