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New Works Festival opens Thursday evening at PJC

Published or Revised April 27, 2017

New Works Festival 2017

Shown is the cast of “Mira, Mira… Look Again,” one of seven short plays included in Paris Junior College’s “New Works Festival - Pyro Playfest: Cover to Cover, Literary Adaptations” that opens Thursday evening. From left are Andy Johnson, Amber Nelms, Antavius Draughan, Morgan Dudley-Pullins, Eden Godwin, Gary Dodd, Diana Godspell, and Jacob Smith.

The Third Annual New Works Festival - Pyro Playfest opens Thursday evening at Paris Junior College. This year’s theme is “Cover to Cover: Literary Adaptations,” and incorporates seven plays. PJC drama instructor Will Walker is Festival Director for the show that runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 27-29 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, April 30, at 2:30 p.m. in the Ray Karrer Theater.

“This show places the audience front and center with seating on the stage,” said Walker. “With only 54 seats available, reservations are recommended.”

“Mira Mira… Look Again,” directed by Heather T. Collins and written by C.M. Bratton, provides a twist on the Snow White fairy tale through role reversals and a split tableau of office and castle, demonstrating that people aren’t always who you think they are. The cast is Morgan Dullins as Ms. Nieve, Amber Nelms as Blanca, Eden Godwin as Reyna, Diana Godsell as Stepmother, Gary Dodd as Mr. Hunter, Andy Johnson as Huntsman, Jacob Castro as Espejo, and Antavius Draughn as Mero. Tech crew: Collins on Light Board, Adrian Hobbs on Sound Board, and slides by Walker.

“Noble Calling,” also by Bratton, is directed by Austen Naron and casts Caleb Curtis as Vinny and Gary Dodd as Leo. Set in the early to mid-1960s, the two play real-life actors in the very bad movie, “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.” It is hilariously bad, and the piece focuses on the conflict and comedy of the two taking very different approaches to their roles. Tech crew: Collins on Light Board, Godsell on Sound Board, and slides by Walker.

“Love’s Flower” is directed by Lisa Martin and was adapted by PJC alumnus Austen Naron.

“This was originally written by Ovid and then transcribed and reworked by Shakespeare,” said Naron. “It’s a story about Venus and Adonis, and how love is attended by sorrow and why. It’s heavy stuff but also comedic, and it was fun to bring a more modern sensibility to it while keeping the rich original text. People don’t talk that way anymore so it’s fun to hear.”

The cast is Eric Shelton as Adonis, Danbri Erwin as Venus, Crystal Finney as Mary, Alex Greer as Orderly No. 1, Say Brown as Harris, Antavius Draughn as Orderly No. 2, and Walker as Chaplain. Tech Crew: Collins on Light Board, Reagan Stone on Sound Board, and slides by Kierra Miller.

Walker also directs “Runaway,” which was written by PJC student Jontel Jones.

“I wrote ‘Runaway’ about preconceptions people have of those who are incarcerated,” said Jones. “Their humanity is taken from them, and I wanted to show the other side - the kind of circumstances that get people to do certain things and shine a light on problems that aren’t really talked about too often. I had a chance to speak on it and this is a really cool opportunity to do that. I hope I made it pretty interesting; I think people will like it.”

The cast includes Shelton as Warden, Kayleigh Cross as Robin, Jones as Prisoner, Aaron Price as Prisoner, and Robert-Anthony Thomas as Prisoner. Tech Crew: Collins on Light Board, Greer on Sound Board, and slides by Walker.

Curtis directs “The Bother,” by Bradley Nies, a short play set in 1963 that centers on an argument between a dentist and his patient.

“It’s a comedy, so hopefully we’ll get a lot of laughs,” said Curtis. “The very obnoxious patient is named Edna. Everyone knows an Edna or has one in their family, I’m sure of it. If you come see the show, you’ll see it immediately.”

Cast is Crystal Finney as Edna Phonkin, Adrian Hobbs as Dr. Edward Fowler, and Morgan Dullins as Emma. Tech Crew: Collins on Light Board, Godwin on Sound Board, and slides by Walker.

“Meet Me at the Gates, Marcus James,” is written by Donna Hoke and directed by PJC Drama Instructor Robyn Huizinga, who explained that it is an inspirational tale of a school dealing with the aftermath of a hate crime and how people learn to stand up for themselves. Cast includes Brennan Jones as Marcus James, Paula Vaughan as Dr. Nethercutt, Kaleigh Cross as Ms. Bean, Ethan Brown as Roger Marshall, Curtis as Aaron Strickland, Naron as Johnny Strickland, Annabel Doss as Marilyn Steelman, Reagan Stone as Raquel Stone, Eric Shelton as Matt Miller, Carlton Bell as John Simet (Mr. S.), and Walker as Coach. Tech Crew: Collins on Light Board, Cross on Sound Board, and slides by Godsell.

Alex Greer directs Eoin Carney’s “The Best Creation Story Contest,” where archetypes meet in a contest to decide which of them is the best creation story, and hilarity ensues. Cast is Huizinga as Fairy Tale, Reagan Stone as Bible, Lisa Martin as Origin of Species, Adrien Hobbs as Big Bang Theory, Diana Godspell as Rig Veda, and Walker as Nothing. Tech Crew is Collins on Light Board, Cross on Sound Board, and slides by Dodd.

The play lasts a little over two hours with a 15-minute intermission. Call 903-782-0488 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Tickets are $10 general admission, $5 for senior citizens and students, or free for those with current PJC ID.

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