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PJC gives audience chance to help with play development

Published or Revised April 20, 2015

New Works

At top, Paris Junior College drama instructor and New Works Festival director Robyn Huizinga looks on as students rehearse “Semper Fi,” one of five one-act plays being held in the Ray Karrer Theater on April 23, 24 and 26. From left the students in the Greek Chorus are Paula Vaughan, Stormy Wilhite, Amanda Lair-Barnett, and Kimberly Cortes. Below, PJC students Tyaisha Allen and Dalton Smith rehearse for “A Love Song.”

Drama students at Paris Junior College will not only be honing their thespian skills with the First Annual New Works Festival, they – and the audience – will help in development of five one-act plays. For some of the works this is a debut performance.

The festival will be held in the Ray Karrer Theater on April 23 and 24 at 7:30 p.m. and April 26 at 2:30 p.m. Reservations are strongly recommended, as only 48 seats will be available per performance.

“We are very excited to present our first Annual New Works Festival,” said PJC drama instructor and director Robyn Huizinga. “This year, we are focusing on plays by women, as there is currently a nationwide discussion about gender parity in the arts going on. We hope to focus on a new theme or current issue each year.”

The two playwrights whose work is being presented are Orada Lelanuja and Jeanne Haggard. One is American and the other is from Thailand, with writing styles and subject choices that are varied and thought provoking.

“The students are very excited to work on these one-acts,” Huizinga said, “and we are also excited to have several community members and a member of the PJC faculty involved. Working on new play development is a great challenge for young actors. It is also an important aspect of theatre. While we often think of classic plays, new plays are always being written and they generally go through years of workshops, development, and rewrites before being published. What we are accomplishing through the Festival is part of that important developmental process.”

PJC students also have the opportunity to serve as designers and stage managers for the shows. Several are designing lights or costumes for the first time and, Huizinga said, are thrilled to be an essential part of the process of getting the plays from page to stage.

“We hope the community will come out and join us for a unique evening of theatre,” Huizinga said. “We have transformed our stage into a three-quarter thrust arrangement, which means the audience will be quite close to the actors. It is a chance for our community to take in five new works, many making their ‘world premiere.’”

The event will be $10 for non-students or free with PJC ID. For more information or reservations, contact 903-782-0488 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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