By Joel Applegate
From over 70 submissions by local playwrights, all Utah-based, The Utah New Works Theatre Projects has selected just 17 diamonds in the rough along with a few polished gems, writers, directors, and actors.
The first seven plays are presented as staged readings, with a host of actors and directors, for one night only, November 15th. Fully-mounted productions follow on succeeding evenings, Nov 16 through the 18th. The folks behind the Utah New Works Theatre Project: Mark Wiesenberg, Georgia Buchert, Dennis Agle, Jr., and Eric Lyman have been mounting similar efforts for several years now and the results are pleasing, surprising, and moving. Like the weather, just wait ten minutes, and something wonderful will happen.
In commenting on the seven readings presented the first night of the festival, there was a breadth of experience, from a great sense of wonder in The Treasure Within written by 11-year-old (!) Jennica Olsen, charming instincts from actors, and a perfectly paired husband and wife (in real life, too!).
I think I was most moved by the easy rapport, but high stakes, that Scott and Lynn Bronson brought to Turn Off the Light by Cameron Putnam. As strong as the script was, it was these two seasoned actors who brought it to life for me.
Other actors who stood out were Sarah Ann Flinders in The Dance, Ben Hyde, mellow and sinister in the title role as The Undertaker along with his scene partner, Chantry L. Knox, Alex Killpack in The Last Kolache, and Adam Skousen as Santa Claus in Mom’s Ham, a great take on what not to cook for the holidays, with a nod to Charles Dickens.
Along with Come Clean, these seven plays are just a tasty appetizer to the full productions coming up for the rest of the weekend; a slate of ten more plays chosen by a jury to be worthy of a full complement of lights, costumes, sets, and delight!
The joy of this festival is that many playwrights get to see their words in real life for the first time, and learn what collaborative art really means when actors and directors flesh out the stories in ways they had not imagined themselves.
It’s just $10 for a Festival Pass, so there’s no excuse to miss this Festival. And you get to vote for your favorite play and actors. Awards will be presented after Saturday’s 7:00 PM performance, Nov. 18.
For the full list of plays, see: https://www.utahnewworkstheatreproject.org/new-works-10
Utah New Works Theatre Project presents NEW WORKS TEN A Ten-Minute Play Festival
November 15-17, 7:00 PM; Nov 18 2:00 PM, 7:00 PM
Mercury Theater & Event Center, 591 South 300 West, Provo, Utah
Utah New Works Theatre Project Facebook Page
New Works Ten: Ten-Minute Play Festival Facebook Event