Berkshire Playwrights Lab Announces New Play by Jessica Provenz and Schedule Changes

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Berkshire Playwrights Lab Announces New Play by Jessica Provenz  and Schedule Changes

Berkshire Playwrights Lab announced that its staged reading of James Demarse's new play, Existing Privilege, that was to be directed by Matthew Penn on August 8 will now take place on August 22, directed by Joe Cacaci, and with the new title, Ceasefire.

On August 8, the company will now present Jessica Provenz's new play, Andromeda, directed by Tom Bloom. Both of these performances will take place at 7:30pm at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center (14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, Mass.). There is no charge for admission, however, Berkshire Playwrights Lab suggests a $10.00 donation to help offset its programming costs. For reservations, call 413.528.0100 or visit the Mahaiwe box office in person. For more information, see www.berkshireplaywrightslab.org.

In Andromeda, playwright Jessica Provenz asks the question: What is it like to be the prettiest girl in the room? At once, loved and hated, adored and abhorred. She tells the story of legendary sculptor Daniel Chester French, who for his final masterpiece, selected Andromeda, a girl sacrificed for being the most beautiful alive. The play travels from Stockbridge, MA to Ethiopia, from ancient castles to corporate law firms, where a mythical princess, a 1920s maid, and a modern day attorney are plagued by the curse of beauty.

"Andromeda is one of the most ambitious plays we've come across, owing to its complex theatrical structure and imaginative characterizations," said Berkshire Playwrights Lab Co-Artistic Director Joe Cacaci. "Inspired in part by actual events and people, some with deep Berkshire roots, Jessica's play bridges the ages by weaving the seemingly unrelated tales of three young women into a poignant, yet humorous story that everyone can relate to and enjoy."

Berkshire Playwrights Lab presented Jessica Provenz's play Better than Chocolate in 2010 under the direction of Matthew Penn. She is currently writing the Broadway-bound musical Matchbook for The Araca Group (Wicked) with composer/lyricists Dan Lipton and David Rossmer (Rated P). Her plays include True Art showcased at The Directors Company starring Alysia Reiner (Sideways); A Wake on Chappaquiddick developed with Amy Ryan at Cape Cod Theatre Project, Irish Rep, and New Georges; Truth or Consequences workshopped with T.R. Knight at the DR2; and Sweet Perfume showcased at The Barrow Group.

Provenz developed for Killer Films the half-hour single-camera idea Married in a Year, which she pitched with showrunner Betsy Borns to networks. She sold the original screenplay idea Lone Man on Campus to Disney/Touchstone with Eric Charmelo and Nicole Snyder (creators of Ringer), who penned the screenplay. Her short film Nothing Happened played at 30+ festivals including Williamstown and Berkshire Film Festivals. ??She is a two-time recipient of the Lecomte du Noüy Award for emerging playwrights and a member of the Dramatists Guild, as well as a former playwright-in-residence at Juilliard and a graduate of Northwestern.

Tom Bloom's directing credits include productions at Berkshire Playwrights Lab, Abingdon Theatre Company and Pearl (NYC), Capital Rep (Albany), Theatre-By-The-Sea (NH), Caldwell Theatre (FL), American Premiere Stage (Boston), and others. Also an actor, he has performed Broadway in Cyrano, Henry IV, and Racing Demon and Off Broadway at Playwrights Horizons, New York Shakespeare Festival, Circle in the Square, Theatre For a New Audience, Roundabout, Classic Stage, Lincoln Center, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Pearl, as well as regionally at Yale Rep, Shakespeare Theatre (DC), Baltimore Center Stage, Hartford Stage, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and many more. His film/TV credits include Thomas Crown, Joshua, Emperor's Club, In Lieu of Flowers, Best Thief in the World, Max Bickford, Damages, Wonderland, Ed, Law & Order: SVU, Criminal Intent, and The Jury.

James Demarse's Ceasefire is the story of an American diplomat who tries to negotiate peace in an African republic while he simultaneously tries to negotiate the travails of his troubled marriage. "The play excites us because it is the story of a man who is trying to juggle both the public and the personal. In the process he discovers that his own government is playing a complex game of 'cat and mouse' intelligence," said Berkshire Playwrights Lab Co-Artistic Director Matthew Penn. "Espionage, marital challenge-what could be better?"

James Demarse is an actor, director, and playwright based in New York City. He founded and was the artistic director for seven years of the 42nd Street Workshop, a non-profit theatre company in New York that has a membership of about two hundred actors, writers, and directors. He ran the playwriting module and acted as dramaturg for all readings and productions. He has also had Equity showcase productions of his plays in New York, including Knock 'Em Dead at the Image, Breaking Through the Clutter at the 42nd Workshop, three one-act plays under the title of Urban Disorders at the Company of Characters, Easy Street at the Quaigh, and A Dress Unknown at the West Bank. He has also had rehearsed staged readings of Black Duck Bay, Dying For You, Orange Bees at 42nd Workshop, George Washington's Farewell to his Mother at the Actor's Studio PD UNIT, and Violent Child at Ensemble Studio Theatre. He has performed on and off Broadway, at regional theatres, and for film and television. He is a member of Actors Studio, Ensemble Studio Theatre, and Dramatists Guild of America.

In addition to being co-artistic director of Berkshire Playwrights Lab, Joe Cacaci is
the founding director of East Coast Arts, where he produced twenty world premiere plays over seven seasons, and the producing director, with Dan Lauria, of The Playwrights Kitchen Ensemble in L.A. from 1993 to the present, where over 500 new plays have been given staged readings in the Monday Night Reading Series. He co-produced David Mamet's Obie-winning play, Edmond, at the Provincetown Playhouse. His own plays have been produced at The Public Theater, The Coconut Grove Theatre (where he also directed), The Long Wharf Theater, and at The Alley Theatre in Houston. He has directed at The Westport Playhouse and commercially in Los Angeles. He has also written numerous made-for-television movies and co-created the CBS prime time series The Trials of Rosie O'Neill. He was executive producer (show runner) of two prime time series: Showtime's The Hoop Life and CBS' The Education of Max Bickford, which starred Richard Dreyfuss and Marcia Gay Harden. He directed the PBS pilot Cop Shop, which starred Richard Dreyfuss and Blair Brown. Currently, he teaches television writing in the graduate program of the Film School at Columbia University.

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