New Hampshire Theatre Project's Intelligent Theatre Festival Set for 3/21-30
Back by popular demand! The Intelligent Theatre Festival, which premiered in April 2013, is expanding to TWO weekends of provocative scripts and screenplays. Each reading is professionally directed by members of the NHTP resident company. Designed to expand awareness of NHTP's mission of collaborative theatre, Festival readers are a team of professional actors, students and community members - all of them donating their time and talent. The ITF offers audiences a chance to hear and discuss interesting, thought-provoking plays that might not otherwise be produced in the seacoast area. The 2014 Intelligent Theatre Festival is dedicated to the late Frank Aguilar, NHTP supporter and frequent audience member. Frank's wife Gillian will be reading in The Deadly Game, one of Frank's favorite scripts.
In a staged reading, seated actors face the audience and read directly from the script, without memorization or movement. No costumes, lights, sets, or special effects - just the words, allowing audiences to hear the playwright's art in its purest form.
Women Who Break the Rules is the theme of the first weekend of playreadings. The Festival opens on Friday, March 21, with Mrs. Warren's Profession. Written in 1894, George Bernard Shaw's feminist play was shocking in its portrayal of a woman going into business for herself. On Saturday, March 22, CJ Lewis directs the NHTP professional company and guest artist Lysa James from NYC in The Clean House, a bittersweet comedy about a Brazilian maid who wants to be a stand-up comic, the gifts of cancer, and the vagaries of love by award-winning playwright Sarah Ruhl. Wrapping up the first weekend with a special matinee performance on March 23 at the historic Langdon House, Genevieve Aichele and Kathleen Somssich read Peter Shaffer's hilarious comedy about a tour guide who makes up alternative history, Lettice & Lovage.
The second weekend of the Intelligent Theatre Festival is filled with Deadly Games. On Friday, March 28, NHTP presents The Laconia Dodgers, a new comic screenplay about students in the early 70's whose college escapades are overshadowed by the possibility of being drafted to fight in Vietnam, and the different choices each one makes. LA screenwriter Michael Fischer will be on hand for the discussion. Saturday, March 29, NHTP presents The Deadly Game by James Yaffee, adopted from the novel Trapps by Friedrich Durrenmatt. In this engrossing mystery, an American traveling salesman is caught in a bizarre game when three retired men of law in Switzerland amuse themselves by prosecuting strangers who drop in. Bringing the Festival to a close on March 30, Robin Fowler directs Prion by local writers Tom McCarren and Dennis Kleinmann. Part science fiction, part teenage coming-of-age story this exciting screenplay has been a finalist in the Vail Film Festival, Cinequest Film Festival and NH Film Festival, and won an award at the 2013 New Hope Film Festival.
"A fabulous night of good work," wrote one audience member at last year's Intelligent Theatre Festival. "Please, please do more of this," said another.
Photo by Genevieve Aichele