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FIRE ON BABYLON Workshop Set for 2016 Fresh Fruit Festival.

Paul Barnes, co-founder and former producing and artistic director of Minnesota's Great River Shakespeare Festival, directs a workshop production of Michael Raver's play, Fire on Babylon at The Wild Project as part of the 2016 Fresh Fruit Festival. The play features Jeffrey Hayenga (Roundabout's The Importance of Being Earnest) and playwright Raver (How We Built the Bomb) Set and Prop Design by Marc Wheeler, Costumes by Edward Ray Kiely and Lighting Design by Mike Billings.

Performances begin on Tuesday July 12th at 9 pm, as well as Friday July 15th at 6 pm and Sunday July 17th at 5 pm. Tickets are $18.

"I'm delighted that Michael Raver's compelling play, Fire on Babylon, has been selected for this year's All Out Arts Fresh Fruit New Play Festival," says Barnes. "Michael's is a unique voice in the American Theatre. His wit, intelligence, sense of tension and surprise combined with his knack for writing dialogue that sounds like what real people actually say make his plays a pleasure to direct. I'm excited that this new work will be shared with a wider audience; very happy to get to work with Michael as both playwright and actor; and honored to help Fire on Babylon take this next step forward."

A semifinalist at the 2015 National Playwrights Conference, Fire on Babylon tells the story of two New Yorkers each locked in personal crisis, while the city is having one of its own: the 2003 blackout. Reclusive novelist Hugo Thomas (Hayenga) hasn't written anything in years. After accepting an advance for a new book, he's assigned a beguiling yet challenging young editor (Raver) to assist him at his downtown apartment. When Hugo's apartment is plunged into darkness, secrets are revealed and the two men launch into a psychosexual game of cat and mouse.

"Fire on Babylon is passionate, it is ABSOLUTELY fearless, it is beautifully, and professionally, written and it announces a genuine playwriting talent. It is a story of the very many complexities involved in any passionate love between two people. And the meanings of it unfold, constantly. In other words, it unfolds with a seriously developed dramatic sense."

-Austin Pendleton (actor/director/playwright)

"One of the richest and most riveting plays I've seen in a long time, grounded in the power dynamics of age difference, but universal in a very soulful way."

-Stephen Greco (author, Now and Yesterday)

Raver's adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray was produced by Sonnet Repertory Theatre at the Signature Theatre Center in 2012, and a reading of his pre-WWII adaptation of Chekhov's The Seagull was presented by the Pearl Theatre Company. Fire on Babylon, was nominated for The Robert Chesley/Victor Bumbalo Foundation Award for Playwriting, as well as being named a semifinalist for The O'Neill Conference in 2015. He is also a judge for the Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction and regularly contributes cultural arts journalism for Classical TV, as well as pieces for Hamptons Monthly, Dance Magazine, Cool Hunting and Nature's Post. A recent industry reading of his play, Riptide, was presented in New York.

Paul Mason Barnes is an award winning director whose work has been seen at major regional theaters and festivals, and at leading training programs across the country. The founder of the Oregon Cabaret Theatre and the Great River Shakespeare Festival, Barnes has been Conservatory Director/Associate Artistic Director at PCPA Theaterfest and Education Director at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon, where he makes his home. Recent/upcoming directing credits: Georama, a new musical by West Hyler, Matt Schatz, and Jack Herrick (Great River Shakespeare Festival); The Crucible (Arkansas Repertory Theatre); Macbeth (Chesapeake Shakespeare Company); Peter Pan (Syracuse Stage); Of Mice and Men (Clarence Brown Theatre); The Glass Menagerie (GRSF); A Midsummer Night's Dream (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis).

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