City Circle Acting Presents 2014 New Play Festival, Featuring CATCHIN' THE BABIES, Tonight

City Circle Acting Company of Coralville presents the 2014 New Play Festival tonight, September 20 at 7pm. City Circle will also remount Sue Gilbert's one-woman play about pioneer midwife Annie MacFarlane on Thursday, September 18 at 7:30pm and Saturday, September 20 at 2pm. The Festival is sponsored by Cedar Rapids-based Heuer Publishing and celebrates emerging voices in theater.

All performances take place at the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts at 1301 5th Street in Coralville. Tickets are $12; packages for both the New Play Festival and Catchin' the Babies are $20. Tickets are available by phone at 319.248.9370, online at, and in person at the CCPA box office and Coralville Recreation Center (1506 8th Street).

The Saturday evening performance will feature eight brand new 10-minute plays by writers with Iowa ties. The plays present a wide variety of tone, styles, and subject matter. Some contain adult themes and language.

Boy In A Cage by Catherine Shook, directed by Robyn Calhoun.
An allegory of what can happen when a man's sexuality is suppressed.

Hot In The Kitchen by Christopher Okiishi, directed by Elijah Jones
A radio cooking show staring high-energy, mildly naughty hosts Phil and Phyllis.

Lovely Wonderful Thoughts by Elizabeth Breed, directed by Mary Sullivan
What if Peter Pan came to a modern-day Darling family?

On the Possibilities of Endings by Jennifer Fawcett, directed by Scott Strode
A thoughtful look at the moment before leaving this world.

Shoving It In The Alleyway by Elijah Jones, directed by Patrick Du Laney
A comedic look at a drug deal gone wrong.

The Concentrated Masses by Duane Larson, directed by Adeara Jean Maurice
A farcical look at corporate America.

They Grow Up So Fast by Duane Larson, directed by Scott Strode
A father's hilarious attempt at sending his son out into the world.

Wednesday Night Witness by Amy White, directed by Liz Tracey
Two boys' disturbing conversation in the library.

Catchin' the Babies
As part of the New Play Festival week, City Circle is also presenting a remount of Sue Gilbert's award-winning play Catchin' the Babies on Thursday, September 18 at 7:30pm and Saturday, September 20 at 2pm. Catchin' the Babies was developed through two previous New Play Festivals and is a glimpse into early pioneer life, as seen through the eyes of Annie MacFarlane, a half-Cherokee, half-Irish midwife. In February 2007, Catchin' the Babies competed in the Iowa Association of American Community Theatres Festival and won Best Play, Best Female Actor, and Best Set Design (Michael Blake). It is directed by John Harper.

About the playwrights

Elizabeth Breed is an Iowa City native; her first show was produced at City High when she was fifteen. She attended Nebraska Wesleyan University, where more of her plays premiered. She has performed in both the Iowa City area and in her current home of St. Louis, Missouri.

Jennifer Fawcett is an Iowa City based writer and the Associate Artistic Director of Working Group Theatre. Her most recent play for WGT, Out of Bounds, was awarded the NEFA National Theatre Project Award. Other plays for WGT include The Broken Chord (Hancher commission), After Ana (In the Raw Series/Englert), The Toymaker's War, Atlas Of Mud, Telling: Iowa City (co-written with Jonathan Wei) and Odysseus Iowa (co-written with Sean Lewis). Her play Birth Witches premiered at Riverside Theatre and was nominated for the ATCA/Steinberg Award. She was the NNPN Emerging-Playwright-In-Residence at Curious Theatre Company (Denver) and is the winner of the National Science Playwriting Award from the Kennedy Center. A graduate of the University of Iowa MFA Playwrights Workshop, Jennifer's plays have been produced at the Tennessee Women's Theatre Project (Nashville), The Drilling Company (New York), Riverside Theatre (Iowa City), Available Light Theatre (Columbus), the Adirondack Theatre Festival (Glens Falls, NY), Alcyone Festival (Chicago), Theatre Masters (Aspen/West Palm Beach), the Hatchery Festival (Washington, DC) and in festivals across Canada.

Formally a stalwart of the Iowa City Community Theatre and then a founding member City Circle Acting Company, Sue Gilbert has worked in theatres all over the Midwest as an actor, director, designer, costumer and now playwright. She has appeared on stage in shows as diverse as The Rocky Horror Show, The Lion in Winter, A Little Night Music, Gypsy, Come Back Little Sheba and The Boys Next Door. Sue is also a historical re-enactor across three centuries teaching children and adults about the lives and skills of our ancestors. Her work as a re-enactor led to writing Catchin' the Babies, the family stories about her 2x Great Grandmother that became a play.

Elijah Jones is a recent graduate of Iowa City High School. He got his first stage experience at The Second City Training Center in Chicago and has performed for City Circle and other local theater groups for the last four years.

Duane Larson lives in Cedar Rapids and has previously had plays produced for TCR's Underground Festival and MVLCT's Slices of Life, and has been a member of the Black Dogger's playwriting group. Duane has performed with TCR, MVLCT, ICCT, and Usher's Ferry Theatre, among others.

Christopher Okiishi is a native Iowan and over 20 year resident of Iowa City. His work has been seen at Riverside Theater (Walking the Wire), SPT Theater (Tales from the Writer's Room), No Shame Theater (including seven "Best of" and one "Best of Best of" events), and Working Group Theater (Was the Word). His play Faithless was made into an independent film in 2001. He divides his days between four mental health facilities as a child and adolescent psychiatrist.

Catherine Shook is a senior at the University of Iowa, focusing on creative writing. She had her playwriting debut last year at the University's 10 minute play festival with her piece Just One Puff and recently completed a staged reading of Too Few To Mention for the fall non-mainstage season.

Amy White of Mt. Vernon is a member of the Black Doggers playwriting group and serves on the board of directors of Mt Vernon-Lisbon Community Theatre. Her plays and monologues have been produced locally bu MVLCT, Dreamwell, City Circle and Riverside, and by groups as far as Kansas City and Madison. Her most recent production was Someone Who Knew Her, based on the 1959 murder of Lisbon teenager Marlene Padfield. Amy is a volunteer speech coach at Mt Vernon High School and director of the Lisbon Public Library.

Pictured: Sue Gilbert performs in her award-winning play, Catchin' the Babies.

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