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Rec Room Arts Announces The Writers Group Sound Scripts Project

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Each play has been conceived over the course of six months through the support of workshops at Rec Room.

Rec Room Arts announced today the Sound Scripts Project, a 9-part series of audio-plays written by the inaugural class of the Rec Room Writers Group. In an innovative approach to embracing the challenges presented to live theatre, Rec Room continues to provide work for artists while nurturing new plays.

Each play has been conceived over the course of six months through the support of workshops at Rec Room. The audio-plays will include playwright and director interviews, as well as insight into the early process of new play development.

The audio-plays and interviews of the Sound Scripts Project will be released individually on Thursdays beginning October 22 and ending on February 18. Each play will be available on-demand over the course of a four-day period. Access to the work will be available as interactive digital portfolios and podcasts with a suggested donation of $10 or more.

"The silver-lining is that we are now able to support these playwrights in more creatively robust ways than previously planned," said Artistic Director Matt Hune. "This year we are focusing on growth within our organization as well as cultivating a stronger presence for theatre in America. I'm exceptionally proud of the work developed and the people involved in this project. Theatre across the country is being forced to re-evaluate its identity. I'm excited to be able to energize new theatre and audiences in creative ways. Perhaps this is the precipice of a cultural and artistic revolution."

In addition to the Sound Scripts, Rec Room is partnering with El Mason's resident Sommelier, Jessica Garcia, to develop wine pairings that will accompany a live virtual talk-back and wine tasting on October 22 at 7:30. Playwrights, Directors, and Sommelier will lead lively discussions of wine, plays, and whatever else might arise. Bottles will be available for purchase through El Mason in the Rice Village prior to the talk-back.

The inaugural class of Rec Room Writers includes: Fi Connors, Christian Gill, Comfort Katchy, Elizabeth A. M. Keel, Eric Moore, ShaWanna Renee Rivon, Jelisa Jay Robinson, Brendan Bourque-Sheil, and Nicole Zimmerer.

Leslie Swackhammer, Lily M. Wolff, Mekeva McNeil, Rachel Dickson, and Ismael Lara have signed on to direct and workshop the plays. A group of 40 actors are involved in the project including a collection of Rec Room mainstays such as Susan Koozin (Exit Strategy), Brandon Morgan (The Royale; Pass Over), and Greg Dean (Exit Strategy; Woyzeck), as well as newcomers Alice Gatling (Ensemble Theatre; Alley Theatre), Dylan Godwin (Alley Theatre), and Chris Hutchison (Alley Theatre).

The Rec Room Writers Group is an ongoing initiative that supports local playwrights by nurturing the development of new plays. The program serves as an artistic home for Texas playwrights while fostering community and camaraderie amongst writers. "Now more than ever, in a moment of extraordinary cultural and social reckoning, an investment in new work is essential," explains Associate Artistic Director Sophia Watt. "These writers are contributing a vital layer in the foundation for a new American theater."

Writers are selected yearly and take part in frequent workshops throughout the first year of residency. In subsequent years, the writers have continued access to advocacy and resources for the creation of new work in Houston. "Theatre has a habit of working with artists for short periods of time and dropping them after the end of a production, but I don't think that is the best way to foster risky and inventive new work," says Matt Hune. "It's important to me that we welcome these artists as family and keep them as family for as long as they want to stay."

The audio producer for Sound Scripts is Gage Baker, sound designer is Tommy Truelsen, stage managers are Allison Viera and Meagan Smallwood.

PLAYS AND DATES:

SUNRISE COVEN

By BRENDAN BOURQUE-SHEIL

October 22 - 26

Two things separate Buckstop, Texas from every other soon-to-be-ghost-town in rural America: its bizarre history with cults, and a blind nurse named Hallie. When Hallie loses her nursing license, she forges a new way to reach her patients, by teaming up with an Oxy-slinging veteran and a local witch. But small towns and witchcraft never mix well, and soon, the worlds of Medicine and Magic collide in a literal witch hunt. Sunrise Coven is part comedy, part crime story, and part investigation into what it means to be a healer.

YOU CAN TELL A TREE BY ITS FRUIT

By COMFORT IFEOMA KATCHY

November 5 - 9

Outside Old Southern Baptist Church,

where the ground is fertile

and the children are listening

A man was lynched yesterday

And even still the free ones play

They weren't taught to sing 'n mourn

Unless it's their family's blood being torn

Will the kids look to do what's right

Or continue walking with no sight

What can anybody say

When it's always been this way.

One day we'll know for sure

When the Truth is given pure

With all eyes on

the Most High

'Glory' they will sing

For a new day,

He will surely bring.

BREAK

By ELIZABETH A. M. KEEL

November 19 - 23

It is the Friday before Spring Break at Margaret Cavendish High School, and Principal Bough and her teachers would very much like for the day to end. Unfortunately, the high school appears in Bough's office in human form, begging for aid from her Guardian. Following an unwise affair in the moonlight with the meadow next door, dark fairies and their Queen have infiltrated the school. In this fantastic race to the bell, a handful of overwhelmed and exhausted educators are the last line of defense between their teenage charges and the feral wellspring of seasonal magic.

KHEEPER

By FI CONNORS

December 3 - 7

Kay and Eileen are two nurses in their mid to late 50s, and best friends for the longest time. They are setting out on the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage, hoping to walk sweat free across Northern Spain in the boiling heat. They are hiking for companionship and laughter, and access to Spirituality on this break from Roman Catholic Ireland. But of course with all that is Spirit, movement comes in many ways, some invoked. Some warranted.

TUZ AND SOLY

By Eric Moore

December 17 - 21

Russia is tough. Especially when you're stuck in a town thousands of miles from Moscow, the girl you love won't accept a single one of your marriage proposals, and at night the temperature gets so low your balls recede into your throat. It could drive any man mad. Perhaps that's why Tuz and Soly can't stand each other, even though they can't seem to leave one another alone. Borrowing (or stealing) the characters Tuzenbach and Solyony from Chekhov's Three Sisters, this play riffs on their fatal friendship to deconstruct the toxic behavior that tears them apart.

WE BOTH SUCK OUR TEETH

By JELISA Jay Robinson

January 7 - 11

Igbo class is a safe space for Black students at Texas Harris University. When that class becomes the backdrop of a viral video of an intense argument between Faith, a Black American Senior and Uchenna, a Nigerian American graduate student, the divide between the African community and the Black American community on campus is pushed to the forefront. In order to alleviate her campus' issues, Dean Thompson assigns Faith and Uchenna a mandatory project that will seek to connect the members of the Black community... if only they can put aside their differences long enough to create it. In this funny, ensemble-driven love story, We Both Suck Our Teeth explores the division and unity within the African diaspora.

CLIPPED WINGS

By CHRISTIAN GILL

January 21 - 25

Robin Morrow has just been hired to work at the largest oil company in the US. She works as an assistant to Jennifer Henry, one of the top executives. They both fight against the pressures of working in a business that values reputation over people. What follows is manipulations, lies, double crosses and schemes. In the pursuit of making a name for herself, Robin learns how far she would need to go and how far gone Jennifer already is.

BLUE ROSES

By NICOLE ZIMMERER

February 4 - 8

In this incisive response to the Tennessee Williams classic, Blue Roses glues together the pieces of Laura Wingfield's life, fifteen years later. Her mother is sick, her beau has proposed, and her brother Tom has shown up on her doorstep with dubious intentions and completely inaccurate memories. But when she receives an incredible job offer from an up-and-coming adman that could give her the future she's always wanted, Laura is forced to confront the demons that linger from her past.

POWER TO THE QUEENDOM

By SHAWANNA Renee Rivon

February 18 - 22

When freedom and the power to determine the destiny of the community rest in the hands of four female members of The Black Panther Party...it's the most powerful ride you'll ever see. Power to the Queendom is an action-packed journey through the comedy, drama, and immediate need of a 1970s Houston community. Power to the Queendom follows four women and their love for their community, and its people-caught in a room with an HPD Officer held hostage. In this story, inspired by true Houston-American characters and events, these four women of the Houston chapter of The Black Panther Party (The People's Party II) standoff in negotiations with the Houston Police Department in the hopes to bargain for the life of their leader (Carl Hampton) and for the future of their organization. A clever and driven journey of powerful women, caught in a terminal situation, standing for many of the same community values and societal challenges that would still be recognized today.


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