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Seacoast Summer Reading Sessions Announced

This innovative three-part series will feature new play readings, a documentary film and more.

Seacoast Summer Reading Sessions Announced

The first annual Seacoast Summer Reading Sessions comes to The Rochester Opera House's Historic Theater in Rochester, NH with satellite locations for writing workshops at The Mark Baum Estate and an added reading and workshop at Wells Reserve at Laudholm. Beginning Friday, July 23rd and Lasting through Saturday, August 13th; This innovative three-part series will feature new play readings, a documentary film, correlating community panels and master artist writing labs. The works will address topics such as creative aging and senior isolation, gender equity and climate change.

The aim of this program is to instigate diverse and vital new art, offer lifelong learning and to promote community-building. They hope to be able to provide accessible and affordable programming to multiple communities around the seacoast. Participants will interact and create with nationally renowned, award-winning playwrights and filmmakers, some of whom will be debuting new works during the series.

The Seacoast Summer Reading Sessions will feature work by Greg Kotis, two time Tony™ Award winning author of many plays and musicals including Urinetown (Book/Lyrics); Michele Aldin Kushner, an Alfred P. Sloan award winning playwright and screenwriter; journalist and award winning documentary filmmaker Michelle Memran; and 2012 OBIE Award for Lifetime Achievement in the theatre winner, Caridad Svich - a playwright, songwriter, editor and translator inspired by living in the US with Cuban-Argentine Spanish-Croation parents

Session #1: Laughter is the Best Medicine

Master Aritst: Greg Kotis

Friday,July 23, 7pm @ Rochester Opera House

Play Reading: The End of All Flesh, by Greg Kotis.

Q & A with artists post reading.

Saturday, July 24, 11am-1pm, @ The Mark Baum Estate

Writing Workshop: Writing A Musical, taught by Greg Kotis.

This is a workshop that will explore the fundamentals of writing an original musical. Emphasis will be on character, story structure, scene structure, and identifying and writing songs for a musical.

The End of All Flesh is an absurdist, post-Apocalyptic fable penned by two time Tony™ Award winning author Greg Kotis (and partly inspired by the grandeur of his own Covid-Beard) set on a remote mountain somewhere in America's distant future. "Ma" and "Pa" survived the last days of The End Times and have somehow managed to scrape together a hunter-gatherer existence over the years. But their now grown son "Boy" and his fiancé "Girl" have their own ideas about the future of this last family on Earth - and of Humanity. This play with music explores environmental collapse, patriarchy, gender norms, broad stereotypes, generation gaps, and more.

Greg Kotis is a two time Tony™ Award winning author of many plays and musicals including Urinetown (Book/Lyrics), I Am Nobody, Give the People What They Want, Michael von Siebenburg Melts Through the Floorboards, Yeast Nation (Book/Lyrics), The Truth About Santa, Pig Farm, Eat the Taste, and Jobey and Katherine. Future projects include ZM, an original musical about teenaged fast-food workers trying to survive a zombie plague. Greg is a co-founder (along with his wife Ayun Halliday) of Theater of the Apes, and is a member of the Neo-Futurists, the Cardiff Giant Theater Company, ASCAP, and the Dramatists Guild. He grew up in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, and now lives in New York City.

Play reading:

Rochester Opera House

31 Wakefield Street

Rochester, NH 03867

Tickets: (603) 335-1992

Writing Workshop:

Mark Baum Estate

57 N. Village Road, Cape Neddick, ME.

Session #2: Climate Change and Gender Equity in Science

Master Artist: Michèle Aldin Kushner

Thursday, August 5, 5:30- 6:15pm @ Wells Reserve at Laudholm

Play Reading: Iceberg Effect

Friday, August 6, 7:00-8:15pm @ Rochester Performing Arts Center

Play Reading: Iceberg Effect

*Panel discussion with the writer and climate change scientist to follow readings

Saturday, August 7, 11am - 2pm @Wells Reserve at Laudholm

Writing Workshop: Climate and Performance Ecolab

This workshop will be a creative exploration of climate concerns and guided writing exercises that culminate in short performance pieces.

Iceberg Effect by Michèle Aldin Kushner, is a brand new play written expressly for the Seacoast Summer Reading Sessions. The play explores a dire need for climate awareness, gender equity in science, and the struggles one female climate change scientist faces.'s also the story of her 13 year old daughter's aspirations to impact the world on her own terms.

Michèle Aldin Kushner is a playwright and screenwriter. Her plays have been workshopped, staged and read throughout the country at theaters and festivals. She's been a finalist and recipient of numerous playwriting awards. Her play, Radio Galaxy, has recently been optioned after its reading in the TRU Voices New Play Series. Her screenplay, 11 Months, was an Alfred P. Sloan award winner. Her play, Unfit, was workshopped and presented as a reading at Rider University, NJ. Her play, Abducted, was read at WorkShop Theatre Company September 2014 and The Barrow Group in April 2015. In August 2014, the musical she wrote with composer/ lyricist Keith Gordon, Girl Powers, was invited to the Santa Fe Musical Theatre Festival. Michele has an MFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts' Dramatic Writing Program

Reading (Aug 5th), Workshop (Aug 7th):

Wells Reserve At Laudholm

342 Laudholm Farm Rd, Wells ME 04090


Reading (Aug 6th)

Rochester Performing Arts Center

32 North Main Street

Rochester, NH 03867

(603) 948-1099

Session #3: Capability, Creativity and Value - Graceful Aging

Master Artist: Michelle Memran / Maria Irene Fornés

Wednesday, August 11, 7pm @ Rochester Opera House

Film Screening, The Rest I Make Up, By Michelle Memran

Zoom Q & A with filmmaker after screening.

Rochester Opera House

31 Wakefield Street

Rochester, NH 03867

Tickets: (603) 335-1992

The Rest I Make Up, Synopsis:

Maria Irene Fornés was one of America's greatest playwrights and most influential teachers, writing over 40 plays and winning nine Obie Awards, though few know of her.The visionary Cuban-American dramatist constructed astonishing worlds onstage and taught countless students how to connect with their imaginations.

When she gradually stops writing due to dementia, an unexpected friendship with filmmaker Michelle Memran reignites her spontaneous creative spirit and triggers a decade-long collaboration that picks up where the pen left off.

Michelle Memran is a filmmaker and journalist. For nearly twenty years she has worked as a reporter and researcher in New York City and has written for numerous publications. Her award-winning documentary feature debut, The Rest I Make Up, had its world premiere at MoMA's Doc Fortnight in 2018, and returned for a sold-out week-long run at MoMA later that year. It was named one of "The Best Movies of 2018" and is currently screening worldwide.

Through her enlightening, uplifting and at times heartbreaking documentary, Memran takes us on a ride through Fornés's remarkable life-including recent trips to Cuba to visit family she hasn't seen for a long time, and wonderful reminiscences of plays and performances gone by, their presence palpable even now. Memran's personal connection to Fornés's work and life becomes very clear, the two forming a tender partnership rare to see in a documentary. "Intimate and exhilarating...unfolds the details of [Fornés and Memran's] decade-plus collaboration in ample, illuminating discussions."-Richard Brody, The New Yorker.

Maria Irene Fornés (Subject of The Rest I Make Up, 1930-2018) was born in Havana, Cuba, and first came to New York City in 1945. Her first play, Tango Palace, was produced in 1963. She wrote more than three dozen works for the stage.Among her most celebrated plays are Promenade, The Successful Life of 3, Fefu and Her Friends, The Danube, Mud, The Conduct of Life, And What of the Night?, Abingdon Square, The Summer in Gossensass and Oscar and Bertha. Four volumes of her plays, Promenade and Other Plays, Fornés Plays, What of the Night and Selected Plays, and Letter from Cuba and Other Plays, have been published by the Performing Arts Journal and other plays have appeared in various anthologies.

Besides directing most of her own plays, she directed plays by Calderon, Ibsen, Chekhov and several contemporary authors, including Leo Garcia, Cherrie Moraga and Caridad Svich.Ms. Fornés was the recipient of eight Obie Awards, one of which was for Sustained Achievement in Theater. She received a Distinguished Artists Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation grants, a Guggenheim grant, an award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, a Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Literary Award, a New York State Governor's Arts Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She was also a TCG/PEW Artist-in-Residence at Women's Project & Productions.

Ms. Fornés conducted playwriting workshops in theaters and universities in the United States and abroad. From 1973-79, she was the managing director of the New York Theatre Strategy. From 1981-1992, she was Director of the INTAR (International Arts Relations) Hispanic Playwrights-in-Residence Laboratory, a national program to stimulate and develop writing abilities of Hispanic playwrights. Her students have won Obie Awards, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, a MacArthur Fellowship, and a Pulitzer Prize. Ms. Fornés taught at some of America's most prestigious universities, including Yale, Princeton, Brown, Wesleyan, and Iowa, and led workshops at leading theatres, such as the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles and the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Session #3: Capability, Creativity and Value - Continued

Master Artist: Caridad Svich

Friday, August 13, 7pm @ Rochester Opera House.

Play Reading: Gertie and Alice by the Sea by Caridad Svich

Panel discussion with artists and experts on creative aging following the reading.

Rochester Opera House

31 Wakefield Street

Rochester, NH 03867

Tickets: (603) 335-1992

Gertie and Alice by the Sea: In the last house in the world, two women live out their days. They could be the famous Gertie and Alice, but they are not necessarily. They still do the things we do-eating, talking, laughing with friends and lovers-until what they know begins to slip away, and all that is left is desire.

Caridad Svich is a playwright, songwriter, editor and translator inspired by her background. She was born in the US to Cuban-Argentine-Spanish-Croatian parents and moved many times as a child, leading to a sense of dislocation she explores in her writing. She received a 2012 OBIE Award for Lifetime Achievement in the theatre, a 2012 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award and NNPN rolling world premiere for Guapa, and the 2011 American Theatre Critics Association Primus Prize for her play The House of the Spirits, based Isabel Allende's novel. She has won the National Latino Playwriting Award (sponsored by Arizona Theatre Company) twice, including in the year 2013 for her play Spark. She has been short-listed for the PEN Award in Drama four times, including in the year 2012 for her play Magnificent Waste. She sustains a parallel career as a theatrical translator and teaches creative writing and playwriting at Rutgers University-New Brunswick and Primary Stages' Einhorn School of Performing Arts.


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