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PlayPenn Holds 6th Annual New Play Development Conference 7/19 - 25

PlayPenn, Philadelphia's professional new play development organization, will hold its sixth annual New Play Development Conference on July 19-July 25, 2010 at the Adrienne Theater (2030 Sansom Street) in Philadelphia. The Conference will feature a week of works-in-progress including plays by James J. Christy (LOVE AND COMMUNICATION); Kara Lee Corthron (ETCHED IN SKIN ON A SUNLIT NIGHT); Dan Dietz (CLEMENTINE IN THE LOWER NINE); Samuel D. Hunter (THE WHALE); Charlotte Miller (RAISING JO); and Nicholas Wardigo (HUM).

The chosen playwrights will bring their works-in-progress to Philadelphia for more than two weeks of intensive work with a professional director of their choice, dramaturgical assistance and professional actors from the Philadelphia theatre community. In addition, each playwright can choose a set designer, lighting designer, costume designer or sound designer whose advice would add further dimension and value to the playwriting process. Playwrights will rehearse for 29 hours with this team of artists devoted to the progress of their work, culminating in staged readings on July 22, 23, 24, and 25, which are free and open to the public. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 215-717-7127 after July 1st.

In James J. Christys' LOVE AND COMMUNICATION, Megan and Rob Holden's marriage is slipping away and now the one thing that has united them -finding help for their son with autism -- is driving them apart. LOVE AND COMMUNICATION is a haunting and incisive play about tangled relationships in which two desperate parents do battle with a byzantine educational system -- and their own insecurities. LOVE AND COMMUNICATION, directed by Adam Immerwahr with sound designer Karin Graybash and dramaturg Elizabeth Pool will be read on Saturday, July 24 at 4:00 PM.

Kare Lee Corthron's ETCHED IN SKIN ON A SUNLIT NIGHT will premiere at InterAct Theatre next season. ETCHED IN SKIN ON A SUNLIT NIGHT is an exploration of latent racism and the secrets from the past people carry into their relationships. Jules, an African-American ex-pat, is entranced with Barack Obama while her husband Ólafur, a white Icelandic investment banker, deals with the worst economic crash in his nation's history. ETCHED IN SKIN ON A SUNLIT NIGHT, directed by Rebecca Wright with sound designer Rob Kaplowitz and dramaturg Michele Volansky will be read on Saturday, July 24 at 7:00 PM.

Dan Dietz's CLEMENTINE IN THE LOWER NINE, set in New Orleans, is a modern-day adaptation of Aeschylus' Agamemnon. When Katrina blew her way across New Orleans, Clementine's family scattered to the winds. Nine months later, as everyone is coming back home, Clementine's husband shows up with a strange young girl, and the past roars back in with a vengeance. CLEMENTINE IN THE LOWER NINE, directed by Aaron Posner with composer Justin Ellington and dramaturg Michele Volansky will be read on Friday, July 23 at 8:00 PM.

In Samuel D. Hunter's THE WHALE, Charlie hasn't seen his ex-wife or daughter in seventeen years-and in that seventeen years he has gained somewhere around 400 pounds. Now morbidly obese and confined to his small apartment, he must make a desperate attempt to connect with his disaffected teen-aged daughter by doing the thing he does best-by teaching her to write a good essay. THE WHALE, directed by Hal Brooks with costume designer Janus Stefanowitz and dramaturg John Baker will be read on Thursday, July 22 at 8:00 PM.

Charlotte Mille's play RAISING JO was part of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater's F@#$ing Good Plays Festival this past winner. RAISING JO tells the story of Calvin and Molly-a young couple whose recent break up takes a turn when Molly discovers that she is pregnant. As Calvin tries to live up to his own expectations of what real family means and Molly struggles to accept that unconditional love is more than a myth, RAISING JO explores the various definitions of family. RAISING JO, directed by Jackson Gay with lighting designer Thom Weaver and dramaturge Bill D'Agostino will be read on Sunday, July 25 at 5:00 PM.

In Nicholas Wardigo's HUM, a ubiquitous hum forces the world to communicate with gestures, facial expressions, and written notes. Trapped without verbal language, Van and Eva desperately try to connect but are scared to risk stability. Prompted into rebellion, Van and Eva leap into a fantastic world of sound and silence that changes their lives forever, but, like all real change, demands sacrifice. HUM draws parallels between political upheaval and marital upheaval, each containing the conflict between familiar patterns and true freedom. HUM, directed by David O'Connor with sound designer Rob Kaplowitz and dramaturg Harriet Power will be read on Sunday, July 25 at 2:00 PM.

PlayPenn is committed to the development of new plays, the advancement of new voices in the theatre both locally and nationally, and the cross-fertilization of writers, directors, dramaturgs, and actors. PlayPenn is made possible through the generous support of the Wyncote Foundation and new major grants from, among others, the Dramatists Guild Fund, the Samuel S. Fels Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.

For further information about the conference or the readings, please call 215.242.2813 or visit

Photo Credit: John Flak

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