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Deep Dish Theater to Host Annual New Play Workshop Next Month

Deep Dish Theater will present a developmental workshop of Native, a new play written by Ian Finley, January 14-18. Directed by Serena Ebhardt, the workshop continues the company's 14th season at University Mall.

Native is based on the true story of the collaboration between celebrated playwright and North Carolina icon, Paul Green, and the celebrated novelist Richard Wright, the author most famously of Native Son. The two men were brought together to adapt Wright's novel for Orson Welles' Broadway production, and the play explores the battle of wills that ensued.

Ian Finley is an area playwright and educator who served as the NC Piedmont Laureate in 2012. He received the Harry Kondoleon Award for playwriting while earning his MFA at New York University's Tisch School of Performing Arts. His plays include a 2-part musical adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure for Burning Coal Theatre Company in Raleigh, Up from the Ground for the Piedmont Laureate program, and two ten-minute plays for the Ackland Art Museum. He also serves as Head of Drama at Research Triangle High School.

The play is written for two actors who portray the principals and occasionally other supporting characters. Gil Faison, whose Deep Dish appearances include Jitney and the title role in Othello, will play Richard Wright. Opposite him will be David zum Brunnen, a long-time Deep Dish collaborator who appeared in Via Dolorosa and State of the Union. Director Serena Ebhardt's work includes staging the premiere production of Dar He at Deep Dish, and most recently, directing the Paul Green musical, Johnny Johnson, at UNC.

The workshop will be presented with minimal production values and script in hand, as the text continues to evolve. Audience members will have the opportunity to share their thoughts on the play in post- performance conversations, and rewrites will go on throughout the 5- performance run.

Performances begin Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday (matinee) at 2 p.m. Deep Dish is located in Chapel Hill's University Mall, on Estes Drive and US 15-501. The performance on Saturday evening, Jan. 17, will coincide with the theater's annual fundraising gala.

Tickets are $16. Tickets for the Saturday evening fundraiser are $65, or $110 per couple. Call (919) 968-1515 for reservations and visit for information.

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