Northern Stage Launches Into the New Year and Decade With NEW WORKS NOW 7.0

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Northern Stage Launches Into the New Year and Decade With NEW WORKS NOW 7.0

Now in its seventh year, Northern Stage's New Works Now festival will feature three new plays, January 10 and 11 at the Barrette Center for the Arts. The Northern Stage Artistic team, including Producing Artistic Director Carol Dunne and BOLD Associate Artistic Director & New Works Now Producer Jess Chayes, reached out to writers and artists in the Northern Stage community and read dozens of unproduced plays, selecting three to be workshopped with professional actors and directors for one week, culminating in a public festival of free staged readings.

This year's lineup has three wildly different plays, ranging from an exploration of modern healthcare and the possibilities of an artificially intelligent nurse, to a satirical look at economic disparity in the Middle Ages through the eyes of the "nice, pretty Bachelor contestant" Clare of Assisi, to a political comedy about friendship in an increasingly all-consuming partisan world. Of the plays Chayes says, "This year at New Works Now, we have three thrilling stories that use comedy and pathos to delve into the crucial issues we face today, from class and political divisions to the future of technology and caretaking."

Readings are as follows:

Friday, January 10, 7:30 PM - Machine Learning by Francisco Mendoza

Directed by Gabriel Vega Weissman

When a cancer diagnosis thrusts his estranged, alcoholic father back into his life, computer scientist Jorge dreams up a nursing app to manage the disease in his stead. As the machine's capabilities grow, it goes from caretaker to part of the family, and Jorge must grapple with his responsibilities as a son - and as a creator. Machine Learning is the winner of the 2019 Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award for Playwriting.

Chayes says, "We are elated to bring Northern Stage audiences Francisco Mendoza's riveting Machine Learning, which delves into the intersection of rapidly emerging technology and the unique story of an immigrant family. We have had an exceptionally fruitful relationship with the Dartmouth Neukom Institute for Computational Science since the Neukom Prize in Playwriting launched in 2018 and we're thrilled to continue the relationship."

Saturday, January 11, 2:00 PM - Poor Clare by Chiara Atik

Directed by Carol Dunne

Clare is just a regular noblewoman living in medieval Italy, trying out hairstyles and waiting to get married. That is, until a man named Francis starts ranting in the courtyard. Chiara Atik's breathlessly funny & powerful new play tells a tale of what happens when your eyes are opened to the injustice of the world around you, and you can't look away. A modern spin on the Middle Ages that couldn't be more timely.

Of the play Chayes says, "We were enchanted by Chiara Atik's humor and brilliant satire in Poor Clare, as she uses the lens of Medieval Italy and the story of St. Clare of Assisi to bring us closer to the class divisions we are living with today."

Saturday, January 11, 7:30 PM - I Hope She'll be Okay by Amy Staats

Directed by Jess Chayes

Two old school Senators from opposite parties struggle to have lunch together during the rise of the Tea Party and the demise of the Senator's Dining Room. Meanwhile, a conservative woman and a member of Occupy Wall Street embark on an impromptu road trip. Set in 2010, Amy Staats' smart and warmhearted political comedy about friendship and food asks: when did we stop eating lunch together?

Of the play Chayes says, "In the divided country we are living in, Amy Staats' new play examines how we got there with immense warmth and humor, using the battle over Obamacare and the rise of the Tea Party in 2010 as its backdrop. We are also very excited to have the brilliant Gordon Clapp, star of many Northern Stage productions and NYPD Blue, as one of our two Senators."

Accompanying the staged readings is the fifth annual Thirsty Theater, which will feature two 10-minute plays that will be read in local businesses. Dinosaur Woman by Marisa Smith (Northern Stage: Venus Rising & Mad Love) and directed by Jess Chayes, featuring Carol Dunne will occur at Wolf Tree on Friday, January 10 at 6:30 PM and Outside Time, Without Extension by Ben Beckley (Northern Stage Acting: Jordan & King Lear) and directed by Virginia Ogden will be read at Piecemeal Pies on Friday, January 10 at 7:00 PM.

Admission is free, but seats must be reserved through the Northern Stage box office at or (802) 296-7000. New Works Now is sponsored by the BOLD Women's Leadership Circle, Comfort Inn in White River Junction, Hampton Inn/Fairfield Inn in White River Junction, Holiday Inn Express & Suites White River Junction, The Lyme Inn, The Quechee Inn at Marshland Farm, The Neukom Institute for Computational Science, and the Pussycat Foundation.

Northern Stage ( is a regional non-profit LORT-D professional theater company located in White River Junction, VT. Northern Stage actively engages its audiences with world-class productions and extensive educational and community outreach programs in its new home, the Barrette Center for the Arts. Founded in 1997, the company has offered more than 150 professional productions of new works, classics, and musicals. Now in its 23rd Season, Northern Stage serves over 50,000 people. In 2014, the company launched a new play festival that has cultivated seven world premiere productions and three Off-Broadway transfers, including the New York Times Critic's Pick Only Yesterday. Northern Stage's breadth of programming supports the company's mission of "changing lives, one story at a time."

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