MODERN TERRORISM, H2O, HEARTLESS, and More Set for CATF's 2013 Season, 7/5-28

The Contemporary American Theater Festival (CATF) at Shepherd University has announced the five-play repertory for its 23rd season of producing and developing new American theater. The four-week festival, consisting of 94 performances and other programming, will be held July 5 - 28 on the Shepherd University campus in Shepherdstown, WV.

The 2013 season will mark the milestone of 100 plays produced in its history as well as the opening of the 180-seat Stanley C. and Shirley A. Marinoff Theater. Additionally, it will feature three world premieres, including two plays commissioned by the Theater Festival. The full five-play repertory includes new scripts from Liz Duffy Adams, Jon Kern, Jane Martin, Sam Shepard, and Mark St. Germain. The plays will be produced in rotating repertory, which allows audience members to see all five shows in just two days.

Matinee and evening performances are held Wednesday - Sunday throughout the Festival. Single ticket prices to the 2013 repertory are $57. Four-show and five-show subscription discount packages are available, ranging from $100-$235. Additional ticket savings are available for military personnel and families (as part of the Blue Star Theater Program), students, seniors, patrons 30 & under, and West Virginia residents. All performances take place at various venues on the Shepherd University campus. Pay-What-You-Can Previews will be held on July 3 and July 4.

Performance tickets can be purchased through the Theater Festival Box Office, which is open off-season Monday to Friday from 11am to 5 p.m., by calling 800-999-CATF (2283), or 24-hours a day online by visiting

In addition to the plays, the 2013 Season will also feature free lectures, staged readings, panels, discussions, a film series, and an art exhibition. Plus, patrons have the opportunity to purchase tickets to audience immersion events including lunches with artists and breakfast with the Theater Festival's producing director.

"The 2013 Season features vivid and ambitious new plays from five original voices for the stage," said Founder and Producing Director Ed Herendeen. "As we enter into our 23rd season, I continue to be inspired by contemporary playwrights who are willing to bravely tackle the important and complicated issues facing the world. One hundred plays is no small feat, and while my vision for the Theater Festival has no bounds, I am grateful for the exceptional community of artists, patrons, funders, and volunteers that believe in our mission and embrace our work. What we have done so far, and what we will accomplish in the future, rests squarely on our willingness to take risks on daring and provocative new plays."

The 2013 plays are:

A Discourse on the Wonders of the Invisible World
by Liz Duffy Adams

Directed by Kent Nicholson. World Premiere.

The year is 1702-ten years after the Salem witch trials made famous in Arthur Miller's 'The Crucible'. About to leave the Colonies forever, long-lost Abigail Williams arrives at the frontier tavern of her childhood witch-conspirator-Mercy Lewis-desperate to understand the madness that overtook their youth. But with war threatening New England yet again, Mercy and the local Puritans are in no mood for Abigail's doubts. And when things are most dangerously tense-the Devil himself shows up.

Liz Duffy Adams is an alumna of New Dramatists and the WP Lab. Her work has been seen at Off-Broadway's Women's Project as well as Magic Theater, Flux Theater, and the Humana Festival. Her plays include Or, Dog Act, and Neon Mirage. She is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama.

Modern Terrorism, or They Who Want to Kill Us and How We Learn to Love Them
by Jon Kern

Directed by Ed Herendeen

It takes big (and possibly sweaty) balls to write about people determined to blow up the Empire State Building. This violently funny, provocative black comedy is a satire of paranoid times and explores themes of alienation, revenge, and yearning for purpose and fame. A trio of terrorists is determined to bring retribution to America as they plot their elaborate plans from a New York City apartment. The only problem? They aren't very good at it. And when their upstairs neighbor-a dude namEd Jerome-accidentally gets involved, well, a new kind of chaos ensues.

Jon Kern is the 2012 winner of the Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award, the largest playwriting prize of its kind in the United States, for Modern Terrorism. He is a member of Ars Nova Playgroup, The Civilians R&D Group, and the Ma-Yi Writers Lab. He is a staff writer for The Simpsons. Modern Terrorism was first produced at Second Stage Theatre in New York City (2012).

by Jane Martin

Directed by Jon Jory. World Premiere; commissioned by the Contemporary American Theater Festival.

After arriving to the City of Angels, an aimless young man catapults to movie stardom and into Hollywood's sleazy celebrity culture. Banking on his fame (and name), he is soon selected to appear on Broadway in 'Hamlet'. Given full casting approval, he embarks to New York City to seek out his Ophelia (Hamlet 2 Ophelia-get it?) and encounters his muse and his match-a young evangelical Christian woman set on getting the role...and saving his life. From the reclusive, madcap world of Jane Martin comes this drama/comedy/love-story about self-destruction, notoriety, and the dark journey to purity and salvation.

A Kentuckian, Jane Martin's plays include Anton in Show Business, Talking With..., Flaming Guns of the Purple Sage, and Vital Signs. Her Keely and Du and Jack and Jill won Steinberg/ATCA New Play Awards. H2O is made possible by the generous underwriting of Lawrence Dean & Mina Goodrich and Paul & Lisa Welch. Additional support provided by the Laurents/Hatcher Foundation.

by Sam Shepard

Directed by Ed Herendeen

The heart has always been a vital metaphor in the plays of Sam Shepard; and never more so than in this poetic, enigmatic, and humorous exploration of the failure to connect. Opening with a piercing scream-a primal cry that cracks the dirty haze of the Hollywood canyons-Heartless is set in the home Sally shares with her sister, mother, and family nurse. When her new lover arrives, life is thrown out of whack as the scars of the past rise up. This new play is Shepard's EKG on the human condition.

Sam Shepard returns to CATF for the fourth time. Eleven of his plays have won Obie Awards and he received the Pulitzer Prize for Buried Child in 1979. His other work includes Curse of the Starving Class, Fool for Love, A Lie of the Mind, True West, The Late Henry Moss (CATF '02), The God of Hell (CATF '05), and Ages of the Moon (CATF '11). Heartless was first produced at Signature Theatre in New York City (2012).

Scott and Hem in the Garden of Allah
written and directed by Mark St. Germain

World Premiere; commissioned by the Contemporary American Theater Festival

F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway wrestle with the sparks of art and the perils of creativity-and the personal destruction they can reap-in this combative new play set amidst Hollywood's glittery backdrop. Fueled by friendship and rivalry, two literary heavyweights reunite in 1937 for a final night at the Los Angeles resort villa, the Garden of Allah. From an American master of historical dramatic fiction, the men explore their mysterious bond and the genius that first brought them together (but was fated to tear them apart).

Mark St. Germain is the author of numerous plays, including Camping with Henry and Tom, The Best of Enemies, Dr. Ruth, The God Committee, and Forgiving Typhoid Mary (CATF '94). His 2011 hit, Freud's Last Session (Best Play, Off-Broadway Alliance), has been performed around the country and ran for 775 performances Off-Broadway in New York City.

Over the last 22 years, the Contemporary American Theater Festival at Shepherd University has become a leading center for the production and development of new plays, having fully staged 95 American works, including 34 world premieres, by 69 different playwrights. Its 2012 world premiere, Gidion's Knot by Johnna Adams, is the recent recipient of a citation prize from the ATCA/Steinberg New Play Award and was published in American Theatre magazine.

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