This is the goal as well of this year’s Telluride Playwright’s Festival, in exploring the theme of Americans in Terror in its two featured plays.
Says Creative Director Jennie Franks, “TPF is quickly becoming a vehicle to explore new ideas, issues and our own humanity through theatre. We aim to germinate cutting-edge plays that can tell us more about ourselves and the world we live in.”
Downs' play is a dark comedy about Joseph and Katie, small-town college professors happily living in the land of tenure – that is, until they invite Asma, a Muslim poet from Somalia, into their home in an effort to create a more “Islam-friendly” campus atmosphere. This timely, shattering play explores a clash of cultures in a world where, as Lennon says, “nothing to kill or die for” might not be so easily imagined.
TPF is producing the play jointly with the University of Wyoming’s Summer Theatre Program, where it premiered in Laramie, Wyo., prior to coming to Telluride. “We’re bringing the actors, the sets, the costumes the whole caboodle down from Wyoming and setting up in the Opera House. The play is receiving a great deal of national attention” says Franks “so it's exciting that we’ll get to see it here first.”
In keeping with tradition, closing night will feature a staged reading, this year of Americans in Hiding, a new play by acclaimed Colorado playwright Tracy Shaffer. The play follows the plight of an American family forced to take an extended vacation abroad, when the father’s political actions threaten the lives of his family.
This is a political drama about terrorism in families and seeks to explore the question, “How do the actions of one affect the other?”
Throughout the week, playwrights, directors and actors will be hard at work bringing various plays from the page to the stage; all are encouraged to stop by the Sheridan Opera House gallery room to check out the action. Staged readings of TPF plays will showcase during lively breakfast readings at the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art on Saturday and the Sheridan Opera House Gallery Room on Sunday, both at 10 a.m. TPF will also host its first PlaySLAM on Wednesday night at the Steaming Bean, to which. actors and amateurs alike are invited to bring their works to present for feedback. This is sure to be a night of impromptu performances, surprising talent and animated discussion late into the night..
TPF takes place July 13-17 and Forgiving John Lennon runs July 14-16. Visit PlaywrightsFestival.org for complete festival schedule and to purchase tickets for Forgiving John Lennon.