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    2008-2009 reviews:
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    New Work / New World

    A series with the works

    The Play Company's "New Work/New World" series gives audiences a preview of five intriguing new plays from promising young playwrights in three countries.


    The Play Company's New Work/New World series is more than a workshop and less than a festival. It's a chance to see five works in various stages of development by young playwrights — all of which look quite intriguing.

    Produced by: Kate Loewald, Mike Ockrent, Jack Temchin.
    Includes individual plays: Sept. 18-22, "Key West" by Dan O'Brien; Oct. 2-6, "Monsieur Ibrahim et les Fleurs du Coran" by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt; Oct. 9-13, "Bintou" by Koffi Kwahule; Oct. 16-20, "The Bread of Winter" by Victor Lodato; Oct. 30-Nov. 3, "Smashing" by Brooke Berman
    Each play gets a six-day intensive rehearsal and then five days of fully staged performances. For the authors, this is a chance to go beyond simple readings and give them a full production, showing how their work will translate from the page to the stage. For the audience, it's a chance to see interesting works by promising young writers before they emerge in their final form.

    And it may be even more than that. "For people who are interested in theater, it's a great way to feel like you're part of the development — because you are," says Kate Leowald, one of the founders of the Play Company along with Jack Temchin and Mike Ockrent. Leowald and Temchin are both veterans of the Manhattan Theater Club, and this series was inspired by their experience at the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference.

    The series started auspiciously with "Key West" (Sept. 18-22) by Dan O'Brien, a warmly funny story about the reunion of two long-estranged members of a headstrong Irish-American family. It was given a script-in-hand performance, and after a short time it was easy to ignore the scripts and enjoy the show.

    The works from overseas are next up. "Monsieur Ibrahim et les Fleurs du Coran" (Oct. 2-6) by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt of France, about a Jewish boy discovering France's Arab culture. "Bintou" (Oct. 9-13) by Koffi Kwahule of the Ivory Coast, is about an African-born teenager in a European country.

    "Our theater is really about presenting plays from around the world," explains Leowald. "We really want to have the opportunity to present American plays in the context of plays from around the world."

    The series wraps up with two more American plays. Week 4 features "The Bread of Winter" (Oct. 16-20) by Victor Lodato, about two young brothers whose attachment to their housekeeper is challenged when she is fired. And week 5 features "Smashing" (Oct. 30 to Nov. 3) by Brooke Berman, discovers that she is the subject of her former lover's scathing best-seller.

    OCTOBER 12, 2001

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