Tennessee Rep’s Ingram New Works Festival Starts Today

ingram-new-works-festivalA new play by Nashville playwright Nate Eppler kicks off Tennessee Repertory Theatre’s 2013-2014 Ingram New Works Festival today. It’s part of the Martha R. Ingram New Works Fellowship created by Tennessee Rep co-founder Martha R. Ingram to provide an opportunity for theater artists to develop new works while in residency with Tennessee Rep. From that fellowship evolved to include the Ingram New Works Lab for four regional playwrights of which Eppler is one. The festival runs through May 17.

Past Ingram Fellowship recipients include David Alford (Clara’s Hands), Victoria Stewart (Rich Girl), Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winner David Auburn (The Columnist, which made its Broadway premiere in April 2012 and was also produced by Tennessee Rep), Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winner John Patrick Shanley (Storefront Church, which made its New York Premiere in May 2012), Steven Dietz (Rancho Mirage), and Theresa Rebeck (Fever in May 2013). This year’s recipient of the Ingram New Works Fellowship is Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winner Doug Wright.

In the New Works Lab the four regional playwrights have been mentored by Wright.  The Lab offers these playwrights the opportunity to not only receive feedback but also hear their works read by professional actors during the writing process.

The four emerging playwrights-in-residence include Eppler, Andrew Kramer, Dean Poyner, and Jeremy Sony.  The festival features staged readings of five plays, which are all presented at the Tennessee Rep Rehearsal Hall (NPT Studio A, 161 Rains Ave.):

Good Monsters

nate-eppler-200x200By Nate Eppler

Today (May 7) and Wednesday, May 14, 7 p.m.

Frank, a Gulf War veteran and recently suspended police officer, lives north of Nashville but south of Kentucky with his stripper-wife Darlene. While moonlighting as a Wal-Mart security guard, Frank mistakenly shoots a shoplifter in the parking lot — a shoplifter who turned out to be unarmed teenage girl. As the trial looms, those closest to him want to help. His wife even hires a Crisis Manager to navigate the media firestorm leading up to the trial. But they don’t know that Frank is already on trial; the ghost of the dead girl haunts him every night. Frank tries to get rid of the ghost, but she refuses to leave his backyard. When she begins to make terrifying demands of him, the fireworks really begin.


jeremy-sonyBy Jeremy Sony

Thursday, May 8 and Sunday, May 11, 7 p.m.

A global pandemic, a dangerous cure, and a father/daughter relationship set to explode at the end of the world. A new infectious pathogen is discovered in a remote village in Belgium — a super-virus that means nothing less than the beginning of the end. One of the world’s leading scientific minds has figured out a way to stop the outbreak, but his theory is untested, unthinkable, and unsupported by the Center for Disease Control. While it could save most of the planet, it would cost millions of lives. Regardless of that risk, he’s convinced it’s the only way to save us all. What’s more frightening is, he might be right. He can’t execute his plan alone, and the one person he is trying to convince to help him — a brilliant young scientist and insider at the CDC — is the one person who could stop him: his daughter. The question is, will she?

Cut It Out

andrew-kramerBy Andrew Kramer

Friday, May 9 and Monday, May 12, 7 p.m.

What can we do to escape such deep unhappiness? Rebecca and Rusty Helmer got married too soon and had children too young, but somehow found success through a joint career opportunity. Now, they find themselves locked into a life that looks quite perfect on the outside: financial stability, a castle of a house, an artistically talented son, and a wise, worldly daughter. But when Rebecca embarks on a journey of self-discovering through reconstructing herself — literally — with plastic surgery, the Helmer family begins to break, crack, and crumble from the inside out. A play about a recognizable American family (think: Norman Rockwell in distorted, theatrical Technicolor) fighting for identity and connection in an increasingly fragile and fracturing world.

Together We Are Making a Poem in Honor of Life

dean-poynorBy Dean Poyner

Saturday, May 10 and Tuesday, May 13, 7 p.m.

Marked by a senseless tragedy, a couple tries to navigate the storm of grief that follows in the wake of their child’s death. Through a series of support group meetings for grieving parents, they struggle to comprehend and remember in an attempt to reconcile what they’ve lost. But as they confront their harsh new reality, they find it difficult to connect with each other in this new discordant world. A powerful and poetic exploration of what it means to live through unimaginable loss.


Doug WrightBy Doug Wright

Thursday, May 15 – Saturday, May 17, 7 p.m.

Before the first sitting with Gustav Vigeland, Henrik Ibsen suffered, unknown to the sculptor, from a serious stroke and found himself facing the terrible spectre of his own mortality struggling to maintain dignity and a façade of normality throughout subsequent sessions. Vigeland approached the commission warily because of Ibsen’s cantankerous reputation, though mitigated by the prestige of creating a permanent bust of Ibsen for the City of Oslo, knowing that the success of the Ibsen bust would immortalize both the author and the creator of the bust. During the sessions both men were jockeying for their place in the cannon, and both men hoped to achieve posterity via the other. Tony and Pulitzer-winning playwright Doug Wright’s Posterity is an exploration of the last days of Henrik Ibsen’s life and the complicated relationship between Ibsen and Vigeland–Vigeland at the peak of his career, Ibsen at the end of his.

To Reserve Seats for the Ingram New Works Festival

Tickets:  Free for Tennessee Rep 2013-14 season subscribers.  $10 per reading for non-subscribers ($5 for students with valid student ID.).  VIP seating available for $20.  Tickets available at the door.  Reservations available online by clicking here and filling out the form or by calling (615) 244-4878.

*Photos and logo courtesy Tennessee Repertory Theatre.

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