Director Andrew Smith Creates First Middlebury New Play Festival
Middlebury, VT—The Middlebury College Department of Theatre and Dance will present “Undressing Cinderella,” the inaugural Middlebury New Play Festival, on April 10-13. Playwrights around the country were asked to turn the classic fairy tale inside out, using any character other than Cinderella as the main focus. Fourteen of the best submissions were selected for inclusion in the festival, grouped into two dynamic evenings of theatre, presented in alternation.
Visiting Assistant Professor and alumnus Andrew Smith ’97.5 provided the creative impetus behind the New Play Festival, serving as Artistic Director. “Cinderella is a fairy tale with roots in 47 different countries around the world, each with its own version of the beautiful serving-girl whose lost shoe is the only clue to her actual identity,” he notes. Through “Undressing Cinderella,” Smith and his company explore this universality, discovering which elements shine through, and which new ideas emerge.
Smith sent the call for scripts to every playwriting organization and graduate program in the U.S., challenging playwrights with this prompt: “Write a play inspired by the fairy-tale Cinderella using any character other than Cinderella as the main focus. Connection to the original tale need not be literal and the play may be set anytime, anywhere.” The resulting 101 submissions hailed from 25 states and six countries, including Italy, Australia, Poland, Russia, France, and the U.S. A reading team of five faculty, staff, and students selected the final 14 plays for inclusion in the festival. Five alumni playwrights and one current student playwright made the cut: Samantha Collier ’09, Sarah Sander ’99.5, Naomi Shafer ’11.5, Kirk German ’00.5, Gillian Durkee ’11.5, and Otto Pierce ’13.5. The plays have been grouped into two distinct evenings of theatre—Evening A and Evening B—to be presented in alteration on the four nights of the festival.
Middlebury has not been the only home to the development of these plays: five of them were also rehearsed and performed in New York City this February. Nine current students took on acting roles at the New York New Playwright Festival with Project Y Theatre Company, of which Smith is co-Artistic Director.
For the Middlebury performances, 21 students are cast to fill out the 66 roles. Teddy Anderson ’13.5 is co-directing the show as his senior work. The artistic team includes set designer Jon Craine ’97.5, light designer Hallie Zieselman, sound designer and technical director Alison Rimmer, costume designer Jule Emerson, and prop master Jim Dougherty. The stage managers are Ameya Biradavolu ’16 and Emily Sarich ’16. Stephen Mroviec ’13 is the festival’s dramaturg.
A Behind-the-Scenes Lunch and Discussion about “Undressing Cinderella”will take place on Tuesday, April 8, 2013, at 12:30 P.M., at Wright Memorial Theatre. The directors, designers, and cast will share their experiences in the creation of this production. Lunch is provided free of charge to Middlebury College ID card holders; community donations are welcomed.
Performances of“Undressing Cinderella” will take place on Thursday–Saturday, April 10–13, 2013, at 8:00 P.M. each evening. Festival Evening A will be presented on Wednesday and Friday; Festival Evening B will be presented on Thursday and Saturday. The running time for both evenings is under two hours. All performances will take place at Wright Memorial Theatre. The theatre is located at 96 Chateau Road in Middlebury, just off Route 125/College Street. Free parking is available on College Street and in the parking lot behind the theatre, accessible from Shannon Street. Handicap accessible parking is available on the evenings of performances in front of the theatre on Chateau Road. Tickets go on sale April 1, priced at $12 for the general public; $10 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, alumni, emeriti, and other ID card holders; and $6 for Middlebury College students. For tickets or information, call (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or go to http://go.middlebury.edu/arts.