For people in the theater industry, the sixth annual Colorado New Play Summit is a pretty big deal. Think of it as a testing ground: The Denver Center Theatre Company rounds up five brand-spanking, never-before-seen plays and gives them staged readings rehearsed performances of the play with no costumes or sets that industry professionals and audiences can watch and react to; based on those reactions, the playwrights can refine their works, and theater companies can decide if they want to pick them up. (Last year, the DCTC grabbed two plays from the summit, The Catch and Map of Heaven; full productions of both will be part of the festivities.)
On this years menu is Great Wall Story, a play based on the true tale of three Denver reporters who, on a slow news day in 1899, made up a story about the Great Wall of China being torn down, and An Extraordinary Demonstration of Nikola Teslas Most Recent Discoveries, a Buntport play about people trying to posthumously locate the plans for a death ray that the inventor supposedly conceived.
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But in order for it to work, the needs those audiences to attend and to react and thats where you come in. The whole thing is free: Just reserve your seat ahead of time (and do it soon, because they fill up). As DCTC spokeswoman Genevieve Miller points out, Its a chance to say I saw it first.
You can also, if youre particularly zealous, opt for a full summit pass ($195), which guarantees you seats at all of the plays (full productions included) and access to adjunct activities, including a multimedia workshop and panel discussion. The New Play Summit takes place today and tomorrow at the Denver Performing Arts Center; for a full schedule, tickets and information, visit www.denvercenter.org/summit.
Feb. 10-12, 2011