All Drama

Eric Schmiedl’s Plainsong, an adaptation of Kent Haruf’s award-winning novel, was one of the high points of the Denver Center Theatre Company’s 2008 season. Now Schmiedl is back as one of five playwrights participating in the Colorado New Play Summit, which features a staged reading of his new play, Eventide, based on Haruf’s latest novel.

The three-day extravaganza also includes the world premieres of Inana and Dusty and the Big, Bad World, staged readings, discussions and panels. It represents the kind of collaboration that’s essential for the health of the art form, according to Schmiedl: “The process is all about the script, what’s working, what isn’t; it takes place in a non-threatening environment and with the freedom to explore. With the public reading, you get to hear what you’ve worked on and get audience reactions. Playwrights go to each other’s readings; there’s a celebratory nature about it.” Artistic director Kent Thompson will decide which of this year’s scripts will receive a full-scale production.

Plainsong was a kind of tapestry showing the lives of people in a small, fictive Colorado town; the script utilized a mix of dramatic scenes and narrative and kept much of Haruf’s language. Schmiedl is using a similar approach for Eventide, which features some of the same characters and goes more deeply into their lives, revealing events they can cope with only “by coming together and holding on to each other.”

The summit takes place at assorted venues in the Denver Performing Arts Complex; registration, which includes tickets to both premieres, readings, discussions, receptions and meals, is $175. For more information, call 303-893-6030 or log on to www.denvercenter.org/summit.
Feb. 12-14, 2009

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Juliet Wittman is an investigative reporter and critic with a passion for theater, literature, social justice and food. She has reviewed theater for Westword for over a decade; for many years, she also reviewed memoirs for the Washington Post. She has won several journalism awards and published essays and short stories in literary magazines. Her novel, Stocker's Kitchen, can be obtained at select local bookstores and on Amazon.
Contact: Juliet Wittman