Well, the theatre at the Fine Arts Center in Colorado Springs has given us yet another reason to get to the Springs. This time, it's their latest installation of Rough Writers, a play festival presenting staged readings of new works. This is a chance to see brand new work by playwrights at various stages in their careers, in a beautiful space in a wonderful town. There are many different plays you to see- one acts and full lengths, large and small casts- take your pick. And you can either buy one ticket to one reading, or for twenty dollars, see as many readings as you want. Twenty dollars. You know, the price of a couple of movie tickets, or a couple of drinks at Starbucks. And for that same twenty dollars, you can take part in the creation of a new show. How are you a part of it? Well, when the new plays are read, the playwright is there- listening to the audience and their reaction. For a playwright, this is a scary and wonderful experience- and vital to the process. When you write a play, you sort of live in a bubble- which is important. You need to keep your baby safe, and help it grow. But there comes a time in every play's life when it needs to be exposed to the world outside- thus, the staged reading. You watch and pace and panic, and observe what lands with the audience, what makes them gasp, or laugh, or yawn with boredom. And then you adjust. And often, at the readings, there are talk backs- a time when the audience is asked for comments and questions. These can be rough for a writer, but also quite informative. Sometimes, the comments are brilliant. Sometimes, not so much. Either way, sitting in a room with a bunch of fellow human beings, hashing
out what did and did not work on a new play is exciting, unique, and essential for any fan of theatre. Believe me, I know what I'm talking about. I've done many readings at many festivals- including this one. My play April's Fool had it's first reading at Rough Writers before going on to its world premiere last summer at the New York International Fringe Festival. Those readings were essential in the play's development.

The plays and playwrights in this year's festival are: Jade O'Keeffe (who may or may not be related to Georgia O'Keeffe) and her play Two Nine One Letters; Alyson Mead and her play The Flower; Susan Shafer and her play A Woman on Paper; Sue Bachman and her play Georgia on His Mind; Grant Swenson and his play Mary and Georgia; Todd Wallinger and his play The Real Meaning of Things; Jessica Weaver and her play The Last Rabbit; and Dara O'Brien and her play Early Sunday Morning.

And that's happening right now at the FAC.

All the shows are thematically linked to Georgia O'Keeffe, in anticipation of the center's upcoming exhibit on her- for more on that, click HERE. Some are about her, some are about her paintings and how they have touched people's lives. What's really interesting is to see all these different takes on O'Keefe- how this one subject has sent so many writers on so many different trajectories with their plays.

So- if you live on Planet Earth, and like being entertained, and also like being part of something amazing, get your self to the Fine Arts Center in Colorado Springs. The festival continues through June 13.

For more info, and how to order tickets to this exceptional festival, click HERE.


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