New plays staged in Sarasota

August 8, 2013 

Palmetto playwright Sylvia Reed's newest work is premiering this week. But you may have seen it before.

Reed's play "Thousand Oaks" was the winner of the 2012 New Play Festival at the Players Theatre in Sarasota. At that time, audiences got to see a reading, with actors on stage but no sets, costumes or stage lighting.

This year it's getting a full production for the first time.

"Sylvia Reed's a wonderful playwright," said Jeffery Kin, the artistic director of the Players Theatre. "She likes to get the seeds of her plays from newspaper stories. This one's about a couple living in a failed housing development."

The couple are the last people living in a community hit hard by the foreclosure crisis. "A modern ghost town." Kin said. The husband likes the solitude and safety. The wife misses her friends and neighbors.

It's hard to call it either a drama or a comedy, Kin said, because it has elements of both. He prefers to call it a "slice of life."

The staging of "Thousand Oaks" is a prelude to the 2013 New Plays Festival which starts Aug. 12.

The festival, now in its 12th year, draws submissions from dozens of local playwrights. A panel of judges picks the best five or six. Each play is assigned a director, and after a few rehearsals, the actors read the plays to audiences. There's just one reading of each play.This year's plays are "Mothers and Sons" by Ron Pantello (Aug. 12), "Whispers to the Moon" by Kris Bauske (Aug. 13), "Nonfatal Terminal Velocity" by Michael Trottier (Aug. 14), "That Wasn't Me" by Llywelyn Jones (Aug. 15) and "Ma, Moonflowers and Me" by Jo Morello (Aug. 17).

Details: "Thousand Oaks" Aug. 8-11, New Plays Festival Aug. 12-17, The Players Theatre, 838 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Show times: 7:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, no shows Friday. Tickets: $15 for "Thousand Oaks," $9 for the New Plays Festival. Information: 941-365-2494, www.theplayers.org.

-- Marty Clear

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