February 23, 2006

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Yellow Taxi’s Theater Festival opens March 1
Drama comes in both short (10 minutes each) and long form
By Hannah Onoroski news@hippopress.com

TFans of the theater, aspiring playwrights and actors, take note: New Hampshire’s own Yellow Taxi Productions is staging a four-day playwriting and theater festival, beginning on Wednesday, March 1.
The festival will be held at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, in the Blackbox Theatre next door to the Stockbridge Theatre.

The Susan McIntyre Playwriting Festival, renamed in honor of a New Hampshire director who died in 2004, kicks off this theater season with a series of 10-minute plays, two full-length productions, and a few workshops and panel discussions in between. Amateur actors, writers and directors are expected to be present throughout the four-day affair, which ends on Saturday, March 4.

On Wednesday, the festival begins with seven 10-minute plays and audience members are invited to vote on their favorites. The winning playwright receives a cash prize. The seven plays chosen are already winners, however, having been selected through a nationwide contest. Writers both local and out-of-state are represented, including Nashua’s Deborah Matson, whose piece, Lunch, will be read. After the cash prize is awarded, the night wraps up with a reading of the 2005 Yellow Taxi production, titled The Warmth of the Cold. The staged reading features Mary Morris and Doug Chilson, veterans of the show, and three additional cast members. The play, written by Nashua resident Lowell Williams, won the 2006 New Hampshire Theatre Award for best original play by a professional theater company.

Attendees will also have the option of viewing two full-length plays, each tackling a different historical topic. Lanterns on Lamar offers a humorous look at Elvis’ last night in Memphis. Directed by Manchester’s TJ Davis, Lanterns on Lamar will be performed on Thursday, March 2, and Saturday, March 4, with a start time of 7:30 p.m. for each show. A talkback session with author Warren Perry of Washington, D.C. is scheduled for after the Thursday performance.

The second full-length play deals with several well-known writers on a single night in 1926. Tender, written by David John Preece, takes a snapshot of a fictional night in Paris with F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, as well as a visiting Ernest Hemingway. This piece will be staged at 8 p.m. Friday, March 3, and 2 p.m. Saturday, March 4. A second talkback with the author will take place after the Saturday afternoon performance.

In addition to the numerous theatrical on goings, Yellow Taxi is offering a panel discussion concerning the difficulties of writing plays with historical background or emphasis. Friday night will feature a panel consisting of Williams, Yellow Taxi’s Playwright-in-Residence, as well as authors David Preece, Michael Meade, and Sybil Roberts. These discussions offer individuals the chance to ask questions of professional writers and playwrights.

Yellow Taxi also offers three writing workshops on Saturday morning. These workshops deal with a variety of disparate ideas and subjects, such as reggae playwriting, solo performances, and appreciating an unfamiliar script. The workshops take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more information on the festival, plays, and workshops, check out www.yellowtaxiprodcutions.org. Tickets to the festival can be purchased at www.theatermania.com.


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