Entertainment

Redhouse publicizes winners of its New Works Competition – syracuse.com

Syracuse, NY — Redhouse Arts Center is pleased to announce the two plays that will take part in this year’s New Works Festival. The first is “Esmeranda’s Gift (Or How to Make a Crossword Puzzle and Solve Your Life.)” by Donna Hoke and the second is “Repair of the World” by Paul Sambol. Both will receive a two-week developmental workshop and each will work with its own director.

Broadway veteran Hunter Foster will direct “Esmeranda’s Gift (Or How to Make a Crossword Puzzle and Solve Your Life.)” and actor and director Temar Underwood will direct “Repair of the World.”

“We had a lot of great submissions this year,” Foster said, “and we could have gone with several of them. I was really impressed with how well-crafted the submissions were, plus they all had something important to say. The ones we chose stood out not only in how well they told a story, but their uniqueness.”

The winning playwrights will have access to the Redhouse creative teams and be provided local actors for the reading. All rehearsals will take place remotely due to Covid-19 restrictions. The plays will be performed as a reading via livestream airing on Redhouse’s Facebook Live and YouTube.

Below are the performance dates and times:

“Esmeranda’s Gift (Or How to Make a Crossword Puzzle and Solve Your Life.)” Performance

Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. (on Facebook Live and YouTube)

“Repair of the World” Performance

Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. (on Facebook Live and YouTube)

Each show will be followed by a talkback with the writers, cast and creative team. The shows will be free and open to the public for viewing and any money raised will be to benefit Redhouse Arts Center. For more information or questions regarding the New Works Festival, call the Redhouse Box Office at (315) 362-2785 or visit the website at theredhouse.org.

Show descriptions:

“Esmeranda’s Gift (Or How to Make a Crossword Puzzle and Solve Your Life.)” by Donna Hoke

The Puzzlemaker has been hired to make a crossword puzzle–for their ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend. Do they use their puzzle-making powers for good–or evil?

“Repair of the World” By Paul Sambol

“Repair of the World” follows a typical morning in the life of David, a man in his mid 50′s working in the admissions office of a drug clinic. As we witness his attempts to assist, we come in direct contact with the flip side of The War on Drugs. Not the statistics, not the platitudes, but the anonymous and the unseen facing individual wars against addiction. In a job where empathy is all you’ve got to work with, eventually you have to ask yourself: What is empathy? Is it part of the basic human package? Or is it something we learn? Is it like an endless well you can tap into? Or does it burn out under enough pressure? Is it possible for somebody’s emotional pilot light to get snuffed out? And if that’s the case, how much time and rehabilitation does it take to get it back?”

About the Playwrights:

Donna Hoke:

Donna’s work has been seen in 47 states and on five continents, including at Barrington Stage, Barrow Group, Celebration Theatre, Gulfshore Theatre, Queens Theatre, The Road, Writers Theatre New Jersey, Phoenix Theatre, Atlantic Stage, Purple Rose, Skylight, Pride Films and Plays, New Jersey Rep, Hens and Chickens (London), The Galway Fringe Festival, and Actors Repertory Theatre of Luxembourg. Plays include BRILLIANT WORKS OF ART (Kilroys List), ELEVATOR GIRL (O’Neill and Princess Grace finalist), SAFE (winner of the Todd McNerney, Naatak, and Great Gay Play and Musical Contests), and TEACH (Gulfshore New Works winner). She has been nominated for the Primus, Blackburn, and Laura Pels prizes, and is a three-time winner of the Emanuel Fried Award for Outstanding New Play (SEEDS, SONS & LOVERS, ONCE IN MY LIFETIME). An ensemble playwright at Road Less Traveled Productions, she has also received an Individual Artist Award from the New York State Council on the Arts to develop HEARTS OF STONE, and, in its final three years, Artvoice named her Buffalo’s Best Writer—the only woman to ever receive the designation. She is also an author, blogger, crossword constructor, and former Dramatists Guild Council member and New York Regional Rep who now serves as Western New York Ambassador.

Paul Sambol:

Paul has had scripts developed in workshops throughout New York, including Manhattan Punch Line, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and BMI’s Librettist Workshop. Seventeen of his plays were produced at Mill Mountain Theatre in Roanoke, Virginia, including THE STRAIGHT MAN, winner of the Norfolk Southern New Play Competition. Two of his ten-minute plays, THE VOICE ON THE TAPE and COLLOQUY, were named finalists at Actors Theatre of Louisville. SO NICE TO COME HOME TO was named a finalist at the Streisand Festival of New Jewish Plays and Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis. THE VINEGAR SYNDROME received a reading at Long Beach Playhouse in California as part of their New Works Festival. Two of his plays, CORKY BUSH and BADINAGE, were given readings at The Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez, Alaska, winning the Yukon Pacific Playwrights Award and an Audience Choice Award. CORKY BUSH was given a reading at the Soho Theatre in London’s West End and produced at A.C.T. in Anchorage where it was chosen Best New Play, Best Director, and Best Actress by Anchorage Public Radio. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild.

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