I’ve been sporting a nifty little necklace of sorts around my neck for a couple of days now — a lanyard that reads “The Hormel New Works Festival.” It’s the keeper of my festival schedule, listing events by day through Sun, July 22. I’m tempted, once this year’s festival wraps, to keep this baby but throw a new schedule in it each week — though the content wouldn’t be nearly as glamorous.
First table read–Laundry wars. 2nd draft reading–Reheating leftovers. First performance–Broom meets mop. Better to stick with the original, I suppose. It’s got offerings from first and second table reads to performances and a playwrights forum. Also talkbacks that invite audience feedback on new works, a teen playwriting camp showcase and more. Even beautiful pre-performance guitar ballads for you romantic types.
Last night I saw a performance of “Nureyev’s Eyes” by playwright David Rush — which will be performed again at both 5pm and 8pm this evening. It’s directed by Judy Rollings, and has a cast of two — Toby Yatso (who plays American artist Jamie Wyeth) and Pasha Yamotahari (who plays Russian dancer Rudolph Nureyev). Though I wished the work packed more punch, it was highly praised by audience members during the post-performance talkback.
This weekend I hope to hit a 2nd draft series reading of Scott McCarrey’s “The Wilds” and “An Evening of New Short Plays.” Options for next week include seeing performances of José Zárate’s “Smugglers” and D. Scott Withers’ “Big Dreams” — plus a “Teen Playwriting Camp Showcase” and “24 Hour Theatre Project.” Folks eager to join the festival fun can still buy individual tickets or VIP passes — and several works are free for anyone who’s game.
The Hormel New Works Festival makes for a lovely summertime staycation, and I came pretty close yesterday to just packing a bag and settling in downtown for the weekend. During its next incarnation, the festival will move from a steamy summertime setting to a winter one — so folks whose winters aren’t quite as lovely can head to Phoenix for mild temps and a marvelous mix of new works. The next Hormel New Works Festival is slotted for Jan/Feb of 2014.
Those who travel to the festival will find plenty of other cultural wonders in its midst. Phoenix Theatre is located next to the Phoenix Art Museum, and less than a mile from the Heard Museum – which is home to an extraordinary collection of Native American Art. It’s an easy jaunt by light rail to historic art districts and lots of other fun Phoenix fare. Other area gems include the Children’s Museum of Phoenix and Herberger Theater Center.
Travelers will get more bang for their buck once festival dates fall within the seasons for Arizona’s opera, ballet, symphony and such. But this weekend, and next, I look forward to enjoying the festival that’s still a “best kept secret” in some ways. And to keeping an eye on all things new construction at Phoenix Theatre. Associate artistic director Robert Kolby Harper seems truly tickled that it’s finally reached the “vertical phase.”
Click here to learn more about all things Phoenix Theatre — from their “next stage” campaign to their 2012/13 season line-up.
Coming up: Towering musical meets tiny stage, Art inspired by myth, A mockingbird tale