Barbara Hammond: VISIBLE FROM FOUR STATES Wins University of Arkansas Department of Theatre Kernodle New Play Award


Fayetteville, AR (14 June 2017) – The winner of the University of Arkansas Department of
Theatre’s Kernodle New Play Award for 2017 is Barbara Hammond for her play VISIBLE FROM FOUR STATES. The reading committee—composed of faculty members, graduate students, and area theatre-makers also named Mia McCullough’s play Wisdom From Everything as a finalist. The contest, named in honor of UofA faculty member George Kernodle, had over 150 submissions in 2017 demonstrating the abundant diversity of new work being created by playwrights across the country.

VISIBLE FROM FOUR STATES is a lyrical drama that elegantly contemplates the intersection of commerce and faith. The play weaves together the plights of a struggling town that fights to stay on the map in contemporary America, while the residents confront their feelings about the death penalty as the prison up the road approaches its first execution in years. These themes and issues resonated deeply with our committee, and pushed Ms. Hammond’s play to the forefront.

Barbara Hammond is a playwright living in New York, and is currently under commission from the Royal Court Theatre. Her plays have won recognition and awards from many national and international sources, including New Dramatists, the National Endowment of the Arts, The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and more.

Ms. Hammond’s play will receive the $500 award and be given a workshop as a part of the Arkansas New Play Festival at TheatreSquared on Friday, June 16, 2017 5:30PM at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AR and Sunday, June 25, 2017 @ 4:30PM at TheatreSquared in Fayetteville. Ms. Hammond is in residence to workshop the play. For details regarding these public readings as well as the Arkansas New Play Festival see.

Through the Kernodle Award, the Department of Theatre supports and encourages the creation of new work for the American stage. While we look to reshape the criteria for the Kernodle Award in 2018 to meet realistic staff and administrative capabilities, we continue to be advocates for new work in the future. Please visit our website for updated submission criteria for 2018 Kernodle New Play Contest.

Visible from Four States by Barbara Hammond, and Transatlantic by John Walch, Selected for Arkansas New Play Festival

FAYETTEVILLE, ARK.: TheatreSquared has announced the lineup of new plays that will be featured at its ninth annual Arkansas New Play Festival. Lisa D’Amour, Rick Ehrstin, Barbara Hammond, Mona Mansour, John Walch, and Austin Ashford will have their plays developed and read over two weekends, June 16-25.

“This 50-artist, two-weekend festival is our region’s rare opportunity to see—and shape—the next great American play,” said T2 executive director Martin Miller in a statement. “With 15 performances and events in Fayetteville and Bentonville, the festival is an embarrassment of riches for theatre lovers and a chance for every community member to have a glimpse of a usually closed-loop creative process.”

The lineup of plays will be:

  • The Furies by Lisa D’Amour, about two friends who reveal secrets over lunch that threaten to upend their friendship and their lives.
  • Visible From Four States by Barbara Hammond, in which residents debate what to put on their town’s highest hilltop.
  • Transatlantic by John Walch, a comedy that spans two continents and two centuries.
  • Comet Town by Rich Ehrstin, about a man who is trying to juggle work, family, and a father with dementia.
  • We Swim, We Talk, We Go to War by Mona Mansour, about a woman and her nephew who navigate identity, family, and allegiance.
  • (I)sland T(rap) by Austin Ashford, a one-person rap adaptation of The Odyssey. Ashford will perform.

In addition, TheatreSquared will present a young playwrights showcase, with two 10-minute student works and a performance of Follow Me @TioSam, a devised theatre piece from the Latin/x Youth Theatre Project.

Curt Columbus & Trinity Rep’s ‘Like Sheep to Water’ is as fresh as the news

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Directors and writers who revisit the classics of the theater love to suggest their contemporary relevance. Often that’s a stretch, but not in the case of Trinity Rep’s reworking of Lope de Vega’s “Like Sheep to Water,” penned four centuries ago, but all too familiar to fans of CNN and the evening news.

He may not tweet in the middle of the night or hang out in an “Access Hollywood” trailer, but Fred Sullivan Jr.’s abusive Spanish captain seems awfully familiar, the way he has his way with women, makes up his own rules and considers himself far above the law.

But Commander Gomez gets away with murder for just so long. There is sweet revenge to be had, revenge that in the end involves the entire audience.

Artistic director Curt Columbus and director Mark Valdez have wisely maintained a sense of history in the costumes and sets, even some of the music, just to make the analogy all the more clear, just to remind us that egomaniacal dictators have been around for a long time.

But while the play, which clocks in at just two hours, has a kind of antique formality, it is filled with human moments, with lovers’ spats and the like.

We feel the pain of the terrorized residents of the little village of Fuente Ovejuna, which roughly translates as “the watering place for sheep.” And we all know who the sheep are after watching Sullivan’s brutal Commander Gomez rip a young bride from her wedding party and pass her among his men like a party favor.

Read the full review by Channing Gray from the Providence Journal here.

Nature, nurture and ‘Relativity’ drive a new play about Einstein, written by Mark St. Germain

Mike Nussbaum stars as Albert Einstein in “Relativity,” a new play by Mark St. Germain at Northlight Theatre.

“Relativity,” Mark St. Germain’s new play about a largely opaque chapter in the life of the thought-altering physicist Albert Einstein, is an exercise in dramatic speculation. And before going any further two things must be noted.

First, the principal reason to see this Northlight Theatre production is to watch Mike Nussbaum, the 93-year-old actor who might easily be dubbed the eighth wonder of the modern world, work his magic as the complicated, ornery, sardonic and all too human genius whose celebrity surely became something of a curse in his later years. Second, this review must come with an immedate spoiler alert, for to explain the premise behind St. Germain’s play is to reveal the secret that is its animating force. So read on if you wish, or simply take this as an inducement to catch a remarkable actor (of any age) working at the height of his powers.

‘RELATIVITY’
Highly recommended
When: Through June 25
Where: Northlight Theatre,
9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie
Tickets: $30 – $81
Info: (847) 673-6300;
www.northlight.org
Run time: 80 minutes
with no intermission

Mike Nussbaum plays Albert Einstein and Katherine Keberlein plays Margaret Harding in Mark St. Germain’s play “Relativity,” at Northlight Theatre.

Read the full review by Hedy Weiss from the Chicago Sun Times here.