Playwrights unite: Live Arts Summer Fest

This summer, in their line up of no-frills, no-ego, just-the-play-please summer theater, Live Arts is including the works of four local women playwrights: Lila Fenton, Kathryn Stolzenbach, Leeyanne Moore, and Rebecca Goldfarb. All of the women are participants in a weekly gathering of writers who are interested in developing stage scripts. The group meets at Live Arts, and this summer the company is producing one fully staged production and two readings of their work.
Fenton's "Maya's Men," is a short piece presented in a group of works called 3 x 3, which includes two other brief plays by Jane Martin and Dorothy Parker. In "Maya's Men," Fenton explores with poetic language, rhythm, and music the sometimes comedic struggles of Maya, a busy woman who has met and left many flawed men. The men dance, chant, and sing as they present themselves to the audience, while Maya ponders finding a relationship: sometimes a necessity, sometimes a hopeless distraction.
In Stolzenbach's “Beauty & Sadness,” twin sisters find the quiet world they've created following their mother's death disrupted by the visit of a pregnant cousin who has come to retrieve the family wedding dress. Dreamlike, with a surreal Southern Gothic feel, Stolzenbach's play unravels the superficial calm of the twins, revealing familial obsession.
“Let's Get Lost,” by Moore and Goldfarb, explores relationships as depicted in conversations carried on in cars– three different locales and three different couples. In San Francisco, Adley and Olivia pick up Moses from the airport, and immediately are involved with flirtation, jet lag, drugs, and paranoia. In Pittsburgh, Julia and Vince wrangle around with adultery, kissing, and crashing. Finally, on a quiet summer night in Virginia, Scott drags Kate from a car wreck. What follows: concussions, confusion, and the kindness of strangers.
The Live Arts Playwrights Lab is designed to allow playwrights to see their work in progress. In contrast to "Maya's Men," which is a full production, the Lab readings are only performed once. Actors read from scripts in binders during the performance, allowing playwrights to make last minute refinements to the work.
And audience participation is an added perk.
"Communicating with the audience is the best part of this whole process,” says Moore. “Sometimes they are really funny, or come out with sharp comments– as good as any playwrighting professor in a class."

Beauty & Sadness and Let's Get Lost will be staged as readings on Sunday, July 20, at 7pm. Tickets are $5. Maya's Men runs as part of the regular Festival schedule, continuing through August 2. Call Live Arts for specific dates and times; they vary weekly. $7 at the door. Live Arts LAB, 609 E. Market St. 977-4177, ext. 308.

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