|Posted by anonymous on August 11, 2011 at 10:55 AM||comments (0)|
This year, 12 Peers Theater is producing a staged reading of Best Ever Creation Story Contest by Eion Carney on August 21st for the Pittsburgh New Works Festival. We are excited to be a part of such a long standing festival and have assembled a great cast of actors who we believe will honor the playwright’s wishes and help our company and help to put our best foot forward.
To give you some background on the festival, Pittsburgh New Works Festival is currently in its 21st year. This unique festival brings 18 companies in the Pittsburgh theater community together. These companies will produce eighteen one act plays; twelve for their main stage and six for the staged readings festival. The Pittsburgh New Works Festival is one of a kind in the United States and the only festival that comes close to their structure (18 different companies coming together to produce 18 different new plays) is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. Last year, for its 20th year, Pittsburgh New Works Festival produced twenty new plays with twenty different theater companies.
The festival is such a valuable asset not only to theater companies but also actors throughout the Pittsburgh area. After the festival is finished they have a gala where they present the best production, director and actors with the “Donna Awards” named after Pittsburgh New Works Festival founder Donna Rae. They award the Outstanding Supporting Actor, Outstanding Supporting Actress, Outstanding Lead Actor, Outstanding Lead Actress, Outstanding Director, Outstanding Production, Lifetime Achievement Award and Outstanding Playwright. The winner of Outstanding Playwright receives an award as well as a check for $500 (It should be noted that actors, directors and productions in the main stage portion of the festival also receive a small stipend).
Every year I look forward to Pittsburgh New Works festival for the opportunities I have received as an actor in this theater community. Vince and I have both had the honor and privilege of being awarded with the Donna Award, but ultimately, I am proud to be part of a festival that supports actors, directors and companies, and playwrights.
Associate Artistic Director
12 Peers Theater
|Posted by anonymous on June 28, 2011 at 12:05 PM||comments (0)|
“The history of the horror film is essentially a history of anxiety in the twentieth century. In the way that fairytales, folktales and gothic romances articulated the fears of the ‘old’ world, the contemporary horror film has defined and illustrated the phobias of a ‘new’ world characterized by a rational of industrial, technological and economic determinism” (Wells, The Horror Genre: From Beelzebub to Blair Witch, 2000).
The main reason we have selected Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s The Weird as our first production stems from our mission statement. As a company, 12 Peers Theater is interested in exploring modern myth. Joseph Campbell has suggested on many occasions that “myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths”. I believe that we are searching for rites of passage and modern myth. More so, I believe that we are searching for a positive cultural identity.
Currently, our modern rites of passage are blow-out 16th birthday parties; and our idols and role models are intoxicated celebrities. Gone are the days of the white hat cowboy, showing us a how to stand up for what is right. Just because those days have passed and popular culture has deteriorated our sense of identity, doesn’t mean that we don’t look elsewhere.
In his poetics, Aristotle speaks of catharsis. Exercising pity and fear is a primary function of drama, from its earliest beginnings. I believe that the purest form of contemporary myth exists in the genre of horror. Nowhere else are good and evil, as well as “right” behavior examined so clearly. Also it arouses both pity and certainly, fear in the viewer. It lets us honestly feel the rush of peril without having to engage in less-than-safe behaviors. And just like the Greeks, most of the violence in The Weird happens off-stage.
There is a tendency to look upon horror, not as an expression of catharsis and modern myth, but as gratuitous violence and negativity. It is our goal in this production of The Weird by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa to show that horror can be used as a tool for teaching, cultural identity, as well as catharsis, not to mention a way to examine the collective fears of our society.