Telluride Playwright Festival: "Forgiving John Lennon" & more, starts 7/13

Telluride Playwright Festival: "Forgiving John Lennon" & more, starts 7/13

[click "Play", Jennie Franks speaks with Susan about the Festival]


Cast Shut out in London. Smash hit in Laramie. Coming soon to your local theatre in Telluride.

"Forgiving John Lennon," a black comedy by William Missouri Downs, is headed our way courtesy of  the 5th annual Telluride Playwrights Festival, July 13 – July 17, at venues around town.

"Forgiving John Lennon" was set to be produced at a fringe theatre in London in August. But the offer was suddenly withdrawn with no explanation, shocking but sadly understandable when we take into account the delicate political situation in England concerning Islamic terrorists.

"Forgiving John Lennon" may have been a hot potato for London, but controversy should burnish the play's aura for a town that lives on the edge. Terrorism is a theme, but "Forgiving John Lennon" also turns a cynical eye on feminism, being a "liberal," life in Academia, and simply trying to survive in this day and age. Where does John Lennon fit into the picture? Come and find out.

A full production of a new play – the Telluride Playwrights Festival is importing actors, sets, costumes, the whole kit and caboodle from Laramie – "Forgiving John Lennon" is a bit of a departure, though welcome, from the Telluride Playwrights Festival, which has tended to focus exclusively on staged readings of new works minus production values. The idea is to the allow the structure of a play to reveal itself solely through the playwright's marks. And thankfully there is still plenty of that going around too.

The Telluride Playwrights Festival begins Wednesday night, 9 p.m., Steaming Bean, with a Play Slam, a chance for actors and amateurs alike to bring their works to present for feedback. Two of the three staged readings by professional playwrights take place Saturday and Sunday mornings at the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art and Gallery Room at the Sheridan Opera House successively:  "Mrs. Prescott and Mrs. Russell" by Judy GeBauer and "Float," by Gary Leon Hill. (Free pastry and coffee included.)

The featured play reading, Sunday, July 17, Sheridan Opera House, is the newest work of returning playwright Tracy Shaffer, whose "(W)hole,"workshopped in Telluride then went to on a critically successful Denver run. "(W)hole" was recently nominated for the Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Award's Outstanding New Play of 2010 and will be read at New York's Abingdon Theatre in September. Tracy's "American In Hiding" follows the plight of an American family forced to take an extended vacation abroad when the father’s political actions threaten the lives of his family.

To learn more about this year's event and especially "Forgiving John Lennon," click the "play" button and listen to Jennie's interview. (Note: Jennie just returned from Laramie where she performed in the play.)

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