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Wofford Theatre partners with Public Theatre’s 365 Days/365 Plays

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Wofford Theatre, in collaboration with Hub-Bub artist-in-residence Leah Brown, announces its partnership with Public Theatre’s (New York, NY) 365 Days/365 Plays national project. 

In November 2002, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks committed to writing a play a day for 365 days. Her simple act of writing 365 plays in 365 days has now inspired a nationwide grassroots festival—a geographically-diverse relay race which invites theater groups to produce one week’s worth of plays in its own style.

Creating the largest collaboration in the history of American theater, the 365 Days/365 Plays National Festival began on November 13, 2006, and will continue until November 12, 2007, presenting Parks’ work simultaneously across the country.

Wofford Theatre has been invited to perform Week 22 and Week 24, the second and last weeks of April. The first week of plays will be performed on Thursday, April 12, and Friday, April 13. The second week, plays will be performed on Friday, April 27, and Saturday, April 28. All performances are at 8 p.m. at The Showroom, 149 S. Daniel Morgan Ave., in downtown Spartanburg. Admission is free and limited to a first come, first serve basis.

The collaboration between Wofford Theatre and Hub-Bub began when Dr. Mark Ferguson, director of Wofford Theatre, approached Leah Brown about the possibility of designing a set.

“Leah’s sculptural and installation work is inherently theatrical,” Ferguson says. “At her first show at the Showroom, I saw an ingenious installation she did of an Ophelia figure on a mirror in front of an Olan Mills-style photo backdrop, and the whole thing was behind a curtain. The effect was dramatic and funny and great, so I asked her about it.  We began talking, and it led to me asking her to work on 365 Days/365 Plays.”

All plays in the festival are under two pages in length, and deal with such wide-ranging themes as war, family, love and tourism. Though not explicitly political, the plays are clearly set in the context of a nation at war. Brown has named her installation set “America.” The actors will supplement the theatrical texts with a live soundtrack, which includes a variety of instrumental and vocal performances drawing on rock, folk and pop influences. 

Wofford Theatre’s performances will be directed by Ferguson, Kerry Ferguson and Elise Sanders, and will feature actors from Wofford working in and on an evolving installation set by Brown.

Hub-Bub is an arts initiative based in Spartanburg that seeks to promote and propel the arts in and around Spartanburg; emphasize the importance of a healthy, diverse and vibrant arts community to a growing city; expose the community to non-traditional and progressive art and artists; support musicians, songwriters, writers, performers and artists; and provide a central hub where creative minds come together to meet, share, work, watch and collaborate. To learn more about Hub-Bub or 365 Days/365 Plays, visit www.hub-bub.com.

SUZAN-LORI PARKS (Playwright/Producer) is a playwright, screenwriter and novelist whose plays include “Topdog/Underdog,” “The America Play,” “Venus,” “The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World,” and “In the Blood,” among others. She is an alumnae of New Dramatists, and was awarded grants by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. A recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Award, Parks received the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play “Topdog/Underdog.”