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Arts Reporting
Roster for Mark Cohen New Works Festial, University of Texas, March 2013 Print E-mail




Cohen New Works Festival University of Texas








The 2013 Cohen New Works Festival Selection

The Cohen New Works Festival presented by the University Co-op is a week-long showcase of new work created by UT students held every other spring in various locations in and around the Winship Drama Building and the University of Texas campus. It is not just an event, but also a celebration of a continuously ongoing process–the creation of new work.

The Festival exists as an incubator for innovative and original forms of theatre, dance, music, film, design, visual art, architecture, and a wide variety of alternative mediums. It provides a nurturing environment and practical resources for the creation, development, production, and discussion of new and interdisciplinary work by students, faculty, guest artists, and scholars who come together in the spirit of collaboration and critical inquiry.

With the largest selection pool since the Festival’s commencement, the Committee-at-Large is proud to present the following 34 projects as part of the 2013 Festival. At the heart of new and developed work, project titles and synopses are subject to change between now and the Festival, which is slated to take place March 25-30, 2013.

对视——eye contact
Project Lead: Yao Chen
“eye contact” is a performance-based installation expressing the Westernization process of Chinese-American Women in the past 100 years. The installation will include: one scroll, two dolls and Yao Chen.

A Nostalgic Afternoon
Project Lead: Caleb Britton
“A Nostalgic Afternoon” is an installation of the largest blanket fort imaginable. Individuals have the opportunity to enter and write their story on the pages of a book. A blog url will be provided with the installation and participants are invited to visit the website the following week and read the compiled stories.

Almost Invincible
Project Lead: Jeff Kurihara
“Almost Invincible” is a new musical theater collaboration piece. The concept of the show is a live-action graphic novel musical about a hero and villain in a small American city. Animated video projection will be used to bring this graphic novel to life as scenic elements and comic cell art.

Amelia Earhart at the Edge of the World
Project Leads: Lydia Nelson & Courtney Sale
July 1937. 15-year-old Betty Klenck receives and transcribes the final transmissions of Amelia Earhart. Villainous company Last Words & Sons & Sons sets out to steal Betty’s lucrative notebook. Inspired by 1930s radio, this ensemble comedy, based on a true story, asks audiences to consider: what will be/come of your last words?

Project Lead: Bich Vu
Project Description to come!

Bio Light
Project Lead: Susan MacCorkle
“Bio Light” is an Educational Installation featuring costumes that faithfully mimic sea animals in the Great Barrier Reef. Led technology and cutting edge costume materials help create the illusion of bioluminescence. A video presentation will allow the viewer to see the costumes in action and learn more about the creatures and their environment.

Project Lead: William Davis, Andrew Hinderaker, William Anderson
“Colossal” is an epic theatrical event. Featuring a twenty-person ensemble, dancing, and a drum corps, its plot centers on a University of Texas football player, struggling to move forward in the wake of a catastrophic spinal injury. A play about love, ability, and extraordinary feats of strength, Colossal is both a celebration and critical examination of our nation’s most popular form of theater.

Dead Mall
Project Lead: Eva Suter and Brian Kettler
“Dead Mall” presents a haunted world of half-forgotten stores and wholly forgotten people. Ghost stories and shadows fill the spaces where Macy’s and Orange Julius used to be. For two teenage girls, a typical Saturday at the mall takes a dark turn. The muzak is on, but who is listening?

Déjà Vu
Project Lead: Sam Gorena
“Déjà Vu” is a theatrical spectacle that invites the audience into one of our most personal areas-our memory. This show reexamines how we look at memories by experimenting with the senses to discover how we really remember. Join us for a look into the complicated haze that is memory.

Good Girl/Bad Girl
Project Lead: Kaitlyn Aylward
“Good Girl/Bad Girl” investigates how culture, community, race, religion, age and language influence definitions of appropriate and inappropriate dress. Communities addressed are New Mexican women, Mexican women, Native American women, women who participate in sororities, and women who work on ranches and/or define themselves as Cowgirls. Research is presented through interviews and photographs.

Handcuffs are Not a Metaphor
Project Lead: Roni Chelben
People are taken from their homes. They wear pajamas. Suits. Who knows. They are told to seat on the floor; Do not move. Do not speak. Do not clap. A Work for local dancers and video from far away. A universe of oppression in a glass box.

Intercultural Performance: Emerging Artists from UT and Chung Ang University
Project Lead: Yvonne Ferrufino
During the 2013 Spring Break vacation, artists from UT and Chung Ang University will create a new work in Seoul, Korea. This lecture presentation will reveal the final dance theater piece of an intercultural collaboration between performing artists that explores the relationships between civilian Korean women and military men.

Project Lead: Rachel Gilbert
“Ish” is a solo performance telling the story of a young Jewish woman (who is also Catholic) growing up in a non-Jewish place, and how the Holocaust became her personal history. Ish explores the conscious and subconscious influence of identity through the lenses of cultural studies, performance studies, and history.

Light Instruments
Project Lead: Lincoln Davidson
“Light Instruments” aims to redefine the way people experience everyday spaces through the manipulation of light. The project consists of two independent systems that will alter everyday spaces, creating unique emotive experiences. One will be installed in the Payne Theatre Lobby and the second at the McCombs-UTC Fly Over Staircase.

Project Lead: Ryan Andrus
“LΛMBDΛ” is a scientific art installation accompanied with a high-energy, physically-electric, animated scientific performance. The event will investigate astronomical phenomena involving light in our universe. Topics include gravitational lensing, the aurora borealis, and the cosmic microwave background.

Perceiving Campus
Project Lead: Charlotte Friedley
What if that iconic view of the UT Tower was obscured? Would you invest the time to investigate your surrounding in more detail? This team of six architecture students plans on de-emphasizing the recognizable and bring awareness to the obscured. A series of obstructions and frames will be placed throughout the campus in an effort to bring about this mindset.

Slip River
Project Leads: Katie Bender, Abe Koogler & Gabrielle Reiseman
Inspired by 19th century explorer narratives, “Slip River” recreates the experience of encountering new worlds, where rules shift and the unknown becomes visible, where peril–or possibility–are just around the river’s bend. Incorporating interactive dance, sounds capes, and text, “Slip River” leads audiences through the shimmering underbelly of UT’s Payne Theater.

Suspicious Dinner
Project Lead: Diana Small
“Suspicious Dinner” is a dance and theater spectacle collaboratively generated from a hearty diet of Facebook, home videos, androids, and the diaries of prehistoric creatures. Will she trade her spoon for an eight-day staycation? Will he ever achieve absolute fermentation? We serve you Dance! Profession! Beauty! Music! Passion! Suspicion! Dinner!

Project Lead: Hallie Ward
Student organizations Dance Action and Classical Reinvention join forces to unify movement, live music, and photography in a guided performance through the Harry Ransom Center. Collaborating choreographers, dancers, and musicians will break the walls of traditional theater to bring their own invention into a haven of preservation and history.

The Beauty Play
Project Lead: Sarah A. Marcum
“The Beauty Play” looks at how a monolithic ideal of beauty impacts the day-to-day life of women within the U.S. from various races and cultures. Using direct quotes and memories from personally conducted interviews, the play asks the audience to question their own definitions of beauty.

The Farewell
Project Leads: Olivia Reep & Katie Folger
“The Farewell” is an experiential and open piece that explores loss and grief through audience interaction, memories, multimedia, Viewpoints based movement and true storytelling. How do we deal with the loss of a loved one? How do we honor them? How do we remember them while moving on?

The First Steps
Project Lead: Austin Dowling
“The First Steps” follows pairs of actors and dancers as they journey through their own pasts and relive the moments that shaped their lives, all-the-while focusing on the journey taken by each of these performers as they recall what it takes to finally say, and mean, the words: “I’m okay.”

Project Lead: Rebecca Goldstein
Meet LETTER who speaks for SARAH, a student with a disability, at the University of Blah Blah Blah. Follow LETTER and SARAH to engage in a conversation surrounding how the ADA (Americans with Disabilities) Act, 39 years after its creation, still affects many in the world today.

The Only Living Boy in New York
Project Lead: Haley Elizabeth Anderson
A play about a hermitic synesthete named Henry who is dealing with the recent loss of his mother by closing himself off from his father and the city until a mysterious girl named Peter enters his cramped Brooklyn apartment and scrambles his perceptions of the world.

THE PRICELESS SLAVE: A Workshop Production
Project Leads : J. M. Meyer, Gary Jaffe & Megan Rabuse
“PRICELESS SLAVE” uncovers the true story of an antebellum slave-architect and his conflicted relationship with the woman who “borrowed” him to construct a lonely mansion in the wilderness of northern Louisiana. The projects’ aesthetics interweave theater and the visual arts to create a cutting-edge Southern Gothic comedy.

The Way You Move Your Body
Project Lead: Lucy Kerr
This mixed-ability piece seeks to dissolve categories of normal and abnormal body-types. Interesting, unexpected, and unconventional movement will emerge from the unique rhythms and capabilities of differently-abled people in a celebration of difference that suspends the familiar and leads the audience to question conventional notions of aesthetics, dance, and disability.

The Women of Juarez
Project Leads: Isaac Gomez and Bianca Sulaica
Before the war on drugs took precedence in our border country of Mexico, Ciudad Juarez had a bigger problem. Through an ensemble of Latina women, this devised collaborative work explores the ways in which we re-member and tell the stories of the missing, but not forgotten, women subjected to what is internationally labeled as a feminicide-the killings of the women of Juarez.

Third Street
Project Lead: Briandaniel Oglesby
What dinosaurs are chasing you? “Third Street” will be a staged reading of a full-length play, developed with an ensemble, about Shane, a strange and awkward kid who escapes into fantasies of knighthood, and Otis, the bully pursued by imaginary dinosaurs. They live on Third Street, and play in dirty alleys.

Times Two: A Public Staging of Love and Desire
Project Lead: Joey Gaona
“Times Two” is a collaborative dance piece that portrays the universal concepts of love and desire through male/male partnering. Along with an original score and spoken personal recollections, this piece will present dance and the arts as integral partners in civic dialogue.

We Are StarStuff
Project Lead: Jessica Hutchinson
Combining actual and imagined texts synthesized from our research of real personalities and powerful scientific concepts, creators and audience alike will experiment with the way we use stories and science to experience our world. “We Are StarStuff” explores time and distance, light as a tool of observation and revelation, and humanity’s changing understanding of the beginnings (and endings) of the cosmos, and the elements that make it truly our home.

West Texas Beehive
Project Lead: Alexa Kelly
“West Texas Beehive”, a play in one act by Alexa Kelly, explores a romantic relationship tested by the rigors of life in a brothel as based on the classic childhood song “I’m Bringing Home a Baby Bumble Bee”.

Wild Abandon
Project Lead: Chelsea Pribble
“Wild Abandon” is a live intersect of original Blues and Folk Music in a casual concert format with varying styles of Technical Concert Dance. This interdisciplinary performance will wildly abandon all expectations.

Wonder and Wander
Project Lead: Bethany Lynn Corey
Designed for children under the age of two, this piece invites audience members to engage in play alongside the performers as they discover a series of objects. Responding to the audiences’ own sounds and movements, this piece will provide audiences a two-way experience of narrative, movement, sound and image.

Write Me One
Project Lead: Patrick Shaw
Over the course of a month, our team of three will install ourselves in various hubs around the greater Austin area where we will set up camp and offer to write difficult communications on the behalf of strangers. We’ll conclude the project with public addresses on the state of Austin.

The Committee-at-Large was comprised of approximately forty undergraduate and graduate student representatives within the University of Texas at Austin.

Inquiries about the Committee-at-Large and the Festival selection should be directed towards This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Application inquiries and selection criteria should be directed towards This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Festival and general inquiries should be directed towards This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Arts Reporting: America's Theatre, by the Numbers, by Howard Sherman Print E-mail

Published at his website on December 10:

America’s Theatre, By The Numbers

by Howard Sherman - December 10, 2012


Howard Sherman at www.hesherman.comMany people, and I count myself among them, often find themselves trying to quantify the totality of theatre activity in the United States and, within that, to delineate differences between the various sectors: commercial, not for profit, educational, amateur and so on.  While absolute figures may prove elusive, there are a handful of studies that provide a reasonably good picture of professional production, lending perspective to any discussion about the reach of theatre in America.

The Broadway League, Calculator (via www.hesherman.com)the professional association of theatre producers in the commercial sector, both Broadway and touring, generates multiple reports annually; its recent release of its annual demographic figures last week focused a lot of attention on Broadway and who’s attending those productions. The Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national service organization of the country’s not-for-profit theatres (NFPs), produces its annual Theatre Facts report, the most comprehensive picture of activity across a variety of NFP companies based on an comprehensive fiscal survey.

While the methodologies may vary, and the TCG report isn’t 100% inclusive and includes extrapolation, looking at the two is very informative as a means of comparing and contrasting these two sectors, which inexplicably to me seem to be always addressed discretely, rather than as parts of a whole.

Here’s the main snapshot:

2010-2011 Season



(B’way League)











# of performances



I was surprised to find that in terms of revenue, the two sectors are quite close; the NFPs edge commercial production by $36 million (for the purpose of this summary, I have merged earned and contributed income in the NFPs). Attendance between the two shows the NFPs ahead by a bit over $ million, which is almost 33%. But the real difference is in the number of productions, which demonstrate that the production pace in NFP theatre is vast compared to the commercial arena, and the total number of performances almost eight times greater. [emphasis added by AustinLiveTheatre.com]

Read more at www.hesherman.com . . . .

Doonesbury on Austin, TX, December 14, 2012 Print E-mail


Buried in the Austin Statesman's classified ads and printed only in black and white:



Doonsbury on Austin by Gary Trudeau

Arts Reporting: Austin Playhouse's Relocation to Highland Mall, by Jeanne Claire van Ryzin in the Austin Statesman Print E-mail


Published in the Statesman's Sunday edition of December 9, 2012:


Austin360Statesman Austin TX



Whether in a Tent or in a Mall, for Austin Playhouse the Show Goes On

by Jeanne Claire van Ryzin December 9, 2012

What’s the old show business saying? Something about how no matter what happens, the show must go on?Don Day Austin Playhouse (photo: Alberto Martinez via Austin Statesman)

More than any other theater group in town, Austin Playhouse might embody the spirit of that saying.

A year ago, the midsize nonprofit troupe announced that it was pitching a tent — literally — on a site at the Mueller development, where it planned to build a two-theater facility as part of the Mueller community’s town center.

The tent was a temporary venue while the community theater group worked through the permitting process for its planned 17,000-square-foot complex that would also have classrooms, offices and ground-floor space that will be sold to a bar or restaurant.

However, with permitting for the Mueller project still not finalized but construction under way on the building next to it, the troupe is setting up a second temporary home. And this time, the show’s at Highland Mall.

On Thursday, Austin Playhouse will raise the curtain on “The Game’s Afoot (Or Holmes for the Holidays),” a murder mystery drawing-room comedy set in Broadway theater world of the 1930s.

The theater’s real estate shuffle around town mirrors the shifting landscape of Austin development[ . . . . ]

Read more at the Austin Statesman on-line. . . .

Cohen New Works Festival at University of Texas, March 25 - 29, 2013: The Filaments play readings Print E-mail

Anouncing The Filaments: Sparked by Suzan Zeder

December 07, 2012
by Isaac Gomez, PR & Marketing Chair, 2013 Festival and Cassidy Browning, Engaging Research

Cohen New Works Festival University of Texas
The Cohen New Works Festival
presented by the University Co-Op March 25 - 29 at the University of Texas in Austin is proud to announce the creation of a new series within the Festival: The Filaments: Sparked by Suzan Zeder. The Filaments is an expansion on the Reading Room from the 2011 Festival – which offered a space for three project submissions to hold staged readings.

Our Committee-at-Large recommended projects for this series during Festival selection and then voted to select six projects for the 2013 Filament series.

The exciting lineup includes:

Project Lead: Raymundo Delgadillo
Cancun is a multimedia performance addressing American stereotypes of Mexico and the lack of knowledge about American involvement in the Mexican drug war.

Creative Skin
Project Lead: Courtney Mazeika
Creative Skin provides an inside look at creative processes that choreographers navigate while focusing on the blazing flashes of inspiration, the struggles of insecurity, and the willingness to expose one’s vulnerabilities. Using dance, text, media, and music this project guides the audience through an accumulative performance that exposes a choreographer’s journey.

Danseur Drama
Project Lead: Mark-Anthony Zuniga
Danseur Drama is the story about 28 year-old Kavin who is convinced by friends to try ballet to help him get over his ex-boyfriend.  Unexpectedly, ballet will ultimately test friendships, define family, and promote healing.  The format is a play, but each scene will demonstrate a ballet term, which also represents the underlying theme.

Believe You Me: Interpreting Media
Project Lead: Daniel Berkowitz
How do you see yourself? Believe You Me is an interactive installation which explores the relationship between humans and media through the use of video, live performance and an alien invasion. We invite you to log off, cancel your subscriptions and come as you are.

Project Lead: Kenny Chilton
What does safety really mean? The actors explore safety versus security through the citizens of the Safehouse.

War Games
Project Leads: Meg Greene and Lindsay Hearn
War Games is a play for family audiences that explores the story of Jonah, a young boy whose father is deployed in Afghanistan. Jonah and his family work to navigate the harsh emotional realities of war and discover a language that they can all understand.

by Kirk Lynn, Producer

Suzan Zeder is the wild heart and true spirit behind every Cohen New Works Festival to date at the University of Texas.  Suzan has carried the Festival through several growing pains toward the mature beast it is today. [ . . .]  Zeder is one of the nation’s leading playwrights of plays for young and family audiences. Her work has been seen in all fifty states and has been produced and published in Great Britain, Germany, Australia, Japan, Israel, and Switzerland. Step On A Crack, Wiley And The Hairy Man, In A Room Somewhere, and The Death And Life Of Sherlock Holmes are regularly performed by professional and university theatres throughout the country. Doors and Mother Hicks were produced at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., which also co-commissioned Do Not Go Gentle.

Suzan Zeder is a four-time winner of the Distinguished Play Award given by the American Alliance of Theatre and Education. She is also a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers at The University of Texas and The College of Fellows of the American Theatre in Washington, D.C. Suzan Zeder is the first holder of an endowed chair in Theatre For Youth/Playwriting at the University of Texas.


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