The Last Frontier Theater Conference in Valdez, Alaska just announced the 64 plays selected for inclusion in the 2015 PlayLab and among them are two playwrights with connections to the Professional Playwriting program at OU, Jacob Juntuen and current MFA Candidate, Catherine Weingarten ’17. Jacob got selected for his full-length play, Hath Taken Away and Catherine for her full-length play Are you Ready to get PAMPERED!? A graduate of the MFA in acting program, Eric Coble, will be a featured artist at the conference.
We are excited that there will be some OU reps at this prestigious conference!
There has been a history of OU playwriting alums at the conference including Ira Gammerman, Greg Aldrich and Jeremy Sony.
Here’s an excerpt from the website: The week-long Last Frontier Theatre Conference is held every Summer in Valdez, Alaska. It draws a majority of its participants from Alaska, but each year there are also attendees from the rest of the country and beyond. The 23rd Annual Conference is scheduled for June 14-20, 2015.
The Play Lab, started in 1995, features developmental readings of scripts from 20 minutes to 2 hours in length. Actors are sent scripts a month prior to the Conference. The readings receive one rehearsal the day before their performance, with the playwright acting as the director. The readings are then responded to by a three-person panel, and the audience gives their feedback as well. Additionally, authors have a private meeting with one of their panelists to further discuss the script.
Currently the Lab presents readings of 50-60 plays per year. Panelists include nationally acknowledged playwrights, director, designers, and dramaturgs, as well as some of the leading figures in Alaska’s theatre.
To read full press release Click Here
More about Jacob:
Jacob Juntunen is a playwright and theatre scholar whose work focuses on people who struggle against society’s boundaries.
His playwriting stems from a mix of scholarship and social responsibility. Therefore, his playwriting and academic writing are a constant symbiosis. Both focus on understanding the political function of theatre, and this focus is demonstrated in his plays, which, overall, are meant for those “who want to leave the theatre changed and moved,” as one Chicago critic described. He recently wrote See Him? to participate in the Belarusian Dream Theater, a consortium of 18 theaters in 13 countries simultaneously producing plays to raise awareness about human rights violations in Belarus. His latest play, In the Shadow of his Language lays bare the hidden dowry of academic success and was a semi-finalist for the O’Neill Center National Playwrights’ Conference; a semi-finalist for the Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship; and a finalist for the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Award. It was also awarded an “In the Works” residency by the city of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. In the Shadow of his Language has enjoyed two staged readings in Chicago, another at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre, and a workshop off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons. His play Saddam’s Lions—published in Plays for Two (Vintage)—examines the disquieting memories of an African-American female Iraq War veteran and her struggles to come to terms with war-time trauma. Jacob based this play on interviews with a veteran. This process combined his desire for politically relevant work, his dedication to diverse casting opportunities, and his scholarship about the politics of performance. He hopes to inspire in students a similar yearning for intellectual curiosity, social activism, collaboration, and playwriting.
More about Catherine:
Catherine Weingarten hails from Ardmore, PA also known as the area that inspired the preppy sexy TV show “Pretty Little Liars.” Catherine’s comedic plays delve into the societal pressure placed on young women to be both impossibly good looking as well as ridiculously intellectual, humble, kind as can be but sexy. Her plays usually include some hot fantasy sequences which helps attract the common man into the theater! She recently graduated from Bennington College in Vermont where she studied playwriting(with Sherry Kramer) as well as gender, mediation and environmental studies. Her short plays have been done at such theaters as Ugly Rhino Productions, Fresh Ground Pepper, Wishbone Theater Collective and Nylon Fusion Collective. She is currently the playwright in residence for “Realize Your Beauty Inc” which promotes positive body image for kids by way of theater arts. Catherine is thrilled to pursue her MFA at OU and thankful for the awesome opportunity for baller mentorship. catherine-weingarten.squarespace.com