Theater of the First Amendment to Hold Annual First Light Play Festival

Posted: March 8, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Theater of the First Amendment (TFA), Mason’s professional theater company in residence, has announced its seventh annual festival of new plays, First Light.

Held in TheaterSpace on George Mason’s Fairfax Campus on Saturday, March 17, and Sunday, March 18, this year’s First Light features free readings and workshops of professional plays by Karen Zacarías, Jack Gilhooley and Gwydion Suilebhan. All events are open to the public and tickets are not required.

Winners of the Mason playwriting competitions for both high school and college levels will be read, as well as a piece by members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI).

Winning plays from TFA’s unique mentoring program and competition for aspiring Fairfax County high school and Mason playwrights will also be read on March 17.

The festival will continue on March 18 with new works by Karen Zacarías, Jack Gilhooley and Gwydion Suilebhan.

Zacarías has developed several new works at TFA, including “The Sins of Sor Juana” (which had its world premiere with TFA and was the winner of the Helen Hayes award for Outstanding New Play), and “Mariela in the Desert” (which had its world premiere at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago).

Gilhooley’s recent play, “Shooters,” was presented at Dublin’s PurpleHeart Theatre and at BacklotArts in Florida.

Suilebhan’s plays have appeared in full productions and readings at the Kennedy Center, the Source Theatre and the Flashpoint Mead Theatre Lab in Washington, D.C., as well as at Gettysburg College. His work has been read at the National Theater, the Fells Point Corner Theater in the Baltimore Playwrights Festival, the 2004 MuseFire New Work Festival and Art-O-Matic 2004.

First Light Festival Schedule

Saturday, March 17

11 a.m. – Opening brunch hosted by members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI)

11:30 a.m. – “These are the Days (of Our Lives)” by Vera DeWeese, Carolyn Sanders, Jane Tombes, and Kathie West

Directed by Kathie West

Dramaturgy by Jim Maiwurm

A presentation of the OLLI Drama Club

Written collaboratively by OLLI members, this new play asks, “Why are the now-grown children trying to run our lives?” Time to take a stand!

1 p.m. – “Five Variations on the Art of Aphrodite,” Winner of the First Light Mentoring Program and Competition for High School Playwrights, by Hayley Rushing, Robinson High School, Fairfax, Va.

The goddess Aphrodite examines the many incarnations of love in this contemporary spin on mythological relationships.

3 p.m. – “Season with Sentiment,” Winner of the First Light Mentoring Program and Competition for Mason Playwrights, by Mason student Harriet Lawrence.

This story explores traditions, joys and sorrows of Russian immigrants in the 1800s as celebrated by their American descendants in 1970s suburban Maryland.

Sunday, March 18

1 p.m. – “El Virgen” by Karen Zacarías

Directed by Kristin Johnsen-Neshati

Dramaturgy by Rick Davis

A mother’s universe spins out of control when her bubbly sister-in-law is viewed as a saint and her troubled teenage son seems impossibly pregnant. A dark comedy about resistance in the face of possible tragedy and impossible miracles.

3 p.m. – “The Warrior” by Jack Gilhooley

Directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner

Dramaturgy by Suzanne Maloney

Tammy is just back from two tours of duty in Iraq, and all she has to show for it are post-traumatic stress disorder and a broken marriage. Her filmmaker friend thinks she deserves a forum. Contains adult language.

5 p.m. – “The Faithkiller” by Gwydion Suilebhan

Directed by Jeremy Skidmore

Who is the Faithkiller? In 1946, he’s a character on a popular radio program, a Nazi-busting GI with a clear mission, boundless courage and a powerful secret weapon. In the future, he’s an undercover revolutionary operative trying to overthrow the theocratic world government. And in 2007, he’s a television superhero saving the world from extreme religious fundamentalists, dividing the country at the same time.

First Light is supported by the Arts Council of Fairfax County and the Fairfax Commission on the Arts.

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