Pittsburgh Playwrights celebrates a decade with 10-play festival


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Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company honors a decade of existence by upping the ante for its annual Theatre Festival in Black and White, which will feature 10 one-act plays divided evenly into two programs instead of the usual eight. The festival, in its ninth year, builds cultural allies by mixing and matching black playwrights and writers with their white counterparts.

Mark Clayton Southers, the founder and artistic director of Pittsburgh Playwrights, will return to the stage for Marlon Youngblood's "Comfort Zone," which also features the return to Pittsburgh of stage and screen actor Anthony Chisholm.

Festival in Black & White opens at Pittsburgh Playwrights

Mark Clayton Southers and Anthony Chisholm star in the play "Comfort Zone." Eric Smith is managing director of the company, and Bill Crean is a local voice talent and commercial actor. Shows run Nov. 3-17. (Video by Melissa Tkach; 11/1/2012)

PG VIDEO

Both men worked closely with August Wilson, with Mr. Chisholm starring in three of the late writer's plays on Broadway ("Two Trains Running," "Gem of the Ocean" and "Radio Golf") and working with Mr. Wilson on the original productions of "Jitney," at Yale University and here in Pittsburgh. He has hosted the festival before, but this is the first time he will act in it.

Mr. Southers returns to the stage after a long stretch of concentrating on his company and theater initiatives at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture in the Pittsburgh Cultural District.

"I haven't been on the Playwrights stage since our very first season when I was in my play 'When the Water Turns Clear,' " Mr. Southers recalls.

He thought he might have been on stage last for Kuntu in Javon Johnson's "Cryin' Shame" about six years ago, or maybe it was B.U.S. (Bricolage Urban Scrawl) V. "Either way, it's been a long time."

He and Mr. Chisholm both will appear in "Comfort Zone," directed by Mark Whitehead.

The festival runs Nov. 3-17 at Pittsburgh Playwrights' Cultural District theater, 937 Liberty Ave., third floor. Seating is general admission.

Dates and times are: Nov. 1-4: Thursday (8 p.m., Program A preview); Friday (8 p.m., Program B preview); Saturday (A at 4 p.m., B at 8 p.m.); Sunday (B at 3 p.m., A at 7 p.m.). Nov. 8-11: Thursday (B at 8 p.m.); Friday (A at 8 p.m.); Saturday (B at 4 p.m., A at 8 p.m.); Sunday (B at 3 p.m., A at 7 p.m.). Nov. 15-17, : Thursday (A at 8 p.m.); Friday (B at 8 p.m.); Saturday finale (A at 4 p.m., B at 8 p.m.).

Program A:

• "The Tool" by Mike Schwartz, directed by Ron Black.

• "The Vows" by Devonne Goode, directed by Kaitlin Mausser.

• "Diseased" by Eva Diodatie, directed by Lissa Brennan.

• "Styrofoam Cup" by Judy Meiksin, directed by Myneesha Miller.

• "Bridge City" by Ted Elrick, directed by Vendel Nasir II.

Program B

• "Perception" by Alexis Payne, directed by Kyle Bostian.

• "The Home Stretch" by Les Abromovitz, directed by Kim El.

• "Casual Fridays" by Pat Golden, directed by Michael Moats.

• "Redneck Revenge" by Ray Werner, directed by Tracey Turner.

• "Comfort Zone" by Marlon Youngblood, directed by Mark Whitehead.

theater

Sharon Eberson: seberson@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1960. First Published November 1, 2012 4:00 AM


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