'In the Raw' hosts evolution of 2 new plays on 1 theme


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Two workshop productions developed for Bricolage’s “In The Raw: (R)evolution” have their premieres this weekend.

“In the Raw” — an incubator for new works with the tagline “2 Playwrights, 4 Weeks, A Million Possibilities” — creates two teams, each with a writer, a cast and a director working with dramaturg Annie DeMario.  Then Bricolage nurtures each company for a month plus tech time to generate a production.

The format, said the Downtown company’s managing director, Jeffrey Carpenter, “is much more suited to our mission and vision for Bricolage moving forward. Think B.U.S. [the annual Bricolage Urban Scrawl] but with two playwrights and four weeks instead of 24 hours.”

The process began with a three-hour town hall event on July 21, when audience members weighed in on themes for the writers to pursue. Among the questions that was asked: "Who gets left behind when change comes to town?"

Material generated from the town hall led playwrights Connor Shioshita Pickett and Maureen McGranaghan, with their respective creative teams, to explore themes of how displacement from home — both voluntary and involuntary — influences personal growth and relationships. The teams then worked independently, with no knowledge of each other’s exploration. The resulting stories and methods of telling them differ vastly.

“One of the most exciting things about this process is seeing how the thematic material threads together between the two, which I think is a direct result of the town hall,” says dramaturg and project manager DiMario. “It’s Bricolage’s mission to explore work that’s tied to our audience, but in this case we cut out the guesswork, because our audience told us this is what matters to them.”

Mr. Carpenter said the development was in full swing two weeks into the process.

“Day and night, on our stage, two teams of artists are building from the ground up stories that relate to this city, her people, the realities of her past and the dreams for her future,” he said.

In Group A, playwright McGranaghan and director Cynthia Croot were teamed with an ensemble comprising Jill Keating, Lara Miller, Joel Richardson, Bria Walker and Andrew Wind. Group B has playwright Pickett and director Risher Reddick working with actors Lauren Bethea, Chris Josephs, Connor McCanlus, Missy Moreno and Kelly Trumbull.

Showtimes: Group A performs 8 p.m. Thursday, Saturday  and Aug. 29 and 2 p.m. Aug. 30. Group B performs 8 p.m. Friday  and Aug. 28 and 30 and 2 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $25 for one show, $40 for both at www.bricolagepgh.org or 412-471-0999.

 

 


Sharon Eberson: seberson@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1960. Twitter: SEberson_pg.

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