After 28 years of producing original one-act plays, the focus of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival remains the same.
“The mission of the festival is to serve the playwright in the best way possible,” says managing director Andy Coleman.
This month, theater companies from across the region will come together to present 18 plays – all between 15 to 45 minutes – at the Carnegie Stage. The selected works were narrowed down from 341 submissions received from 35 states and seven countries.
While the festival never limits playwrights to any set of criteria or content, director Dek Ingraham says the new plays tend to be “a bit more complex than in past years,” featuring tangentially related themes of “wrestling with the past and, related, wrestling with truth, be it remembered or in real time.”
He believes the current political climate may have something to do with the festival’s overall tone. He cites the “tense repression of female agency” in Tagged by Jim Moss and the Greensburg-based production company, Split Stage, as well as Thursday Mornings and Sunday Nights by Charlotte Giles and the South Hills Players, a more humorous play about a woman who struggles to get along with her difficult next-door neighbors.
“This is what is so special about new work,” says Ingraham. “It is immediate and, even if it doesn't directly tackle the events of the day, it can't help but be shaped by them.”
Pittsburgh New Works Festival
Programming runs Sun., Aug. 19 through Sun., Sept. 23. Carnegie Stage, 25 W. Main St., Carnegie. $17 advance; $20 at door; $50 for festival pass. pittsburghnewworks.org