theatre uno begins fall season with a bold debut
Theatre UNO gets a roaring start on the fall season with a bold debut play that will hit close to home for New Orleans residents.
Billed as the "biggest and boldest debut of the year," A Truckload of Ink by New Orleans playwright Jim Fitzmorris is about a major New Orleans daily newspaper shrinking its print run to three days a week — and the ramifications of that, said David Hoover, chair of the UNO Film and Theater Department.
The show opens Wednesday, Sept. 4 and runs through Saturday, Sept. 21 in the University's Robert E. Nims Theatre.
The choice "continues the long tradition Theatre UNO has of completing timely original work," say Hoover, who performs as a metro desk editor. "And the chance to showcase The NOLA Project—a highly successful local theatre company—is a great opportunity for our students."
The NOLA Project Theatre Company is an ensemble-driven professional theater company in New Orleans that has achieved great acclaim, Hoover said. By partnering with The NOLA Project, the University is providing current and past students an opportunity to perform and work on-set at an elevated caliber, "step up their game and see a local professional company on our stage in our house."
Theatre UNO has won more Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival awards than any other university theater program in the state.
The 14-member cast includes three UNO alumni, Hoover said. A UNO alumnus is play director. UNO students serve as stage manager and assistant stage manager. The play's lighting and costume designers are also UNO alumni.
The NOLA Project chose A Truckload of Ink to open its 2013-2014 theater season.
"Set in the busiest newsroom on the unexpected eve of the most massive change to hit New Orleans newspapers, A Truckload of Ink vividly brings to life the human relationships, history, politics, back-room deals, and righteous fight to save a cultural institution from an out-of-state corporate dismantlement," reads a synopsis prepared by The NOLA Project. "New Orleans' most gifted playwright, Jim Fitzmorris, pens the timely tale inspired by real events."
Hoover, who cited an efficiency expert in the play who is brought in to the newsroom to educate editors and reporters on time management, said the play is "a nice universal commentary" on current events.
"I related it to education, because that's who I am and what I do, but I think it's relatable to lots of modern corporate entities," he said.
Two Great Seasons
The next play to be performed on campus is Album, a play by David Rimmer.
The play, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, will be performed by The Lakefront Players, a UNO theater group. Auditions are Sept. 3. All students are invited to audition, said Hoover.
Parcifal Worthy, an original script written by Tony Award winner and Academy Award winning nominee Mark Medoff, will make its world premiere at UNO. Medoff will be an Artist-in-Residence at UNO this fall. His daughter, Jessica Medoff, who is an opera singer and director, will serve as the play's guest director.
The play, which is loosely adapted from a Charles Dickens short story called "The Chimes" is "family-friendly," said Hoover.
"It's a world premiere it's never been done anywhere. That's pretty exciting," said Hoover, who said the Medoffs will fly in to New Orleans for auditions and tailor scripts for actors before rehearsals begin.
Mark Medoff also promised to teach a few screenwriting and playwriting master classes, likely class visitations, at UNO, he said.
Theatre UNO Season will open its spring season with a third world premiere, Father, by Frederick Mensch, which won the 2013 Tennessee Williams Festival One-Act Play Competition.
Theatre UNO will perform Father in the University's Lab Theater and at the Tennessee Williams Festival in April.
Mid-semester, Theatre UNO will perform Harper Lee's classic To Kill A Mockingbird.
"And then we're closing with a contemporary play, RX, by Kate Fodor, a satiric look at love in the pharmaceutical industry," says Hoover. "It's a really exciting season. We've got three world premieres – half of our 2013-2014 line-up, which is really fun. We've got an American classic and we've got two contemporary plays. It's really exciting."