Goodman Festival peeks at new works

Goodman Theatre ((Photo courtesy of Goodman)
Goodman Theatre ((Photo courtesy of Goodman)

You don’t have to be a professional in the theater industry to feel like one.

Goodman theatre is holding its 18th annual New Stages Festival showcasing new works Dec. 1-18, 2022. The Festival is free and audience input is welcome because the works, ranging from full productions to readings, are in different readiness stages so have yet to be premiered.

“There are two ways of presenting them,” said New Works Director Jonathan L. Green who curated the 2022 selection.

“Some have gone through developmental work and others are readings,” Green said during a recent phone interview.

“Readings are in their early development where you listen to the dialogue and storytelling. Developmental works are plays that are further along and need to be on their feet,“ he said and explained. “Sometimes it’s a matter of sequences of scenes and transitions. It’s a chance to see it in 3D.” 

Alec Silver in a New Stages developmental waork in 2021 (Photo by Liz Lauren)
Alec Silver in a New Stages developmental waork in 2021 (Photo by Liz Lauren)

“It’s easy to imagine how exciting it is to see how it works in front of a Goodman audience,” said Green. “It’s a nice feeling to see your work in front of a packed house”

His criteria when choosing works for the Festival are “a good balance,” that means “a great mix of stories, topics and structure” and also a mix of “emerging and longtime” writers.

He finds them in a variety of ways. “We look for a balance works by  those who are local, out of town and nationally known. Some plays  and playwrights have been drawn to our attention.”

About a third of the works from past festivals have made it on to the Goodman’s season schedules.

“We’ve had people who say they have seen the play at a Festival and now, two years later, see it as part of the Goodman season and see how it has changed.”

His assessment of this year’s Festival? “I think this year’s batch is well-balanced and there is a wonderful array of stories.”

What can Festival goers expect? The Developmental plays run 90 minutes to two hours. Readings range from 75 minutes to three hours. Audiences are generally made up of subscribers and others who have heard of the Festival with the third week primarily consisting of theater industry professionals.

Two staged developmental productions: “This Happened Once at the Romance Depot off the I-87 in Westchester” by Gina Femia, directed by Kimberly Senior and “Rust” by Nancy García Loza, directed by Laura Alcalá Baker.

Four script-in-hand staged readings: “White Monkey by Charlie Oh, directed by Eric Ting, “Fever Dreams” (of Animals on the Verge of Extinction) by Jeffrey Lieber directed by Susan V. Booth (Goodman Theatre Artistic Director), “Modern Women” by Omer Abbas Salem, directed by Lavina Jadhwani, and “What Will Happen to All That Beauty?” by Donja R. Love, directed by Malika Oyetimein. 

Tickets are needed but are free and can be found at New Stages 2022 | Goodman Theatre.

Jodie Jacobs

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