Shall We Sundance?

Whenever the words Austinite and Sundance appear together in print, you can bank on the subject having to do with film, right? Sorry, no. Local residents and the famous artistic institute also enjoy a connection through the stage, and it's being reinforced again this summer with the selection of Frontera@Hyde Park Theatre artistic director Vicky Boone to participate in Sundance Theatre Laboratory 1999. The Sundance Theatre Lab -- one of the less well-known yet oldest and most vital programs at the Utah institute -- is a workshop for the development of theatrical projects outside traditional production environments and without their attendant pressures. For three weeks each July, eight to 10 projects are workshopped at the Sundance compound in Utah. Playwrights and directors work with a full resource team of theatre artists and creators outside theatre to explore new directions in text or presentation. They can work scenes or entire plays, and also take part in larger group activities and discussions, as well as observe the working process of other lab participants. Presentation of lab projects is generally limited to lab participants, to defuse the pressures of a public production. In the 18 years since its founding, the lab has been a resource in the development of such noteworthy dramas as Angels in America, by Tony Kushner; Tales of the Lost Formicans, by Constance Congdon; Silence, Cunning, Exile, by Stuart Greenman; Miss Evers' Boys, by David Feldshuh; and As Bees in Honey Drown, by Douglas Carter Beane. Several past and present Austinites have enjoyed its services, including TheFantasticks creators Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt (to develop Mirette), Mother Hicks author Susan Zeder (to develop The Taste of Sunrise), The Wall of Water playwright Sherry Kramer (to develop The Law Makes Evening Fall), and Pultizer Prize-winner Robert Schenkkan (to develop The Kentucky Cycle and Handler). Boone joins this illustrious company to help Hancock develop The Invisible Medium, a site-specific tale of prospectors, drifters, and ornithology on which they've been collaborating for a year. (If the title rings a bell, it's because an early draft of the play was developed locally by Salvage Vanguard Theater and director Jason Neulander.) This makes a three-peat for Hancock and Frontera, which has previously produced Hancock's Deviant Craft (directed by Matt Wilder) and Race of the Ark Tattoo (directed by Boone). And the latter show gets mentioned in the new issue of the journal Theater, in an interview with Hancock and a critical essay on the play by scholar Elinor Fuchs.

But First, A Bug in Your Ear

Of course, big as this news is for the folks at Frontera, it can't eclipse the show they're opening before Boone's July jaunt. Starting June 2, F@HPT will be giving Austinites the highly anticipated world premiere of the newest work by Steven Tomlinson, the economist and storyteller par excellence behind Managed Care and Free Trade. In preparation for that show, F@HPT is hosting a garden party this Saturday, May 8, 1-5pm, at the home of Helen Roberts, 6400 Dry Cliff Cove. The event will include a presentation by Bridget Lane of Touch O' Green, refreshments from NeWorlDeli, and the first public reading of Millennium Bug by Tomlinson and co-star Annie Suite. A donation of $20 is requested for the event; proceeds will benefit Frontera's production of Millennium Bug. Call 302-4933, x2 to make a reservation.

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More Articulations
The Harry Ransom Center has acquired all the professional and personal materials of profoundly influential acting teacher Stella Adler

Robert Faires, April 30, 2004

It's the end of an era for the city of Austin's Art in Public Places Program as Martha Peters, administrator of the program for 11 of its 18 years, departs to direct a public art program in Fort Worth.

Robert Faires, July 18, 2003


Frontera@hyde Park Theatre, Vicky Boone, Sundance Institute, Sundance Theatre Laboratory, David Hancock, Susan Zeder, Sherry Kramer, Robert Schenkkan, Salvage Vanguard Theater, Jason Neulander, Matt Wilder, Steven Tomlinson, Annie Suite, Helen Roberts

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