Austin Playwrights Dan Dietz and Tom White get produced in L.A., playwright Colin Swanson gets two shows mounted in NYC, and set designer Christopher McCollum and painter Michael Ray Charles show up on PBS.
The Arts Seen
More and more local artists and the work they do are being recognized far beyond Austin's city limits. A few of the more recent:
Playwright Dan Dietz has a new play, Tilt Angel, opening at the Off Center this week, but one of his other scripts, Dirigible, has him flying up, up, and away to Los Angeles these days. That city's Circle X Company is mounting a production of the Hindenburg lecture-as-relationship metaphor at the Theatre Theater, and Dietz was in L.A. to help out with rehearsals last week. He came back to Austin this week for the tech and Friday opening of Tilt Angel, but he flies west again the morning after the show opens to be present for the Dirigible opening on Saturday, October 19. The show runs in L.A. through November 17.
Playwright Tom White is also getting a production of one of his works in the City of Angels. Silo Stud, which some of us creaky souls remember as Stud Silo when it was produced at Capitol City Playhouse in the mid-Eighties, will be produced by the L.A. theatre company Vox Humana October 26-December 3. Chris Groenewold directs this story of a young roofer stranded 500 feet in the air when a silo explodes from flammable grain dust.
Playwright Colin Swanson, an Austin expatriate, at least while she's doing her thing at The Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis, is getting two New York productions of plays she's written this fall. The first has already happened; her short play Baby Cake was staged September 18-22 as part of Manhattan Theatre Project's "Estrogenius" festival. (She reports that although the festival was held just a week after the World Trade Center attacks, it sold out.) The second comes November 3-18, when another short play, 178 Head, will be produced by the Drilling Company as part of their "Connections" festival.
Sadly belated recognition to scenic designer Christopher McCollum, whose set for the Houston Grand Opera production of Little Women was visible on the PBS broadcast of the opera as part of its Great Performances series way back on August 29. It was a kick seeing his work in that medium, even if it did reduce the impact of his design. It was almost as much of a kick seeing McCollum's work for the production acknowledged in The New York Times review of the broadcast.
Also making the PBS scene this season was painter Michael Ray Charles, who was one of 21 artists profiled in the four-episode series art:21, Art in the 21st Century. Alas, your less-than-timely reporter missed the original airing of Charles' appearance -- in the fourth episode, titled "Consumption," which was broadcast September 28 -- but the PBS Web site indicates that the episode will be shown again on Wednesday, November 28, at 9pm. I'm setting my VCR right now.
The young visual artists of Reilley Elementary School had a work of theirs chosen as one of five first-place winners in the Nestlé SweeTARTS "Find the Art in SweeTARTS and Discover the Artist in YOU" national art contest. Nearly 100 students in the third through fifth grades developed the idea for the school's entry, a mural titled "Dare to Dream," and worked for three weeks to complete it. On a 4-by-6-foot piece of plexiglass, they glued more than 6,000 SweeTARTS to spell the phrase "Dare to Dream" and depict abstract figures, including a child and flowers, in an "Impressionist style."
Hyde Park Theatre and Austin Script Works are gearing up for FronteraFest 2002, to run January 15-February 16. The festival's Short Fringe, featuring works no longer than 25 minutes, will be performed at Hyde Park. The Long Fringe, featuring works up to 90 minutes long, will be performed at the Blue Theater, 916 Springdale Rd., January 24-February 3. And don't forget the ever-popular Mi Casa Es Su Teatro! -- site-specific performance events staged in homes throughout Austin -- on February 9. Applications for the festival are available now on the respective Web sites for Hyde Park Theatre (www.hydeparktheatre.org) and Austin Script Works (www.scriptworks.org) . For more information or to request an application by mail, call Christi Moore at 479-7530 x4, or e-mail email@example.com.