Thursday, March 15, 2012


Playwrights Theatre will present two programs during the New Jersey Theatre Alliance Stages Festival. The Stages Festival is a month-long, state-wide celebration of theatre and the performing arts—a project of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance and its membership.

Katrina On Stage 5 Plays
WHEN: Thursday, March 22, 7:00 PM. There will be a post-show discussion following the reading.
WHERE: Madison Public Library, Chase Room, Madison Public Library, 39 Keep St., Madison
ADMISSION: There is a suggested donation of $5.00; seating is first-come, first-served; no reservations will be taken.

A staged reading with professional actors of selections from plays from Katrina On Stage edited by Suzanne M. Trauth and Lisa S. Brenner. Ms. Trauth is a professor of theatre at Montclair State University where she coordinates the BFA Acting Program. She is co-author of Katrina: The K Word, one of the plays included in the book. Ms. Brenner is an assistant professor of Theatre Arts at Drew University in Madison and the co-author of Katrina: The K Word. In 2009, Drew University granted her the Faculty Leadership Civic Engagement Award for her work on Katrina: The K Word, among other projects.

Selections will be read from:

  • Rising Water by John Biguenet. Performed at Playwrights Theatre in 2008, the play traces the possible last hours of two New Orleans residents trapped in their attic as the waters are rising around them.
  • The Breach by Catherine Filloux, Tarell Alvin McCraney, and Joe Sutton. Read at Playwrights theatre in 2008, the play weaves three stories of the flood into a compelling expressionistic rendering of the chaos that ensued during the days of the tragedy.
  • Because They Have No Words by Tim Maddock and Lotti Louise Pharriss. This moving play deals with the plight of pets that were abandoned during Katrina.
  • Trash Bag Tourist by Samuel Brett Williams. Read at Playwrights Theatre in 2008, the play looks at the experience of one of the “Trash Bag Tourists,” the refugees that escaped New Orleans with very little possessions, some just tossed into black plastic trash bags.
  • Katrina: The K Word by Lisa S Brenner and Suzanne M. Trauth. Also read at Playwrights Theatre in 2008, this Documentary Drama uses the actual words of residents to put together a poignant and memorable impression of the experiences of those affected by the storm and its aftermath.

“Many of the play selections in Lisa Brenner and Suzanne Trauth’s book came from a Katrina play reading weekend we held at PTNJ in the Fall of 2008 just prior to our production of John Biguenet’s Rising Water, during which we included a staged reading of Katrina: The K Word. We wanted to take the opportunity of the publishing of Suzanne and Lisa’s book to keep the memory of this terrible tragedy alive,” said John Pietrowski, Artistic Director. “While New Orleans is slowly recovering from the storm, the city is a long way from being whole and productive. It’s very easy in this short news cycle to forget what is going on. We hope a continued look will remind us that things like this cannot happen again, and that we need to take care of people who were affected by this and similar tragedies. The authors deal with the situations with a great deal of respect, but there is also a lot of humor and heroics presented in the plays that provide a vivid and well-considered point of view of a very complicated event in our history. We’ve put together a great company of highly skilled professional actors to assist us with the reading and we also hope the audience will stay for a discussion with the authors afterwards.”

Trauth and Brenner’s book Katrina On Stage Five Plays will be on sale at the reading. A portion of the proceeds benefit The Porch 7th Ward Cultural Organization in New Orleans, LA, which conducts diverse creative programming for all ages.

Readings from Playwrights Theatre Adult Playwriting Class
When: Friday, March 30, 2012, 7:00 PM
Where: Black River Playhouse, home of the Chester Theatre Group, 54 Grove Street, Chester, NJ 07930
Cost: $5.00 Suggested Donation. No reservations, first come first served.

Playwrights Theatre runs an ongoing year-round playwriting workshop for adults where plays are shared in a nurturing and supportive environment. Lead by Playwrights Theatre’s Artistic Director John Pietrowski (a recent recipient of a New Jersey State Council on the Arts Playwriting Fellowship), students range from beginners to highly experienced writers who have received NJSCA Playwriting Fellowships and who are writers and performers in their own right.

Professional actors will present ten-minute selections from ongoing works from the workshop and will include: Ed Shakespeare (prior NJSCA Fellow, from Lavalette, NJ), Jewel Seehaus-Fisher (prior NJSCA Fellow, from Highland Park, NJ), Claire Porter (nationally-recognized dancer and performance artist, from Teaneck, NJ), Gregory Cole (Bernardsville, NJ), Stephen Catron (Mendham, NJ), David Allan Crosset (Far Hills, NJ), Ruth Darcy (Chatham, NJ), Roberta Francis (Chatham, NJ), Paula Freed (Sea Bright, NJ), Elaine Lane (Irvington, NJ), Alan Silberberg (Valley Cottage, NY), and Devon Villacampa (Randolph, NJ)

“The writers of these plays come from all walks of life. Some are professional theatre artists, some are teachers and former teachers, as well as students, business people, and community activists. All share a love of the art and craft of playwriting, and these plays, humorous and moving, present wide-ranging and well-written takes on both contemporary and historical subjects. The evening will be an enjoyable example of community-based art,” said John Pietrowski, Artistic Director.

The Stages Festival takes place every March with discounted and/or free tickets to performances, workshops and events statewide, and with programming suitable for ALL age groups (not just the little ones). The event provides wonderful opportunities to experience the magic of live theatre with everyone in your family - and your extended family of friends. The Stages Festival is a cosponsored project of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

For more information about the Playwrights Theatre and the Creative Arts Academy Summer Camp, please visit or call 973.514.1787 X10.


About Playwrights Theatre:

Founded in 1986, Playwrights Theatre is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit professional theatre and arts education institution dedicated to developing and nurturing the dramatic imagination of artists, students, and audiences. Our New Play Program creates development opportunities for professional writers through readings, workshops and productions, and invites audiences to participate in authentic feedback experiences. Our New Jersey Writers Project, Poetry Out Loud, New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest and Festival, and Creative Arts Academy programs provide a comprehensive and hands-on arts education experience to over 31,000 students, Pre-K through adult.

Writers in the New Play Program are drawn from across the country, including our affiliation with the National New Play Network, a nation-wide group of theatres dedicated to the development and production of new work. Teaching Artists in our Education Programs are professional artists working in their field in the New Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia metropolitan areas. From 2003-2012, we have been designated a Major Arts Institution by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts (along with only five other theatres: The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, George Street Playhouse, McCarter Theatre Center, Two River Theatre, and Paper Mill Playhouse) as “an anchor institution that contributes vitally to the quality of life in New Jersey.”

Funding for our activities comes from: the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the F.M. Kirby Foundation, Inc., Bank of America, Dramatist Guild Fund, Horizon Foundation of New Jersey, The Prudential Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Victoria Foundation, and many corporations, foundations and individuals.
Playwrights Theatre is a member of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, the National New Play Network, and Madison Arts & Culture Alliance