New play work was Louis Tyrrell's passion during the 24 years he served as artistic director of the late, lamented Florida Stage. So it's no surprise that Tyrrell is launching his new venture, the Theatre at Arts Garage in Delray Beach, with a smaller-scale version of a new play festival, the kind of event that was a big draw at the debt-burdened Florida Stage before it suddenly shut down in June.
Though the artsy location in Delray Beach off bustling Atlantic Avenue is more intimate and modest, the names involved in the New Play Fest are big ones, including keynote speaker (and Pulitzer Prize winner) Marsha Norman.
The festival, which begins Thursday and runs through Sunday, offers six play readings over its four days. Tickets to the readings and Norman's speech are $15-$20 for each event, or you can pay $112 and get into everything.
The fest begins with a reading of Lauren Gunderson's Exit, Pursued by a Bear at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Des Gallant directs Nancy Noto, Andrew Wind, Taylor Staniforth and Scott Douglas Wilson in a play described as a contemporary Southern revenge comedy.
John Briggs directs the 7:30 p.m. Friday reading of William Mastrosimone's Oblivion. Antonio Amadeo, Marckenson Charles, Cliff Burgess , Natasha Sherritt, Steven Chambers and Andrea Conte appear in the play about a composer who tries to rescue a drug-addicted young woman.
At 2 p.m. Saturday, Margaret Ledford directs the reading of Jessica Goldberg's Better, a play about a family dealing with a fatal illness. In the cast are David Sirois, David Nail, Amy McKenna, Bruce Linser, Peter Haig, Barbara Bradshaw and Deborah Sherman.
Norman delivers her keynote address, Writing the Third Act, at 7 p.m. Saturday. At 8 p.m., Tyrrell directs a reading of her play Nightly News from the War on Women, about human trafficking and violence toward women. In the cast are Alan Gerstel, Julie Rowe, Damian Robinson, Mayumi combs, Lou Tyrrell, Karen Stephens and Jessica Peterson.
On Sunday at 2 p.m., Clayton Phillips directs a reading of Bruce Graham's The Outgoing Tide, a play about a family and a man who decides to take charge of his life. Actors Kelli Mohrbacher, Dan Leonard, Barbara Bradshaw and Peter Tedeschi are in the cast.
The festival's final reading is at 7 p.m. Sunday. Israel Horovitz directs his own Gloucester Blue, a play involving secrets, sexual tensions and much more. David Nail, Amy McKenna, Robert Walsh and Wayne LeGette are featured in the cast.
The Theatre at Arts Garage is at 180 NE First St., Delray Beach, and it really is in a garage, so parking is no problem.
Need info? Call 561-450-6357 or visit the organization's web site.