Jim Pagliasotti directs Play4Keeps, Ashland New Plays Festival’s recently launched website featuring audio recordings of new plays. The latest works by promising and prominent playwrights, dramatized by top local actors, are now available by subscription and as free podcasts at: Play4Keeps.org. The website was developed by Project A. I chatted with Pagliasotti one afternoon at Growler Guys in Ashland.
JP: In the time that I have been involved at ANPF, I have been aware of all the challenges playwrights face. It’s incredible what they have to go through. It seems like the aperture is getting smaller and smaller, through which everybody is trying to pass. There are agents, and not many theaters have the curatorial resources to sort through new works. I’ve also seen how hard playwrights have to work to promote themselves, to keep their name and their work out there.
The second prize was for a series of articles explaining the kinds of environmental damage that agriculture does: Things like soil erosion, overuse of chemicals, and depletion of water supplies. A lot of land that shouldn’t be plowed or farmed was being used because of the pressure to produce products. Modern agriculture is a great industry but it can sometimes have a huge impact on the environment.
James Pagliasotti, president of the Ashland New Plays Festival Board of Directors, recently served as board vice president of the Schneider Museum of Art. Before moving to Ashland, Pagliasotti served as a trustee of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, Colorado. We chatted over coffee at The Growler Guys in Ashland.
EH: What makes a good play?
JP: Like all art, you want something that generates reaction in people; you want something that touches them, for better or for worse. The first thing that I look for is something that people find emotionally or intellectually compelling. I think a bad play is one that people are bored with. If it generates a response, I think it has done its job. Continue reading Backstage: What makes a good play?→
Doug Rowe became the new artistic director of the Ashland New Plays Festival this year. The festival held a fundraiser at the Camelot Theatre, a reading of David Rambo’s “God’s Man in Texas” by Rowe, Bill Langan and Jamie Newcomb. It also reassembled the original cast of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s legendary production of “Death of a Salesman” for a dramatic reading and tribute at OSF’s Black Swan Theater.
In 2010, John Stadelman, Lenny Neimark, Carolyn Shaffer and David Salsa directed four original scripts selected from more than 200 play submissions. Over coffee at Bloomsbury Coffeehouse, Rowe spoke enthusiastically about ANPF’s mission.
DR: All of our lives, those of us who are in the business, owe everything to the writers. It’s their ideas, their words that we are putting in front of us. That we can now do something in return is fabulous. I would really like to see some local playwrights get involved big-time with it as well. We are working toward that end. We’re really trying to find a venue that is suitable.