In Arts & Entertainment

Chantae Miller and Marcel Alston in Renaissance Theaterworks' Br!NK Br!efs production of "All of the Everything" in 2018.

Renaissance Theaterworks is NYC-bound with short play festival return

Every theater company dreams of extending performance runs due to overwhelming demand, or remounting a show for a command performance. Renaissance Theaterworks is actually taking its second show on the road later this month, producing a "short" at the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival (OOB). After a positive OOB experience in 2015, the company returns to a NYC stage with the recent Br!NK Briefs offering "All of the Everything" by Minneapolis-based playwright Alayna Jacqueline.

"As we were reading the submissions, this play was by far my favorite," said Renaissance Theaterworks Artistic Director Suzan Fete. "We knew immediately that we had to include it in our evening of ten-minute plays."

Jacqueline's haunting and heartbreaking piece was also standout for audiences in Renaissance's Br!NK festival of new work in 2018. The story begins with a young African American couple out for a drive. The woman imagines their entire future together before a run-in with the police changes their lives forever. The powerful play was directed by former RTW Artistic Associate Mallory Metoxen, who is currently pursuing an MFA in directing at DePaul University.

After its successful premiere at Br!NK, Metoxen and the RTW staff encouraged Jacqueline to submit "All of the Everything" to the OOB contest, which routinely receives entries from hundreds of playwrights across the country. Out of 900 initial submissions, Jacqueline's play earned a place as a semi-finalist in the top 30 and the playwright turned to her friends at RTW to help bring the show to New York.

"We are thrilled she asked us to participate and thrilled to accept the amazing opportunity to produce it again." said Fete.

Metoxen echoed that enthusiasm for the project.

"I was honored when Alayna asked me to direct 'All of the Everything' again for the OOB Festival," she noted. "I know what a big deal it is to get in, and how hard it is to get to the final six."

An instigator for new plays with the Twin Cities Playwright Cabal, Jacqueline has had her work produced and developed at Market Garden Theatre in Minnesota; MadLab Theater, Lincoln Theater and Pythian Theater in Ohio; and Haybarn Theater in Vermont, in addition to Renaissance Theaterworks. This is her first piece accepted into the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival, which requires each selected playwright to bring their entire production with them – including actors, a director, stage manager, completed set design, sound design and lighting design plots, props and costumes.

Undaunted by all of the moving parts, Metoxen is incredibly excited to go back to the OOB Festival.

"It's great to know the rollercoaster that's in store for us before we get there. It's not easy to bring an entire show into a new space and get tech done in just one hour," she said. "Having a team that has been there before will make it a little less stressful, hopefully."

The cast for the OOB production of "All of the Everything" includes two Chicago-based actors and two Milwaukee actors with ties to Renaissance Theaterworks. Jennifer Young, Kamari Saxon, Izetta Rees and Trevor Rees will perform on Friday, Aug. 23 at the Vineyard Dimson 15th Street Theatre in New York City. Following the performances of the top 30 semi-finalists, 12 finalists will be selected to present again the following day. Out of the final dozen, Samuel French will license and publish the top six short plays in the Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival series.

Those interested in supporting RTW's trip to New York City can contribute online through the company's Indiegogo campaign. A full list of festival events, playwrights, plays, and tickets can be found at oobfestival.com.


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