The four 2014 finalists for the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition will be heard in staged readings February 16 - 19, 2015, during the New Play Festival celebrating new work. All readings and events are free and open to the public. Reservations for the readings are preferred and can be made by calling the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office – 404.733.5000 or by visiting http://www.alliancetheatre.org/content/alliancekendeda-week. The schedule for the festival: • DISCUSSION: ETHICS ON STAGE February 16, 7:00 pm Emory Center for Ethics, 1531 Dickey Drive, on the Emory campus o An ethical discussion presenting material from the 11th winner The C.A. Lyons Project, with a chance to meet the winning playwright, Tsehaye Geralyn Hébert. No reservation required. • FINALIST READING: POCKETFUL OF SAND – by Emily Dendinger, University of Iowa, Director TBD February 17, 2:00 pm o 8 minutes. That's how long it takes for a soul to dry up before it can be preserved by the sea. This play introduces us to an old man named Coco who harvests souls from bodies he pulls from the sea, and how he comes to teach his trade to a young orphan girl named Sunny. As the more sinister aspects of Coco’s work begin to emerge, however, Sunny must decide for herself whether or not the work they are doing outweighs the costs. A beautifully written piece of poetic theatre. • FINALIST READING: AN ALIEN IN INWOOD – by Kimberly Barrante, Dramatic Writing: Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, Directed by 2014 Atlanta Artist Fellow Suehyla El-Attar February 17, 7:30 pm o Fantastical and heartwarming, An Alien in Inwood considers complicated questions of contemporary American identity. Walter, the Professor, has been around a New York City University for a long time, and has many people that support his efforts and dreams. Believing the world to be increasingly unsafe, Walter thinks he will save the planet when he is blinded by a light in Inwood Park and ORION, an alien, appears. Graceful social commentary with a nod to the best of Science Fiction/Fantasy, this play asks what we allow to become our truths when we are protecting the people we love. • ALUMNUS READING: MAKING MYTH – by Virginia Grise, 2010 Competition Finalist for blu, Directed by Karen Robinson February 18, 2:00 pm Based on the success of the 13/14 Alumni reading series, the Alliance has committed to invite one of the competition’s alumni back for a reading every year! o A conservative intellectual wound a little tight, a graduate student that likes a good fight, a beer drinking, polka dancing half-breed, and a cross dressing street-smart macha meet in a bar somewhere in South Texas. Between the liquor and the line dancing, what ensues is a raucous rapid-fire theoretical showdown. The play proves - Texas really is a whole ‘nother country, ya’ll. • FINALIST READING: EVANSTON: A RARE COMEDY by Michael Yates Crowley, The Juilliard School, Directed by Veronika Duerr, 2015 Atlanta Artist Fellow February 19, 2:00 pm o Evanston: A Rare Comedy begins with the disappearance of a teenage girl in deepest suburbia and ends when a meeting of the local Women’s Book Club goes horribly awry. In between, a housewife dreams of Mexico, an economics professor has an affair with a check-out clerk at Whole Foods, and the financial crisis rages on. Inspired by the words of Psalm 137 and the best-seller Eat, Pray, Love, Evanston: A Rare Comedy takes a look at Middle America and asks: how can we sing a song of joy in this strange land? • DISCUSSION: A conversation with Celise Kalke and THE C.A. LYONS PROJECT author and Alliance/Kendeda competition winner Tsehaye Geralyn Hébert February 19, 5:00 pm • FINALIST READING: BALLAST by Georgette Kelly, Hunter College, Director TBD February 19, 7:30 pm o What happens when you wake up, and find that the person sleeping next to you is not the person you thought they were at all? Zoe dreams of flying, of escaping to new heights. Grace, her transitioning spouse, dreams of standing on a pulpit, and finding a religious community that accepts her after her transition from man to woman. Savannah dreams only of Xavier, a 16 yr old that is coping with becoming a man, and Xavier is haunted by the nightmares he sees in starring back at him from the mirror. All four characters experience the act of ballast flying through dreams, lifted up just long enough to discover some kind of truth- a peace in transition.