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Readings of new plays available on-demand

The Ashland New Plays Festival is offering streaming videos of readings of plays by Andrew Lee Creech, top left, Meghan Brown, top right, Thomas Brandon, bottom left, and TyLie Shider, bottom right.
Ashland New Plays Festival offers streaming service

The Ashland New Plays Festival has wrapped up the live virtual readings of four new plays during its Fall Festival, but people can still watch the readings with on-demand streaming through Oct. 31.

Last week, the plays were read by actors and presented live online because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The four winning plays for the Fall Festival were picked from hundreds of submissions.

Tickets to watch videos of the recorded play readings at any time through the end of the month are available on a sliding scale starting at $15. Festival passes are available to buy tickets in a bundle. For more information and to purchase tickets, see ashlandnewplays.org.

“I have been looking forward to this for a full year,” said ANPF Artistic Director Jackie Apodaca. “And while I hoped we’d be in person, I’m grateful we still got to spend this time together — celebrating new plays. We’re a small organization, but this year we have been able to present four amazing new plays, by four incredible playwrights, brought to life by an ensemble of world class artists.”

The science-fiction mystery “Pocket Universe” by Thomas Brandon follows married couple Kelly and Roan, played by real-life married actors Amy Kim Waschke and Moses Villarama, who are on a picnic that's not what it seems.

The plot propels audiences forward through a realistic relationship dynamic and comes face to face with a dark reality, giving viewers an opportunity to think about their own beliefs and fears.

TyLie Shider’s family drama “Certain Aspects of Conflict in the Negro Family” is set against the backdrop of the summer of 1967.

While it was written in 2019, the themes of civil protest echo the summer of 2020, when America saw widespread protests after Black man George Floyd was killed by a police officer.

In the play, a Black family that joined the Great Migration from the South for more opportunities in the North must grapple with whether to return during turbulent times of civil unrest in Plainfield, New Jersey.

Meghan Brown gives one of William Shakespeare’s famously underdeveloped female characters a voice in her play “Much Ado About Nothing: What Happened While Hero Was Dead.”

One audience member described the play and reading as “fabulous and smart comic writing delivered with fabulous and smart comic timing."

Andrew Lee Creech’s “Last Drive to Dodge” takes audiences to 1880s Texas at the tail end of the Cowboy Golden Age. Through cowboys, ranch workers and owners, people see a side of history not usually told.

The Ashland New Plays Festival worked with streaming content producer Transcend Streaming, which used design and staging techniques to enhance the mood and flow of the plays, festival organizers said.

Closed captioning by Rev.com for the on-demand play readings makes the plays more accessible.

Festival organizers said the streaming play readings and closed captioning services would not have been possible without the generous sponsorship of Rae and Bill Saltzstein and Drs. Nancy and Bill Grove.