New Works Festival takes the stage at Texas State

todayOctober 19, 2023 15

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Yaa Antwi

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New Work Festival actors at rehearsal posing with their script in hand
New Work Festival Rehearsal. | Connor Turnbo

Texas State Theater presents the New Works Festival which includes three pieces of work being showcased for the first time. From Oct. 20th to 22nd, Texas State Theater presents the New Works Festival, consisting of 10-minute plays, stage readings of full-length plays, and a separate evening of one-act plays.

Directed by Ana Medina, within this production, the audience gets a glimpse into the world of multiple characters. Lola, a character whose body is constantly in the public eye in 70.3, Carlos and Becca, high school sophomores who want to fit, and a damsel in distress amid a pizza gate-esque rescue mission.

“The New Works Festival is a collective thing where writers send out their shows for the first time being read for an audience,” Brian Willery said. “It’s really cool to play out their characters first and experience what that’s like.”

Rather than the production being fully staged, actors will present, script in hand as a narrator reads stage directions. Actors can act out, but the focus of this production revolves around the scripts, giving them more strength to highlight the actors’ roles and the depth of the play.

“Whenever I’m reading through 70.3, I’m trying to toll the line between showing what I can do as an actor while embellishing the script,” Connor Turnbo said. “What I’m hoping people take away is the strength of the script itself.”

From a humorous script to a more personal and sensitive one, the New Works production has a message that the audience can take away and interpret as their own. Within New Works, the actors bring the story and the characters to life as they present the stage-readings through fleshed-out scripts.

“I think 70.3 is about embracing imperfections and being okay with your body and feeling safe in that and that’s a big message,” Brian Willery said. “The safety in yourself and also taking care of yourself and making sure you aren’t abusing or pushing yourself, and I think as 20-year old’s, we should learn about overworking.”

The style of the play is in-verse, giving the production a more modern feeling that can help the audience connect deeply with the characters. Not only does the in-verse create a connection. between the audience and the characters, but it gives the script and story depth, as they handle serious topics, from body issues to sex work.

“My theory is that the play write uses in-verse to specify the way that the characters would say certain things,” Connor Turnbo said. “So, we wouldn’t misinterpret because the content of the story is vulnerable, and the point needs to be conveyed importantly and without negligence.”

The Texas State Theater building is under maintenance because of the recent flooding that occurred, causing a delay in rehearsal dates, production release dates, and a change in classes for some theater students. Despite this inconvenience, actors remain positive for their first show.

“Usually, we only have a week to rehearse, which sounds crazy, but since it’s a staged reading and we’re allowed to have the scripts with us, it won’t be that big of an issue,” Connor Turnbo said. “We’re all skilled enough as actors to work with a script like that.

For more information on the New Works Festival visit:

Written by: Cayla Soriano

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