CATF preview

March 25, 2002|BY KATE COLEMAN


SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - "We're going for the A-list, the heavy hitters," says Ed Herendeen, producing director of the Contemporary American Theater Festival.

Herendeen is talking about having plays by nationally prominent playwrights Sam Shepherd and Lee Blessing in the lineup for the 2002 repertory, July 12 through August 4, at Shepherd College.

The 2002 season, the festival's 12th, continues its commitment to New American plays with four "explosive, dramatic stories," Herendeen says.

Shepard's "The Late Henry Moss" will be presented on the stage of the Frank Center Theater at Shepherd College. Herendeen will the direct the 11 OBIE- (Off-Broadway) and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright's story of family secrets revealed as "two brothers confront each other, their violent past and the death of their father," according to a CATF press release.


"Thief River," a new play by Blessing, tells the story of the "lifelong, largely unrequited love affair of two men from a Minnesota farming community." Herendeen will direct the play, which will be presented on the Frank Center Theater.

Two past CATF playwrights will return.

Catherine Filloux, who wrote "Mary and Myra" for the 2000 season, was commissioned to write "Silence of God." The play is the story of journalist Sarah Holtzman "inspired by her relationship with a poet who is a survivor of the Khmer Rouge atrocities." She explores the question of evil in the world.

Craig Wright, playwright of 2001's "The Pavilion," will premiere "Orange Flower Water," the tale of love and betrayal in small-town Minnesota.

Filloux and Wright will be in residence on the Shepherd campus during the entire festival, Herendeen says. Their plays will be presented on the Studio Theater stage.

Herendeen will be heading to New York to audition actors for this year's plays in a few weeks. Although nothing is set, there may be some veteran CATF actors returning, he says.

Music at the Festival also will return, as will post-show discussions, the Under the Tent Lecture series and the Staged Reading series. The festival's Intern and Apprentice Company will produce and perform a showcase.

"We're looking forward to a really big year," Herendeen says.

For information, call 1-800-999-CATF or go to

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