The University of New Mexico’s Department of Theatre and Dance announces the world premieres of Chatterbox, by Rebecca Sánchez, directed by Morgan Green and Angels All Die, by Denise Hinson, directed by Dan Rogers, as part of the 2016 Linnell Festival of New Plays at UNM. Performances of these new works run April 8 through 17, in The Experimental Theatre on UNM’s Main Campus.

This year’s festival also includes directed readings of new works by second-year MFA playwrights Stephanie Grilo, Drew Morrison, and Krista Pino as well as an afternoon of works by first-year MFA playwrights, and an evening of Screenplay Readings. All playwrights are MFA candidates in UNM’s award winning Graduate Program in Dramatic Writing.

Chatterbox chronicles the relationship between Valentina, and effervescent and spirited kindergarten teacher and Marco, an uptight literary scholar and expert on the work of a reclusive Chicano writer. As Valentina struggles to assert herself in the relationship to become visible, Marco retreats more completely into the world of ideas. In a combination of linear scenes, interspersed with vibrant memories, the play explores issues of love, the line between art and reality, obsession with the written word, and the impulse to live in the moment.

Rebecca Sánchez is a third-year MFA student in the Dramatic Writing program at UNM.  Her work addresses contemporary social issues and cultural situations. Rebecca’s work has been presented at the Linnell Festival of New Plays and the SCRAP Out of Order Play Festival at the University of New Mexico. She has developed plays in workshop readings associated with the MFA Dramatic Writing Program at The University of New Mexico. Her play, This Scarlet F: A Performance on School Grading, was selected for performance at the American Education Research Association National Conference in San Antonio, Texas. The same work was performed in Albuquerque, N.M. at Las Amapolas Art Space. The script will be adapted for film and released as a series of theatrical webisodes to correspond with the release of a significant national educational report. 

Denise Hinson’s Angels All Die begins when Francis Abbott lucks into the opportunity to work in the hair and make-up department of the hottest soap opera on television, where he is assigned to Petra Walls, an excitable beauty. Francis finds himself falling for the actress and thinks she just might feel the same way for him—but Frank has a secret that could change everything. Third-Year MFA, Denise Hinson is a both a playwright and educator whose work has been produced in the Farmington on the Fringe Festival, Bottom of the Barrel Ten Minute Play Contest, the Linnell Festival of New Plays, Out of Order Festival at UNM, and the ATHE National Conference.

Linnell Festival of New Plays

As part of the development of these new works, The Linnell Festival partners emerging playwrights with established directors, to help bring these plays to the stage. The director for Chatterbox is Morgan Green, a co-founder New Saloon, a theatre company dedicated to creating original performances. Her recent credits include He Ate Quietly into the Wall by Ariel Stess (New Ohio), William Shakespeare's Mom by Milo Cramer (Ars Nova) Cooking to me is Poetry by New Saloon (Galapagos Art Space), Buster Keaton’s Ride, Buster Keaton Rides Again: A Sequel by New Saloon (Dixon Place), and Talk to me Like the Rain by Tennessee Williams (Williamstown Theater Festival).

Green is an alumnus of the Lincoln Center Director's Lab 2013, and a recipient of the Ana Itelman Prize for Directing. Dan Rogers, the director for Angels All Die, is based in Philadelphia. He is the co-founder of the Brooklyn-based theater collective AntiMatter, and former General Manager of the Obie-Award-winning Vampire Cowboys Theater Company. He is a 2015 Drama League Fellow. He holds an MFA in Directing from Brown University at Trinity Rep, where his directing credits include Shakespeare’s Pericles, Sam Shepard’s Tooth of Crime, William Inge’s Bus Stop, and a touring production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. New York productions include premiers of sixsixsix by Gregory S. Moss, a black mass staged in a 20,000 sq. ft. warehouse in Brooklyn and Prague; the zombie western Death Valley by Adam Scott Mazer at the Bushwick Starr; and The Sound by Sam Alper.

Also featured in the Linnell Festival of New Plays will be a first look new works by second year MFA’s Drew Morrison (4/9 at 2 p.m.), Krista Pino (4/9 at 4 p.m.), and Stephane Grilo (4/16 at 4 p.m.), as well as an evening of Screenplay Readings on Thursday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m., and an afternoon of reading of works by first-year MFA’s on Saturday, April 16 at 2 p.m. All readings are admission free.

Since the program’s inception MFA playwrights in UNM’s Dramatic Writing Program have garnered national attention for their work and this year is no exception. Chatterbox was just chosen as the second place recipient of the Kennedy Center’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award. This comes with a cash award, an invitation to the Kennedy Center for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre National Festival, membership in the Dramatists Guild and with the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, and a professional development residency. 

The Linnell Festival of New Plays at UNM provides audiences the opportunity to play a vital role in the continuing development of these exciting new voices, as they step from their academic program towards the professional stage, supported by an outstanding team of directors, actors, designers, and technicians. The Festival runs April 8-17, in the Experimental Theatre, located in the lower level of the Center for the Arts on UNM’s main campus. Performances of Chatterbox will be April 8 & 16 at 7:30 p.m. and April 17 at 2 p.m. and performances of Angels All Die will be April 9 & 10 at 7:30, April 16 at 2 p.m.

Ticket prices are $15 General admission, $12 UNM Faculty & Seniors, and $10 UNM Staff & all Students. Tickets are available at the UNM Ticket Offices located at the UNM Bookstore, Central and Cornell, or the Arena (The Pit), University and Avenida Caesar Chavez, and by calling (505) 925-5858. Tickets may also be purchased online. The staged readings are admission free. More information is available online or by calling 277-4332.

** Note due to content and language, all the plays are appropriate for mature audiences. **