Branding program for the Contemporary American Theater Festival's (CATF) 2014 repertory of five new American plays for their 24th Season. The brand's black and white minimal aesthetic represents the Contemporary American Theater Festival's mission and culture within the black box environment. The brand program components included: festival guide, website, tablet device app, posters, postcards, advertisements, postcards, coffee mugs, and t-shirts. The five new plays are: Uncanny Valley; North of the Boulevard; The Ashes Under Gait City; Dead and Breathing; and One Night. Photography: Playwrights and New Building Studios photography: Seth Freeman; Past Productions and Shepherdstown photography: Ron Blunt; Play photography: istockphoto.com.
The Ashes Under Gait CIty by Christina Anderson. Play synopsis: When a devastating fire burned Gait City to the ground, the community decided to rebuild. An enduring and noble gesture, but with one crucial oversight: They forgot the black people. A popular internet guru, Simone The Believer, launches a campaign amongst her followers to encourage black Americans to migrate to this town, and reclaim their roots. Inspired by the 19th Century exclusionary laws, this play delves into ownership, identity, and the power of belief. It dramatically captures the influence of cult behavior, through technology’s lens, while tackling the continued and complicated nature of race in our contemporary world.
One Night by Charles Fuller. Directed by Ed Herendeen. Play synopsis: Down on their luck, two Iraq war veterans mysteriously arrive at a seedy motel, looking for a place to hide and start over. They are burdened with secrets from their time in the sandbox and desperate to make sense of life in the here and now. As the trauma of the past blends unflinchingly into the present, this one night finds a soldier simmering in her patriotic duty for justice and freedom—her own. Raging against the searing subject of sexual abuse in the armed services, this suspenseful and provocative play asks: “Why am I a hero if I die, and a nuisance if I live?”
Uncanny Valley by Thomas Gibbons. Directed by Tom Dugdale. Play synopsis: The relationship between the creator and the created unfolds in the phenomenon known as the uncanny valley where Claire, a neuroscientist, works with Julian, an artificial being, on becoming human. Drawing on current research and the not-so-distant future, this spellbinding and deeply satisfying new play travels to the ethical heart of humankind’s bid to outrace mortality. How far are we willing to go to forget, while insisting on never being forgotten?
North of the Boulevard by Bruce Graham. Directed by Ed Herendeen. Play synopsis: Business is falling apart, and so are the walls in this crumbling auto-repair shop on the wrong side of the Boulevard. Three childhood friends and one crusty old man sift through the merits of their floundering lives while confronting the vanishing middle-class around them. But just when the last road to prosperity seems at its dead-end, a questionable opportunity unfolds before them: Are they corrupt enough to escape the corruption that’s ruining their neighborhood? This blistering, working-class comedy aims for the gut and takes no prisoners.
Dead and Breathing by Chisa Hutchinson. Play synopsis: Carolyn is a cranky old broad who just wants to die already! She’s gone through almost as many nurses as she has treatments, but just can’t seem to kick the bucket. With her new—profane but God-fearing—hospice caregiver all up in her “lady parts,” she sets about convincing Veronika to help her to just get it over with. Full of surprises, this hilarious exploration into mortality and morality tests the boundaries of faith and forgiveness, prejudice and pridefulness, when the stakes are nothing short of life… and death.