On Thursday evening, January 17th, we went to the Cleveland Public Theatre on Detroit Avenue to attend the first night of Entry Point 2019, a new play development program that would continue on Friday and Saturday, the 18th and 19th.
According to its poster, Entry Point “a platform for artists to develop work in the early stages of creation, presented across multiple stages in a festival-like atmosphere. Audience members enjoy staged readings, short excerpts of works-in-progress, guest panel discussions, and facilitated feedback between artists and audience members after every showing. This is a rare opportunity for the public to encounter the art before it is completed and help shape the next stages of development.”
Thus 13 “new works” were performed on the four stages of the Cleveland Public Theatre, involving 90 artists who shared with us their talents in some capacity.
Upon arrival, as we waited for things to get going, we had a great conversation with Mr. Richard S. Asbury, a local playwright who planned to attend as many of the Entry Point productions as he could over the three days. As for himself, Mr. Asbury has written five socially conscious plays and is now working on another one dealing with human trafficking.
We also spoke to Mr. Anthony Stiegelmeier, a young man very much involved in the student theatre enrichment program that takes place in the summer at the Cleveland Public Theatre. Mr. Stiegelmeier helped us pick three productions to watch. While it was a tough choice, we ultimately chose:
- Fire on the Water, a stylized piece whose focus was the burning of the Cuyahoga River in 1969. Its lead playwright was Mr. Raymond Bobgan, Executive Artistic Director of the Cleveland Public Theatre.
- Bedroom Culture, a sharply pointed but quite funny (we laughed out loud at times) coming of age story written by Ms. Hannah Rae Leach.
- The Tulpa, a sci-fi parable about a person being taken over by her alter-ego. We were especially drawn to this work, written by Ms. Tania Benites because it was directed by Mr. Jason Estremera and starred Ms. Selina Marie Pagan both of whom we know from the Young Latino Network. The cast is pictured above.
We found all three of the productions to be very worthwhile and look forward to seeing Fire on the Water in its entirety when it opens at the Cleveland Public Theatre on February 9th Nevertheless, as Mr. Bobgan said when he welcomed all of us there, all of the works-in-progress had the potential to be eventually be produced and performed on stage and such bold “new theatre” is the life blood of an art form.