Press Room

For Press Inquiries, contact Camille Cintrón Devlin, Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications at 703-993-8794 or


March 7, 2005
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

For general information about tickets, seating, parking, etc., for performances and events happening at the Center for the Arts, please contact the ticket office directly at 703-993-2787.

Saturday, March 19 & Sunday, March 20
Professional Play Readings and Winners of
High School and Mason Playwriting Competitions Featured
® Sat., Mar. 19, 11 am - 6 pm
readings of winning plays from Fairfax County High School & Mason Playwriting Competitions
® Sun., Mar. 20, 1 pm - 9 pm, three professional new play readings

Fairfax, Virginia, February 22, 2005Theater of the First Amendment, George Mason University’s professional theater company in residence announces its 5th annual festival of new plays, First Light. With performances and readings in TheaterSpace on George Mason’s Fairfax campus, on Saturday, March 19 and Sunday, March 20, this year’s First Light features workshops of the highly-anticipated new musical from Mary Hall Surface and David Maddox, Lift: Icarus and Me; a hard look at vigilantism from Paul D’Andrea, The Two-Bit Taj Mahal; and The Book Club Play, a new dark comedy from Karen Zacarías. On Saturday, March 19, the Festival opens with a brunch hosted by members of George Mason’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), and two short play readings. 1-800-Nervous, written by Barry Berkey, and Tell Truth by Diane Ney are one-act comedies that feature performances by members of OLLI’s own Reader’s Theater troupe. TFA Managing Director Kevin Murray directs both plays.
In August 2004, Theater of the First Amendment (TFA) announced a unique mentoring program and competition for all aspiring Fairfax County High School and George Mason University playwrights. Selected applicants worked with theater professionals on play development during the fall, submitting their final plays to TFA’s First Light Festival Competition. The winners from both categories are read on Saturday, March 19.
Ulysses, the winning high school entry by Dan Wright, a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, is read at 1:00 p.m., and Blue Devil Slip by George Mason University senior Kim Eagan starts at 4:00 p.m.
Sunday’s Festival continues with new works by playwrights well known to TFA audiences.
Mary Hall Surface and David Maddox (The Odyssey of Telémaca, Perseus Bayou and more) begin development of their latest family-friendly musical, Lift: Icarus and Me, a musical tale inspired by the myth of the high-flying Icarus and his inventor-father, Daedalus. Lift has an East Texas setting and the music of ragtime, rodeos and Texas Swing. This work is co-commissioned by Theater of the First Amendment and the Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Maryland.

Paul D’Andrea’s (Nathan the Wise, The Wonderful One-Hoss Shay) Two-Bit Taj Mahal is the story of a small American town that unanimously voted to kill the local bully, and the subsequent murder investigation, after which no indictment was ever returned. Directed by Tom Prewitt.
During the 2002 First Light Festival, Karen Zacarías developed her play Mariela in the Desert, which recently enjoyed its world premiere production at Chicago’s renowned Goodman Theatre. In her new work, The Book Club Play, treachery, subversion and gossip threaten a spirited book club. In a matter of months a coup is staged, people are ousted, and marriages are rocked. Directed by Nick Olcott.

Saturday, March 19

11:00AM Opening Festival Brunch hosted by members of the
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI).
11:30 1-800-NERVOUS by Barry Berkey
12:00 TELL TRUTH by Diane Ney
1:00 ULYSSES by Dan Wright
4:00 BLUE DEVIL SLIP by Kim Eagan

Sunday, March 20
1:00PM LIFT: Icarus and Me by Mary Hall Surface and David Maddox
4:00 TWO-BIT TAJ MAHAL by Paul D’Andrea
7:00 THE BOOK CLUB PLAY by Karen Zacarías

Discussions and catered intermissions are included throughout the days’ events.

Tickets for FIRST LIGHT are $10 per day, general admission. Charge by phone at 703-218-6500 or visit The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K. Visit

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Theater of the First Amendment
In celebration of truly free speech, TFA’s mission is to provide playwrights the resources to explore and create new work, and to provide audiences the opportunity to experience thought-provoking plays. Our motto is "We entertain ideas." TFA was founded in 1990 as the resident professional theater for George Mason University. To date, TFA has produced 40 plays (most of which have been world premieres) and 5 play festivals. TFA has received 12 Helen Hayes Awards and 36 nominations.

GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON is a program of George Mason University’s Center for the Arts, the professional presenting arm of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. The College of Visual and Performing Arts exists to create an academic environment in which the arts may be considered both as individual disciplines and as interdisciplinary forms that strengthen each other. Believing that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the College draws on a variety of professional presenting and producing units where artists from across the country and around the world regularly perform, give master classes, work with students during extended residencies, and interact with the community in a variety of other ways. These programs at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall, TheaterSpace, Galleries, Harris Theater, and other venues, provide a diverse selection of challenging and entertaining cultural experiences for the University community, as well as Northern Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C. area. The College houses four academic departments: Art and Visual Technology, Dance, Music and Theater.