Press Room

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


February 27, 2006
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.


Weekend of free readings, discussion, and creative development
celebrates new drama

FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA, FEBRUARY 20, 2006—George Mason University’s professional theater company, Theater of the First Amendment (TFA), presents the 6th Annual First Light Festival of new play readings, March 18 & 19 in TheaterSpace. First Light, TFA’s play development process, provides playwrights with professional directors, dramaturgs and actors in order to create new work. A week of development and rehearsal culminates in two days of staged readings, presented in a festival atmosphere, including audience feedback and catered intermissions. Professional playwrights at work on Sunday, March 19 include Karen Zacarías, Jack Gilhooleyand D.W. Gregory.

In addition to the readings of the three professional playwrights’ new works, this year’s festival features winning plays from the TFA Playwriting Competitions and Mentorship Program for Fairfax County high school students and Mason playwrights. The festival begins with an offering from the Readers Theater Company of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). Admission to all segments of the festival is free.

MARCH 18 & 19, 2006

Saturday, March 18
ß 11:00 am
Oh Frank! by Paul Zacheis
Directed by Kathie West
With a makeover that changes her life, a too long grieving widow, turns to
the fast lane with the help of her daughter and friend. A romantic comedy entwined between the flesh and the spirit. Paul Zacheis is a veteran of the Washington Metropolitan stage scene with award winning performances in numerous productions with area community theaters. Presented in association with OLLI Readers Theatre

ß 1:00 pm
One for Love by Kate Parkin, student at Herndon High School
Winner of TFA’s Fairfax County High School Playwriting Competition
Set in Boston during the American Revolution, One for Love is a story of the love between a Loyalist and a Patriot.

ß 3:30 pm
Violets by Owen Allen, George Mason University and University of Mary Washington student
Winner of TFA’s George Mason University Playwriting Competition
Directed by Lisa Nanni-Messegee
Jake wants to honor the wishes of Tennessee Williams, but, unfortunately, that would involve grave-robbing.

Sunday, March 19

ß 1:00 pm
El Virgen by Karen Zacarías
Directed by Kristin Johnsen-Neshati
In this dark comedy, a mother’s universe spins out of control when her bubbly sister-in-law is viewed as a saint and her troubled teenage son seems to be impossibly pregnant.

ß 3:00 pm
The Warrior by Jack Gilhooley
An Iraq War servicewoman suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is the subject of a friend’s documentary film. Abandoned by her own government, she must fight a war at home very much by herself.

ß 5:00 pm
October 1962 by D. W. Gregory
Presented in association with the Theatre Alliance, Washington, DC
Directed by Jane Beard
In this comic drama set during the Cold War, two young sisters are fascinated by the boy down the street –a convicted killer whose return to the old neighborhood has sent their mother into a panic and their father into an inexplicable crisis of conscience.

Karen Zacarías has developed several new works at TFA, including The Sins of Sor Juana (World Premiere TFA, winner of the Helen Hayes for Outstanding New Play), Mariela in the Desert (World Premiere the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, winner of the TCG New Stages Award, National Latino Playwriting Award, finalist International Susan Smith Blackburn Award, nominated for the Kesselring Award), The Book Club Play, and now El Virgen.

Jack Gilhooley’s recent play, Shooters was presented at Dublin’s PurpleHeart Theatre and at BacklotArts in Florida. The Broadway Play Publishing edition Plays By Jack Gilhooley (2006) includes Shooters, Mummers and Dancin’ to Calliope. Red Bessie recently played at the Edinburgh Fringe and The Warrior is scheduled for the Dublin Fringe in 2006. D.W. Gregory's plays have been presented throughout the United States and abroad, including productions in London and Madrid. Her drama The Good Daughter was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2003, and Radium Girls, now in its second printing with Dramatic Publishing, was recently translated into Dutch. She is also the author of plays for youth theater; Miracle in Mudville and Tales Between the Threads will premiere at Imagination Stage in April.

# # #

The FIRST LIGHT Festival is free and unticketed. 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. TheaterSpace is located on the ground floor of the Performing Arts Building, behind the Center for the Arts Concert Hall. FOR INFORMATION REGARDING THE FIRST LIGHT SCHEDULE, CALL 703-993-2787. Parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall. FREE parking is located in university lot K. Visit

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.