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First Light: Festival of New Plays, 3/17-3/18

February 13, 2007
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 17 & Sunday, March 18
? Sat., Mar. 17, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.:
Readings of winning plays from the Fairfax County High School &
George Mason Playwriting Competitions
? Sun., Mar. 18, 1 p.m. – 7 p.m.: three professional new play readings

Fairfax, Virginia, February 13, 2007— Theater of the First Amendment (TFA), George Mason University’s professional theater company in residence, announces its 7th annual festival of new plays, First Light. Held in TheaterSpace on George Mason’s Fairfax campus, on Saturday, March 17 and Sunday, March 18, this year’s First Light features FREE readings and workshops of professional plays by Karen Zacarías, Jack Gilhooley and Gwydion Suilebhan. Winners of the George Mason University playwriting competitions for both high school and college levels are read, as well as a piece by members of George Mason’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI).
The Festival opens on Saturday, March 17 with brunch hosted by OLLI members at 11:00 a.m. The OLLI play, These are the Days (Of Our Lives) by Vera DeWeese, Carolyn Sanders, Jane Tombes and Kathie West begins at 11:30 a.m. Winning plays from Theater of the First Amendment’s unique mentoring program and competition for aspiring Fairfax County High School and George Mason University playwrights are also read on Saturday, March 17. The winner of the high school mentoring program award, Robinson H.S. student Hayley Rushing’s Five Variations on the Art of Aphrodite is read at 1:00 p.m., and Season with Sentiment by George Mason University student Harriet Lawrence begins at 3:00 p.m.
The Festival continues Sunday, March 18, with new works by Karen Zacarías, Jack Gilhooley and Gwydion Suilebhan. 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), and Mariela in the Desert (World Premiere the Goodman Theatre in Chicago). Jack Gilhooley’s recent play, Shooters was presented at Dublin’s PurpleHeart Theatre and at BacklotArts in Florida. Gwydion Suilebhan's plays have appeared in full productions and readings at the Kennedy Center, the Source Theatre and the Flashpoint Mead Theatre Lab in DC, as well as at Gettysburg College. His work has been read at the National Theater, the Fells Point Corner Theater in the Baltimore Playwrights Festival, the 2004 MuseFire New Work Festival, and Art-O-Matic 2004.

Saturday, March 17
11:00 a.m. – Opening brunch hosted by members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI)

11:30 a.m. – These are the Days (of Our Lives) by Vera DeWeese, Carolyn Sanders, Jane Tombes, and Kathie West
Directed by Kathie West
Dramaturgy by Jim Maiwurm
A presentation of the OLLI Drama Club
Written collaboratively by OLLI members, this new play asks, “Why are the now-grown children trying to run our lives?” Time to take a stand!

1:00 p.m. – Five Variations on the Art of Aphrodite by Hayley Rushing, Robinson High School, Fairfax, Virginia
ß Winner of the First Light Mentoring Program and Competition for High School Playwrights.
The goddess Aphrodite examines the many incarnations of love in this contemporary spin on mythological relationships.

3:00 p.m. – Season with Sentiment by George Mason University student Harriet Lawrence
ß Winner of the First Light Mentoring Program and Competition for Mason Playwrights.
This story explores traditions, joys and sorrows of Russian immigrants in the 1800s, as celebrated by their American descendants in 1970s suburban Maryland.

Sunday, March 18
1:00 p.m. – El Virgen by Karen Zacarías
Directed by Kristin Johnsen-Neshati
Dramaturgy by Rick Davis
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 impossibly pregnant. A dark comedy about resistance in the face of possible tragedy and impossible miracles.

3:00 p.m. – The Warrior by Jack Gilhooley
Directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner
Dramaturgy by Suzanne Maloney
Tammy is just back from two tours of duty in Iraq and all she has to show for it are PTSD and a broken marriage. Her filmmaker friend thinks she deserves a forum. Hold on tight for a bumpy ride. Contains adult language.

5:00 p.m. – The Faithkiller by Gwydion Suilebhan
Directed by Jeremy Skidmore
Dramaturgy TBA
Who is The Faithkiller? In 1946, he’s a character on a popular radio program, a Nazi-busting GI with a clear mission, boundless courage, and a powerful secret weapon. In the future, he’s an undercover revolutionary operative trying to overthrow the theocratic world government. And, in 2007, he’s a television superhero saving the world from extreme religious fundamentalists, dividing the country at the same time.

First Light is made possible by support from the Arts Council of Fairfax County and the Fairfax Commission on the Arts.
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The First Light Festival readings and activities are FREE and open to the public. 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 on Mason Pond Drive. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K. Visit