End of a season: Contemporary American Theater Festival finishes summer celebrations with final Listening Party
SHEPHERDSTOWN — For one month this summer, the Marinoff Theater parking lot was regularly filled with activity and art, as it became the temporary home for the Contemporary American Theater Festival’s public functions. The final one of the festival’s pandemic-friendly alternative events, which was part of the Friday night Playcast Plus series, took place on Friday night.
The Playcast Plus series began the second week in July, with the first two Fridays highlighting the work of local and national artists, and the final two Fridays featuring the audio drama renditions of two plays the festival plans on producing next summer. “Sheepdog,” written by Kevin Artigue, was listened to two weeks ago, followed on Friday night with Terence Anthony’s “The House of the Negro Insane.”
According to CATF Associate Producing Director Peggy McKowen, the audio dramas were recorded in New York City, and then underwent the editing process in Seattle, Wash. But even before all that, the playwrights had to put in extra work, to ensure their plays would translate well to an audio-only format.
During the final Listening Party talkback panel with Anthony and McKowen, which was moderated by CATF board member Hans Fogle, Anthony said the exercise of rewriting his play for a non-visual format inspired him creatively.
“I tend to write really visual plays,” Anthony said, mentioning the original play took two years to write, due to the amount of research it required for historical accuracy. “In this play, there were sections of magical realism parts that wouldn’t translate well to the audio experience. I put a lot of work into helping picture it.
“Tonight was the first time I’ve listened to the finished audio,” Anthony said, mentioning he also had to reimagine the portrayal of violence in an audio format. “It’s been a really cool experience. Now I want to write more audio dramas!”
According to CATF Public Relations Manager Gabrielle Tokach, the two audio dramas were not only made to be enjoyed at the in-person Listening Parties. They are both currently available for listening to on the Broadway on Demand website.
“They have a pay-what-you-can pricing structure,” Tokach said of the audio dramas on the website. “We just want people to pick the price that they can afford, to listen to them!”
“Sheepdog” can be listened to, through Aug. 20, at https://www.broadwayondemand.com/series/mY3DRLNTKCQe-sheepdog–contemporary-american-theater-festival. “The House of the Negro Insane” can be listened to, through Aug. 27, at https://www.broadwayondemand.com/series/5UAqN7CPYJN9-the-house-of-the-negro-insane–contemporary-american-theater-festival.