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CATF announces its return

By Staff | Mar 7, 2014

The Contemporary American Theater Festival (CATF) announced its new season of plays Saturday evening at the Shepherdstown Opera House.

This year’s festival will feature a rotating repertory of five plays: “The Ashes Under Gait City,” by Christina Anderson; “Uncanny Valley,” by Thomas Gibbons; “North of the Boulevard,” by Bruce Graham, Dead and Breathing, by Chisa Hutchinson, and Charles Fuller’s “One Night.”

Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, Charles Fuller, best known for “A Soldier’s Play,” — adapted into the film “A Soldier’s Story,” was on hand at Saturday’s announcement for a special sit down interview with CATF Producing Director Ed Herendeen.

“I think an adult ought to be delighted when they come into the theater,” Fuller said. “Hopefully when you see One Night, youll have that experience.”

Fuller said his ambitious career as a writer, which has spanned six decades began with a simple adolescent pastime: reading.

“I learned my craft as a consequence of reading some of the finest writing.”

“I always knew I wanted to be a writer,” he said.

A Vietnam War veteran and student of art and life, eventually graduating from La Salle University, Fuller has used his career to shed light on both the African American experience and that of the American soldier.

His play “One Night,” is inspired by more than 3,000 recent reports of sexual assault among servicemen and women.

An alarming trend, that Fuller sees as a mark of fundamental disrespect for military camaraderie among present day soldiers.

A proud veteran, Fuller said America deserves better of it’s armed forces and must do the hard work to live up it own founding principles.

“That’s not the army I was in,” he said.

Quoting T.S. Elliott’s “The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock,” Fuller said he believes the art of theater can facilitate the necessary conversations that produce change a world in need of advocates.

“Do I dare disturb the universe?” he said. “We would always say, ‘of course.'”

Ed Herendeen said that this year’s CATF season is full of plays that serve to ‘disturb.’

“Plays send messages and I assure you that the five plays we’ve selected for the 2014 rep send messages, because they’re made with intent and purpose by writers who wrestle with the world and dare to express what they hear and found and see there,” he said,

He called the year’s repertory a personal panoramic snapshot of the current American landscape.

“Together we believe that the theater can inspire us or teach us, or thrill us in some way that will make our lives better,” he said.

This year’s festival will be held from July 11 to August 3 at Shepherdstown University. To find more information or to buy tickets visit catf.org. Or call 1- 800-999-2283.