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Texas State hosts 8th annual Black & Latino Playwrights Conference

By Alec Jennings
University News Service
September 3, 2010

Beto O'Byrne and Reginald Edmund

Beto O'Byrne (top) and Reginald Edmund are the authors of this year's featured plays.

Students and professionals in the dramatic arts will gather at Texas State University-San Marcos Sept. 13-19 to take part in the 8th annual Black and Latino Playwrights Conference.

After a competitive, nation-wide submission process, Beto O’Byrne’s Into the Pines and Reginald Edmund’s Southbridge were chosen as this year’s featured plays. Directed readings of Into the Pines will take place Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m. and Sept. 19 at noon. Directed readings of Southbridge will take place Sept. 18 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Eugene Lee, artistic director for the conference and artist in residence in the Texas State Department of Theatre and Dance, said plays are chosen from the selection process as works in progress, showing a lot of quality and promise but still somewhat rough around the edges.

"First they're plays needing some development. The mission statement for the conference is: 'To study the craft. To nurture the craftsmen. To celebrate the work,'" said Lee. "I look for plays and writers who bring a work ethic that will take full advantage of the resources we have to offer and plays with as many opportunities for student involvement as I can find. There are two new plays to begin with and two new gifted promising young writers and new opportunities for students in the theatre department to observe and sink their teeth into new complex and compelling characters."

Directed by Ruben C. Gonzalez, Into the Pines is the story of a son’s return to his east Texas home where he must decide his future path while haunted by ghosts of the past.

Southbridge, directed by Brent Jennings, takes place in the late 1800s. A black man sits in jail while scenes from his life play out before the audience. It is described as a haunting look at love, social mobility and the effects of choices people make.

The conference will furthermore include talk back sessions with guest playwrights and artists as well as panel discussions and paper presentations.

Tickets for the directed readings are $3. The Black and Latino Playwrights Conference is presented by the Texas State Department of Theatre and Dance. For more information, please call (512) 245-2147.