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NPSS: Road to Eden


Salt Lake Acting Company’s New Play Sounding Series Presents a Free Reading of

ROAD TO EDEN by Sean Christopher Lewis

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Salt Lake Acting Company is pleased to offer a free reading of ROAD TO EDEN by Sean Christopher Lewis and directed by Robin Wilkes-Dunn on Monday, February 24, 2014 at 7 p.m. as part of the New Play Sounding Series (NPSS). An outreach program at SLAC, NPSS provides an essential testing ground where playwrights can see their work in progress and receive insightful feedback from the audience in a post-play discussion. We thank the Jarvis and Constance Doctorow Family Foundation for their support of this vital program.

In 1848 a group of Mormon pioneers flee to the Mexican Territories of Utah to escape their oppressors. In 2013 a Mormon family's life is forever changed when a woman, who came to this country much like their ancestors did, mysteriously risks her life to save their rebellious son. ROAD TO EDEN tells two riveting stories which take place at the same place in Iowa but at two very different times. While the group of pioneers are forced to flee from Missouri and Executive Order 44 which authorizes the murder of any Mormon, a mother, father and son in 2013 are faced with the threat of gang violence. Both groups will be offered help in the form of a bold, strong Mexican woman and both will get way in over their heads.

ROAD TO EDEN explores themes that are complicated in a most thought provoking way. How does one distinguish the word of God from the whim of man? When is it okay to doubt? When is it good to trust? What choices would we make in the face of life-threatening danger? How far can fear push us?

This free reading offers a unique opportunity to hear a new play by an excellent cast and take part in a post-play discussion in which the playwright welcomes comments, questions and feedback from the audience.

SEAN CHRISTOPHER LEWIS can be heard as a commentator on NPR'S This American Life. His plays have won the Kennedy Center's Rosa Parks Award, the 2010 National New Play Network's Smith Prize, the NEA Voices in Community Award, a Puffin Foundation Artists Award, a Barrymore Award from the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, a Central Ohio Critic's Circle Citation for Best Touring Production, a Central Ohio Critic's Circle Citation for Best New Work, a National Performance Network Creation Fund Grant, the William Inge Fellowship and more. He served as National New Play Network Emerging Playwright in Residence at Interact Theatre in Philly and as Playwright in Residence at the William Inge Arts Center in Independence, Kansas. His work includes MAYBERRY (Hancher Auditorium, Bucksbaum Performing Arts Center, Iowa Arts Center); KILLADELPHIA (Baltimore Centerstage, Woolly Mammoth, Interact Theatre, Cape May Stage, Adirondack Theatre Festival, Touchstone Theatre, Hartbeat Ensemble, Drilling Company, Riverside Theatre, CSPS/Legion Arts, John Jay University/Gerald W. Lynch Theatre, Available Light Theatre, Revolutions International Theatre Festival); JUST KIDS (Available Light Theatre, Sandglass Theatre, Working Group Theatre, Pontine Theatre); I WILL MAKE YOU ORPHANS (Uno Festival of Solo Performance, Available Light 01 Festival, Equinox Theatre, Riverside Theatre, Center for Independent Artists, Galapagos Art Space, Hyde Park Theatre, TIXE Arts Center, Bowery Poetry Club);THE GONE CHAIR (Penn State University's Cultural Conversations Festival, Openstage Harrisburg's Flying Solo Festival, Riverside Theatre); MILITANT LANGUAGE (National Premiere at Know Theatre of Cincinnati, Halcyon Theatre of Chicago, Bang and Clatter in Cleveland, and Theater for the New City in NY, published by Original Works Publishing); THE APERTURE (Cleveland Public Theatre); THE HOMESCHOOLING OF JONATHAN ANDERSON (Drilling Company NYC, Luna Theater and Theatre of Note); SURVIVING THE BABY (Riverside Theatre); THE TEACHER SHOW (Revolutions International Theatre Festival) and GOODNESS (Project Y Theatre, Clockwise Theatre). He has been a playwriting fellow at the O'Neill Playwrights Conference and has had his work developed at the PlayPenn New Play Conference, Lark New Play Development Center, Orlando Shakespeare Festival's Harriet Lake Festival of New Work and at the National Center for New Plays at Stanford University. He is currently under commission with Davenport Theatricals, Interact Theatre, Hancher Auditorium, Available Light Theatre and Adirondack Theatre Festival. Internationally he has collaborated on MAJNOON SAITARA with the Ashtar Theatre of Palestine and with the International Theatre and Literacy Project he worked on JOURNEY TO THE DREAM a new play by high school students in Tanzania, East Africa. In 2011 he collaborated and directed WE STOOD UP for the Centre X Centre International Theatre Festival in Rwanda that incorporated the performances and stories of 23 orphaned survivors of the genocide. Lewis is also a noted actor, working Off Broadway at the Pearl Theatre, in NYC at La Mama ETC, regionally with companies like the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, in television and feature films from COMEDY CENTRAL'S Upright Citizen's Brigade to GOD'S COUNTRY and his work has been nominated for the Fox Foundation Fellowship and the Princess Grace Theatre Fellowship.

ROBIN WILKS-DUNN is back at SLAC after directing GOOD PEOPLE and DOTTIE: THE SISTER LIVES ON. She recently directed LAST LISTS OF MY MAD MOTHER and THE GOOD BODY for Pygmalion Theatre Company. Robin is script supervisor, co-writer and director for a children's touring show for the Intermountain LIVE campaign. Robin has directed several staged readings at SLAC, most recently David Kranes' THE LAST WORD. Other productions she has directed at SLAC include BOOM, PEARL, ONE LAST DANCE and NAPOLEON'S CHINA. She reads scripts for the Sundance Theatre Lab and works as Outreach and Education Coordinator for Kingsbury Hall.