Lansing, Mich.-- Audiences at this year's Renegade Theatre Festival will see plays from around the community and around the country over two weekends Aug. 10-19 in five Lansing-area neighborhoods.
Over 400 scripts were submitted to Renegade N.O.W. (New Original Works) with 12 selected for presentation Aug. 10-12 in the Red Cedar Friends Meeting Hall. Paige Tufford, Renegade N.O.W. coordinator, noted not only an increase in quantity but in quality. "They're a higher caliber this year," which makes the selection all the more challenging. Six 10-minute plays on the theme "Rogue Reality" and six 30- to 90-minute plays will be presented. The winning 10-minute play is Synthia by Rob Matsushita, about an outspoken android.
The overall 2017 winner is Power by Kate Danley in which a different power struggle unfolds nightly between actors depending on the numbers given them by the audience. "I've never read a play like this," said Tufford. "It's fresh, exciting, innovative." Director Katie Doyle, a Renegade coordinator, explained the numbers will determine the characters' status and relationship to each other, so each performance will be different. She said, "Power is a volatile issue in our world. This play makes it personal."
Power and Synthia will also be presented the second Renegade weekend, Aug. 17-19, when the festival spreads to five neighborhoods around town: Old Town, REO Town, Downtown, Eastside (Aug. 17-18 only), and East Lansing (Aug. 18-19 only). Festival co-artistic director Melissa Kaplan said, "Theatre is art for everyone, but it may not always seem accessible or even visible if you've never been to a play before. We hope this expansion opens the doors to newcomers who want to explore, and expands opportunities for everyone."
The second weekend features shows presented by the professional Williamston Theatre, community theatres including Audio Airforce, Blue Light Players, Downeaster, Generations, Mid-Michigan Family, Peppermint Creek, and Riverwalk, Michigan State University's and Lansing Community College's theatre programs, and independent theatre artists Rico Bruce Wade, Scott Crandall, Ray Goodwin, and Jim McEwan. In addition, there's an improv showcase presented by A Little on the Nose, a spoken word stage coordinated by Masaki Takahashi and Grace Carras of The Poetry Room, and Soap Box Speeches coordinated by Tom Helma.
For teens, a free day-long workshop is offered Saturday, Aug. 19 starting at 9:30 a.m. Participants develop an original play, then perform for the public at 5 p.m. in the MICA Gallery.
There'll be music nightly in Old Town at Turner Park, as well as all day Saturday to coincide with Old Town's annual Art Feast festival.
And the Writing Center at Michigan State University will be popping up at various locations to collect stories about life in Lansing.
Performance spaces include the Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center and Impression 5 Science in Downtown Lansing; The Robin Theatre and the Blue Owl Café in REO Town; the Allen Neighborhood Center and Happendance Exchange on the Eastside; the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University and Scene Metrospace in East Lansing; and the MICA Gallery and the Red Cedar Friends Meeting Hall.
Detailed schedules may be found at http://www.renegadetheatrefestival.org
Click the “Weekend 1” and “Weekend 2” buttons at the top right corner.