poster for Southern HauntTHEATRE PROGRAM OFFERS READING OF NEW PLAY

The Theatre Program of the University at Albany’s Department of Music and Theatre is pleased to present an Authors Theatre reading of a new play, Southern Haunt, on Monday, April 2 at 7:30pm at the UAlbany Performing Arts Center on the uptown campus.  Written by resident playwright Kathryn Walat, this spooky-sexy Southern gothic play set in Savannah is presented as a work-in-progress staged reading by professional actors which will be followed by a Q&A with the playwright and director.

“Savannah is a beautiful and haunted city, with a complicated relationship with its own history, and I tried to capture and explore that with this play,” claims Walat. “The piece only has three characters, which was a writer’s challenge that I gave myself to see if I could keep the drama going with mostly two-person scenes. And finally, I was curious how can you make something creepy—and even scary—in the theater, without the use of cinematic special effects.”

An assistant professor at UAlbany, Walat’s award-winning plays include Creation which is about music, obsession and the artistic process and for which she was nominated for an LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award for Playwriting as well as Bleeding Kansas and See Bat Fly. She also wrote the libretto for the chamber opera, Paul’s Case, which The New Yorker named one of “Ten Notable Performances” for 2014.

The reading will be directed by Portia Krieger, a New York-based theater director whose recent productions include Olivia Dufault’s The Tomb of King Tot (a New York Times "Critic’s Pick") Susan Bernfield's Tania in the Getaway Van, Sofia Alvarez’s Friend Art, Sarah Einspanier's The Convent of Pleasure, Caroline V. McGraw's The Bachelors and Eager to Lose, a burlesque farce co-created with writer Matthew-Lee Erlbach, director Wes Grantom and burlesque starlet Tansy (Ars Nova).

The cast includes Christian Conn, Portia Johnson and Ismenia Mendes.

Christian Conn received his B.F.A. from Rutgers University and has spent four seasons with Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, three seasons with the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and one with The Acting Company. His theatre credits include: Desire Under the Elms (Broadway); The Liar (Classic Stage Company); The School for Scandal (Red Bull Theater); Fulfillment (The Flea Theater); The Metromaniacs (Shakespeare Theatre, Old Globe, Red Bull Theater); Other Desert Cities (Guthrie Theater); Venus in Fur (Studio Theatre, Pittsburgh Public); The LiarThe Beaux’ Stratagem, and Love’s Labor’s Lost (Shakespeare Theatre Company); The Grapes of Wrath and Philadelphia, Here I Come! (Asolo Rep) and Angels in America and All My Sons (PlayMakers Rep).

Portia Johnson is a member of the LAByrinth Theater Company. Her credits include: Mama Nadi in Ruined (MTC, Geffen Playhouse); Rose in Fences (McCarter Theater, Long Wharf Theater); Intimate Apparel (Bay Street Theatre); Our Lady of 121st St., In Arabia We’d All Be Kings and The Way West (LAByrinth Theater Company); The Rose Tattoo (Williamstown Theatre Festival); the role of Stage Manager in Our Town (Fords Theatre); the London production of The Member of The Wedding; Zooman and the Sign (Signature Theater Company); McReele (Roundabout Theater Company); No Child… (TheaterWorks); Frankie & Johnny (Hartford Stage); Ride Down Mt. Morgan (Broadway).

Ismenia Mendes trained at The Juilliard School. Her theatre credits include Cressida in Troilus and Cressida and Hero in Much Ado About Nothing (The Public Theater/Shakespeare in the Park), The Liar (Classic Stage Company), Grand Concourse and Your Mother’s Copy of the Kama Sutra (Playwrights Horizons), The Wayside Motor Inn (Signature Theater), Family Furniture (The Flea), Baby Screams Miracle (Clubbed Thumb) and Katharine/Boy in Henry V (Two River Theater).

The reading is cosponsored by the Jarka and Grayce Burian Endowment and the New York State Writers Institute.

Admission is free and no tickets are required.  For further information, contact the Box Office at (518) 442-3997