Newest of the new

The thrill of discovery will motivate the actors, directors and audience this week at the Playwright’s Festival of New Work, presented by River Stage.Tony Award-winning writer Mark Medoff returns with a new piece, The Same Life Over. Medoff is probably known best for his play Children of a Lesser God, but local audiences also remember him for Gunfighter, which SN&R and others tabbed as one of the region’s best dramas in 2002. (Gunfighter was developed at the Playwright’s Festival, mounted by River Stage, and has just been published.)

Medoff’s new play is not a light piece. “It’s about a father whose daughter disappears from his truck, and the investigation that follows. It has two main characters: the father and a female sheriff’s detective. I’ve been working on it since March 2002, when I read a story on the Internet about a father who lost his child. I couldn’t stop thinking about the idea—a parent’s worst nightmare.”

In addition, Amy Lanasa will present her comedy Buy One, Get Five Free. “It’s about a West Texas family in a very funny crisis,” Medoff said. “Amy has been working on it with me at Florida State University in a graduate play-writing class. The play’s had over a year of readings, rewriting and work with directors and actors.”

For the authors, the opportunity to see their plays in staged readings and to hear feedback from audiences is incredibly valuable. River Stage artistic director Frank Condon said, “There’s a lot you don’t know until you get the play up on its feet. Then things become clear that aren’t clear on the page.”