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Young writers will present their scripts on July 29

Great Barrington, MA --  Emmy Award winning writer, NYFA fellow and Tennessee Chapbook Prize for Drama recipient Laura Maria Censabella will direct the first EarlyStages Playwright Mentorship Program as part of the 2007 Berkshire Fringe.

Three young writers were selected to participate in this new program.  The three writers study at colleges in Western Massachusetts, and they will work intimately with Ms. Censabella during an intensive two-week workshop and rehearsal period.  They are currently in residence with the Berkshire Fringe on the Simon's Rock campus, where they will have the opportunity to develop their plays while immersed in the lively atmosphere of this theater festival.  They will present their work on July 29  in readings that are free of charge and open to the public.

Ms. Censabella’s own plays – Abandoned in Queens, Three Italian Women, Some Girls and Jazz Wives Jazz Lives – have been produced at The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s Playwright Conference, The Philadelphia Festival Theatre for New Plays, The Women's Project, The Working Theatre, The Belmont Italian American Playhouse, (which commissioned Some Girls) Interact Theatre, and the American Living Room Series at The Ohio. Her short play Posing was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and The Actual Footage won her the Tennessee Chapbook Prize for Drama. Ms. Censabella has written Physics for the HBO's series Women: Breaking the Rules, and for two years she wrote for daytime television, winning two Emmy Awards. She is also the recipient of The Geri Ashur Award in Screenwriting for her original screenplay Truly Mary.

In addition to her professional career that spans theater, film, and television, Ms. Censabella also brings her expertise as a teaching artist to the EarlyStages program. Most recently Ms. Censabella has worked with students at the New School for Drama, the Actors Studio Drama School, Columbia University's School of the Arts, The Sewanee Writers Conference, The Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg, Russia, and The Ensemble Studio Theatre, where she is a member and runs the Playwrights Unit.

Under the guidance of Ms. Censabella, The EarlyStages program is being tailored to address the interests and objectives of each participant. In addition, each writer will have rehearsals with actors and a professional director to prepare for the July 29 concert reading.  The young playwrights chosen were Davern Wright of Williams College, Ezra LeBank of Smith College and Michael Marceline of the University of Massachusetts.  The three participants were selected from a competitive open application process.

The July 29 reading schedule follows:

Inside by Davern Wright, to be presented at 12 p.m., is about a college student who gets swept up in a battle for his life when his very active fantasy life collides with his not so active real life.   Davern will be a senior at Williams College this fall. He is currently an intern at Gold Circle Films in Beverly Hills.

Fresh Air by Ezra LeBank, to be presented at 1:30 p.m;, is about young man compelled to investigate two unrelated castrations in a small Pennsylvania town, but he must look deeper to find the answers he seeks.  Ezra is an MFA candidate in playwriting at Smith College.  He is also the winner of a Kay Snow writing award.

Cowboys by Michael Marceline, to be presented at 3 p.m., is about a young woman at the end of a four-year relationship who must choose between familiar emotional crutches or taking a chance on a new family.  Michael just graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  Cowboys is his first full-length play.

The EarlyStages education program is made possible by a grant from the Kathryn J. Dinardo Fund.  For more information about EarlyStages and the 2007 Berkshire Fringe, please visit www.berkshirefringe.org

Simon's Rock Media Contact:
Briee Della Rocca: 413 644-4706
E-mail: bdellarocca@simons-rock.edu