John Gassner new Play Competition Reading
at Stony Brook Manhattan
April 26, 2010 - 6 pm
The reading of the 2009-2010 winner of the John Gassner New Play Competition, MONSTROUS BEAUTY by Karla Jennings will held at Stony Brook Manhattan.
It will be directed by Julia Gibson and feature Gordana Rashovich (TV's Mad Men, Film, TV, Broadway, Off-Broadway) as Leni Riefenstahl. The Dramaturg is MFA candidate Monica Rosell. Created by the Department of Theatre Arts, the John Gassner New Play Competition solicits scripts from playwrights from around the country. Our MFA Dramaturgs spend the year reading the many submissions, selecting finalists and choosing the winner as part of their studies in new play development under the guidance of Steve Marsh. The winning playwright will be in residence and will work with our students and professional actors in preparation for the reading. With our commitment to the creation of new work for the theatre, we are particularly pleased to see so many play submissions and a growing national interest in the JGNPC.
The reading will be followed by a post-show discussion and light refreshments.
MONSTROUS BEAUTY explores the relationship between power and art by dramatizing the sinister career choices made by Nazi filmmaker, dancer and actress, Leni Riefenstahl. Riefenstahl’s desire for fame and recognition of her cinematic vision is always overshadowed by the outside world’s admiration for the German expatriate actress Marlene Dietrich. With a cast of characters that includes Dietrich, Joseph Goebbels, Susan Sontag, Andy Warhol and others, we follow the life of Leni Riefenstahl in and out of hell, and are left questioning whether inner strength or innate corruption lead to the the survival of this cultural icon, this Monstrous Beauty.
Karla Jennings is a former newspaper reporter whose plays include The Ruby Vector and Images in Smoke. Honors include a public reading at Chicago Dramatists in 2008, a 2006 Hermann Kesten fellowship, a 2006 Ensemble Studio Theatre Sloan new play commission, and a 2006 Magic Theatre Sloan rewrite commission for The Ruby Vector, which received the National Arts Club 2005 Playwrights First Award, was in the Lark Theatre Company Playwrights’ Week 2005, and was a semi-finalist in the 2006 O’Neill Playwrights Conference. She co-founded Working Title Playwrights, Atlanta’s premiere playwriting organization, serving as founding artistic/managing director for three years. She is a member of The Dramatists Guild and The Playwrights’ Center. Her freelance work has appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, Cosmopolitan, The Japan Times, The Journal of the American Medical Association, Atlanta Magazine, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and elsewhere.