UO to Stage Reading of New Play by a Top Writer

Article excerpt

Byline: Fred Crafts The Register-Guard

A reading of a new play by a leading American playwright, a revue that reviews life lessons and a corn-pone comedy will open on local stages this week.

Robinson Theatre

The struggles of an Afghan-American doctor in post-Taliban Afghanistan will be explored in a reading of "The Afghan Women" by Seattle playwright William Mastrosimone at 8 p.m. Wednesday in Robinson Theatre, 1109 Old Campus Lane, on the University of Oregon campus.

Tickets are $5 at the door. All proceeds will go to Afghan orphans through International Orphan Care. Information: 346-4190.

Still in development, "The Afghan Women" is soon to premiere in Kabul, Afghanistan. The drama centers on a doctor who oversees an orphanage and works to bring a new order to the country. Her confrontation with an Afghan warlord sharply defines the ways of the past set against the prospects for the future.

The play is being presented during Mastrosimone's brief UO residency, which begins today and concludes Wednesday. Thurston High School drama teacher Mike Fisher, who has collaborated with Mastrosimone on several projects, will cast the play using UO students.

Mastrosimone lived in Afghanistan for several months in the early 1980s. His play "Nanawaitai," also set in Afghanistan, became a feature film called "The Beast" and won the Roxanne T. Mueller Award for Best Film at the 1988 Cleveland International Film Festival.

Mastrosimone made his professional debut as a playwright with "The Woolgatherer," which won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Best Play award in 1982. His play "Extremities" won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Play of 1982-83 and the John Gassner Award for Playwriting; it later became a major motion picture of the same name. Other plays include "Shivaree," "The Undoing," "A Stone Carver," "Tamer of Horses," "Cat's Paw," "Sunshine" and "Burning Desire."

Fisher previously worked with Mastrosimone in developing the script for "Bang Bang You're Dead," about school violence. That play recently inspired a Showtime movie special of the same title which has received the Parent's Choice Award for 2002.

Mastrosimone recently wrote the screenplay for the A&E television movie "Benedict Arnold," based on his play of the same title. His play "Like Totally Weird," which premiered at the Lord Leebrick Theatre Company in Eugene, is being made into a feature film.

Spotlight Theatre

An old-fashioned county fair is the setting for the comedy "Faith County," opening Monday at Spotlight Theatre in Pleasant Hill. …