Conservatory of Theatre Arts Joins Dozens of Theatres to Present Play Reading in Honor of Women Veterans- 11/20/12

The Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University, in collaboration with NoPassport theatre alliance & press, proudly presents a staged reading of SPARK by Caridad Svich.  The performance, which will be offered at no cost to audience members, will take place on Tuesday, November 20, 2012, at 6:30 pm, at the Conservatory Spaces, 17 S. Old Orchard Avenue, St. Louis, MO, 63119.  To reserve your free tickets or to get additional information, email Gad Guterman, at gadguterman95@webster.edu.  Space is limited.

From the 2012 OBIE Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, SPARK is a play about three sisters living in the US caught in the aftermath of a recent war. It is about what happens when soldiers come home, when women of little economic means must find a way to make do and carry on, and about the strength, ultimately, of family—a contemporary US story of faith, love, war, trauma, and a bit of healing.

The Conservatory's staged reading is directed by Michael Fling and features other students from Webster's nationally recognized theatre program. With this reading, Webster's Conservatory of Theatre Arts joins professional, university, and community theatres across the US and abroad who will present free script-in-hand readings of SPARK in the month of November 2012 in honor of Veterans Day. Theatres in over twenty states have scheduled readings, as well as a theatre group in Australia. (For a full list of theatres, see http://www.nopassport.org/Spark/spark-theatre-near-you)

SPARK addresses in particular issues faced by female veterans. In a 2009 New York Times article, Damien Cave writes, “Never before has this country seen so many women paralyzed by the psychological scars of combat. As of June 2008, 19,084 female veterans of Iraq or Afghanistan had received diagnoses of mental disorders from the Department of Veterans Affairs, including 8,454 women with a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress — and this number does not include troops still enlisted, or those who have never used the V.A. system” (October 31, 2009).

The reading scheme is the brainchild of NoPassport theatre alliance & press, an organization committed to the advocacy, promotion, production and publication of creative expressions of diversity and difference in theatre and performance. NoPassport states that, “The toll recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken on soldiers in the US and abroad, and on the lives of families and civilians impacted directly by it is un-measured. [ . . .] The stories, moreover, of female veterans are even more hidden from plain view.”

The Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University is a professional training program for acting, musical theatre, directing, theatre studies and dramaturgy, design, technical theatre and stage management. Located in St. Louis, the Conservatory has been training theatre students for the professional world for over half a century (http://www.webster.edu/fine-arts/departments/conservatory/index.html).

ON THE PLAYWRIGHTCaridad Svich is a US Latina playwright, translator, lyricist and editor. She received the 2012 OBIE for Lifetime Achievement, and the 2011 American Theatre Critics Association Primus Prize for her play The House of the Spirits, based on the novel by Isabel Allende. She has been short-listed for the PEN Award in Drama four times, including in the year 2012 for her play Magnificent Waste. Among her key works: 12 Ophelias, Alchemy of Desire/Dead-Man's Blues, Any Place But Here, Iphigenia…a rave fable, Fugitive Pieces, GUAPA, The Way of Water, In the Time of the Butterflies (based on Julia Alvarez's novel), Instructions for Breathing, and the multimedia collaboration The Booth Variations. She was recently profiled in The Huffington Post and American Theatre magazine. She has edited several books on theatre including Out of Silence: Censorship in Theatre & Performance (Eyecorner Press), Trans-Global Readings and Theatre in Crisis? (both for Manchester University Press) and Divine Fire (BackStage Books). She is alumna playwright of New Dramatists, founder of NoPassport theatre alliance & press, associate editor of Routledge/UK's Contemporary Theatre Review, Drama Editor of literary journal Asymptote and contributing editor of TheatreForum. She holds an MFA in Theatre-Playwriting from UCSD. Website: http://www.caridadsvich.com

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