Hippodrome to debut five new plays this weekend

The Hippodrome Theatre in downtown Gainesville.
The Hippodrome Theatre in downtown Gainesville.
Sean Pavone via Shutterstock

Limited seating remains for the Hippodrome’s New Works Festival running two shows this Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.

Partnering with a crew of directors, actors and producers, five finalists will debut their new plays in a staged reading for the festival. The cast has less than a week of prep time, from getting the scripts to the first Friday show.

Franziska Raeber, marketing manager for the Hippodrome, said the cast and crew are already working through full rehearsals that will run all week to get ready.

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The 2022 festival is the first since the pandemic and Raeber said the theatre looks to continue again next year. She said the format works well to test new plays and see which might continue to run performances.

After the shows, the audience can participate in a talk back to ask questions of the playwrights and cast.

The Hippodrome whittled down the final plays from 41 submissions. These brand new plays range in content and form.

“Yes No Maybe Ommm” by Ken Pederson tells its entire story with just five words in a musical experiment.

“Ghost of Romeo” by Bobby McAfee dives into the aftermath created by the deaths of Romeo and Juliet in Shakespeare’s play. The comedy pits the apothecary in a battle against the characters from the original play with the inclusion of Romeo’s ghost.

“Buckets of Rain” by Douglas Gearhart deals with a couple’s journey through tragedy.

“Changeling” by Monica Cross shows a mother in search of her child in a magical tale about love.

“Terrence” by Terrence Jackson and Jane Arrowsmith Edwards tells of a 12-year-old’s dream to play pro basketball but finds himself without a home in a rap drama about survival.

Tickets are $20 or $10 for students and seniors. You can order online.

Raeber said the theatre is still running at 50 percent capacity, meaning anywhere from 100 to 120 attendees depending on group size.

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