Saturday, July 28, 2012

"Midwestern Voices" Continues with Jennifer Blackmer and "Alias Grace"

The Midwestern Voices Playwrights Festival, a New Play initiative from Illinois State University in conjunction with the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, brings its second new work to the table tomorrow.

Jennifer Blackmer
Jennifer Blackmer's "Alias Grace" is the second of the three plays being presented under this "Midwestern Voices" umbrella, and like Philip Dawkins' "Miss Marx: The Involuntary Side Effect of Living" before it and Ike Holter's "Hell-Care," coming up in August, "Alias Grace" is a brand new piece being given a staged reading by actors from the Illinois Shakespeare Festival's professional company.

Playwright Jennifer Blackmer is in B-N for a four-day residency that includes the reading tomorrow at 3 pm at Bloomington's historic Vrooman Mansion. The reading is open to the public and free of charge.

"Alias Grace" involves Grace Marks, one of Canada’s most notorious murderers. Grace, an Irish immigrant, maintains that she has no memory of killing her employer or his housekeeper. Raising issues of insanity, memory, culpability, innocence and guilt, "Alias Grace" is described as "a thrilling exploration of... the darkest places of the human mind."

Blackmer is a director and playwright, as well as Associate Professor of Theatre at Ball State University in Indiana. Her work has been produced at at theater and museums in New York, Chicago, Washington DC, Minneapolis and Indianapolis, Ball State University, and the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, where she currently serves as Playwright in Residence for the International Theatre in Museums workshop. Her play, "The Human Terrain," was selected for Playwrights’ Week at The Lark Play Development Center and was a finalist at the Eugene O’Neill Memorial Theater Center. Other recent plays include "Elegy No. 5" (Manhattan Shakespeare Project Emerging Female Voices) and "Delicate Particle Logic" (Playwrights’ Center, Minneapolis). Blackmer also directed the American premiere of Cathy Ostlere’s "Lost at Indiana Repertory Theatre." She is a member of the Dramatists’ Guild, the Mid-America Theatre Conference, the International Museum Theatre Alliance and The Playwrights’ Center.

The staged reading of "Alias Grace" starts at 3 pm on Sunday, July 29, at the Vrooman Mansion in Bloomington. Parking is available on the street.

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