By Constance Rodgers

Last night, July 15, 2019, I had the privilege of attending my first Red Bull Theater Short New Play Festival. This event is in its ninth year. The readings are held one night only at the venerable Lucille Lortel Theatre at 121 Christopher St. Each year the not-for-profit Red Bull Theater holds an international competition for short new plays of heightened language and classical styles on a different theme each year. This year’s theme was Evil. Red Bull Theater mission is to revitalize the classics for today’s audiences. The eight new plays borrowed brilliantly from Shakespeare, Chaucer, The Bible and more.

Two plays were commissioned by Red Bull from established playwrights; Kia Corthron (Seeking the Genesis and Light Raise the Roof) and Marcus Gardley (The House That Will Not Stand). The other six plays were selected from the 300 submissions the competition received. Those playwrights are: Kate Abbruzzese, Terry Glaser, Eric Pfeffinger, Bridgette Dutta Portman, David Lerner Schwartz, Sofya Levitsky-Weitz and Matthew Wells. All the plays were intelligent, and nuanced with wonderful insight into the theme of evil.

The plays were read by ten actors: Kate Abbruzzese, Lexie Braverman, Yvette Ganier, Michael Genet, Adam Green, Ron Menzel, Bhavesh Patel, Matthew Rauch, David Ryan Smith, and Soccoro Santiago. Directed by Jade King Carroll and Vivienne Benesch. All the pieces were so well acted it did not even feel like a reading.

Red Bull Theater Founder and Artistic Director: Jesse Berger; Managing Director: Jim Bredeson

I look forward to next year’s selection.