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A new play about Joe Hill is one of four premieres by Utah playwrights including two plays with music to be produced by Plan-B Theatre Company.
The company's first offering will be Melissa Leilani Larson's "The Edible Complex," a new work for grades 4-6 as part of the company's Free Elementary School Tour, which will visit more than 40 schools from Weber to Juab County from Oct. 10-Nov. 18.
The play is about an 11-year-old foodie who becomes aware that her body is different than those of other girls The show will debut at Repertory Dance Theatre's Ring Around the Rose series Oct. 8.
The company will kick off its three-show mainstage season with "One Big Union," Debora Threedy's play about the trial and execution of Joe Hill.
The play focuses on Hill's relationships with the women in his life and his songwriting. It will feature more than a dozen of Hill's protest songs, including "Rebel Girl."
"One Big Union" will receive a workshop and stage reading this summer as part of the Utah Shakespeare Festival's New American Playwrights Project. The playwright is a University of Utah law professor, and this will be her fourth work to be produced by Plan-B.
"It's pretty remarkable, 100 years later, the impact of these short protest songs he was creating mostly for himself," says Jerry Rapier, Plan-B's artistic director. "He never realized the impact they had."
In February, the company will produce Tim Slover's "Virtue," a story about how Hildegard, the 12th-century Catholic mystic, visionary and composer, came to write "Ordo Virtutum,' or The Play of the Virtues, thought to be the world's first opera.
"It's pretty much a perfectly structured play," Rapier says. "What Tim does best is crack open a piece of history and ask: 'What if?' " Slover teaches playwriting at the University of Utah and leads the London Learning Abroad Program.
"Virtue" has received multiple readings around the country, but will receive its first full production at Plan-B.
In March 2017, the company will produce Morag Shepherd's "Not One Drop," which was selected for the company's third grant in partnership with The David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists, in honor of the young Utah writer and actor who died in 2013.
"It's a very experimental piece in the way it plays around with form and structure and identity," Rapier says.
The playwright describes the play as about "slippage," how people become so familiar with each other they forget which part of the relationship is about them and which part is part of the other, Rapier says.