By which I mean that the new space, along with its hardwood floors, feels well-scrubbed, with finished-out walls and ceiling. It also has heat – a makeshift affair in the old space – and air-conditioning. And the lobby’s better-lit.
Yet as demonstrated by the troupe’s inaugural production at 937 Liberty, its eighth annual Theatre Festival in Black & White, artistic director Mark Clayton has also retained what was agreeable about the old space – especially the friendly, welcoming atmosphere, typified by Southers himself taking tickets at last night’s show.
Meanwhile, the black-box-style theater space itself will be pretty familiar to veteran Playwrights audiences: The seating arrangement and capacity (about 100) is the same. I’m pretty sure that the ever-resourceful Southers even reused some of the same seats.
As to the Black & White Fest, the quality of the one-acts varies, as always. But the fest – which pairs white playwrights with black directors, and vice versa -- remains a unique attempt to promote diversity and collaboration in the Pittsburgh stage scene (among audiences as well as artists), and that’s always a good thing.
The Fest continues with two separate programs of four plays each running in rotation, at 3 and 7 p.m. both today and tomorrow. See www.pghplaywrights.com.
Playwrights remains the sole local company dedicated to producing works by local playwrights – and not just August Wilson, though Playwrights has arguably become the premier producer of Wilson’s works.
The company executes a quick turnaround, staging its next production in January: Elder Hostage, by Ray Werner, and directed by Marci Woodruff.