Black Box Theater director’s original work to be staged at festival

A play written by the director of New College’s Black Box Theater has been selected to be produced next summer by the The Players Centre for Performing Arts in Sarasota.

Monica Cross, the production manager and technical director of the BBT, entered the script of “The Wonder of Our Stage” for consideration for the Centre’s New Play Festival. Judges selected it over four other finalists to be produced in the Centre’s Backstage Theater July 23-28, 2019.

“The Wonder of Our Stage” is an Elizabethan-era story with a fantasy/sci-fi twist. The idea for the play “has been gestating for five years,” Cross said. “It sprang out of the question of who really wrote Shakespeare’s plays.”

At the direction of the queen, an alchemist builds a mechanical man. As the machine gains consciousness, it struggles to find purpose. Cross describes the play as a coming of age story. “The mechanical man begins writing to better understand humanity. In doing so, he finds his life in the theatre, finding his purpose,” she said.

Writing about Shakespeare is nothing new for Cross. Elements of his plays were the subject of both of her masters theses from Mary Baldwin College.

Collaborating with local director Candice Artim, “The Wonder of Our Stage” will undergo a series of rewrites and rehearsals this spring, culminating in the final production in July.

The production also got a recent boost with a $3,000 grant from the John Ringling Towers Fund, through the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota. The Individual Artist Award recognizes practicing, professional, artists residing in Sarasota County. The awards support artists of exceptional talent and demonstrated ability to continue to produce work.

Located in Sarasota, New College of Florida has educated intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement since its founding in 1960. As the State of Florida’s designated honors college, New College provides an exceptional education that transforms students’ intellectual curiosity into personal accomplishment. The 110-acre campus on Sarasota Bay is home to more than 700 students and 80 full-time faculty engaged in interdisciplinary research and collaborative learning. New College offers nearly 40 areas of concentration for undergraduates and a master’s degree program in Data Science.

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