Now in its 15th season, UTNT (UT New Theatre) serves as an incubator for new work, presenting newly developed plays from playwrights of Texas Theatre and Dance and Michener Center for Writers. In addition to showcasing work by these young writers, UTNT also provides actors, designers and creatives from within and beyond the department with opportunities to collaborate in the development process. This year’s UTNT showcase is no different, with three new plays featuring a wide variety of talent from across the department, the university and Austin.
This semester’s UTNT (UT New Theatre) features two stellar new plays that revitalize classic Greek tragedies, adapting ancient stories into the modern world. M.F.A. in Playwriting candidate Jenny Krick has reimagined Euripides’ The Trojan Women through the mind of a contemporary female playwright, exploring themes of trauma and mental health, while M.F.A. candidate Nicholas Kaidoo transported Aeschylus’ The Oresteia into modern housing projects in New York City, bringing with it themes of justice, power and inheritance. Leading up to their virtual premieres, Kaidoo and Krick shared their process of adapting these centuries-old scripts into new plays, from their initial fascinations with the tragedies starting in Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ classroom to growing their own unique worlds from the foundations the classic works of literature provide.
Radiance, by M.F.A. in Playwriting candidate Gursimrat Kaur, weaves together a complex cast of characters whose lives thrive and collapse with and against each other. Set in a developing city fraught with corruption and economic growth, this play balances various important aspects, themes and plot lines in order to portray the depth of each character. Leading up to this weekend’s virtual performances of Radiance as part of UTNT (UT New Theatre), Kaur delves into some of these important aspects, including the creation of her developing city, the building of relationships and the metaphors that shine throughout the script, as well as how the play has been transferred to an online setting.