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The New World Stage PlayFactory will present a workshop production of Cold Kill, a new drama of adultery and murder written by North Carolina native Terry Roueche and directed by Scott Pardue, from Feb. 26 to March 6 at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, North Carolina. Roueche currently lives in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and teaches playwriting at Winthrop University. He is writer-in-residence for BareBones Theatre Group of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Director Scott Pardue says Cold Kill takes its title from "what happens when you freeze to death. They call it cold kill," claims Pardue.
He adds, "Cold Kill is about two couples that go to a cabin in Wyoming for a vacation at a mountain retreat located in a very remote location.... There's Stephen and Laura (Torrey Lawrence and Flynt Burton); they're married. And there's Paul and Julie (Matthew Bennett and Gigi Delizza); they are not married. Laura is having an affair with Paul, so the play is really about all these characters dealing with that affair."
The description of Cold Kill's plot in the New World Stage news release is a bit more colorful: "In the Colorado Mountains two snowbound couples confront the weather raging outside and a blizzard of betrayal sweeping through their cabin. Stephen and Laura have a troubled marriage and a retreat with their old friend Paul and his girlfriend might be their opportunity to work things out. Deceit boils beneath a frozen exterior and lies mount as the dark hours pass amongst friends."
Director Scott Pardue, who co-designed the show's minimalist set with lighting and sound designer Jon Harper, said staging a new work, on a shoestring budget, presents considerable challenges for his cast of four Triangle theater veterans. For example, there is no costume designer for this workshop production.
"Because we're a vagabond group," Pardue says, "we just did our best to come up with outdoor garb to give the playwright an indication of where the costumes might go."
He adds, "The set is minimalist. It is meant to give the impression of a very small cabin." And Pardue adds that the show's lighting is "soft, indicating the interior of a cabin lit by lanterns."
New World Stage specializes in staging workshop productions of new works by North Carolina playwrights. Scott Pardue, a NWS co-founder who will soon be leaving his job as the company's artistic director, says, "Cold Kill has come out of what we call our PlayFactory, which is a workshop engine for new plays. Plays that we produce through our PlayFactory are considered unfinished by the playwright. So, what we do in the PlayFactory is help playwrights overcome obstacles in their scripts through improvisation.
"When you watch a PlayFactory production, such as Moonshine by Erin Pushman [Nov. 5-17, 2002], Alice Neel by Ann Marie Oliva [May 14-24, 2003], and Settling Sofia by Cherryl Floyd-Miller [Sept. 4-13, 2003], it is a new work and its being workshopped," Pardue explains. "Audience feedback is very important. The playwright will see an interpretation of [his or her] play based on the work we've done in our PlayFactory, and it may or may not work. Its just one interpretation."
Pardue notes, "We have ultra-minimalist sets, and we have limited technical resources. We want to give the playwright more than just a staged reading. We want to go to the production level, so the playwright can see the script walking and talking.
"With an ultra-minimalist set and limited tech resources, we push the envelope as far as we can," he adds. "We try to get the production values as high as possible, so the playwrights can see interpretations of their scripts and make judgments about the direction that their play has gone in. They can agree or disagree on our particular slant."
Scott Pardue says, "The thing that I like best about [Cold Kill] is, it has a really strong plot line to it. That's something Terry Roueche is really good at, and [Cold Kill] has compelling relationships. They are deep and complex. They offer much for the actors in terms of finding stuff below the surface."
Pardue says he has been working intensively on Cold Kill for the last two months. "With the actors," he says, we've had six weeks."
He says, "The biggest challenge for a PlayFactory production is always, always, always time, because you're dealing with script revisions up until the very end. Time is always a factor.
"For example, we got the last scene of the play just the other day," Pardue says. "We go right to the wire with these things to try to help the playwright out. Because we have such a limited budget and a limited amount of time, there are things that I as a director would like to explore, but we really don't have time to do it from a technical standpoint. But we all try to keep a sense of humor about it."
Pardue says, "We're going to be doing a talkback session opening night for the playwright*. Audience feedback is always very helpful. In addition, we'd like to get feedback via e-mail."
He adds, "Any attention that you can give new work is really great, because it is so hard to get the audience's attention."
The New World Stage PlayFactory presents Cold Kill Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 26-28 and March 4-6, at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Feb. 29, at 3 p.m. at The ArtsCenter, 300-G E. Main St., Carrboro, North Carolina. $10 ($8 ArtsCenter Friends). 800/514-3849 or 919/929-ARTS. http://www.newworldstage.org/productions/playfactory/2003/cold_kill/cc_pr.htm [inactive 4/04] .
*2/26/04 @ 4:59 p.m.: Just in from New World Stage...: "Friends, The irony. Our playwright is snowed-in and will join us tomorrow nite [2/27]. See you then! NWS: COLD KILL: A winter vacation turns deadly in 'Cold Kill,' a new play by North Carolina native Terry Roueche. Featuring: Matt Bennett, Flynt Burton, Torrey Lawrence and introducing Gigi DeLizza. Directed by Scott. Feb. 26-28 & March 4-6, 8 p.m. Feb. 29, 3 p.m, The ArtsCenter, Carrboro.
http://www.newworldstage.org/productions/playfactory/2003/cold_kill/cc_poster.htm [inactive 4/04]. New World Stage. Fresh plays. Now."