Bringing together young actors with established theater veterans, filling the stage with large-cast ensemble plays and filling seats with younger theatergoers. Those were the initial aims of Greg Naughton and the consortium of young actors with whom he founded the Blue Light Theater Company, and as the company completes its fifth-anniversary season, that remains its mission--or at least a major part of it. Under the leadership of new artistic director Peter Manning and producing manager Mandy Greenfield, Blue Light has been evolving into an institution that also nurtures new plays and playwrights.
The youthful pair of Manning and Greenfield (he's in his early 30s, she's in her late 20s) were heavily involved in play development during their stints at New York Stage and Film, the not-for-profit upstate New York company co-founded by actor Mark Linn-Baker to develop projects for both mediums. Both are continuing that work in their current positions.
This season three of the company's four shows are new plays, including Blue Light's current offering, Jessica Goldberg's The Hologram Theory which Manning and Greenfield first came into contact with while at New York Stage and Film. A thriller about a Trinadadian woman who comes to New York City to unravel the mysteries surrounding her brother's death and his club-kid life of excess, it begins performances this week.
"Jessica wrote the first half of the first act of this play when she did a summer residency with us in 1996 and said, 'I feel like I'm channeling this,' " recalls Greenfield. "We were completely blown away by it and it was a major departure for her in terms of subject and scope. A 10-character play coming out of a 26-year-old writer is fairly unheard of for fear that it would never get produced."
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