by Jennifer Brown
Directed by Patrick Mullins, Asst. Director: Leila Stephanie
Can truth prevail in the teaching of history to school children? Sixty-five years apart, two Select Committees of the Virginia Textbook Commission face this question. In 1955, a committee member challenges misinformation in a proposed Virginia history manuscript for elementary students. Fellow members are reluctant to stir up unrest in communities of color, and with the state commission. In a 2020 meeting, one member protests the racial equity embraced in a new manuscript of a middle-school text. The chair tries to protect the committee’s work while grappling with intimations of unrest and potential violence.
The Proteus New Plays Festival showcases community-driven staged readings of 4 scripts that have been developed in the Z Playwrights Lab or by Z Artist Members. The staged readings give the playwrights an opportunity to work with a director and a volunteer cast to see their script “on its feet” for the first time, and add the most crucial element to developing a play, The Audience!
Each reading is presented twice during the 2 weeks of Proteus Festival. Audiences are given the opportunity to rate the plays via a survey focused on the elements writing an engaging script and story. Ratings are averaged to select the PNPF Audience Favorite. The Audience Favorite receives a workshop production 2-week run in November, as the second Curtain Up! New Plays Series play of the 23-24 season.