Contemporary American Theater Festival begins this week

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Jul. 2—The Contemporary American Theater Festival begins this week with a run of play previews in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. The Opening Weekend Party is at 9:45 p.m. July 8, and the festival continues through July 30, featuring five new plays.

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A world premiere by Lynn Rosen

A showdown between competing space companies, each on a quest for Mars, ends in disaster with the explosion of RedSky's unmanned rocket. As air disaster expert Dylan Marks searches for signs of sabotage, her investigation becomes deeply personal and ultimately life changing. This epic tale explores the costs of risk-taking — scientific, emotional, and spiritual — and asks, "Do we know all the ways there are to be alive?"


A world premiere by José Rivera

Aislin is getting older. She suffers the inevitable indignities of being human — and hates technology. Stacey, her caregiver is perfectly toned, doesn't age, and is utterly in control — because she's an AI entity. And there's a new algorithm out there called AOS or Approximation of Soul. Does Stacy have it? Oscar nominee and Obie-winning José Rivera examines how we live, die, and form our sense of self in a world that's increasingly saturated with technology.


A world premiere by Dael Orlandersmith

Spiritus means "breathing." This solo play about how we live and pass, about time and direction — both celebrates and appreciates life and death, and just how much we take for granted.

Obie award winning and Pulitzer Prize Finalist Dael Orlandersmith both writes and performs in "Spiritus/ Virgil's Dance."


A world premiere by Chisa Huthinson

Redeemed tells the fictional story of convicted murderer Trevor Barlow, who killed Claire Yaing's brother nine years prior. He has written to Claire begging her to visit him in prison. When Claire arrives, Trevor claims he's a changed man thanks to the help of her brother's ghost. Claire must decide if Trevor is capable of redemption, or just attempting to impress the parole board.


A world premiere by Jeffrey Lieber

For decades, Adele and Zachary have rendezvoused in a remote cabin in the woods to celebrate their passion and be together. This year though, something is ... different. The place is falling apart, a sense of loss pervades the air, they're both keeping secrets, and Adele has brought a gun ... one that belongs to her longtime husband. "Fever Dreams (of Animals on the Verge of Extinction)" is an unfolding mystery about the cost of lies, the price of truth, and the consequences of long-overdue revelations.