Over the next month the Mercantile Library (414 Walnut St., Downtown) is hosting evenings with three contemporary playwrights. It’s an unusual opportunity for theater lovers to get some face-to-face exposure to people who are creating some of today’s best new plays. This week on Wednesday at 7 p.m., it’s Heather Raffo, an Iraqi-American writer and performance artist. Her script, 9 Parts of Desire, was an Off-Broadway hit in 2004 (winning the 2005 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Special Commendation and a Lucille Lortel award for best solo show). Raffo will talk about her play, offering insights into the psyches of women in Iraq, especially relative to the current war.
Subsequent evenings will offer an appearances by Marilyn Campbell (Feb. 11) and Steven Dietz (Feb. 28). Campbell adapted Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment into a script that will be presented by three actors at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s Shelterhouse Theatre (Feb. 2-March 2). Her remarks will focus on the topic of adapting literary works for the stage.
Dietz’s careeer has included adaptations as well as original scripts. His interpretation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary detective, Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, was a Cincinnati Playhouse production last spring. His original script, More Fun than Bowling, was the second play presented during Ensemble Theatre’s 2007-2008 season. He will speak about his career as a writer and director.
Admission to each lecture is $10. (The entire series can be attended for a $25 fee.) Reservations: 513-621-0717. Additional information: www.mercantilelibrary.com.
– Rick Pender