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Streamlined PlayFest has a new leader, a new look and a more "user-friendly" approach

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Jon Jory, former producing director of the Actors Theatre of Louisville and founder of the influential Humana Festival of New Plays, "has kind of legendary status in the theater world." Jory will lead an acting workshop on Saturday before delivering his address, which will be followed by a reading of his new Tom Jones adaptation (based on Henry Fielding's novel, not the Vegas singer). "I think he going to come chock-full of very entertaining and informative stories about his past and theater in general," predicts Routhier. Perhaps he'll even finally confess to being the real "Jane Martin," the elusive pseudonymous author of Anton in Show Business.

Of the seven scripts being explored this year, Routhier has especially high expectations for the future potential of Leveling Up, by Deb Laufer, and Connected, by Lia Romeo, which both "deal with technology and how it is affecting young people predominantly." Another potential standout is John W. Lowell's The Standby Lear, about an aging actor and his supportive spouse.

When asked how the PlayFest experience benefits his work as a playwright, Lowell replies: "I'll learn the crucial things about my play double-quick: Does this line work? Does that joke land with the right punch? Does this moment or beat or scene accomplish the most with the least? The PlayFest is the greatest gift a playwright can get: a no-pressure zone to make something which might be good into something which might be great."

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