Serving up New Works; Fresh plays take the stage for annual festival at Firehouse – Eagle

Each year on the New Works Festival stage, Victor Atkins would deliver a comedic monologue in his British accent and butler’s outfit, bewailing how festival playwrights had once again skunked his ilk.

But last year, playwright Josh Faigen turned the tables on him. In the wake of Atkins’ lament, the playwright waved a sheath of papers and boldly announced that indeed there was a script for the penguin-attired steward.

To the audience’s delight — and Atkins’ initial mortification — the long-neglected butler had his role. The short spoof was followed by a reading. In it, the butler shoots a houseguest.

Welcome to New Works, the world of the unexpected, where newness and spontaneity forge communal bonds among writers, directors, players, crews and audiences.

Over four days this weekend and next, 40 actors will perform 17 jury-selected works by New England playwrights at Newburyport’s Firehouse Center for the Arts.

The original plays, selected from around 200 entries, include a

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