Pellissippi State: Hollywood playwright’s world premiere of ‘The Ladder Plays’

Friday, March 23, marks the opening night of another world premiere by regional playwright Lisa Soland. This time she sits in the director’s chair.

Soland will be directing Pellissippi State Community College’s students, working alongside other local actors, in her new series of one-act presentations called “The Ladder Plays.” In them, the playwright explores the ups and downs of being human.

Some may remember Soland’s “Meet Cute,” which premiered at Pellissippi State’s Clayton Performing Arts Center in October 2010. Her romantic comedy “Thread Count” was part of that evening and has been chosen for inclusion in “The Best American Short Plays 2010/2011,” to be published by Applause Books.

Three years ago, playwright Soland moved to the Knoxville area from Hollywood, Calif., where she had directed and produced more than 80 shows, 55 of which were original. Upon her arrival, Charles R. Miller, the head of Theatre at Pellissippi State and producer of “The Ladder Plays,” began to discuss with her ways in which she could contribute to local theatre.

“Students need this sort of experience, and they might not get it again during their careers,” said Miller. “There’s just no better training than working with the playwright firsthand and getting to watch a play being developed right before your very eyes.

“These actors get to play a significant role in that development. You just couldn’t ask for a more exciting and educational opportunity.”

“Quite honestly, we’re having a ball,” said Soland. “It seems to be a win-win situation for everyone. I have venues willing to produce my new plays, and the local actors have an opportunity to participate in the process of creating new works.”

Soland’s world premiere of “The Ladder Plays” opens at Pellissippi State’s Clayton Performing Arts Center on March 23. It plays Friday and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through March 31, with a Sunday performance on April 1 at 2 p.m. The Clayton Performing Arts Center is located on the Pellissippi Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

Tickets are $12 for general admission and $8 for students. Tickets may be purchased at the door. All proceeds go to the Pellissippi State Foundation on behalf of the Theatre program.

To find out more, call (865)-694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu/theatre. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

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