2018 Plays in Progress Series (PIPS)

March 22nd – 31st, 2018

All events are at The Black Box Theatre at Johnson-McFarlane Hall at DU.

1903 East Iliff Avenue
Denver, CO 80208

Parking is available in the lot on the corner of Gaylord and Iliff for $1.50 per hour.

In this exciting and innovative program, women playwrights collaborate with directors, dramaturgs and actors, to bring brand new work to the public. The Plays In Progress Series has grown to be a vital arena for fostering new work by female writers. This year, we bring you a sparkling mix of stories from five playwrights!

From over 150 submitted scripts, three were selected for Workshop Productions – in which professional directors, actors and crew work with minimal sets, lights, sound and props. Actors stay on book in case the playwright asks for last-minute script changes, but they move naturally around the set rather than delivering their lines at stands as in a concert reading. After each performance, the audience and theatre professionals give feedback – so essential to the playwright in further developing the work – and vote on which play should go forward as our fully staged Premiere Production.

This year, two additional scripts were also chosen – one for a Concert Reading, and the other for a Table Reading. In addition, there are two Panel Discussions focusing on the development of new works.

Tickets are $13 for each Workshop Production. There is a suggested donation of $8 for the Concert Reading and $5 for Table Reading. Reservations are required.

A PIP Series Pass for $35 is good for admission to each Workshop Production, the Concert Reading, the Table Reading, AND the Panel Discussions!

All PIP performances are now SOLD OUT. To request a spot on the waiting list, please email boxoffice@athenaprojectarts.org.

To request a reservation for the PIP Panel discussion on March 31st at 5:00 PM please email boxoffice@athenaprojectarts.org


The Buddha’s Wife – by Mary Poindexter McLaughlin

Friday, March 23rd at 7:00 PM
Saturday, March 31st at 2:00 PM 

Diane, a PhD candidate and rising star in feminist studies, finds herself at the kitchen sink. Trapped within her role as an at-home mother, she struggles to find meaning in a life so different from what she believes she deserves. Meanwhile, in India 2500 years prior, Yasodhara leads a parallel existence. A 16-year-old princess of enormous talent and education, she marries Prince Siddhartha, who leaves her and their newborn child to seek enlightenment. The Buddha’s Wife juxtaposes these two women, moving fluidly through time and place to show how their mutual choices drove them to this point of despair. Their common story answers the question: can one attain enlightenment standing at the kitchen sink?

Meet the artists

Mama’s Eggnog by Angela Stern

Saturday, March 24th at 2:00 PM – SOLD OUT
Saturday, March 31st at 7:00 PM  – SOLD OUT

On a hot October day, after the sudden passing of their mother, the Pereira family siblings come together after more than a year of separation. At the behest of youngest sibling, Belinda, the three surviving children gather to witness the cremation of their deceased mother.  As the family gathers over the holiday season, they are forced to face their differences while also deciding what to do with their mother’s ashes. On Christmas Eve, Belinda finds her perfect solution to bring them together and return their mother’s ashes to her native land. But when Belinda reveals what she has done with the ashes, all hell breaks loose and the enormity of their loss leads to utter chaos in the home.

Meet the artists

The Golden Hour – by Elizabeth Nelson

Saturday, March 24th at 7:00 PM- SOLD OUT
Friday, March 30th at 7:00 PM – SOLD OUT

In The Golden Hour, a play with music, Michael and Elena are reunited after a ten-year absence. Over the course of the evening, they relive their past and imagine a future, dreaming into existence a life that might have been while living what is and moving toward what inevitably will be. Touching on themes of love, sex, and grief, The Golden Hour explores the intersections of time, sound, words, and movement. At the end of the play, a four-hands piano duet, which has been played in parts throughout, is performed, linking together the stories and theatrical elements experienced over the course of the play.

Meet the artists


Strong Face –  by Philana Imade Omorotionmwan

Thursday, March 29th at 7:00 PM

There is a suggested donation of $5 for this event. Reservations are required.

Maybe it’s her “energy.” Maybe it’s her hair. Or maybe it’s just her skin. Whatever it is, no one in Follywood seems to be able to see that actress Bentley Jones is a woman. Nevertheless, Bentley is determined to be seen and make a name for herself. When she realizes that playing men may be the only way she’s able to accomplish her goals, Bentley decides not to disabuse anyone of their misperception. Not even her hip-pop star “girlfriend” Yoni Baker. Or man-in-address film star Whip Williams. But things change when Bentley learns that major film studio 19th Century Cocks has green lit a slavery-themed biopic guaranteed to earn its female star an impOSTOR nomination. Selling her agent on what she calls “genderblind” casting, Bentley manages to land the female lead. However, Bentley soon discovers that being seen as a woman in Follywood isn’t all that she hoped it would be.

Meet the artists


The Inside Child – by Claire Caviglia

Thursday, March 22nd at 7:00 PM

There is a suggested donation of $5 for this event. Reservations are required.

Eight-year-old Rose Emsworth has never been allowed outside. With a busy senator father, John, and an unsteady mother, Amy, Rose’s only solace comes from her governess, Sarah. When John’s political rival threatens to reveal their unconventional situation, John and Amy are desperate to keep Rose indoors and their secrets hidden. They bring in another girl into the house to live as Rose. But with John’s campaign, Amy’s declining mental state, and Sarah’s increased chance at freedom, this plan backfires, forcing Sarah to revisit her shared past with Amy…and finally find what is underneath the floorboard.

Meet the artists


Saturday, March 24 at 5pm
Saturday, March 31 at 5pm

MOVING STORIES: New play development and the process of generating stories for the stage.

Stories give meaning to our lives. They give shape to our pasts and generate space for our futures. When stories are brought to the stage they provide us with a window into the complexities and beauty of our lives.

On March 24, we explore ways that dramaturgs, directors, and actors bring stories to the stage.

On March 31, we hear about it from the playwrights’ vantage point in a discussion with all PIP playwrights moderated by the Dramatist’s Guild.

Admission to these discussions is FREE but a reservation is required.


Amelia Retureta


Evan Mues


Kati Otlyan


Steven McDonald


Sara Sachs



Colorado Creative Industries - Athena Project Community Partner

University of Denver Department of Theatre - Athena Project Community Partner

Donna Baldwin Agency - Athena Project Sponsor