Marfa Dialogues

The Reading 2012

John S. Davies, Carolyn Pfeiffer, Nancy Sanders

21 April 2012


The Reading
21 April 2012
Performances at 2 pm and 8 pm
Crowley Theater


Ballroom Marfa is pleased to announce the second annual presentation of The Reading, a professionally staged screenplay performance that showcases one of the winners of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ annual Nicholl Fellowship. On April 21st, at Marfa’s Crowley Theater, The Reading will spotlight up-and-coming writer Dion Cook and his brilliantly crafted script, Cutter.

In what many consider to be the world’s most esteemed screenwriting competition, Cutter was one of five screenplays chosen from a record 6,730 submissions to be honored with the 2011 Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting. Dion Cook’s Cutter was then singled out to be further honored by Ballroom Marfa’s distinguished Filmmakers’ Selection Committee, comprised of Director and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Robert Towne, Emmy-nominated actress Jeanne Tripplehorn, and veteran producer Robert Shapiro, who also serves on the Nicholl Fellow Selection Committee and will again be conducting this year’s panel discussions following The Reading performances. Cutter tells the powerfully captivating story of a Miami trauma physician who moved to the United States after surviving the horrors of the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

The Reading will again be directed by Dallas-based veteran actor/director John S. Davies and produced by Carolyn Pfeiffer and Nancy Sanders. In a joint comment, Pfeiffer and Sanders remark,

“We are very excited to be staging such a powerful script. Dion Cook’s brilliant drama illuminates a tragedy playing out not just in Africa, but here as well. Cutter is a hugely compelling story that will captivate audiences at The Reading. We are so pleased that Robert Shapiro has continued his involvement with the program and that writer-director Robert Towne, an icon and true inspiration to decades of writers within the industry ranks, along with the immensely talented and multi-dimensional actress Jeanne Tripplehorn participated in this year’s selection committee.”

Following upon the highly successful performance of The Reading in 2011, this year’s stellar cast of diverse lead-actors hail from Dallas and include: Babakayode Ipaye, Gerald Dewey, Ginneh Thomas, Jeff Fenter, Jirah Simpson, Elizabeth Dukes Melancon, and Patrick Grover. Also joining this year’s production as the “Shadow Maker,” Fred Curchack will bring his exemplary talents to The Reading’s highly anticipated presentation of Cutter. Fred Curchack, revered nationally for his accomplishments in theater, is designing and choreographing the shadow play in the performance, using techniques he’s perfected in his 78 original theater creations. The Los Angeles Times has called Curchack’s work “visually astonishing,” while the Dallas Morning News says, “his performance pieces have won raves in The New York Times and provoked more than one critic to use that tricky word ‘genius.’”

Screenwriter and Oklahoma native Dion Cook also took home top honors from the 2011 Austin Film Festival, where Cutter was named Best Dramatic Screenplay. Commenting upon Cutter’s selection for The Reading 2012, Cook says,

“The initial thrill of being notified of the selection committee’s decision has been exceeded only by the time spent working with and getting to know the talented and driven personnel behind the Ballroom Marfa experience since receiving that wonderful phone call in February. I’m humbled, moved and about as wired as a five-year-old on a three-day sugar high.”

On April 21, 2012, Ballroom Marfa will present two performances of The Reading at the Crowley Theater (one matinee at 2:00 PM and one evening show at 8:00 PM), each followed by a panel discussion with the screenwriter and others involved with the project. The performances are free, but as seating is limited, reservations are strongly advised. Reserve your seat at this year’s presentation of The Reading or call Ballroom at 432-729-3600.

Check out what Brilliant Magazine, The Society Diplomat, Screen Daily, Odessa American, The Hollywood Reporter, The Austin American Statesman and Dallas Morning News said about the event!

    Listen to Marfa Public Radio’s Talk at Ten interview with producer Nancy Sanders and director John S. Davies.

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    Listen to Marfa Public Radio’s Talk at Ten interview with screenwriter Dion Cook, producer Robert Shapiro, and Director of the Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, Greg Beal.

    See what Brilliant Magazine, The Society Diplomat, Screen Daily, Odessa American, The Hollywood Reporter, Dallas Morning News and The Austin American Statesman said about The Reading.

    Directed by John S. Davies. Shadow Play by Fred Curchack.

    Produced by Carolyn Pfeiffer and Nancy Sanders.

    Lighting design by Robert Crowley. Sound design by Gory Smelley.

    Casting by Toni Cobb Brock and Sally Allen.

    Panel moderated by Robert Shapiro.


    Special thanks to The Reading’s 2012 Filmmakers’ Selection Committee: Robert Towne, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Robert Shapiro.

    With much gratitude to Valerie Arber; Greg Beal; The Big Bend Sentinel; Rob Crowley; Tim Crowley & Jennifer Bell of the Crowley Theater; Jennie Lyn Hamilton; Alicia Harris; Jeanette Hill-Simpson; Jonathan Jones; Laura Jorgensen; Jean Landry; Karen Longshore; Marfa Public Radio; Carri McClure & Darren Miller, McClure & Associates Public Relations; Rosa McElheny; Lou Michaels; Luis Nieto Dickens; Mark Oristano; Coy Le Bron Poitier; Gory Smelley; the Thunderbird Hotel; and Deidre Woodard of Platinum Star Productions, Dallas.

    The Reading is made possible through the cooperation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting. Generous support provided by The Horizon Foundation, Plano, TX and Ballroom Marfa members.