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Oct 28 The Gravedigger in Ann Arbor/ Interview with Joe Joe Zettelmaier about The Gravedigger

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World Premiere of a New Work by Joseph Zettelmaier at Performance Network Theatre
Ann Arbor, MI – The world premiere of Joseph Zettelmaier’s spookiest script ever, The Gravedigger, will be presented as a staged reading at Performance Network Theatre on October 28, 2012 at 7pm. Audiences are encouraged to discuss the script after the performance to voice their opinion on the new work to the playwright!
The Gravedigger is set in the late 1700s, in one of Bavaria’s forgotten cemeteries, a lone gravedigger discovers a hideously scarred man hiding in a fresh grave. What the gravedigger doesn’t know is that the man is none other than the legendary monster created by a mad doctor. What the scarred man doesn’t know is the gravedigger’s hand in his creation. And what neither men know is that they are hunted by their shared past in this tale of gothic horror and suspense. Zettelmaier says the script is inspired by the pages of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The Gravedigger will be directed by Julia Glander, cast includes Alex Leydenfrost, Tom Mahard, and Charlyn Swarthout.
A staged reading is a performance of a new play (often on its first draft) in which the actors perform the piece with actual scripts in hand. Performance Network Theatre is a seasoned facilitator of this type of event with The Fireside of New Works Festival – a triannual festival of four staged readings. Audience participation is crucial to these events due to the open discussion about the piece after the performance. Comments are submitted directly to the playwright who uses the feedback to mold their newest masterpiece.
Joseph Zettelmaier is a Michigan-based playwright and three-time nominee for the Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association Award for best new play, first in 2006 for All Childish Things, then in 2007 for Language Lessons and in 2010 for It Came From Mars. Other plays include Dead Man’s Shoes, And The Creek Don’t Rise, The All Childish Things Trilogy, Dr. Seward’s Dracula, First Snow, Blackwater Ballad, Night Blooming, Point of Origin, and The Stillness Between Breaths. He is an Associate Artist at Performance Network, and an adjunct lecturer at Eastern Michigan University, where he teaches Dramatic Composition. Joseph was recently profiled in the March 2012 issue of American Theatre Magazine.
Tickets can be ordered at the Performance Network Box Office at 734-663-0681, online at or at Performance Network Theatre (120 East Huron St., Ann Arbor, 48104) Monday- Saturday 11-6 or one hour before a performance.
Founded in 1981, Performance Network Theatre has grown from a fledgling company to Ann Arbor’s only resident, professional theatre. The Network reaches 40,000 theatre patrons and children each year through the year-round Professional Series and the Children’s Theatre Network. Performance Network also presents the Fireside Festival of New Works and a series of classes on theatre-related topics. The Network provides uncompromising artistic leadership in the region and produces works that engage, challenge and inspire audiences and artists.

Here is an interview with the author about the upcoming play.

1) How long have you been writing for?
I have been writing for about 15 years.

2) What are some of your other works?
Other plays of mine that premiered in the area: Dead Man's Shoes, And The Creek Don't Rise, It Came from Mars, All Childish Things, Dr. Seward's Dracula, Language Lessons...these are just some of my faves.

3) Who are your inspirations?
My inspirations...when I was just beginning as a writer, I had the pleasure of working with Lanford Wilson. He was a great example to follow. Lee Blessing is another writer I admire greatly.

4) Is all of your work in the horror genre?
No, only a few of my plays are horror-based. I try to write in many different genres, utilizing many different themes. Keeps me from getting bored.

5) What do you have coming up?
 Later this month, my play Dr. Seward's Dracula will be performed in the Crypt of the Christchurch Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland. Then in November my newest play, Ebenezer, will open at Williamston Theatre. It's a different take on A Christmas Carol, taking place 15 years after Ebenezer Scrooge's transformation. He knows he's not long for the world, and is wrestling with how to continue his good work.