Phoenix Theatres annual New Works Festival has become one of the few pleasant and edifying experiences in a stifling, largely theater-free summer. This year, the festival -- founded by playwright Richard Warren and director Mark DeMichele -- kicks off with staged readings of Black River (Friday, July 10, through Sunday, July 12), a play by Ken Ludwig about a man and woman who turn up in small-town Georgia under mysterious circumstances. Its followed by Ben Sahls The Weight of Breath (Friday, July 17, and Saturday, July 18), a postmodern comedy about a teen whose parents keep busting up and getting back together.
Perhaps the most attractive feature of this years fest is July 19s 24 Hour Theatre Project, in which five 10-minute one-act plays are created and shown in the space of a single day.
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Fri., July 10, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., July 11, 3 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., July 12, 2 p.m., 2009