Next Iteration Ensemble’s 4th Annual Intercultural Play Reading Series

Dynamic and Diverse Emerging Playwrights are Showcased in the 4th Annual NIE Intercultural Play Reading Series

Next Iteration Ensemble presents playwrights Sofia Alvarez, Madhuri Shekar, and Susan Soon He Stanton at the MATCH on April 4-6, 2018 in a series of staged readings directed by Dianne K. Webb.

HOUSTON, TX – Next Iteration Ensemble (NIE) announces its roster of three plays for the 4th Annual Intercultural Play Reading Series (IPRS). This April, NIE brings to Houston works that investigate the possibilities of the roads not taken, the abuse of power within immigration and among America’s “invisibles,” and shaping our values by coming to terms with failure. All of these up-and-coming scripts pay special attention to identity—the ethics of how we treat each other, and how those choices drive our decision-making.

The IPRS opens April 4 at 8p, with a new, highly relatable play by Sofia Alvarez, Friend Art, which explores the maze of early adulthood. Four friends in their 30’s spend time grappling with the all-too-familiar question of “is this it?” as they transition into their careers and attempt to define their own success amidst the paralyzing fear of failure. Alvarez’s Friend Art asks how late is too late to pursue your aspirations, how do you come to terms with your ever-evolving self, and the temptation of “what could have been.”

On Friday, April 5th at 8p, audiences will enjoy Queen, a compelling play about women, science, and bees by playwright Madhuri Shekar. Queen examines the often complicated landscape of professional, female friendships on the verge of personal successes in a refreshing and honest way, fleshed out with questions of heart versus ego. With complex private lives, living between cultures, and finally being about to make a real difference, this play raises smart, cogent questions about money, scientific research, academia, and ethics.

The IPRS closes with the thought-provoking work of Susan Soon He Santon in We, The Invisibles. Santon’s play examines a layered and emotionally engaging look at immigration, the service industry, and the dynamics and abuse of power within the system. This play puts on center stage the voice and visibility of these “invisibles” as they tell their stories in their own words (skillfully executed by six different actors playing over sixty different roles). Most intriguing perhaps might be Santon’s proposal that being an American actually requires a loss of culture.

Play readings have always been an integral part of developing new work for the stage and for introducing theater audiences to cutting edge work. Play readings, performed by actors, allow audiences a chance to experience works as vital participants to the playwright’s process and to expand the dialog around new, underrepresented, and emerging work.


Thursday, April 4, 8pm—
FRIEND ART by Sofia Alvarez, directed by Dianne K. Webb
with Lindsey Ball, Brittny Bush, AndrAes Hunt, Camron Alexander with Karen Imas, Narrator
Includes a post-show talkback with the director and cast

Friday, April 5, 8pm—
QUEEN by Madhur Shekar, directed by Dianne K. Webb
with Anjana Menon, Michele Capri, Abraham Zapata, Karthik Chander with Karen Imas, Narrator
Includes a post-show talkback with the director and cast

Saturday, April 7, 8pm—
WE, THE INVISIBLES by Susan Soon He Santon, directed by Dianne K. Webb
with Sammi Sicinski, Brittny Bush, Anjana Menon, Abraham Zapata, AndrAes Hunt, Camron Alexander, Tommy Bo with Mai Le, functioning as the role of the playwright and narrator
Includes a post-show talkback with the director and cast

All performances at the MATCH (3400 Main St, Houston, TX 77002)

TICKETS: Tickets to the IPRS are on sale and are pay-what-you-can, with a suggested ticket price of $15. Tickets can be ordered by phone (713-521-4533) or online at

*MATCH headsets are available for the hard of hearing, but no accessibility for the deaf at this time.

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