Theater people are used to traveling long distances to practice their trade. Once a year, it's to Independence, Kansas. (Town motto: "No, the other Independence.") There, the William Inge Theatre Festival celebrates its 27th year of bringing together writers, actors and the curious for a long weekend of shows, scholarship and practical know-how. After tonight's opening festivities, get ready for tomorrow's panels and workshops with a yoga warmup at 8 a.m. Thursday. To follow are cocktails, schmooze time, a silent auction, tours of downtown Independence and Fringe Fest-style performances. The Inge crowd is even throwing picnics as well as Picnic, the play by Inge himself, which is performed at 7:30 tonight. Other performance highlights: a read-through of "New Voices in the American Theatre" winner The Flowers, by Adam Bock, at 7:30 p.m. Friday and, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, the festival-closing tribute to playwright and actor Christopher Durang, author of hits Miss Witherspoon, Beyond Therapy and the community-theater staple Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You. All events take place at William Inge College for the Arts (1057 West College in Independence, Kansas). For tickets, call 620-331-7768.
Wed., April 23; Thu., April 24; Fri., April 25; Sat., April 26, 2008