Alex LewinJerome Fellowships 2012
Alex Lewin is a 2012-13 Jerome Fellow, an artistic associate at New York Theatre Workshop, and a member of the MCC Playwrights' Coalition. He holds a B.A. in creative writing and professional writing (with a minor in film and media studies) from Carnegie Mellon University and an M.F.A. in playwriting from the University of California at San Diego. His play The Near East was a finalist for the L. Arnold Weissberger Award, the Alliance Theatre's Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Prize, and the Kennedy Center/ACTF’s Quest for Peace Award. It was developed at the O'Neill Playwrights Conference and has also had readings at Arena Stage and the Alliance Theatre.
His two-hander, The Interview, was recently presented in LeapFest 9 at Stage Left Theatre in Chicago, and also in MCC's PlayLabs 2012 in New York. Other plays include The Further Adventures of Suzanne and Monica (Chautauqua Theatre Company New Play Workshop, July 2009), Alexandria (New Harmony Project 2011, Premiere Stages new play competition finalist 2012), Rent Control (year-long development with the Playwrights Realm, staged reading in the Ink'd festival, 2010), and See You Later (MCC PlayLabs 2010).
One-acts include "Alright." (La Jolla Playhouse commission, produced in The Car Plays 2012), We (finalist for ATL’s Hiedeman Award), and Water Street (produced in the Absolut Gay Theatre Festival Dublin 2010).
Alex's current projects include a political thriller, The Envelope, and an as-yet-untitled historical documentary play, co-written with the journalist Laura Flanders, that uses the writings and orations of our "founding fathers," as well as many other voices from American history, to dramatize the debates that were endemic to the founding of our republic.
At New York Theatre Workshop, Alex is the founding teaching artist for the Mind the Gap program, which has been a fixture at NYTW since the spring of 2009. Mind the Gap brings together teenagers and folks over age 60 to interview each another and write plays based on, or inspired by, each other's lives and experiences. As the program has grown, NYTW has partnered with other community organizations throughout New York City to bring Mind the Gap to their populations.
In a previous life, Alex was a staff writer at the (late) movie magazine Premiere, and he had several bylines in several magazines, all of which are now defunct. (Alex likes to think that has nothing to do with him.) As an undergraduate he won the Scenario/Writers Guild of America Student Screenplay Award. His winning script, Weeds, was published in Scenario magazine — which also, sadly, no longer exists. Alex co-authors, with Aaron Rich, the movie-review blog "They'll Love It In Pomona" (loveitinpomona.wordpress.com).
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In this political thriller, a 20-year-old blogger acquires an envelope filled with some very incendiary documents. He has to authenticate them before he can publish them, but there are forces that will do anything to get the envelope back.
A young aspiring filmmaker, Jake, submits to a screening interview so that he can volunteer as a "big brother." But Sheila, the social worker who's asking the questions — questions that are personal and probing — begins to wonder about the young man's mores and predilections. Jake begins to realize the interview is more than just a hoop he has to jump through; his worldview, and indeed his identity, are headed toward a major clash with Sheila's.
Untitled Founding Documents ProjectCo-written with Laura Flanders
A historical-documentary play that uses the writings and orations of our "founding fathers," as well as many other voices from American history, to dramatize the debates that were endemic to the founding of our republic — many of which continue today, with remarkably loud echoes from the 1770s and 1780s. What did the founders "intend?" Turns out they weren't always sure, themselves.
For three generations the Qasim family has run a coffee house on the Corniche, Alexandria's Mediterranean boulevard. Their lives are stable and prosperous until a man from America shows up and offers them a fateful choice: sell their lease to the Starbucks Corp. of America, or refuse and take their chances when Egypt's first Starbucks opens up across the street. All this is set against the strife of Egypt's 2005 presidential election, when Hosni Mubarak imprisoned opposition leaders, bribed voters, rigged results — and set the stage for his ouster.
The Further Adventures of Suzanne and MonicaDescription
An aspiring movie actress, Monica Grant, insinuates herself into the world of her idol, Suzanne Baxter, sagging doyenne of the silver screen. Monica starts out as Suzanne's body double, but when Suzanne disappears, Monica must "stand in" for her in increasingly strange ways.
The Near EastDescription
An American archaeologist, Ken Schneider, finds himself in Saudi Arabia, searching for a sacred book the existence of which he doubts. But the faith of an Arab feminist scholar, Aisha Ghazali, and the insistent presence of a feisty apparition, Ahmed, push him forward. Meanwhile, Aisha's brother, Umar, is having an illicit affair with an Englishman who is in the middle east for dubious reasons. The quest for the book has far-reaching consequences political, spiritual, and personal.
In this screwball comedy of marriage gay, straight, and otherwise, young Chase Hunter wants to tie the knot with his boyfriend — but first he has to divorce his great aunt, the one-time gossip columnist and old-New York fixture Hennie Hunter. He married her so he could legally occupy her fabulous rent-controlled apartment in Manhattan, one of the last of such places in the city. But for aging, acerbic Hennie, letting go of Chase (her only relative) means the eventual demise of her precious apartment, and she’ll do anything to make sure it stays in the family.
See You LaterDescription
Three scenes chronicle the twenty-year friendship of two college roommates, from their dorm-room days of movie nerd-dom and sexual repression to their sudden and sobering adulthoods.
A ten-minute play set (and intended to be performed in) the back seat of a car. In the wake of a family spat, an angry teen takes refuge in the car his parents bought for him when he turned 16. But tonight he'll have to decide whether he wants to spend his life retreating to safety. "Alright." was commissioned by the La Jolla Playhouse and the Los Angeles-based company Moving Arts for The Car Plays 2012.
A mother and son find a new way to communicate as he teaches her to play golf on his Nintendo Wii. Finalist for the Actors Theatre of Louisville's Heideman Award.
Water StreetSHORT PLAY
On a fire escape in lower Manhattan, two guys who have just picked one another up in a gay bar are negotiating the terms of their imminent one-night stand. But it’s an unexpectedly emotional (and strangely familiar) encounter that changes both of their lives.
Playwriting Seminar: How to Build SuspenseDescription
The word "suspense" usually leads our minds to Alfred Hitchcock and Ira Levin, but suspense - the strategies we employ to make the audience lean forward in their seats - is crucial to our work as dramatists. This seminar will demonstrate ways to construct suspense and then to intensify it - lessons that apply to all plays, not just mysteries and thrillers.
Taught by 2012-13 Jerome Fellow Alex Lewin
Each month, the Playwrights' Center offers a seminar about the craft of playwriting. These sessions are taught by playwriting fellows and run from 6-8:30 pm in the Rehearsal Room at the Playwrights' Center. Seminars are free to current members and cost $20 for non members. Please contact Bethany Whitehead, Membership Manager, at email@example.com or (612) 332-7481 x23 to sign up, or if you have any questions about learning opportunities at the Playwrights' Center.