40th Anniversary Season Announced08/15/2011
Season to feature 13 public readings of 9 new plays, as well as six partnerships with producing theaters
The Playwrights’ Center today announced its historic 40th anniversary season, launching in October 2011 with its 28th national PlayLabs Festival of new plays and the return of its popular Ruth Easton New Play Series; together the two programs will feature 13 public readings of 9 new plays. The season will also include six projects in partnership with producing theaters in Minnesota and across the country that support the development of new work by Playwrights’ Center Core Writers and fellows.
Although the Playwrights’ Center is celebrating its 40th year since its founders came together to support the development and promotion of their work, the last ten years have experienced abundant growth. Since the renovation of its distinctive building in 2001, the Center has seen its budget double and its membership swell to over 1,100 playwrights worldwide. The Playwrights’ Center today encompasses five of the most generous fellowship programs in the U.S., best-in-industry new play development services, online playwriting resources, and an ever-expanding theater partnership initiative—a programmatic array unlike anywhere else in the country.
Under the leadership of Jeremy B. Cohen, the Center has committed itself to becoming a vital player in the local and national theater ecology in order to ensure the movement of new plays from development to production, and in the past year has already begun to see myriad plays move forward in the pipeline as a result.
2011-12 STAGED READINGS AND EVENTS
The Playwrights’ Center will host a season of free staged readings to serve the playwrights’ process as well as share and promote their work with the public. The readings, which are performed by top Twin Cities actors and incorporate limited design elements, are a uniquely intimate and accessible way for audiences to experience the thrill of new theater.
The 28th PlayLabs Festival, which runs October 18-23, combines the Center’s most intensive play development resources with public staged readings, a panel discussion, a showcase of the Center’s fellows, and a festival celebration. PlayLabs is constructed so that each play receives an in-depth workshop that includes two readings with writing time in between for the playwright to incorporate audience feedback. Significantly, the Playwrights’ Center will retire its traditional ticket fees for PlayLabs this year, offering the festival to the public free of charge.
The Ruth Easton New Play Series will offer monthly readings from December through April, each following 20 hours of play development. This year’s offerings include Home Below Zero by Dan Dietz; dance of the holy ghosts: a play on memory by Marcus Gardley; The Few by Samuel D. Hunter; The Tiny Soldier by Christina Ham; and Brahmani: A One-Hijra Stand-Up Comedy Show by Aditi Brennan Kapil. Since its inception, the Ruth Easton New Play Series has been free and open to the public.
"This season is an incredible milestone for the Center," said Producing Artistic Director Jeremy B. Cohen. "Over the past four decades, such a wide swath of playwriting voices have converged here—and each year brings with it new challenges for us as we directly address the changing needs and desires of our playwrights, and of the field. These voices have multiplied over the past 40 years, and now echo throughout our halls, issuing forth the next generation poised to shape the American theater. Lee Blessing, Lisa D'Amour, Kristoffer Diaz, Barbara Field, Jordan Harrison, Jeffrey Hatcher, Naomi Iizuka, Taylor Mac, Melanie Marnich, Mac Wellman, August Wilson … a legacy of talent that extends far into the future with our newest writers. I could not be more thrilled to share the work of just a few of the inspiring artists on our 2011-12 roster."
CONNECTING PLAYWRIGHTS AND THEATERS
The Center will expand its burgeoning theater partnerships initiative, which supports the new play development process for producing theaters working with Playwrights' Center Core Writers and fellows. The Center provides resources, expertise, and time—whatever is needed—to help these companies move the writers' plays closer to production. The Center also serves as a bridge between theater-makers and the theaters that might produce their work, introducing its playwrights to theater companies in Minnesota and across the country.
This season, the Playwrights' Center will work with Ten Thousand Things (MN), Illusion Theatre (MN), HERE (NY), Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OR), the Public Theater (NY), Marin Theatre Company (CA), Yale Repertory Theatre (CT), and CenterStage (MD) on pieces by Carson Kreitzer, Marion McClinton, Qui Nguyen, Kira Obolensky, and Rhiana Yazzie.
"While our focus will continue to be on playwrights—providing generous support and comprehensive new play development—we will also continue to step up as ambassadors for connecting playwrights and producing theaters in Minnesota and around the U.S.," said Cohen. "By bridging the chasm between generative theater artists and the institutions that produce new work, we serve artists, audiences, and the future of the American theater."
THE 28TH PLAYLABS FESTIVAL
THE WATER PLAY by Sarah Gubbins
OCTOBER 20, 2011 at 7 PM; OCTOBER 22, 2011 at 4 PM
The discovery of prescription drugs in Chicago’s drinking water sends a handful of public officials scrambling to stay ahead of the story and figure out who is ultimately responsible. A tour of the murky channels between ethics and practical reality, The Water Play explores the secret life of the most important substance on earth.
THE ARRIVAL by Winter Miller
OCTOBER 19, 2011 at 6 PM; OCTOBER 23, 2011 at 1 PM
In the early 70s, Batty committed a crime in the name of revolution, but she never paid the price. Her legacy of violence resurfaces when a young boy appears on her doorstep claiming to be her grandson—a boy with deadly secrets of his own.
ALL THAT IS SOLID MELTS INTO AIR by Dominic Orlando
OCTOBER 18, 2011 at 7 PM; OCTOBER 21, 2011 at 7 PM
Mourning the death of her sister and mother, international businesswoman Claudia Hopewell throws herself into a desperate search for the secret of eternal life, pushing the boundaries of science and spirituality to their limit. Meanwhile, the world around her inches toward war, and members of her own family conspire to wrest the company from her control. A visionary look into the future—of technology, war, death, family, and love.
TINKER TO EVERS TO CHANCE by Mat Smart
OCTOBER 19, 2011 at 8:30 PM; OCTOBER 22, 2011 at 8 PM
Lauren makes a rare trip home to Chicago to take her ailing mother, Nessa, to the biggest Cubs game of the year—the infamous Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS. But Nessa has disappeared, leaving behind her caretaker and the fresh manuscript of a play about Cubs great Johnny Evers. As she searches the script and city for her mother, Lauren is forced to answer the question: when is enough enough?
JEROME AND MCKNIGHT FELLOW SHOWCASE
OCTOBER 22, 2011 at 1 PM
Come meet the Playwrights’ Center’s 2011-12 Jerome and McKnight playwriting fellows. This showcase will feature selections of the fellows’ latest writing read by actors, followed by a discussion with the writers.
OCTOBER 22, 2011 at 9:30 PM
Join us for a huge party to celebrate the artists and local theater community!
OCTOBER 23, 2011 at 3:30 PM
A panel discussion featuring theater artists and leaders from across the country. (Topic T.B.A.)