photo by Becca Dilley
The Ruth Easton New Play Series
October 2022–February 2023
The Ruth Easton New Play Series gives playwrights 35 hours of development time to explore, evolve, and experiment with their new plays.
Five featured writers hand-select their own team of artistic collaborators to workshop their plays-in-progress and share them through public readings. More than half of the plays developed through this series have gone on to full productions at theaters around the world.
This series is one of the most resource- and time-generous development opportunities in the field. It is in its 18th year and is made possible by the Ruth Easton Fund of the Edelstein Family Foundation. This season, we once again invite remote audiences to be part of bringing these bold new plays to life, as we offer both in-person and filmed performances.
by Deborah Yarchun
In-person: Monday, October 10, and Tuesday, October 11 at 7:00 p.m.
Available online: Thursday, October 20 – Wednesday, October 26
A community of truckers in Iowa are forced to shift gears when they lose their jobs to self-driving trucks. When Gloria becomes the only trucker in town still employed, resentments begin to surface. Tensions escalate as they grapple with a mystery: Haygen, a driver with close ties to all of them, has disappeared. Set in a future not far down the road, Drive explores our fears for the future and what happens when individuals defined by their work are forced to reevaluate what drives them.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR A SÉANCE
by Katie Bender
In-person: Monday, November 7, and Tuesday, November 8 at 7:00 p.m.
Available online: Thursday, November 17 – Wednesday, November 23
Instructions for a Séance is a DIY séance hosted by writer/performer Katie Bender. It invites a small audience to conjure escape artist Harry Houdini, in order to learn how to escape our own lives. But another presence haunts the edges of the séance; a figure overlooked for far too long, who set aside her own needs for others, who has things she still wants to say, and dammit, she’s going to get her say. Part magic show, part historical drag, Instructions for a Séance explores the gauntlet that is motherhood, artistic ambition, and escapism.
by TyLie Shider
In person: Monday, December 5, and Tuesday, December 6 at 7:00 p.m.
Available online: Thursday, December 15 – Wednesday, December 21
Whittier is a contemporary docudrama following a diverse community of neighbors quarantined in Whittier, Minneapolis, days after the murder of George Floyd in May 2020.
by Ray Yamanouchi
In person: Tuesday, January 17, and Wednesday January 18 at 7:00 p.m.
Available online: Thursday, January 26 – Wednesday, February 1
2004. A small, suburban town in Long Island, New York. Five Asian American teenage friends battle through a high school telling them they’re too Asian and a home life telling them they’re too American. Finding solace only amongst each other, they attempt to define for themselves what it means to be Asian in America… for better or for worse.
the broken’hearts of a corrupted white house
by matthew paul olmos
In person: Monday, February 6, and Tuesday, February 7 at 7:00 p.m.
Available online: Thursday, February 16 – Wednesday February 22
The story of Dorothy Hunt, a woman sidelined by history, who stood up to The White House in 1972 and fought for families cast aside by their President. She was early in her perception that those in power were pushing the boundaries of what a President was allowed to do and how far a government was willing to push their will.
The Funders of the Ruth Easton New Play Series
Actress Ruth Easton (nee Edelstein) was born in North Branch, Minnesota and graduated from North Branch High School. She attended the University of Minnesota for one year and the following year attended Macalester College before finishing her collegiate career at Cumnock School in Los Angeles. She went on to New York where she studied acting with Oliver Morosco. Mr. Morosco opened a stock theater company in upstate New York where Ms. Easton starred in several plays. After performing with other stock theater companies she returned to New York City where she appeared in five Broadway plays over a period of seven years. They included Exceedingly Small, Privilege Car, Town Bay, Buckaroo and Charlie Chan. Exceedingly Small was directed by Ethel Barrymore and Easton played opposite Eric Dressler. New York critics praised her performance as “thoroughly touching” and “highly spirited and excellent.” She starred in radio dramas on the Rudy Vallee Hour and the Fleischmann’s Yeast Hour opposite such actors as Walter Huston, Judith Anderson and Lionel Barrymore. She also appeared with Clark Gable, Eddie Cantor and Al Jolson during the course of her career. Ms. Easton’s legacy, her commitment to theater and the development of new works continues through the charitable gifts made by the Ruth Easton Fund of the Edelstein Family Foundation.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.