NEA DISTINGUISHED NEW PLAY
California Shakespeare Theater (Berkeley, CA)
Pastures of Heaven by Octavio Solis
Project Description: California Shakespeare Theater will collaborate with Octavio Solis, San Francisco's Word for Word Performing Arts Company, and members of the Salinas and Bay Area communities to adapt John Steinbeck's The Pastures of Heaven. Based on Steinbeck's little known 1932 novel of interconnected stories, the play will depict the heartbreaking destruction of dreams within a fragile framing community in the Salinas Valley.
Founded in 1974, California Shakespeare Theater is an award-winning regional theater, nationally recognized for its Main Stage season of boldly imagined productions of Shakespeare and the classics. Through New Works/New Communities, community members participate as co-creators with artists and partner theaters in the development of new plays inspired by classic literature. Cal Shakes' Artistic Learning makes arts-based education accessible to thousands of Bay Area students.
Octavio Solis is an award-winning playwright and director with extensive experience in community-based development of new work. His plays -- widely lauded for their visceral storytelling and sensual poetry -- include Lydia (2008, Denver Center Theatre Company), Gibraltar (2005, Oregon Shakespeare Festival), The Ballad of Pancho and Lucy (2005, Intersection for the Arts), and Dreamlandia, an adaptation of Calderon's Life is a Dream (2000, Dallas Theater Center).
The Children's Theatre Company (Minneapolis, MN)
Happy End to Everything by Lloyd Suh
Project Description: Happy End to Everything will use comedy, fantasy, science fiction, and the current fascination of American youth with manga (Japanese comics and cartoons) to create a parable about every child's discovery that his or her uniqueness is not a stigma, but the key to his or her creativity and joy. The play was developed in partnership with Ma-Yi Theater Company.
The mission of The Children's Theatre Company (CTC) is to create extraordinary theater experiences that educate, challenge, and inspire young people. Widely recognized as the leading theatre for young people and families in North America, CTC serves over 300,000 people annually through productions, new play development, theater arts training, and community and education programs. In 2003, CTC became the first youth theater to receive the Tony® Award for Regional Theater.
Lloyd Suh is the author of American Hwangap, The Children of Vonderly, The Garden Variety, Masha No Home, and several shorter plays, including Happy Birthday William Abernathy, Not All Korean Girls Can Fly, and With A Hammer & A Nail. He serves as Artistic Director of Second Generation and Co-Director of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, the largest resident company of Asian American playwrights ever assembled.
The Foundry Theatre (New York, NY)
Detour/South Bronx by Claudia Rankine
Project description: Using the tropes of a bus tour -- such as guide, driver, historic landmarks, anecdotes, traffic, and real estate development -- the play explores how cultural and social poetics of a neighborhood cope with the complicated dynamics of its economic development. In the celebrated tradition of Foundry trompe l'oeil plays, the production will actually take place on a bus touring the South Bronx.
The Foundry Theatre was established by Melanie Joseph and Cornel West to assemble a community of artists with revolutionary ideas for the theater and the world in which it is situated. Foundry commissions, develops, premieres, and tours new works, which employ the limitless forms that only live theatrical events can create.
Claudia Rankine is the author of four poetry collections including her most recent, Don't Let Me Be Lonely -- an experimental project, blending poetry, essays, and images. Her work has appeared in literary journals, including Boston Review, Jubilat, Kenyon Review, and TriQuarterly. She has received an Academy of American Poets Fellowship and the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Excellence in an Emerging Writer.
Lark Play Development Center (New York, NY)
Agnes Under The Big Top, A Fairy Tale by Aditi Brennan Kapil
Project Description: Agnes Under The Big Top, A Fairy Tale explores the intersecting paths of a handful of immigrants -- from Bulgaria, India, and Liberia -- as they struggle to form a new identity in America without losing connection with the past. The author's personal experience of displacement as an immigrant is transformed through fairy tales, circus magic, and dreams, resulting in a play that combines the very real journeys of its characters with elements of the surreal. Agnes Under The Big Top was developed in partnership with Mixed Blood Theatre (Minnesota), InterAct Theatre (Pennsylvania), 4th World Laboratory for International Theater Research (New York), and the Playwrights' Center (Minnesota).
A laboratory for new voices and new ideas, the Lark Play Development Center provides American and international playwrights with resources to develop their work in a supportive and rigorous environment. By reaching across international boundaries, the Lark seeks out new and diverse perspectives from all corners of the world. The center's work is based on the core belief that when writers are free to write what they choose, in the ways that they choose, they're able to convey unique visions of the world.
Aditi Brennan Kapil is a playwright, actress, and director of Bulgarian and Indian descent, raised in Sweden, who has spent the past decade as a freelance theater artist based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her most recent play, Love Person, is nominated for The Blackburn Prize and the Pulitzer Prize.
Rude Mechanicals (Austin, TX)
I've Never Been So Happy by Kirk Lynn
Project Description: Inspired by American folk tales, I've Never Been So Happy is the story of a boy who returns to civilization after being dragged off into the desert by a mountain lion. The play is an attempt to create a myth about the end of myths, and a gateway to new possibilities for the collective American narrative.
Rude Mechanicals is an ensemble theater collective based in Austin, Texas, that for twelve years has used performance to investigate collaboration. The result is a mercurial slate of 25 original theatrical productions ranging from Low-Fi, Agit-Prop, and Lec-Dems to Trans-Media, Romantic-Era, and Closet Dramas. They hold in common bold physicality, intellectual savvy, a preference for the actor above the character, and an irreverent sense of humor. Select productions include The Method Gun, Get Your War On, Match-Play, and Lipstick Traces.
Kirk Lynn is a Co-Producing Artistic Director of Rude Mechanicals, with whom he has written and adapted more than 22 plays, including Lipstick Traces, The Method Gun, and I've Never Been So Happy. Lynn's work also has been commissioned and produced by such select companies as Foundry Theatre (Major Bang) and Forty Magnolia (The Wrestling Patient).
NEA DISTINGUISHED NEW PLAY DEVELOPMENT PROJECT FINALISTS
Goodman Theatre (Chicago, IL)
Dartmoor Prison by Carlisle Brown
Cornerstone Theatre (Los Angeles, CA)
Justice Cycle Bridge Show by Naomi Izuka
The Old Globe (San Diego, CA)
Kingdom by Aaron Jefferis
Steppenwolf Theatre Company (Chicago, IL)
Victoria's Sarah by Lydia Diamond
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