2016-17 PROJECTS /
The Civilians' R&D Group
The Civilians' R&D Group meets biweekly for nine months, during which time each artist or team of artists develops a new piece of theater through a creative investigation of a topic chosen by each artist. The creative process may include interviewing, community engagement, research, or other experimental methods of inquiry. Led by R&D Coordinator Megan McClain, the artists share and discuss their methodologies and the resulting work. The process will culminate in a FINDINGS series in May of 2017, when the groups present their works-in-progress to the public. This is the sixth season of The Civilians' R&D Group.
2016-17 Group:Andrew Butler
2015-16 PROJECTS /
The Civilians' R&D Group
The Civilians' R&D Group meets biweekly for nine months, during which time each artist or team of artists develops a new piece of theater through a creative investigation of a topic chosen by each artist. The creative process may include interviewing, community engagement, research, or other experimental methods of inquiry. Led by Artistic Director Steve Cosson and R&D Coordinator Megan McClain, the artists share and discuss their methodologies and the resulting work. The process will culminate in a FINDINGS series in May of 2016, when the artists present their work to the public. This is the fifth season of The Civilians' R&D Group.
Participants in the 2015-16 Group were:
Benjmain Kamine (Director)
Claire Kiechel (Writer)
Colette Robert (Director)
Dan Safer (Director)
Dominic Finocchiaro (Writer)
EllaRose Chary (Writer)
Gordon Leary (Writer)
Jay Stull (Writer/Director)
Jordan Mahome (Actor/Interviewer)
Julia Meinwald (Composer)
Ken Urban (Writer)
Lee Sunday Evans (Director)
Sam Chanse (Writer)
Sanaz Ghajar (Director)
Sash Bischoff (Director)
Susan Soon He Stanton (Writer)
Suzanne Agins (Director)
Tidtaya Sinutoke (Composer)
Ty Defoe (Writer)
Benjamin Kamine (Director) is a Manhattan-based stage director. Recent credits include the world premiere of CARLYLE by Thomas Bradshaw (Goodman Theatre); New York premiere of WASHER/DRYER by Nandita Shenoy (Ma-Yi Theater Company); Thomas Bradshaw's JOB and Christopher Oscar Peńa's A CAUTIONARY TAIL (The Flea Theater); PIED! by Julia Meinwald and Gordon Leary (Polyphone Festival, University of the Arts); and SAMSARA by Lauren Yee (Chance Theater). Mr. Kamine is an associate artist at The Flea Theater and a resident director at the Jewish Plays Project. He was also a member of the 2014/2015 Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab and a 2014/2015 LABA Fellow.
PROJECT: REB + VoDKA + ME (with Julia Meinwald and Gordon Leary). September 11, 2014 would have been Columbine High School shooter Dylan Klebold's 33rd birthday and the Tumblr community of his fans, known as Columbiners, spent the day thinking of him. The mourning was interrupted when Chardon High School shooter T.J. Lane escaped from prison that evening, throwing the true crime community into a frenzy. REB + VoDKa + ME follows a girl through the events of that day, her own eighteenth birthday, exploring the quest for community and understanding of the misunderstood.
Claire Kiechel (Writer) Claire Kiechel's plays include: PILGRIMS (developed at the Millay Colony; Pipeline Theatre Company reading; Lark Roundtable Reading; finalist for the 2016 O'Neill Theatre Conference and the Leah Ryan Fund for Emerging Women Writers); LULU IS HUNGRY (Cincinnati Playhouse workshop; Fresh Ground Pepper workshop presentation); SOME DARK PLACES OF The EARTH (semi-finalist for the Princess Grace Award and the O'Neill Theatre Conference); PASSENGER (finalist for Heideman Award at Actors' Theatre of Louisville; Crashbox production); WOLF PLAY (winner of the 2012 Samuel French OOB Festival, published by Samuel French). She is a current member of Ensemble Studio Theatre's Obie award winning group Youngblood and The Civilians 2015-16 R&D Group. She was a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the 2015 Sewanee Writers' Conference and is a 2016 recipient of South Coast Rep's Elizabeth George Emerging Writers Commission. BA: Amherst College. MFA: New School for Drama. www.clairekiechel.com
PROJECT: Paul Swan is Dead & Gone (with Dan Safer). Do you have to be good to be an artist? What makes "bad" art interesting? How can you make a "good" piece about a "bad" artist? My great-great-uncle Paul Swan(1883 - 1972) was many things - a dancer, an actor, a sculptor, a poet, a painter. But what he really wanted was to be famous, he wanted to be acknowledged as one of the great artists of the 20th century. In a way he got his wish - people like Duchamp and Warhol crowded his Lincoln Center studio and made films about him. Not because he was a genius though, because he was making work so outside the spectrum of what anyone considered good - it passed into the boundaries of what we call "camp."
Colette Robert (Director) is a Los Angeles native currently living and working in New York. She likes new plays, old plays, and diversity on stage. Recent credits include SOMETHING LIKE LONELINESS (EST), WHEN LAST WE FLEW(Diversionary Theatre and FringeNYC, GLAAD Media Award), and STOCKTON (EST). Colette is a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, New Georges Jam, and Lincoln Center Director's Lab. She is a 2015-2016 Audrey Resident at New Georges, a 2016 Mabou Mines Resident Artist, and was the Public Theater's 2009 Van Lier Directing Fellow. She has developed new work with Atlantic Theatre Company, The Old Vic, Ma-Yi, Naked Angels, Vineyard Arts Project, and the Sundance Theatre Lab. Upcoming: THE MOUNTAINTOP (Chester Theatre Company). www.coletterobert.com
PROJECT: what you are now (with Sam Chanse). A woman navigates her family's history, and how the past is relentlessly, ruthlessly engaged in the present.
Dan Safer (Director) is Artistic Director of Witness Relocation, an NYC-based dance/theater company, with whom he has made 20+ shows, including world premieres by Chuck Mee, the english language premiere of Toshiki Okada's FIVE DAYS IN MARCH (La Mama, Summer Stage), and many original dance/theater pieces, in NYC and internationally at venues like Theatre de Chaillot, Paris, the National Theater in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and Patravadi Theater, Bangkok, amongst others. He recently choreographed and co-directed UBU SINGS UBU (Abrons, Slipper Room, upcoming at A.R.T., BB King's) with Tony Torn and Julie Atlas Muz. His work as a choreographer has been at BAM, DTW, Danspace, Ash Lawn Opera, and many other places. In 2011, he choreographed Stravinsky's RITE OF SPRING for Philadelphia Orchestra with Obie-winners Ridge Theater. He was a 2007 recipient of the Six Points Fellowship (Performance) and has won two NY Innovative Theater Awards. Artforum Magazine called him "pure expressionistic danger" and Time Out NY called him "a purveyor of lo-fi mayhem." He is Head of Movement Training at NYU/ Playwrights Horizons Theater School and a frequent teacher at The Norwegian Theater Academy. He used to be a go-go dancer and once choreographed the Queen of Thailand's Birthday Party.
PROJECT: Paul Swan is Dead & Gone (with Claire Kiechel). Do you have to be good to be an artist? What makes "bad" art interesting? How can you make a "good" piece about a "bad" artist? My great-great-uncle Paul Swan(1883 - 1972) was many things - a dancer, an actor, a sculptor, a poet, a painter. But what he really wanted was to be famous, he wanted to be acknowledged as one of the great artists of the 20th century. In a way he got his wish - people like Duchamp and Warhol crowded his Lincoln Center studio and made films about him. Not because he was a genius though, because he was making work so outside the spectrum of what anyone considered good - it passed into the boundaries of what we call "camp."
Dominic Finocchiaro (Writer) is a Brooklyn-based playwright, performer, and freelance dramaturg. His writing has been produced and developed around the country, including with Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Civilians, the Lark Play Development Center, the National New Play Network, PlayPenn, Portland Center Stage, the Flea Theater, the Kennedy Center, the UCross Foundation, the Amoralists, and at the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival. Dominic is a native of San Francisco, a graduate of Reed College, and is in the process of completing the MFA Playwriting program at Columbia University.
PROJECT: Gold Person (with Suzanne Agins). Bobby used to be the biggest star on the biggest competitive reality show on television. Now he's doing Valtrex commercials and fighting not to be forgotten. What happens when everyone stops watching? What do you do...after reality? A play about the American Nightmare.
EllaRose Chary (Writer) is an award-winning New York based writer. She is currently working on COTTON CANDY AND COCAINE (Ars Nova Uncharted) and PATRIETTES (The Tank's TV Writing Program). Her other projects include the Malaysian musical MARRYING ME (BOH Cameronian Arts Award Winner), SIDNEY D. CROSIER: AN UNFINISHED PORTRAIT (Hayswood Theater), THE DAGUERREOTYPE (Prospect Theater), LEFT TO OUR OWN DEVICES (Ronald M. Ruble New Play Finalist), ENDLESS SUMMER (NYFA Estuary), and a commission about Indiana's Bicentennial. She has contributed material to a variety of feminist and politically engaged projects, including BE THE DEATH OF ME and OCCUPY YOUR MIND (The Civilians), WE ARE THEATRE! (Cherry Lane Theatre), BY THE NUMBERS (Prospect Theater) and THE BIRDS AND THE BEES: UNABRIDGED (Honest Accomplice Theater). She is a founding member of Bastard Playground, in residence at the Drama League. Additionally, EllaRose is a 2015-16 Dramatists Guild Fellow, NYFA Fellowship Playwriting/Screenwriting Finalist, a winner of the Weston Award for musical theater, and a proud member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild. BA: Brown University; MFA: NYU Tisch. www.ellarosechary.com
PROJECT: Power State (with Jay Stull and Jordan Mahome). What does it mean to live without a state? From interviews with people across the country involved in grass-roots protest movements, we present an interrogation of the modern, militarized nation state, flush with resources and weapons but drunk with power. Is it possible to imagine a world that sidesteps the monopoly of the state? Or is such an act of imagination just another kind of privilege?
Gordon Leary (Writer) is a Brooklyn-based bookwriter and lyricist. With Julia Meinwald, musicals include PREGNANCY PACT (2012 Weston Playhouse, 2011 NAMT, 2011 YIMT), I LOVE YOU, ANITA BRYANT (2015 UArts Polyphone Festival, 2014 Ars Nova OutLoud), and DISAPPEARED (2009 LCT Directors Lab.) Other musicals include CHEER WARS (2009 Richard Rodgers Award, 2015 York Theatre Co.) and ACROSS THE RIVER (2013 Seoul Musical Festival, 2009 Daegu International Musical Festival.) Gordon was a member of Ars Nova's Uncharted and the Dramatists Guild Fellows program. Vassar College/NYU GMTWP. omfgordon.com
PROJECT: REB + VoDKA + ME (with Benjamin Kamine and Julia Meinwald). September 11, 2014 would have been Columbine High School shooter Dylan Klebold's 33rd birthday and the Tumblr community of his fans, known as Columbiners, spent the day thinking of him. The mourning was interrupted when Chardon High School shooter T.J. Lane escaped from prison that evening, throwing the true crime community into a frenzy. REB + VoDKa + ME follows a girl through the events of that day, her own eighteenth birthday, exploring the quest for community and understanding of the misunderstood.
Jay Stull (Writer/Director) is a director and writer of theater. Recent New York directing credits include AS FAR AS THE DAY GOES by Jenny Schwartz (Clubbed Thumb, Workshop Production), OMEGA KIDS by Noah Mease (Dixon Place), UTILITY and TAKE ME BACK by Emily Schwend (Walkerspace), LEAVE ME GREEN by Lisi DeHaas (Gym at Judson), and ENTER AT FORES TLAWN and RANTOUL AND DIE by Mark Roberts (The Amoralists). His written and directing work has been seen at or developed by LAByrinth, Ars Nova, the Bloomington Playwrights Project, The Flea, Dixon Place, Fresh Ground Pepper, the Lark Play Development Center, Ugly Rhino, The Culture Project, and The Civilians. He is a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab and is an alumnus of the Clubbed Thumb Directing Fellowship, Fresh Ground Pepper's Playground Play Group, Pataphysics at The Flea, and Bowdoin College. He is currently writing STREEPSHOW! - an episodic play with music about nine Meryl Streep characters living together in a reality TV house, directed by Andrew Neisler.
PROJECT: Power State (with EllaRose Chary and Jordan Mahome). What does it mean to live without a state? From interviews with people across the country involved in grass-roots protest movements, we present an interrogation of the modern, militarized nation state, flush with resources and weapons but drunk with power. Is it possible to imagine a world that sidesteps the monopoly of the state? Or is such an act of imagination just another kind of privilege?
Jordan Mahome (Actor/Interviewer) Jordan is an actor, director and educator residing in Brooklyn. As an actor, he originated the role of Dr. Martin Luther King in Katori Hall's MOUNTAINTOP and recently wrapped HBO's Crime with John Turturro and re-occurs on the upcoming Netflix show, The Get Down. The last show he directed, HOOPS, won Best Play in 2014's Downtown Urban Theatre Festival in Manhattan. Jordan is dedicated to working with teens and is honored to be a longtime volunteer at The 52nd Street Project in Hell's Kitchen, mentoring new playwrights and actors. As an educator, he teaches English Lit and Theatre and Communications (currently at Hunter College High School). MFA, Yale School of Drama.
PROJECT: Power State (with EllaRose Chary and Jay Stull). What does it mean to live without a state? From interviews with people across the country involved in grass-roots protest movements, we present an interrogation of the modern, militarized nation state, flush with resources and weapons but drunk with power. Is it possible to imagine a world that sidesteps the monopoly of the state? Or is such an act of imagination just another kind of privilege?
Julia Meinwald (Composer) writes music for musicals, film, and the occasional computer game. Julia's musicals with Gordon Leary include PREGNANCY PACT (2012 premiere production at the Weston Playhouse, 2011 NAMT conference and Yale Institute for Musical Theatre selection), I LOVE YOU, ANITA BRYANT (2015 workshop production at Philadelphia's UARTS, 2014 OutLoud reading with Ars Nova), GALAXY COMICS (2014 United Airlines in-flight programming), and DISAPPEARED (2009 Lincoln Center Directors Lab). Julia was a participant in the New Dramatists Composer Librettist Development Program, a Dramatists Guild fellow, a resident artist with American Lyric Theatre, and an Uncharted writer at Ars Nova. She holds a BA in Music from Yale and an MFA from NYU's GMTWP.www.juliameinwald.com
PROJECT: REB + VoDKA + ME (with Benjamin Kamine and Gordon Leary). September 11, 2014 would have been Columbine High School shooter Dylan Klebold's 33rd birthday and the Tumblr community of his fans, known as Columbiners, spent the day thinking of him. The mourning was interrupted when Chardon High School shooter T.J. Lane escaped from prison that evening, throwing the true crime community into a frenzy. REB + VoDKa + ME follows a girl through the events of that day, her own eighteenth birthday, exploring the quest for community and understanding of the misunderstood.
Ken Urban (Writer) Ken Urban's plays have been produced at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, 59E59 Theatres, SpeakEasy Stage Company, The Summer Play Festival at The Public, Theatre503 (London), First Floor Theatre and Studio 42. He has developed work at Playwrights Horizons, The Huntington Theater Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and Donmar Warehouse (London). Awards include the Weissberger Playwriting Award, Huntington Playwriting Fellowship, Headlands Artist Residency, Dramatist Guild Fellowship, and MacDowell Colony Fellowships. He is a Core Writer at the Playwrights' Center. His plays are published by Dramatists Play Service and Methuen. His band Occurrence will release their new album The Past Will Last Forever this fall.
PROJECT: The Immortals (with Lee Sunday Evans). An African-American professor at an elite Ivy League, Alice leads a good life with her corporate lawyer husband. She spends her days fascinated by the troubling case of Henrietta Lacks. Lacks's cells were taken without her permission. Though used in profitable labs the world over, the Lacks family were never compensated. In Lacks, Alice sees her own struggles. With Alice's upcoming tenure battle looming, her department chair demands she abandon the project, while an eager transgender student teaches her how desire can cloud the quest for truth.
Lee Sunday Evans (Director) is a director and choreographer. Credits include: WELLESLEY GIRL by Brendan Pelsue (Humana), D DEB DEBBIE DEBORAH by Jerry Lieblich (Clubbed Thumb), A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN NOVEMBER ON THE BANKS... by Kate Benson (OBIE Award - New Georges/Women's Project), THE PLAY ABOUT MY DAD by Boo Killebrew (59E59), GOD'S EAR by Jenny Schwartz (Juilliard), FAMILY PLAY (1979 to Present) by CollaborationTown, THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE by Bertolt Brecht with original music by Nicholas C. Williams. Her work has been presented/developed at: Baryshnikov Arts Center, Sundance Theater Lab, BAX, CATCH, LMCC, Robert Wilson's Watermill Center, Juilliard. As the resident director for CollaborationTown, Lee is currently developing a new musical as part of New Victory's LabWorks, and is under commission from LCT3. Upcoming: THE RUG DEALER by Riti Sachdeva (Women's Project), MACBETH (Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival).
PROJECT: The Immortals (with Ken Urban). An African-American professor at an elite Ivy League, Alice leads a good life with her corporate lawyer husband. She spends her days fascinated by the troubling case of Henrietta Lacks. Lacks's cells were taken without her permission. Though used in profitable labs the world over, the Lacks family were never compensated. In Lacks, Alice sees her own struggles. With Alice's upcoming tenure battle looming, her department chair demands she abandon the project, while an eager transgender student teaches her how desire can cloud the quest for truth.
Sam Chanse (Writer) is based in New York. work includes FRUITING BODIES, GILGAMESH & THE MOSQUITO, THE OTHER INSTINCT, ASIAN AMERICAN JESUS, and LYDIA'S FUNERAL VIDEO. She is a Sundance/Ucross Playwright Fellow, MacDowell Fellow, and Playwrights Realm Writing Fellow, and a member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, Ars Nova's Play Group, the Lark's Playground, and the Civilians R&D group. She has been awarded residencies at Ucross, MacDowell, the Lark, Tofte Lake Center, and Djerassi; commissions include Ensemble Studio Theatre/Sloan, Ma-Yi/the Flea, Second Generation, Leviathan Lab, and the SF Arts Commission. She received her MFA in playwriting from Columbia University, and in musical theater writing from NYU. www.samchanse.com
PROJECT: what you are now (with Colette Robert). A woman navigates her family's history, and how the past is relentlessly, ruthlessly engaged in the present.
Sanaz Ghajar (Director) is a director, writer and DJ. She has developed works nationally and internationally with New York Theatre Workshop, Clubbed Thumb, Playwrights Horizons, The Civilians, The Drama League, Target Margin Theater, The New Ohio, Three Legged Dog, Prelude, Ars Nova, HERE, Dixon Place, The Red House Center for Culture and Debate, Theater for the New City, Rising Circle Theater Company, The Tank, Fresh Ground Pepper, Colorado State University, Prague Film and Theater Center, Vox Populi in Bulgaria, Ikincikat Theatre in Turkey, Goldex Poldex Gallery in Poland and UK-based company Fragility. She is a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect and Drama League Director's Project Alum. She is currently assisting Rachel Chavkin on Hadestown by Anais Mitchell at NYTW.
PROJECT: Hart Island Requiem (with Ty Defoe and Tidtaya Sinutoke). Hart Island, the United States most documented potter's field; located in the Bronx, where an estimated one million people are buried, dating back to 1869 to present day. This investigative theatre piece depicts stories of dead people who gather at an abandoned theme park to remember their life and death. A series of stories were gathered, imagined, and stitched together to highlight people who are undocumented, in poverty, or lost. Hart Island Requiem asks what happens to these souls when they are unable to rest in peace in "America?"
Sash Bischoff (Director) is a director whose credits include LONG DIVISION (Portland Center Stage), FLEE (NYSAF/Naked Angels), CANDYLAND, LIFE, and TABOO (Ars Nova), SHREK (National Tour), THE WHITE PARTY (Clubbed Thumb and National Black Theatre), BABS THE DODO, SWEPT, TALK TO ME OF LOVE, COLD, and SEVEN CATEGORIES (Williamstown), #SERIALS (The Flea), BODEGA PRICING (Pipeline), THE AGE OF MAN (NYU Grad), and MINE (Chautauqua). Upcoming: THE VISIT (Resident Director of upcoming International Tour), HOW THE MOON WOULD TALK (Keen Company), UN-UTERO (Columbia MFA), TOP GIRLS (NYU Stella Adler), FUCK MARRY KILL (Less Than Rent), BOX SHOW (Dixon Place). BA Princeton University. www.sashbischoff.com
PROJECT: we, the invisibles (with Susan Soon He Stanton). Inspired by the incident in 2011, when Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the director of the International Monetary Fund, successfully discredited a hotel maid he was accused of sexually assaulting, we, the invisibles is an investigation of a New York City luxury hotel, and the invisible relationship between bankers and the refugee women who launder their sheets.
Susan Soon He Stanton (Writer) is a playwright and screenwriter in New York, originally from the consonant-free town of Aiea, Hawai'i. Plays include TAKARAZUKA!!!, TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY, SEEK, The THINGS ARE AGAINST US, CYGNUS, THE UNDERNEATH, THE ART OF PRESERVATION, and more. Her plays have been produced or developed at Clubbed Thumb, East West Players, Playwrights Horizons, New York Theater Workshop, Kennedy Center, The Flea, Washington Ensemble Theater, Joe's Pub, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Women's Project, Honolulu Theater for Youth and others.
She is a two-time Sundance Institute Fellowship/Residency recipient. Writing groups and residencies include Public Theater's Emerging Writers Group, Playwrights Center Corewriter, SoHo Rep Writer-Director Lab, The Women's Project Lab, Hedgebrook, and MaYi Playwrights Lab. She was the inaugural Van Lier playwriting fellow at The Lark Play Development Center. Other awards include Southern Rep's Ruby Prize Runner-up, Susan Glaspell Prize Finalist, Kilroy's List, a Susan Smith Blackburn nomination, and a NET Partnership Grant with Satori Group. She is a writing consultant for Disney Creative Entertainment. She received a Feature Film Development Grant and Screenwriting Award from the Sloan Foundation, and a Leviathan Lab Film Production Grant. Films include Dress (winner of Hawai'i International Film Festival Audience Award), Dispatched, Good House, and Same Will. BFA: NYU Tisch, MFA: Yale School of Drama.
PROJECT: we, the invisibles (with Sash Bischoff). Inspired by the incident in 2011, when Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the director of the International Monetary Fund, successfully discredited a hotel maid he was accused of sexually assaulting, we, the invisibles is an investigation of a New York City luxury hotel, and the invisible relationship between bankers and the refugee women who launder their sheets.
Suzanne Agins (Director) is a freelance director who specializes in new work. Off Broadway: world premieres of Radiance by Cusi Cram (Labyrinth Theater Company) and Jailbait by Deirdre O'Connor (Cherry Lane). She has developed and directed work by Hilary Bettis, Gordon Cox, Matt Hoverman, Ken Weitzman, Lucy Thurber, Sheila Callaghan and others at theaters such as Williamstown, The O'Neill, The Lark, Dorset, Naked Angels, Primary Stages, Rattlestick and more. Ms. Agins served as Artistic Associate for New Plays at Williamstown from 2005-2007. She holds an MFA in Directing from UC San Diego, is the recipient of a Princess Grace Fellowship, and is a faculty member at Princeton University (her alma mater). www.suzanneagins.com
PROJECT: Gold Person (with Dominic Finocchiaro). Bobby used to be the biggest star on the biggest competitive reality show on television. Now he's doing Valtrex commercials and fighting not to be forgotten. What happens when everyone stops watching? What do you do...after reality? A play about the American Nightmare.
Tidtaya Sinutoke (Composer) is a NYC-based composer, writer, and musician. Writing credits include: CLOUDS ARE PILLOWS FOR THE MOON (2014 Yale Institute for Music Theatre, 2015 ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop, 2015 Kilroy's Honorable Mentions List, 2015 NAMT Songwriters Cabaret), TICK-TICK (Prospect Theater Company's Musical Theatre Lab), CROSSING BORDERS (2015-2016 CAP 21 Residency), and IN THE CARDS (2014 Boston-Contempo International Festival). Originally from Thailand, she has a Master in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Her music has been featured at venues such as the Signature Theatre, 54 Below, Symphony Space, Joe's Pub, Goodspeed Opera House, Songbook at Lincoln Center, and Dramatists Guild National Conference in Chicago. She also participated in the 2014 Composer-Librettists Studio at New Dramatists and the 2015 Johnny Mercer Songwriter Projects. Tidtaya is a proud member of ASCAP, and the Dramatists Guild. www.tidtayasinutoke.com
PROJECT: Hart Island Requiem (with Ty Defoe and Sanaz Ghajar). Hart Island, the United States most documented potter's field; located in the Bronx, where an estimated one million people are buried, dating back to 1869 to present day. This investigative theatre piece depicts stories of dead people who gather at an abandoned theme park to remember their life and death. A series of stories were gathered, imagined, and stitched together to highlight people who are undocumented, in poverty, or lost. Hart Island Requiem asks what happens to these souls when they are unable to rest in peace in "America?"
Ty Defoe (Writer) of the Oneida + Ojibwe tribes received a Grammy Award for his work on COME TO ME GREAT MYSTERY. Other work includes: CLOUDS ARE PILLOWS FOR THE MOON (Yale Institute for Musical Theatre, ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop, Kilroys Honorable Mentions List, and NAMT Songwriters Cabaret), TICK-TICK (Prospect Musical Theater Lab), CROSSING BORDERS (CAP21 Residency), + Johnny Mercer Songwriter Project. Recent: Heather Henson's Ibex Puppetry's CRANE: ON EARTH, IN SKY, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (artist residency), TCG Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Fellow Alum, + artEquity Facilitator. A graduate of CalArts, Goddard College, + NYU's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at Tisch. Ty is a member of East Coast Two Spirit Society, ASCAP, + DG. Advocate for advancing Indigenous Peoples' & the earth in music, theatre, + film. Favorite color is clear. Pronouns: he/his/him. www.tydefoe.com
PROJECT: Hart Island Requiem (with Tidtaya Sinutoke and Sanaz Ghajar). Hart Island, the United States most documented potter's field; located in the Bronx, where an estimated one million people are buried, dating back to 1869 to present day. This investigative theatre piece depicts stories of dead people who gather at an abandoned theme park to remember their life and death. A series of stories were gathered, imagined, and stitched together to highlight people who are undocumented, in poverty, or lost. Hart Island Requiem asks what happens to these souls when they are unable to rest in peace in "America?"
2014-15 PROJECTS /
The Civilians' R&D Group
The Civilians' R&D Group meets biweekly for nine months, during which time each artist or team of artists develops a new piece of theater through a creative investigation of a topic chosen by each artist. The creative process may include interviewing, community engagement, research, or other experimental methods of inquiry. Led by Artistic Director Steve Cosson and R&D Coordinator EllaRose Chary, the artists share and discuss their methodologies and the resulting work. The process culminates in a FINDINGS series in May of 2015, when the artists present their work to the public. This is the fourth season of The Civilians' R&D Group. You can read Ella's recap of this year's R&D FINDINGS on our blog here.
Participants in the 2014-15 Group were:
Jaclyn Backhaus (Playwright)
Ilana Becker (Director)
Mike Brun (Composer)
Juliana Francis-Kelly (Playwright)
Donnetta Lavinia Grays (Playwright)
Rob Handel (Playwright)
Alexandra Keegan (Director)
Krista Knight (Playwright)
Caroline V. McGraw (Playwright)
Winter Miller (Playwright)
Andrew Neisler (Director)
Kamala Sankaram (Composer)
Jay Stull (Director)
Max Vernon (Playwright/Composer)
Jaclyn Backhaus (playwright) is a Brooklyn-based playwright & performer hailing from Phoenix, Arizona. She is th! resident playwright of Theater Reconstruction Ensemble. Plays for TRE: SET IN THE LIVING ROOM OF A SMALL TOWN AMERICAN PLAY, THREE SEAGULLS OR MASHAMASHAMASHA!, and the upcoming YOU ON THE MOORS NOW (HERE, February 2015). Other recent credits include the Playwrights Horizons/Clubbed Thumb SuperLab of MEN ON BOATS, THE INCREDIBLE FOX SISTERS at the 2014 Ice Factory Festival, and SHOOT THE FREAK at (not just) 3 new plays. She frequently collaborates with director Andrew Neisler and composer Mike Brun on musicals including FOLK WANDERING and BULL’S HOLLOW. Her plays have been developed by or presented at HERE, WalkerSpace, The New York Performing Arts Library, Clubbed Thumb, Ars Nova, Joe’s Pub, Naked Angels, and the Bushwick Starr. Jaclyn is one of Clubbed Thumb's inaugural Falcons and co-founder of Fresh Ground Pepper, an incubation system for new artistic work. When she is not writing, she works at a wine store. BFA: NYU.
PROJECT: Bull’s Hollow Part 1: The Four Fathers (with Mike Brun) is the first part of a new trilogy that chronicles four musicians who are tasked with founding a new society. Themes of class, religion, history, biology, nationalism, mythmaking, the Titanic, and soggy musical instruments come together to weave an intimate portrait of what it takes to survive in the world, when your world is inside a whale.
Ilana Becker (Director) is a NYC based director. She has developed new work at Lark Play Development Center, Dixon Place, 54 Below, The Flea Theater, TinyRhino, Communal Spaces: garden plays, Theater for the New City with Piper Theatre, O’Neill Theater Center’s Young Playwrights Festival and National Theatre Institute, Disney/ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop, Samuel French Festival, FringeNYC, Pittsburgh Fringe, Galapagos Art Space, Hunter College, and NYU’s Dramatic Writing MFA program. She is developing ARGUMENT SESSIONS, an ongoing series of immersive events taken from SCOTUS transcripts. Other projects as co-producer and director include a site-specific production of WAITING FOR LEFTY at the Hartley House; Beer Plays, an evening of craft beers paired with short plays; and AROUND THE BLOCK, a roaming collection of investigative short pieces about and performed in New York neighborhoods. Ilana is a member of Bastard Playground, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, Directors Lab Chicago, and was the ’11-‘12 Playwrights Horizons Robert Moss Directing Resident.
Mike Brun (composer) is a composer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist known for the wide range of his projects. In 2011, he moved to New York City for the music and stayed for the people-watching. Recent theater credits include: Music Director and onstage musician for Mr. Burns at Playwrights Horizons; Music Director and onstage musician for Gameplay at Ars Nova; co-arranger and onstage musician for Old Hats at ACT San Francisco; and onstage musician for The Tempest at ART. Mike is Lead Composer of the musical Folk Wandering, most recently performed at Joe’s Pub in New York. As a composer for theatre, his work has been performed at Ars Nova, Joe’s Pub, Soho Rep, HERE Arts Center, and lots of his friends’ apartments. Brun is one third of the Shaina Taub Trio, as well as a sideman for Jacob Snider and Kate Davis among other acts. He has appeared on such podcasts as Emma Koenig’s Fuck! I’m in my Twenties, and The Civilians’ cabaret series Let Me Ascertain You.
PROJECT: Bull’s Hollow Part 1: The Four Fathers (with Jaclyn Backhaus)
Juliana Francis-Kelly (playwright) is an actor and a writer. She has originated roles for many great directors, including Reza Abdoh (as a founding member of the internationally renowned Dar A Luz Company); Richard Foreman (in “Paradise Hotel;” “Bad Boy Nietzsche;” “King Cowboy Rufus Rules the Universe” and “Maria Del Bosco” – for which she received an OBIE Award) and for Anne Bogart, Karin Coonrod, Young Jean Lee, Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper, Lear DeBessonet, Normandy Sherwood, Charlotte Braithwaite, Hal Hartley, Meredith Drum, Mary Billyou, Marie Losier in collaboration with Guy Maddin, and David Michalek (for the 2011 Lincoln Center Festival’s “Portraits in Dramatic Time.”) Ms. Kelly also writes, performs and directs her own work, has written for several film companies, and has received project support from the N.E.A., NYSCA, The Durst Foundation and The Jerome Foundation. Her plays include: “Go Go Go”, directed by Anne Bogart at PS 122, reprised at The Institute of Contemporary Art for London International Festival of Theater; “Box”, directed by Tony Torn and performed at The Women’s Project, PS 122; and The Fontanon Festival in Italy; “The Baddest Natashas”, performed at The Ontological Theater and published by Open City Magazine; “Saint Latrice”, at PS 122 (for which she received a Sundance Screenwriters Fellowship for the film script adaptation.) Recent performances include ”Feather Gatherers” for the Drunkard’s Wife, “Woman Bomb” by Ivana Sajko, directed by Charlotte Brathwaite at Baryshnikov Arts Center, and “Ajax” for Theater of War (outsidethewirellc.com). Ms. Kelly also builds dolls, and one of her dolls is installed at the American Museum of Natural History’s Interactive Educational Wing. Julianafranciskelly.com
PROJECT: The Antigones will seek out a unique web of collaborators - from prison inmates to migrant farm worker activists to radical nuns - to rewrite Sophocles iconic dialog between Antigone and Creon from their own perspectives.
Donnetta Lavinia Grays (playwright) is a Brooklyn based actor and playwright. Her plays include SAM (2014 Eugene O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference Semifinalist), THE REVIEW OR HOW TO EAT YOUR OPPOSITION (2013 Eugene O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference Finalist) THE NEW NORMAL, THE COWBOY IS DYING, THE B FACTOR and ABSENCE OF FAITH and a short story entitled PEACHES WITH KING. She is the inaugural recipient of the Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award, a member of the Actors Studio Playwright/Directors Unit, a 2013-14 Women’s Project Playwrights Lab Semifinalist and is a terraNova Collective Groundbreakers Playwright group alum. Her work has been produced or developed by [the claque], Naked Angels, Classical Theater of Harlem, Slant TheatervProject, terraNova Collective, Theatre 4 the People, TOSOS and Coyote REP with upcoming work for Pure Theatre Company in Charleston, SC and The Group Lab. Acting credits include Broadway’s IN THE NEXT ROOM OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY and WELL. NY performance credits with Clubbed Thumb, Primary Stages, Ars Nova and The Civilians as an Associate Artist. Regionally she is a 2-time Connecticut Critics Circle Award recipient and Helen Hayes Award nominee. Film/TV credits include WILDCANARIES, THE ENGLISH TEACHER, THE WRESTLER, BLUE BLOODS, THE BLACKLIST, all LAW & ORDERS, MERCY, RUBICON, THE SOPRANOS and A GIFTED MAN. www.donnettagrays.com
PROJECT: The years have past, the outrage has eased, the cameras have left and the verdict handed down. In a real life encounter, an armchair activist fails to recognize the woman she so passionately supported online and it alters her definition of true social engagement.
Rob Handel (playwright) is a resident playwright at New Dramatists and heads the dramatic writing program at Carnegie Mellon University. He was a founding member of the playwrights’ collective 13P, which won four Obie Awards. His latest play, A MAZE, has been produced by New York Stage and Film, Rorschach Theatre (D.C.), and Just Theater/Shotgun Players (Berkeley). Other productions include Long Wharf, SPF, Target Margin, City Lights (San Jose), Curious Theatre (Denver), Theater Ninjas (Cleveland), Half Moon (Poughkeepsie), and 99 Stock (San Francisco). His opera libretti have been produced and developed by NYU School of Music, Opera on Tap at Barbčs, North American New Opera Workshop, American Lyric Theatre, and Opera Theater of Pittsburgh. Residencies include The Royal Court Theatre, Donmar Warehouse, The O’Neill Playwrights Conference, Soho Rep, Portland Center Stage, Todd Mountain Theater Project, and a 'pataphysics retreat. Honors include the Helen Merrill Award and the Whitfield Cook Award. MILLICENT SCOWLWORTHY and APHRODISIAC are published by Samuel French. Rob studied at Williams College and with Paula Vogel at Brown University. He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife, poet Joy Katz, and their son.
PROJECT: By clicking this button I agree to the terms and conditions. I agree to let my email be used to search for personal information about me. I understand that this information may be used in song lyrics in tonight’s performance. Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, Chelsea Manning walks into mine.
Alexandra Keegan (director) is a director whose credits include Bekah Brunstetter’s Drunk, Kara Lee Corthron’s Mercury Is Perpetually in Retrograde…, Oscar Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost (Williamstown), Kim Davies’ Miss Authenticity (Stable Cable), Jessica Dickey’s The Amish Project (Circuit Theatre), and new plays with the O’Neill Theater Center YPF, Abingdon Theatre Company, UglyRhino Productions, Writopia Lab Worldwide Plays Festival, Primary Stages ESPA, and Manhattan Theatre Source Estrogenius. Recent assistant directing – Broadway: 24 Hour Plays; Williamstown: A Great Wilderness(dir. Eric Ting), The Dixon Family Album (dir. Jordan Fein); O’Neill NMTC: The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes (dir. Gabriel Barre); La Mama: Burnt Umber (dir. Mia Rovegno). An alum of the Williamstown Theatre Festival Directing Corps and the O’Neill’s National Theater Institute, Alex has worked with Women’s Project, New Dramatists, and The Civilians. She is currently developing a project that explores anxiety disorder and depression in young women, and received her B.A. from Brown University where she studied mental illness’ portrayal in contemporary theatre.
Krista Knight (playwright) is a New York based playwright, whose work includes PRIMAL PLAY (New Georges, Playwrights Center of MN), SALAMANDER LEVIATHAN (Joe's Pub, Ars Nova, Fingerlakes Musical Theatre Festival, Inkwell, KCACTF Musical Theatre Award from the Kennedy Center), CLEMENTINE AND THE CYBER DUCKS (Ontological Hysteric Incubator, Hangar Theatre, Inkwell), PHANTOM BAND (The Claque, Walden Theatre, Voice and Vision, Dixon Place), ANAEROBIC RESPIRATION (Playwrights Center of SF, NYC Fringe Festival), and UN-HINGED (Wily West, Playhouse Creatures, WordBRIDGE), among others. Commissions include The Berkeley Rep School of Theatre, Case Western Reserve University Biomedical Engineering Department, The Assembly, Live Girls!, Class Act, SF Friends School, and a new musical with composer Dave Malloy for YMTC. Krista has been in Residence at La Napoule Art Foundation, UCROSS, Yaddo, and MacDowell. BA: Brown University. MA: Performance Studies from NYU. MFA Playwriting: UC San Diego. Page 73 Playwriting Fellow (2007). Shank Playwriting Fellow at the Vineyard Theatre (2011-2012). Member of Youngblood and New Georges JAM. Krista teaches playwriting, screenwriting, and digital storytelling at St. Mary’s College and SUNY Oswego. www.KristaKnight.com
PROJECT: My handicap father lives in the San Francisco Airport Hyatt with his Ethiopian nurse/girlfriend. He can’t afford to live in a hotel but he’s had a theory for the last 29 years that he is not going to live much longer. The catch is that he continues to. He lives every day, in his joyous broken body, like he is going to die tomorrow. At his behest, I am writing a play in which my father is giving the audience a tour of the hotel on his–and the hotel’s—last night on earth. In the morning, like Brigadoon, it will take flight with the jets that parallel it.
Caroline V. McGraw (playwright) has written several plays, include ULTIMATE BEAUTY BIBLE, THE BACHELORS, TALL SKINNY CRUEL CRUEL BOYS, THE VAULTS, DEBUT TRACK ONE CHORD ONE VERSE ONE (or, THE SHED), and THE KING IS DEAD. Her work has been produced and developed all around the country, including the Cherry Lane Theatre by Young Playwrights Inc., the Abingdon by Highwire Theatre, the Yale Cabaret, Washington Ensemble Theatre, New Georges, WordBRIDGE Playwrights Laboratory, AracaWorks, New Georges, The Intiman Theatre Festival/One Coast Collaboration, Naked Angels, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Washington National Opera/The Kennedy Center, Second Stage, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Studio 42, Page 73, and the Yale School of Drama, among others. She has been in residence at Portland Center Stage’s JAW Festival, Wordbridge Playwrights’ Lab, and SPACE on Ryder Farm. Her feminist pop spectacular …BABY NO MORE TIMES, co-created with Melissa Lusk and Mary Birnbaum, was seen at New George’s Jam on Toast and Ars Nova’s ANT Fest, and will pop up again in late 2014. She is an alum of the New George’s Jam and Interstate 73. Caroline was the 2013 Page 73 Playwriting Fellow. Caroline currently teaches playwriting at Marymount Manhattan College, her alma mater. She is a graduate of the Playwriting MFA program at the Yale School of Drama, where she studied under Paula Vogel. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, she lives in Brooklyn.
PROJECT: “I am looking for a comet on a shelf full of quarters.” So writes d.a. levy, the unofficial poet laureate of Cleveland, Ohio. More than four decades later, a playwright named Caroline struggles to conjure d.a.’s Cleveland—a landscape of promise, disappointment, and mystery. Weaving interviews and texts with fantasy and metatheatrics, Believeland explores literary inheritance in a city famous for its river catching on fire.
Winter Miller (playwright) is an award-winning playwright and founding member of 13Playwrights. Her play IN DARFUR premiered at The Public Theater for a sold-out run, followed by a standing room only performance at their 1800-seat venue in Central Park, a first for a play by a woman. She travelled to the Sudan border with Pulitzer-winning Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. Full-length plays include: SEED, PATERNITY, THE ARRIVAL, AMANDINE, THE PENETRATION PLAY, and CONSPICUOUS and have been produced regionally and in Canada and Uganda. Winter has been a fellow here: Sundance Institute, Hedgebrook, Blue Mountain Center, The Lark, Orchard Project, Voice&Vision and a member of the Cherry Lane Mentor Project and the Playwrights Center’s Core Writers. Winter has created theater with youth in war-torn areas of Northern Uganda and Palestine as well as marginalized populations in New York City. She currently mentors young women through Girl Be Heard and has worked with LGBTQ youth via Theatre Askew and underserved youth with Stella Adler Outreach. Winter teaches playwriting at Primary Stages’ ESPA, teaches theater criticism to urban high school kids and leads a bi-monthly Weekend Warrior Writing Intensive. Winter is a certified Core Energetics Practitioner working with artists to identify and release blocks in mind and body to create the freedom and space to write the story waiting within. She has written for THE NEW YORK TIMES, NEW YORK MAGAZINE, THE BOSTON GLOBE and other publications and was once an NBC Page. MFA Columbia University, BA Smith College.
PROJECT: If there is no question, there is no art. What is the cost of silence? Who provided the first abortions? When did abortion become a stigma? When did women fully lose control over a decision about our own bodies? Will access to legal abortion vanish? What are the underground and aboveground groups procuring abortions? How do people really feel about abortion—it is so stigmatized, most people don’t know which of our closest friends, siblings and parents have had an abortion but statistics say in the U.S. 1 in 3 women have had an one. For the providers of abortions, who can they talk to about their work? It’s a stigmatized and often dangerous profession, many people opt to hide what they do. The debate over reproductive freedom is nuts; the semantics of language about when life begins has confounded an entire populace and led to the murder of doctors and the growth of extremist movements in the United States, of which the Tea Party is the least overtly violent. Expect a non-linear madhouse of a play that criss-crosses the time and space continuum of the dead and the living—whatever that really means. Let’s make some art.
Andrew Neisler (director) is a Georgia-raised, now Brooklyn-based theatre artist and director. Recent directing credits include NY Times’ Critics Pick Clown Bar at The Box and Drama Desk nominated Charlatan at Ars Nova. Other projects include GAME PLAY(Ars Nova), BYUIOO (Pipeline Theatre Company, Gym at Judson), THE GRAY MAN(HERE), SHOOT THE FREAK (Not Just 3 New Plays, Paradise Factory), TAPE (Strasberg Institute), FOLK WANDERING (Ars Nova/Joe’s Pub), and BEBE ZAHARA BENET'S CREATURE (XL Cabaret). He is currently developing a new piece, BULL'S HOLLOW, with frequent collaborators playwright Jaclyn Backhaus and composer Mike Brun. He has worked on new plays with Naked Angels, Primary Stages, New York Theatre Workshop, Ars Nova, Smith+Tinker Writers’ Group, The Lark, and Ensemble Studio Theatre. Andrew is the 2014 Director- in-Residence at Ars Nova. He is a co-Founder/co-Director of Fresh Ground Pepper (fgpnyc.com) and a Teaching Artist at Playwrights Horizons Theatre School/NYU.
PROJECT: Bull’s Hollow Part 1: The Four Fathers (with Jaclyn Backhaus)
Kamala Sankaram (composer) has been praised as “strikingly original” (NY Times) and has received commissions from Beth Morrison Projects, HERE Arts Center, and Anthony Braxton’s Tri-Centric Orchestra, among others. She is the recipient of a Jonathan Larson Award from the American Theater Wing, and has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, MAP Fund, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Meet the Composer, and the Asian Women’s Giving Circle, as well as residencies from the MacDowell Colony, the Watermill Center, Con Edison/Exploring the Metropolis, the Hermitage, and the American Lyric Theater’s Composer Librettist Development Program. As a resident artist at HERE Arts Center, Kamala created MIRANDA, a steampunk murder mystery, which was the winner of the New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Production of a Musical. Her second opera, THUMBPRINT, premiered in the 2014 PROTOTYPE Festival, and was featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, as well as media outlets around the world. As a performer, Kamala has been hailed as "an impassioned soprano with blazing high notes" (Wall Street Journal). She has performed with and premiered pieces by Anthony Braxton, Beth Morrison Projects, the Philip Glass Ensemble, the Wooster Group, and John Zorn, among others. She is the frontwoman of world music ensemble Bombay Rickey, and appears regularly with Opera on Tap’s New Brew. In addition to her musical pursuits, Kamala has been a voice actor on Comedy Central’s Superjail and Cartoon Network’s Golden Age, and holds a PhD in Cognitive Psychology from the New School for Social Research.
PROJECT: Private Manning (with Rob Handel)
Jay Stull (director) is a Brooklyn-based director and playwright. Recent New York directing credits include Mark Roberts’ ENTER AT FOREST LAWN(The Amoralists), Emily Schwend’s TAKE ME BACK(Kindling), Mark Roberts’ RANTOUL AND DIE at The Cherry Lane (The Amoralists), FEVER! Three Plays by Tennessee Williams (Girl In Red Productions), and Michael Rabe's THE FUTURE IS NOT WHAT IT WAS(Kindling). His play, THE CAPABLES, was produced in 2013 by Neighborhood Productions and the GYM at Judson and will be produced by the Bloomington Playwrights Project in 2015. The first episode in his cycle of STREEPSHOW! plays was produced this past summer as part of ANT Fest 2014. His written and directing work has been seen at or developed by the Lark Play Development Center, Ars Nova, Fresh Ground Pepper, Ugly Rhino, The Culture Project, and Joe’s Pub with The Civilians. He is the former Literary Manager of The Amoralists, where he curated the Amoralab and Amoralfest seasons between 2012 and 2014. He is a member of the performance collective Bastard Playground at The Drama League.
Max Vernon (playwright/composer) is songwriter/performer, playwright, and visual artist based out of New York City, described by the New Yorker as “equal parts bohemia and Broadway,” His work has been performed and developed at places such as Ars Nova, New Dramatists, Two River Theater, Dixon Place, LaMaMa, Pride Films and Plays, Goodspeed Opera House, and Joe's Pub (Public Theatre). His music can be heard on the TV-series EastSiders (Logo). This past year he was a Dramatist Guild Theatre Fellow and an artist in residence at Rhinebeck Writer's Retreat. He also recently finished his first commission for Disney Creative Entertainment. His full length pieces include THE VIEW UPSTAIRS(NYU-Tisch, Two River Theater, Pride Films and Plays, 2014 Eugene O'Neill Conference finalist, 2014 Jonathan Larson Grant finalist, ASCAP musical theatre festival finalist), WIRED (Ars Nova, 2013 NAMT finalist), and WHO IS RHONDA RWANDA? He is also the composer for the film musical, State Debate, which won the best original score award at the 2012 First Run Film Festival. He hopes to one day dismantle patriarchy and steal yr grandma's sequin blazer. MFA: NYU- Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. www.maxvernon.com
PROJECT: The Mecca Flats was an infamous apartment complex that existed between the years of 1893 and 1952. Originally built for the Chicago World's Fair to be the most luxurious hotel in the city, it quickly turned into one of the worst slums after the economy went bust. The Mecca became a continual source of gossip in the papers as people were murdered in violent love affairs, jazz musicians and eccentric artists took up residence in the building, and the population swelled to nearly two thousand (from a max capacity of 400). Inside Mecca Flats, is a song-cycle chronicling the tenants' shifting social & political dynamic within the building over a 60 year period.
2013-14 PROJECTS /
The Civilians' R&D Group
The Civilians' R&D Group meets biweekly for nine months, during which time each artist or team of artists develops a new piece of theater through a creative investigation of a topic chosen by each artist. The creative process may include interviewing, community engagement, research, or other experimental methods of inquiry. Led by Artistic Director Steve Cosson and R&D Coordinator EllaRose Chary, the artists share and discuss their methodologies and the resulting work. The process culminates in a Reading Series in May of 2014. This is the fourth season of The Civilians' R&D Group, which has an open applications selection process, and we will announce the details about applying for the 2014-15 Group in the spring of 2014.
Click HERE for blog posts by our artists about working with the investigative method and their projects!
Participants in the 2013-14 Group were:
Teddy Bergman (Director)
Maggie-Kate Coleman (Playwright)
Melissa Crespo (Director)
Sean Cunningham (Playwright)
Juliana Francis Kelly (Playwright)
Morgan Gould (Director)
Erato A. Kremmyda (Composer)
Michael Leibenluft (Director)
Mary Kathryn Nagle (Playwright)
Jeanine Oleson (Interdisciplinary Artist)
Sam Pinkleton (Director)
Riti Sachdeva (Playwright)
Tommy Smith (Playwright)
Robbie Sublett (Playwright)
Tony Torn (Director)
Teddy Bergman (director) is a New York based director and actor. As an artistic director of Woodshed Collective, he has co-conceived productions of Twelve Ophelias (Director), The Confidence Man (Producer), and The Tenant (Director), among others. His work as a director has also been seen at Clubbed Thumb and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. As an actor he originated the role of Fighting Prawn in the Tony Award Winning play Peter and the Starcatcher. He has also recently completed filming Fading Gigolo written and directed by John Turturro and starring John Turturro, Woody Allen, Sofia Vergara, Sharon Stone, and Liev Schrieber. Other acting work includes - Theater: Philip Goes Forth (The Mint), Sex Lives of Our Parents (2nd Stage), Peter and the Starcatcher (NYTW), Seven Minutes in Heaven (HERE), Hell House (St. Ann's), I.E. (The Flea), I Was Tom Cruise (Fringe NYC, Best Play Award), and regionally at Williamstown, Huntington, and La Jolla. TV: "Law and Order: SVU," "As The World Turns." Film work includes: Listen Up Phillip, Fading Gigolo, Hairbrained, Julie and Julia, Little Big League, Honeymoon in Vegas, and Hairbrained.
PROJECT: nfl (with Tommy Smith)
Maggie-Kate Coleman (playwright) is a Brooklyn-based playwright, librettist, and lyricist. Recent work includes Story of an Hour (Lyrics – Irondale), Field Trip: A Climate Cabaret (Lyrics - Superhero Clubhouse/Marfa Dialogues NYC), From a Childhood (Book & Lyrics - Montclair/NYC), all written in collaboration with Erato A. Kremmyda. Her musical Pop! (Book & Lyrics - Yale Rep/Studio Theatre/City Theatre Pittsburgh, etc. - music by Anna K. Jacobs) garnered 3 Connecticut Critics Circle Awards and 7 Helen Hayes nominations. Current projects include book for Lightning Man (music by Jeffrey Dennis Smith, lyrics by Shoshana Greenberg), and lyrics for a song cycle with composer/lyricist Daniel Maté. She is a founder and co-curator of BASTARD PLAYGROUND, a monthly gathering for genre-flexible artists of live performance in residence at The Drama League, and is the Senior Program Representative for the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. MFA NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
PROJECT: Written as a site-specific work for an imaginary abandoned amusement park, MARIE IN TOMORROWLAND is a multidisciplinary music theatre piece anchored by the figure of Marie Curie through which we hope to examine the ways our lives have become inextricably linked with radiation and explore how love and radiation might be almost the same kind of force.
Melissa Crespo (director) is a NYC based freelance director. Recent directing credits include Chosen (HERE), Sitcom for the Apocalypse (Lil Explosions Theatre Company) a site specific episodic theatre experience and recent NY Times rave, ¡Figaro! (90210) produced by Morningside Opera. She is currently developing a new play about gun violence and received her MFA in Directing from the New School for Drama. Selected assoc/asst credits: Bird in the Hand (Fulcrum Theater), Sarah Ruhl and Todd Almond's Melancholy Play (13P), Camino Real (NYU), Everyday Rapture and Some Men (Second Stage). She was the Van Lier Directing Fellow at Second Stage Theatre and the Allen Lee Hughes Directing Fellow at Arena Stage.
Sean Cunningham (playwright)'s plays include Drama Desk-nominated God Hates the Irish, the two-part Sherlock Holmes cycle, and the musical Herbert Hoover: Tanned, Rested, and Ready to Rock (co-created with Alex Timbers) for a joint production of both the Page to Stage and Edge series at La Jolla Playhouse: each of these shows was fortunate enough to feature a score by Michael Friedman. He has written for a variety of publications on topics ranging from serial killers to the battle between rival porn parodies of The Jersey Shore, interviewed people varying from Oscar winners to Wu-Tang Clan members (specifically, Ghostface Killah), collaborated with President George H.W. Bush's former director of economic policy on a play, and been hired to write three screenplays (one of which required him to spend extensive time in Luxembourg - yes, it actually exists). A winner of the ASCAP Cole Porter Prize from Yale Drama School and a graduate of Princeton University, he is the Editorial Director for the recently launched theater magazine CHANCE and was once an editor at Maxim for Kids (honestly).
PROJECT: Pisco is a brandy made from grapes beloved in Peru and Chile and barely known elsewhere. Now Peruvian companies are attempting to embed it in the American consciousness, so there will be five clear liquors served at every American bar: gin, vodka, tequila, rum, pisco. A look at the task of taking a Peruvian drink and somehow wedging it into America's mindset.
Juliana Francis Kelly (playwright) is a writer, an actor, and a doll maker. As an actor, she has originated roles for legendary and emerging experimental artists, including Reza Abdoh (as a founding member of the internationally renowned Dar A Luz Company); Richard Foreman (for whom she received an OBIE Award); and for Anne Bogart, Karin Coonrod, Young Jean Lee, Alec Duffy, Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper, Lear DeBessonet, Normandy Sherwood, Hal Hartley, Charlotte Braithwaite, Marie Losier in collaboration with Guy Maddin, Bryan Doerries (for Outside the Wire/Theater of War), and David Michalek (Lincoln Center Festival). Her own plays have been produced in the U.S. and Europe. Her first play, Go Go Go, was directed by Anne Bogart for PS 122, and reprised at The Institute of Contemporary Art for London International Festival of Theater. Other plays include Box, directed by Tony Torn and performed at The Women's Project, PS 122, and The Fontanon Festival in Italy; The Baddest Natashas, also directed by Torn and performed at The Ontological Theater and published by Open City Magazine; Saint Latrice, at PS 122 (for which she received a Sundance Screenwriters Fellowship.) Ms. Kelly is also a doll maker. One of her dolls is installed at the American Museum of Natural History's Interactive Educational Wing.
PROJECT: The Reenactors. An actress gets cast in a play about the sole survivor of a teenage suicide pact. When she discovers mid-rehearsal that the play is based on a true story, she sets out to find the play's "real girl," sparking a darkly comic exploration of stories in art: about who gets to tell them, why they are important, and how they get told.
Morgan Gould (director) is a freelance director who has previously held staff positions at Lark Play Development Center, Cape Cod Theatre Project, and Young Jean Lee's Theater Company, where she co-created Untitled Feminist Show (BAC/PS 122) and worked on the premieres of Lear (Soho Rep) and We're Gonna Die (Joe's Pub/ 13P/ LCT3) and tours of Pullman Wa and The Shipment. Morgan is also a New Georges affiliated artist and an alumnus of the Lincoln Center Director's Lab, as well as the Ensemble Studio Theatre and Playwrights Horizons Directing Residency Programs. She was an 11-12 Artist-In-Residence with playwright Matthew Paul Olmos and a 12-13 Space Grant Recipient at Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX). Morgan also creates her own work with her own company, Morgan Gould & Friends, whose work has been seen at Dixon Place, The Brooklyn Lyceum, HERE Arts Center, Ars Nova, CAP21, BAX, New Georges, and The Culture Project. Morgan likes theater that doesn't like theater.
Erato A. Kremmyda (composer) is a New York based composer, originally from Athens (Greece). Currently focusing on theater and film, she works across genres and countries. Theatre (selected): Agamemnon (Irondale, NYC), The Dot (Bios, Athens), We Are Theatre (Cherry Lane Theatre, NYC), Wagon Wheel (Loewe Foundation Development Award, Planet Connections, NYC), Field Trip: A Climate Cabaret (Superhero Clubhouse/ Marfa Dialogues NYC), Kassia (K.E.T., Athens), Vanya (2 Great Jones, NYC), Revolution Trilogy (Columbia Stages, NYC), From a Childhood (Montclair, NYC). Film (recent): Terra Tradita (Italy), 500 kilometers to summer (China), Three Candles (NYC, Olympia Dukakis). Erato is a Fulbright fellow, a core member of Bastard Playground (Drama League) and a member of the Dramatists Guild and ASCAP. Graduate: Tisch (M.F.A/scholar), Steinhardt, NYU (M.M), Athens University, Athens Conservatory (Distinction). Erato is the supervising music composer and sound designer for the 2013 "World Wide Lab, A Directors Feast" (Irondale).www.eratoAkremmyda.com.
Michael Leibenluft (director) directed Gold No Trade and Mud/Bone Collective's bilingual Mandarin/English production of The Subtle Body by Megan Campisi at Dixon Place. The production has been awarded a TCG Global Connections Grant to tour to the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center in November 2013. Michael recently served as a directing resident at Playwrights Horizons where he assistant directed the New York premieres of The Whale, The Flick, Far From Heaven. As a directing fellow at American Theater Company in Chicago, Michael was a main contributor to the revision of columbinus, a documentary play about the 1999 shootings in Littleton, Colorado. From 2010 to 2012, he served as an instructor at the Shanghai Theatre Academy where he directed North Bank Suzhou Creek, a new musical about Jewish refugees in Shanghai during WWII. Michael graduated from Yale University as a double major in Theater Studies and East Asian Studies. He is a 2010 recipient of a China Fulbright Research Grant as well as a member of the 2013 Lincoln Center Director's Lab. Michael is developing a stage adaptation of Sholem Abramovitsch's Benjamin the Third for the Target Margin Theater Lab, and he is collaborating with choreographer Megan Kendzior on Treats, a dance theater piece for the Bowery Arts+Sciences series.
Mary Kathryn Nagle (playwright) was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, and an honorary member of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska. She graduated summa cum laude from Tulane Law School where she was the recipient of the Judge John Minor Wisdom Award. Upcoming productions include AMERINDA's presentation of Miss Lead at 59E59 from January 13-26, 2014. Her play Sliver of a Full Moon was presented at the Annual Convention of the National Congress of American Indians in Tulsa, Oklahoma – in celebration of the recent passage of the Violence Against Women Act and the Act's recognition of American Indian Nations' inherent sovereignty to protect their citizens on tribal lands. Nagle is a member of the 2013 Emerging Writers Group at the Public Theater, where she wrote and developed Manahatta. Manahatta was recently featured in the Public Theater's 2013 NEW WORK NOW! new play festival.
PROJECT: An investigation of the crossroads between climate change and community. HowÂ is climate change altering the landscape of the American community?
Jeanine Oleson (interdisciplinary artist) is an artist whose practice incorporates interdisciplinary uses of performance,Â photography,Â film/video, and publicly-based work, often collaboratively. She attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Rutgers University. Oleson has exhibited at venues including: Exit Art, NY; Beta Local, San Juan, PR; X-Initiative, NY; Grand Arts, Kansas City, MO; Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, NY; L.A.C.E., Los Angeles; Monya Rowe Gallery, NY; Samson Projects, Boston, MA; John Connelly Presents, NY; H&R Block Artspace,Â Kansas City Museum of Art, MO; Participant, Inc., NY; MOMA/PS 1, Queens, NY; Pumphouse Gallery, London; White Columns, NY; and Art in General, NY.Â Oleson has received a Franklin Furnace Fellowship and a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant in 2009; Brooklyn Arts Council Community Arts Regrant, 2008 and 2009; and Professional Development Fellowship, College Art Association, 1999-2000. She's also been in residence at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and Smack Mellon Studio Program, NY. Oleson is an Assistant Professor of Photography in the Department of Art, Media, and Technology at Parsons the New School for Design. www.jeanineoleson.com.
PROJECT: A performance and exhibition about connoisseurship in a neoliberal culture increasingly alienated from affective enthusiasm told through objects, video, performance, and public programs. Current research is: Catherine the Great's librettos, interviews with fairly extreme cultural consumers in NYC, theories about animal communication, GMO/bio-hoarding, and the history of Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos.
Sam Pinkleton (director) is a New York City-based director and choreographer. Recent choreography credits include Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play (Playwrights Horizons), Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 (Kazino), Buyer and Cellar (Barrow Street/Rattlestick), Spring Awakening (Olney Theater Center), Love Machine (Incubator), and The Material World (Dixon Place). He is co-director of The Dance Cartel's long-running ONTHEFLOOR at the Ace Hotel and was Associate Director for Nicky Silver's The Lyons on Broadway. He is a core company member of dance-theater company Witness Relocation and teaches Bustin' Moves and other lowbrow dance classes at NYU/Playwrights Horizons. As a director and/or choreographer, Sam has also developed new work with the Vineyard Theatre, The O'Neill, Joe's Pub, Primary Stages, Atlantic Theater Company, Ars Nova, Dixon Place, La MaMa, NYU, and Pittsburgh City Theatre. Current/Upcoming projects include choreographing Marie Antoinette (Soho Rep), directing Fix Me, Jesus (Abingdon Theater Company), and choreographing the stage adaptation of Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief for Theatreworks USA. www.sampinkleton.com.
Riti Sachdeva (playwright) is a theatre maker, dancer, and cultural worker. Acting highlights include work with Disney Channel, HBO, National Hispanic Cultural Center, and performances of her original plays in LA, Toronto, and NYC. Her work has been developed and/or produced by The Joseph Papp Public Theater, Minneapolis PlayWrights Center, Kennedy Center, MT Works, Planet Connections Festival, Center for Regional Studies (UNM), and the Lincoln Center Director's Lab. Sachdeva is primary instigator ofmidNite's cHiLd Productions. http://www.facebook.com/midniteschild.
PROJECT: I've heard it said that being around people who are depressed, paranoid, or compulsive makes one depressed, paranoid, or compulsive; that insanity is contagious. How can we make possible that love, laughter, and faith be just as contagious and be strategies of support that create systems of wellness? How do systems of racism, misogyny, economics, and violence trigger symptoms and effect recovery of Mental Disorders?
Tommy Smith (playwright)'s plays include Zero, (Ensemble Studio Theatre; d. Billy Carden), PTSD (E.S.T.; d. Billy Carden), White Hot (HERE Arts Center; d. May Adrales & West Of Lenin, d. Braden Abraham), Pigeon (E.S.T.; d. Billy Carden), The Wife (Access Gallery; d. May Adrales), Sextet (Washington Ensemble Theatre; d. Roger Benington), Caravan Man (Williamstown Theatre Festival, music & lyrics by Gabriel Kahane, d. Kip Fagan), Demon Dreams (Magic Futurebox, music by DJ Spooky, d. Kevin Laibson), A Day in Dig Nation (PS 122, co-written and d. Michael McQuilken), Air Conditioning (Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference; d. Steve Cosson), among others.
PROJECT: NFL Football players have become embroiled in criminal activity on a pace and scale unparalleled in professional sports. Each year, dozens of players – Aaron Hernandez, Nate Newton, Pacman Jones, Jovan Belcher, Ray Lewis – commit crimes ranging from petty to horrific. A docudrama, nfl follows the real-life stories of a handful of these athletes, charting their progress from innocent sportsmen to unhinged criminals.
Robbie Sublett (playwright): As a writer, You Better Sit Down: tales from my parents' divorce produced off Off-Broadway at The Flea and at the Williamstown Theatre Festival (published by Dramatists Play Services) and the solo show Calacas produced at Clurman Festival of the Arts in NY (optioned by Amanda Lipitz Productions). Additionally, multiple sketch comedy shows at the Upright Citizen's Brigade. As an actor, Broadway: Other Desert Cities (Lincoln Center). Off-Broadway/NY: You Better Sit Down, American River (Lesser America, NYIT Best Actor nom.), American Songbook (Jazz at Lincoln Center), Perfect Harmony, Gone Missing, Mabou Mines' FINN, Zayd Dohrn's Long Way Go Down. Regional: Emerson College; Williamstown; Chicago Shakespeare; NJ Shakespeare. Film: I Don't Know How She Does It, White Irish Drinkers, Hachi: A Dog's Tale, Mystery Team, Lifelines. TV: "Perception", "Golden Boy", "The Good Wife", "Speed Racer: The Next Generation", "Casper's Scare School", "Team Umizoomi", "Video Game Princess" animated pilot. The Civilians: Associate Artist. NYU: BFA-Stella Adler.
PROJECT: In May 2003, a special needs student named Ruben Vela finally graduated from Bishop High School at the age of 20. Two months later – much to the shock of his small Texas town – this beloved local fixture was dead. State and local authorities ruled Ruben's mysterious death accidental, but town lore to date hints that perhaps something far more troubling was responsible. East On Fourth Street investigates what exactly did or did not happen to Ruben in this quaint South-Texan town.
Tony Torn (director) is an actor and director known for his extensive work with Reza Abdoh and Richard Foreman, and for being the founding director of Reverend Billy and The Church Of Stop Shopping. Other directing credits include The Red Rose (an adaption of Shakespeare's History Plays focusing on Queen Margret), Two By Synge, Party Time, and This Strange Attachment (Leopold Zappler), The Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time and Sop Doll! (Lee Ann Brown), Door Wide Open (based on the letters of Jack Kerouac and Joyce Johnson), The Baddest Natashas and Box (Juliana Francis Kelly). He is also an award winning filmmaker whose feature, Lucky Days ( Co-Directed with his sister Angelica) won best film at the Coney Island International Film Festival. Tony recently made his Broadway debut as Rusty Trawler in Truman Capote's Breakfast At Tiffany's, and is currently developing an adaptation of Alfred Jarry's Ubu trilogy featuring the music of cult band Pere Ubu.
PROJECT: The Reenactors (with Julianna Francis-Kelly)
2012-13 PROJECTS /
Participants in the 2012-13 Group were:
Emily Ackerman is a playwright and actress based in NYC. Her first play, ReEntry (co-authored with KJ Sanchez), is based on interviews with members of the Marine Corps and is published by Playscripts. ReEntry has received critical acclaim at Two River Theater Company, Urban Stages, Baltimore Center Stage, Roundhouse Theatre, ActorÂ’s Theatre of Louisville, the Segerstrom Center, and at numerous military bases around the US and Europe (tour produced through a Department of Defense contract with American Records). Ms. Ackerman has been a member of The Civilians since 2006. With The Civilians: This Beautiful City (Original Collaborator/Performer; Colorado Springs, ATL/Humana Festival 2008, Studio Theatre, Center Theater Group, Vineyard Theatre), Gone Missing (Barrow Street Theatre, Off-Broadway Cast Album, ActorÂ’s Theatre of Louisville), developmental workshops of The Great Immensity and Shadow of Himself, multiple cabarets at JoeÂ’s Pub, and at the 2012 TED Conference in Long Beach, CA. Additional performance credits include: Arena Stage, American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theater, California Shakespeare Theater, Seattle Repertory Theater, and ActorÂ’s Theatre of Louisville. Ms. Ackerman also volunteers with the WriterÂ’s Guild Foundation and Wounded Warriors, teaching writing workshops to veterans, their families, and caregivers. She has also taught workshops in writing and acting at Emerson, Colorado College, Connecticut College, and for international artists through The Kennedy Center.
PROJECT: Is forgiveness real? Does revenge ever really work? An exploration of personal and political relationships that have a lasting effect on our lives, and how we move on when it all falls apart.
César Alvarez is a composer, lyricist, performer and writer. His Civil War sci-fi musical Futurity premiered at American Repertory Theater in 2012 and was a co-commission of Walker Art Center. César's band, The Lisps, has released 4 albums and played hundreds of shows around the country since 2005. César is co-founder and resident composer of LA-based dance theater company Contra-Tiempo. He has presented work at Lincoln Center, The Stone, Roulette, Dixon Place, The Tank, JoeÂ’s Pub, HERE, The Zipper Factory, Dance New Amsterdam, Ars Nova, Walker Art Center, ASU Gammage, UCLA Royce Hall, Ford Amphitheater, RedCat, and CounterPulse, among others. Recent composition credits: 3 2's; or AFAR by Mac Wellman (Dixon Place), Full Still Hungry for Contra-Tiempo (Ford Amphitheater); Damned Beautiful for Helix Dance (Edinburgh Fringe). César was a Meet The Composer/Van Lier Fellow in 2004. He received a Bachelor of Music from Oberlin Conservatory and Master of Fine Arts from Bard College. He teaches record production, songwriting, and world music at Bloomfield College, and is a visiting artist in the Sarah Lawrence College Theater Program. César writes about music and theater at www.MusicIsFreeNow.org.
PROJECT: The Universe is a Small Hat is a musical about quantum physics, space, and the sheer improbability of existing at all.
Jess Chayes is a Brooklyn-based director and co-artistic director of The Assembly. Recent directing includes: Seized Up (Studio Tisch), Salamander Leviathan (Ars Nova, JoeÂ’s Pub), HOME/SICK (The Assembly, NY Times and Backstage CriticÂ’s Pick), The Sister (The Brick Theater), and #serials@theflea. She has developed work with The Culture Project, Mixed Phoenix, Extant Arts, The Shelby Company, P73, The Public Theater, The Working Theater, Old Vic/New Voices and Woodshed Collective. Jess is a member of the New Georges Kitchen Cabinet and a founding member of the Jam artists lab. She is currently the AD on Peter and the Starcatcher.
Matt Dellapina: As an actor, Off-Broadway credits include Outside People (Vineyard Theatre, Naked Angels); The Dream Of The Burning Boy (Roundabout), In The Footprint (Irondale Center), underneathmybed (Rattlestick), Telephone (Cherry Lane Theatre, Foundry), Tender (Public Theater, SPF), #9 (59E59, Waterwell), Gone Missing (Barrow Street Theatre), (I Am) NobodyÂ’s Lunch (59E59), The Parrot (Flea Theater), The Angel Project (Lincoln Center Festival). Regional: New York Stage & Film, Humana Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Cleveland Playhouse, City Theatre, Studio Theatre (Helen Hayes Award nom.), Sundance Institute, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Coconut Grove Playhouse, Chautauqua Theater Company, LondonÂ’s Soho Theatre. Associate Artist of The Civilians. Member of The PeopleÂ’s Improv Theater and PackawallopÂ’s The Pack. Film/TV: Safe (dir. by Boaz Yakin), Proud Iza, Casual Encounters, Â“CSI:NYÂ” (CBS), Â“Onion SportsDomeÂ” (Comedy Central), Â“Law & OrderÂ” (NBC). As a writer, his work includes No No No Yes, which premiered at Ars NovaÂ’s ANT Fest this fall, followed by a month-long run at The PIT. In addition, heÂ’s written the play The Great Pretenders, the screenplay Sunday Morning and the television pilot "My New Old Roommate."
PROJECT: Barabbas was the criminal spared for Jesus in a violent public vote. This faithless man walked away from the pages of history to live a life racked with the personal cost of his freedom. Here's what might have happened, with songs.
Snehal Desai is a NYC based freelance director. He has worked at theaters across the country including: the Old Globe, the Public, Ars Nova, the Lark, DadÂ’s Garage, the Alliance, Theatre Rhinoceros, and the Old Vic in London. Snehal is a member of the Lincoln Center DirectorÂ’s Lab and was a literary fellow with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He has also been a resident director at the Ensemble Studio Theatre and Theater Emory and was the inaugural recipient of the Drama LeagueÂ’s Classical Directing Fellowship. A playwright as well as a director, Snehal is the author of Finding Ways to Prove YouÂ’re NOT an Al-Qaeda Terrorist When YouÂ’re Brown and the Sita/Sati trilogy. Snehal has a MFA in Directing from Yale University.
Madeleine George's plays include The Zero Hour, Precious Little, and Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England. Her work has been produced and developed by 13P, Clubbed Thumb, Soho Rep, Playwrights Horizons, New York Theatre Workshop, City Theatre in Pittsburgh, About Face Theatre in Chicago, The Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis, Two River Theater Company in New Jersey, Shotgun Players and Berkeley Rep in Berkeley, and the O'Neill Playwrights Conference, among other places. She has received a MacDowell Fellowship, the Princess Grace Playwriting Award, and the Jane Chambers Award, as well as commissions from Manhattan Theatre Club and Playwrights Horizons. Seven Homeless Mammoths... was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award; The Zero Hour was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. Madeleine is a resident playwright at New Dramatists, an alum of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab and the Lark Playwrights' Workshop, and a founding member of the Obie-Award-winning playwrights collective 13P (Thirteen Playwrights, Inc.: www.13p.org).
PROJECT: A play with music about the Nun Study, a decades-long research project in which an epidemiologist tracking the onset of dementia in a group of schoolteacher nuns in Minnesota is ultimately changed by his subjects. A play that wonders about the distance between critical thinking and the mystery of the infinite, between trying to save the world through service and trying to heal it through science.
David Mendizábal (Director) is one of the Producing Artistic Leaders of The Movement Theatre Company [TMTC], based in Harlem, NY. At TMTC he directed the North-American premiere of Bintou by Koffi Kwahulé, translated by Chantal Bilodeau, which was nominated for three AUDELCO Awards. He is currently developing a new play entitled look upon our lowliness, a spoken word elegy for a chorus of male voices by Harrison David Rivers. Other directing credits include: The Reel Ari Gold Written and Performed by Sir Ari Gold, ÂˇMatador! by Luis Vega, Naomi IizukaÂ’s Polaroid Stories, Migdalia CruzÂ’s Fur, and Regina TaylorÂ’s Inside the Belly of the Beast. He was a 2011 Directing Intern at Williamstown where he directed And She Would Stand Like This by Harrison David Rivers, The Power of Hypnotism by A. Chekhov/I. Schleglov, and Two Hundred Feet and Counting by Marco Ramirez. Assistant directing credits: Wild With Happy (Public), Wild Animals You Should Know (MCC), Touch(ed) (Williamstown), and By the Way, Meet Vera Stark (Second Stage). B.F.A. New York University/Tisch School of the Arts. 2012 Fall Drama League Directing Fellow.
Carly Mensch first met The Civilians as an over-eager undergrad research assistant at Dartmouth College. Since then she has written the plays Oblivion (SteppenwolfÂ’s First Look Festival, Westport Playhouse), Now Circa Then (Ars Nova, TheatreWorks), All Hail Hurricane Gordo (Humana Festival, Cleveland Play House) and Len, Asleep in Vinyl (2nd Stage/Uptown Series). Her work has been read/workshopped at Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan Theatre Club, Center Theatre Group, The Kennedy Center, Marin Theatre Company, New York Stage & Film and Ars Nova, where she was the 2008 Playwright-in-Residence and a founding member of Play Group. She volunteers with the 52nd Street Project, an organization that creates theater with inner city kids, and wrote for three seasons on the Showtime original series, Weeds. MFA-ish: Juilliard.
PROJECT: An investigation into the life of a Tanzanian former soccer star / teacher / soldier / Finnish N.G.O. worker / action hero / war photographer / street philosopher and self-described man of the bush. A man with many stories, many of which may not be true.
Gina Rattan Resident Director: Billy Elliot (Broadway). Associate Director: Cinderella (Broadway, Winter 2013) As Director: The Tin (Sam French Off-Off Broadway Play Fest 2012), SWEET TOOTH (FringeNYC + NYC workshop.), How Deep is the Ocean? (NYMF 2012), Twelfth Night (Old Globe, San Diego Intensive), Virtually Me! (tour Spring 2012), The Burning House (NY Workshop). As assoc/asst: Rated PÂ…for Parenthood (Off-Broadway), Little House on the Prairie (Guthrie & First NatÂ’l Tour); Lorca in a Green Dress (Apostrof Fest., Prague); Show Boat (Royal Albert Hall, London); First WivesÂ’ Club, King Lear, The Madness of George the Third, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Old Globe). Gina has directed several readings and workshops in New York, most notably several of NYUÂ’s Graduate Musical Theater Writing Thesis Projects. Graduate of the University of Michigan.
Mia RovegnoÂ’s plays have been developed through the P73 Yale Summer Residency, Pataphysics retreat, The Civilians R&D Group, New Georges, Culture Project, Perishable Theater, and foolsFURY. A co-founder of Street Level TV (nationally syndicated on Dish Network/Free Speech TV), she has edited and produced documentary work with Democracy Now!, The Working Group, and Solday Productions. She has directed new work for Soho Rep, NYTW, The OÂ’Neill, Ars Nova, Clubbed Thumb, NYS&F/Powerhouse, The Lark, Atlantic Theater Company, New Dramatists, EST, Partial Comfort, A.R.T., Harvard Playwrights Festival, Hangar Theatre, Summer Playwrights Rep and others. Recipient of SDC Observership and MTCÂ’s Jonathan Alper Fellowship; Nominee for Ockrent Directing Fellowship; Alum of The Drama League, Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, WomenÂ’s Project and Lincoln Center Directors Labs; New Georges Affiliated Artist and Partial Comfort company member. Former teaching fellow and guest lecturer at Brown and adjunct faculty at New College of California, she is currently an Assistant Professor at Hunter College. BS: Northwestern; MFA: Brown University. Recent directing: Ten Shades of Blue by Laura Marks (Partial Comfort), We Play for the Gods (WomenÂ’s Project), Good Goods by Christina Anderson (OÂ’Neill), Edie and Alexander by Megan Mostyn-Brown (Rising Phoenix), The Tenant (Associate Director, Woodshed), The CiviliansÂ’ Let Me Ascertain You: Occupy #S17, OWS Cabaret, and Porn Part II (JoeÂ’s Pub), The Divorce Tales: LiveÂ—A Conversation with The Civilians (Greene Space). Upcoming: Burnt Umber by Erik Ehn (LaMaMa).
PROJECT: The Afflicted A community comes together and falls apart when faced with a crisis they don't understand. A play about the human impulse to make sense of the unfathomable. Inspired by the mystery of the twitching girls of Le Roy, NY.
Mei Ann Teo is a Singaporean theatre/film maker based in New York and creates work by investigating lived reality to promote consciousness and social justice. As Resident Artist at Pacific Union College for seven years, she founded a drama program that developed original work through collage and documentary theatre techniques, and continues this work in Singapore and China. She has worked with The Public Theater, Berkeley Rep, Urban Stages, Theatre of Yugen, Crowded Fire, Cutting Ball, and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival. Her work has been seen throughout the U.S. and at international festivals, including Belgium's Festival de Liege, Edinburgh International Fringe, INFANT Experimental Theatre Festival in Novi Sad, Serbia, Edmonton Fringe Festival, and the Montreal World Film Festival. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Theatre Directing at Columbia University.
A. Zell Williams was born and raised in California's San Joaquin Valley and started his career as an actor in the San Francisco Bay Area. His work as a writer explores themes of race, religion, class, and violence in contemporary America. Zell was the recipient of the David Calicchio/Marin Theatre Company Emerging American Playwright Prize (Mill Valley, CA), the National New Play Network's Smith Prize for Best Political Play, the Rita & Burton Goldberg Award (New York University,) and Reverie Productions' Next Generation Playwright's Award (New York City.) He was a finalist for the Yale Drama Series for Emerging Playwrights (Yale University,) the Kennedy Center's Lorraine Hansberry Award, Aurora Theatre's Global Age Project Award (Berkeley, CA,) Kitchen Dog Theatre's New Works Festival (Dallas, TX,) and the Van Lier Fellowship at the Lark Play Development Center, as well as a semifinalist for the Princess Grace Award, the Ashland New Play Festival (Ashland, OR,) Centre Stage Theatre's New Works Festival, (Greensville, SC,) and Victory Gardens Theatre's Ignition Festival (Chicago, IL.) He was one of two inaugural African American Fellows with Steppenwolf Theatre Company. His plays include BLOOD/MONEY, In A Daughter's Eyes, A Motherless Child, The Pledge Drive, and The Urban Retreat. Zell holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Santa Clara University, is an MFA candidate in Dramatic Writing at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, and is a member of Ars NovaÂ’s Play Group.
PROJECT: An investigation into how people's views on racial identity effect their actions in child rearing. The play will look behind the time-honored "White parents/Black parents" jokes of Cosby, Pryor, and Rock, to reveal the effects of spankings, groundings, and when accepted norms stray beyond punishment and into child abuse.
JASON GROTE is a playwright and television writer based in Brooklyn. His plays include 1001, Civilization (all you can eat), Maria/Stuart, Hamilton Township, Darwin's Challenge, Safe in Heaven Dead, Box Americana, and This Storm Is What We Call Progress. He is a staff writer for the NBC/Dreamworks show Smash, produced by Steven Spielberg, Theresa Rebeck, and Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, premiering in January 2012. Current projects include a a commission from ACT/Seattle about Stalin and Shostakovich and a musical adaptation of1001 with composer Marisa Michelson. His work has been produced and developed at The Museum of Modern Art, The Sundance Theater Lab, Playwrights Horizons, The O'Neill, The Denver Center, New York Theater Workshop, Portland Center Stage, Woolly Mammoth, Robert Wilson's Watermill Center, Page 73, Ensemble Studio Theater, Voices of Change - Festival for New American Plays (Theater Bielefeld, Germany), Clubbed Thumb, The Civilians, The Foundry, Mass MoCA, The Luminato Festival, Soho Rep, The Lark, The Glej Theater (Slovenia), Salvage Vanguard, HERE, The Contemporary American Theater Festival, Baltimore Centerstage, Collaboraction, Theater @ Boston Court, and elsewhere. He is a resident playwright at New Dramatists and was the 2006 P73 Playwriting Fellow. His plays have been published by Samuel French and Playscripts Inc., and in The Back Stage Book of New American Short Plays 2005 (edited by Craig Lucas), and his comics debut will take place in the upcoming Significant Objects anthology from Fantagraphics, edited by Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker. He occasionally blogs at Hilobrow.com, voted one of Time magazine's top blogs of 2010.
PROJECT: An investigation of Stalin and Shostakovich.
JON KERN's full-length works include Modern Terrorism, or They Who Want to Kill Us and How We Learn to Love Them, Do Not Disturb: a hotel experience, Telefonesis: The Art of Mental Murder, and We in Silence Hear a Whisper. His short plays have been performed at Ensemble Studio Theater, The Brick, The Flea, City Theatre's Summer Shorts festival, and in the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival. Graduate: University of Chicago (BA), Columbia University (MFA). Member: the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, The Old Vic New Voices Network, and Ars Nova Play Group. Alumnus: EST/Youngblood. Awards & Grants: 2010-2011 Van Lier Fellowship in Playwriting from New Dramatists, 2010 Alfred P. Sloan Commission, 2010 Heideman Award finalist, 2010-2011 travel grant from the Netherlands-America Foundation.
PROJECT:An investigation into how people confront destructive compulsive behavior, specifically internet addiction, and work to accept that as part of their identity as they move forward. Or, using a completely different set of words, how to get to know yourself in an age of anonymity.
ALIX LAMBERT's feature length documentary "The Mark of Cain" was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and aired on Nightline. She went on to produce additional segments of Nightline as well as produce 7 segments for the PBS series LIFE 360. Lambert has written for a number of magazines including Stop Smiling, ArtForum, and The LA Weekly, among others, and is an editor at large for the literary journal OPEN CITY. She wrote Episode 6, season 3 of Deadwood: "A Rich Find" (for which she won a WGA award) and was a staff writer and associate producer on John From Cinicinnati. As an artist Lambert has exhibited her work to international critical acclaim, showing in The Venice Biennale, The Museum of Modern Art, The Georges Pompidou Center, and the Kwangju Biennnale, to name a few. Her monograph: MASTERING THE MELON is available through D.A.P. Her book THE SILENCING is available through Perceval Press. Her book RUSSIAN PRISON TATTOOS is available through Schiffer Publishing, and her book CRIME is available through Fuel Publishing. CRIME, USA which she conceived and directed was recently staged at Joe's Pub. Lambert is an associate artist with the Obie award winning theater group The Civilians. She is currently in production on two feature length documentaries: He/She/He (about gender identity in Albania and Samoa) and Mentor (about teen suicide and bullying at Mentor High in Mentor Ohio). She just completed, in collaboration with David McMahon, a feature length documentary: Bayou Blue (about serial killer Ronald Dominique in Louisiana). She recently received an NEA consortium grant in order to produce 2 new works that will be presented at RealArtWays in Hartford Connecticut.
PROJECT: Return from Mars, inspired by a true-life crime mystery set in Brooklyn. Andre Carmichael is haunted by the voice and image of a little girl who he has never met. For health reasons he seeks out his biological mother after having spent most of his youth in foster care, and in so doing he learns the truth about his life.
BRANDON MILLER is an actor and Associate Artist of The Civilians. New York/Off-Broadway: Deathbed (Apparition), Armed and Naked in America (Naked Angels), The Attic and Arabian Night (The Play Company), Hannah and Martin (Epic Theatre Center). International: (I Am) Nobody's Lunch with The Civilians (Edinburgh Fringe/London's Soho Theatre), The Green Violin (SPBA, St. Petersburg, Russia). Regional: The Glass Menagerie, Blue and An Ideal Husband (Dallas Theater Center), Family Stories: Belgrade (Market Theater). Feature Film: Adam and Steve. Graduate of Yale Drama School.
PROJECT: An exploration of the American Rehabilitation System.
MIA ROVEGNO's plays have been developed by P73, Culture Project and New Georges, and produced by Perishable Theater and fools FURY. She has directed new work for Soho Rep, The Civilians, Ars Nova, The O'Neill, A.R.T., Clubbed Thumb, Partial Comfort, New Dramatists, Dixon Place, Hangar Theatre, Summer Playwrights Rep and others. A co-founder of Street Level TV (nationally syndicated on Dish Network/Free Speech TV), she has edited and produced documentary work with Democracy Now!, The Working Group, and Solday Productions. Mia has performed with Redmoon Theater, Shadowlight, Bread and Puppet, Intersection for the Arts, and others. She is a recipient of the P73 Yale Summer Residency, SDC Observership, and MTC's Jonathan Alper Fellowship; Alum of The Drama League, Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab and Lincoln Center Directors Lab; Member of Women's Project Directors Lab and The Jam/New Georges Affiliated Artist. Mia is a graduate of Northwestern and the Brown/Trinity Rep Consortium, where she studied with Paula Vogel, Bonnie Metzgar, Chay Yew and Lisa D'Amour. Former teaching fellow and guest lecturer at Brown; Currently Assistant Professor in the Hunter College Theatre Dept. Recent collaborations: Good Goods by Christina Anderson (O'Neill), The Tenant (Associate Director, Woodshed Collective), The Civilians' Pretty Filthy II (Joe's Pub) and The Divorce Tales Live (WNYC Greene Space). Upcoming: Burnt Umber by Erik Ehn (LaMaMa), We Play For The Gods (Co-creator,Women's Project).
PROJECT:: nothin's gonna change my world, an exploration of the dislocated and relocated in search of that mythological place called home.
HEIDI SCHRECK's plays include There Are No More Big Secrets, which premiered at Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre in 2010, directed by Kip Fagan (Time Out New York and New York Magazine Critic's pick); and Creature, presented off-Broadway in 2009 by New Georges and Page 73, directed by Leigh Silverman. Creature is published by Samuel French and the New York Theatre Review. Her other work - including Stray, Backwards into China, and Mr. Universe - have been developed by Manhattan Theatre Club, Teatro de Facto, The Foundry, The Vineyard Theater, Soho Rep, Printer's Devil Theatre, On the Boards, and National Public Radio. She was the 2009 Page 73 Playwriting Fellow and a member of the Soho Rep Writer's Lab. As an actor, Heidi has worked at the Roundabout Theatre Company, Playwrights Horizons, Berkelely Repertory Theatre, Center Theatre Group, The Long Wharf, Sundance Theatre Lab, New York Stage and Film, Bay Street Theatre, Theatre of a Two-Headed Calf, Clubbed Thumb and Actors Theatre of Louisville. She has received two Obies, a Drama Desk, and the Theatre World Award. Television/Film: Hedda Gabler, Perfidia, The Good Wife.
PROJECT: The Forum. After a series of brutal layoffs at Sutton, McGrath and Feingold, June Se's colleagues intervene to help him save his job and fulfill his human potential through group awareness training.
JACKIE SIBBLIES DRURY is a Brooklyn-based playwright. Her play We Are Proud to Present a Presentation... will have its world premiere at Chicago's Victory Gardens Theater in 2012. Her work has been featured in Victory Gardens' 2010 Ignition Festival as well as a new work festival at The Magic Theatre. She is a graduate of Brown's MFA playwriting program, where she received the David Wickham Prize in Playwriting. Jackie is a 2010-12 New York Theater Workshop playwriting fellow and a participant in a series of workshops creating performance-based collaborations between artists in New York and Tehran. This summer she was in residence at the MacDowell Colony and participated in The Bay Area Playwrights Festival.
PROJECT: The Archive Project, exploring the possibility, utility, and artistry of documenting one's own life.
CHURCH LAUGH by Quincy Long, directed by Kathleen Dimmick
SAFE IN HEAVEN DEAD by Jason Grote, directed by Jesse Jou
SOUND by Don Nguyen, directed by Donya K. Washington
PAGE NOT FOUND by Mia Chung, directed by Mia Rovegno
CRIME, USA by Alix Lambert, directed by Birgitta Victorson
THE FEW by Samuel D. Hunter, directed by David F. Chapman
UNTITLED PHOTO PROJECT by Jackie Sibblies Drury, directed by Lila Neugebauer
Church Laugh is about a priest, his wife, his bishop and his racehorse.
QUINCY LONG Productions include: People Be Heard, Playwrights Horizons; The Only Child, South Coast Rep, Costa Mesa, CA; Wedding Pictures, Ensemble Studio Theatre; The Lively Lad, New York Stage and Film and The Actors Theatre of Louisville; The Virgin Molly, The Atlantic Theatre Company and Berkeley Rep; The Joy of Going Somewhere Definite, the Atlantic Theatre Company (directed by William H. Macy and starring Felicity Huffman) and the Mark Taper Forum. Joy was optioned by Icon Films, and Joy, People Be Heard, and The Lively Lad were published by Dramatists Play Service. The Virgin Molly was published by Playscripts, Inc. Current projects: Quincy Long's new play, The Huntsmen, recently won a Sundance Time Warner Storyteller's Award, and was workshopped at Playwrights Horizons and read at New York Theatre Workshop. A musical, Loulou, is in development with Ginger Cat Productions in Toronto, and an opera, The Embalmer's Daughter, is in development with American Lyric Theatre. The Gospel According to Trains, a new play, was recently awarded a grant from the New York State Council of the Arts. Quincy is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama and a member of New Dramatists and Ensemble Studio Theater. He is from Warren, Ohio and lives in New York City.
Safe in Heaven Dead: a play about the Beat writers in 21st-century America.
JASON GROTE's plays include 1001, Maria/Stuart, Hamilton Township, This Storm is What We Call Progress, Box Americana, Darwin's Challenge, and Civilization (All You Can Eat). He has been commissioned by ACT, The Denver Center, Clubbed Thumb, Ensemble Studio Theater, The Working Theater, and The Keen Company, and his writing has been published by Samuel French and Playscripts, Inc., and in American Theater and The Back Stage Book of New American Short Plays 2005, edited by Craig Lucas. His work has been produced or developed at The Museum of Modern Art, Playwrights' Horizons, The O'Neill, The Denver Center, New York Theater Workshop, Portland Center Stage, The Atlantic, Woolly Mammoth, Robert Wilson's Watermill Center, P73, Ensemble Studio Theater, The Bielefeld Festival (Germany), Soho Rep, The Lark, The Flea, The Glej Theatr (Slovenia), Salvage Vanguard, HERE, The Contemporary American Theater Festival, Baltimore Centerstage, Rorschach Theater, Collaboraction, Theater @ Boston Court, Mixed Blood, REDEYE, and elsewhere. He was co-host for The Acousmatic Theater hour on WFMU in Jersey City, and was the screenwriter for What We Got: DJ Spooky's Quest for the Commons. He is a resident playwright at New Dramatists. Visit him at www.jasongrote.com.
JESSE JOU recently graduated from Yale School of Drama, where his credits include La Ronde, 99 Ways to Fuck a Swan, and the things are against us [les choses sont contre nous]. His other credits include Take on Me: Adoption, Addiction, and a-ha (New York International Fringe Festival); My Mom Across America (The Kitchen Theatre Co., Ithaca, NY); Estrella Cruz [The Junkyard Queen], Mask Ritual: Electra,Flowers and Other Stories, Language of Angels, and Passing (Yale Cabaret). At Yale, he was the recipient of the Edgar and Louise Cullman Scholarship. Currently, he serves as staff repertory director for the Acting Company, going on tour with their productions of Romeo and Juliet and The Comedy of Errors.
George and Barbara are getting married soon. They are both deaf. Barbara wants to get a cochlear implant in order to hear. George, being a proud member of the Deaf community, will have none of that. Meanwhile, a hundred thirty years earlier, Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, is observing the deaf population on Martha's Vineyard, in hopes of finding a cure for deafness. SOUND culls information from interviews and existing research materials in order to build a theatrical exploration into the worlds of both hearing and deaf cultures and the ongoing struggle for one's identity in both worlds. **This reading will be American Sign Language interpreted.
DON NGUYEN was born in Saigon, Vietnam, grew up in Lincoln Nebraska, and currently resides in New York City. Don studied theatre at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and he served as the Artistic Director of the Shelterbelt Theatre in Omaha from 1999-2003. As a writer, Don's full-length plays include Red Flamboyant (finalist O'Neill National Playwrights Conference), The Man From Saigon, and Three to Beam Up (The Shelterbelt Theatre, Nebraska Arts Grant recipient). His one-act play The Harlequin Maneuvre was published in The Best of the Strawberry One-Act Festival, Volume 1. It has subsequently been produced in New York and Canada. Other one act plays include Fat Ugly Vampire (Nuyorican Poets Cafe, NY), The Imaginary Association of Flight Attendants (Nuyorican Poets Cafe, NY), Love 160 (The Pack Lounge Series 3, Robert Moss Theater, NY), Sexual Chocolate (The Secret Theatre, Long Island City), Girl Reflected, Look A Lion, The Dragon Lord and the Fairy Queen (commissioned by The Lincoln Community Playhouse), A Decision of Extraordinary Magnitude, and a collection of eight Halloween plays produced by The Shelterbelt Theatre. Don writes for The Living Newspaper and is a member of the New York Public Theater's 2008 Inaugural Emerging Writers Group.
DONYA K. WASHINGTON: Come Back to Me by Jesse Cameron Alick and Manikato adapted by Jesse Cameron Alick (Shakespeare in Paradise, Bahamas), Now the Cats with Jeweled Claws(Target Margin Theatre), Spunk (Penobscot Theatre, Bangor, ME), Jump Jim Crow by Jesse Cameron Alick, music and lyrics by Justin Levine (Subjective Theater Company), Penang by Jim Larocca (Boo Arts and NY Midtown Int'l Theatre Festival), Dear Diary by Alicia Ramsay (MCC Youth Company FreshPlay), Bear Market by Kara Manning (Women's Project Lab), Cold Keener (Target Margin), The Minstrel Show of Minstrel Shows! (Brown/Trinity Consortium), Poof by Apples Vargas (MCC Youth Company FreshPlay), 30 Patriot Actors by Erin Browne (Columbia), a reading of Menders by Erin Browne (Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre), Forever Never Comes by Enrique Urueta, Cipher by Cory Hinkle (Brown New Plays Festival). Williamstown. Training: MFA, Directing - Brown University/Trinity Rep; BFA, Tisch School of the Arts, NYU. Member of the 2008/2010 Women's Project Lab. Van Lier Directing Fellow 2009, Second Stage Theatre.
Three of "the best and the brightest" prepare to take their places in life after school.
MIA CHUNG's plays include You for Me for You, Exquisite Corpse, and Can I Help You? Her work has been developed by the Magic Theatre, the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Mu Performing Arts, the Brandeis Theatre Company, Rites and Reason Theatre, and PlayGround in San Francisco. She received a Creative Arts Council grant for a video project on Aristotle's Poetics, a Sloan commission for a play about science fraud, and had a residency at the Millay Colony for the Arts. Her play about Cape Verde will be produced in Spring 2011 at Rites and Reason Theatre. She recently graduated from Brown's MFA playwriting program, where she studied with Paula Vogel, Bonnie Metzgar, Erik Ehn and Lisa D'Amour.
MIA ROVEGNO is a Brooklyn-based director, playwright, and puppeteer who devises, adapts and collaborates with living playwrights. Her plays Kill The Keepers (co-written with Dan LeFranc) and Apartment have been developed by P73, Empire Street Lab at Perishable Theater, and foolsFURY. Mia has directed and developed new work for Soho Rep, A.R.T. New Voices Series, New Dramatists, The Flea, Dixon Place, Brown/A.R.T. Institute Bakeoff, Harvard Playwrights Festival, Hangar Theatre, Brown New Plays Festivals and Summer Playwrights Rep. Founding artistic director of HummingbirdWORKS and company member with foolsFURY, she has performed with Redmoon Theater, Shadowlight, Bread and Puppet, and Intersection for the Arts, among others. Recent directing: You Better Sit Down: A Conversation with The Civilians (WNYC Greene Space), Science Is Close by Kate E. Ryan (reading, Soho Rep), Origin Story by Dan LeFranc (Hangar Theatre), Love in the Time of Channukah by Joshua Elias Harmon (Ars Nova ANT FEST and Hangar Theatre), The Blind (Lincoln Center Directors Lab), and Tartuffe (Brown Dept. of TAPS). Selected assistant directing: AD/Choreographer with Anne Kauffman (Dot, Clubbed Thumb), Daniel Sullivan (Time Stands Still, MTC/Broadway), Ken Rus Schmoll (What Once We Felt, LCT3), Chris Bayes (The Servant of Two Masters, Yale Rep). A co-founder of Street Level TV (nationally syndicated on Dish Network/Free Speech TV), she has edited and produced documentary work with Democracy Now!, The Working Group, Solday Productions, and others. Mia received her BS in Performance Studies from Northwestern and MFA in Directing from the Brown/Trinity Rep Consortium. Former teaching fellow and guest lecturer at Brown, and adjunct faculty at New College of California, she is currently an assistant professor in the Hunter College department of theatre. Mia is a recipient of MTC's Jonathan Alper Directing Fellowship and SDC Directing Observership, and a 2010 Ockrent Directing Fellowship nominee. She is a member of the Women's Project Directors Lab and an alum of the Drama League, Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, and Lincoln Center Directors Lab. Upcoming: Romeo and Juliet (Hunter College); Burnt Umber by Erik Ehn (Soulographie).
Crime, USA is an investigation into the world of crime in the United States, which began one year ago in residency at The Studios of Key West, in Key West, Florida - Mile Zero, and will continue in cities throughout America. Through a series of interviews with criminals, cops, crime writers, pawnshop owners, the FBI, the DOJ, experts on serial killers, former gang members, and one man named Monkey Tom, a portrait of America and its crime comes into focus. The differences and similarities between the cities create an intricate topography of American crime.
ALIX LAMBERT's feature length documentary The Mark of Cain was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and aired on Nightline. She went on to produce additional segments of Nightline as well as produce 7 segments for the PBS series LIFE 360. Lambert has written for a number of magazines including Stop Smiling, ArtForum, and The LA Weekly, among others, and is an editor at large for the literary journal OPEN CITY. She wrote Episode 6, season 3 of Deadwood: "A Rich Find" and was a staff writer and associate producer on John From Cincinnati. As an artists, Lambert has exhibited her work to international critical acclaim, showing in The Venice Biennale, The Museum of Modern Art, The Georges Pompidou Center, and the Kwangju Biennale, to name a few. Her monograph: MASTERING THE MELON is available through D.A.P. Her book The Silencing is available through Perceval Press. Her book Russian Prison Tattoos is available through Schiffer Publishing. and her book Crime is available through Fuel Publishing. She was recently Executive Producer for an hour-long segment on criminal tattoos for a series called Marked that aired on The History Channel.
BIRGITTA VICTORSON: Directing credits include In Quietness, by Anna Moench for Youngblood at Ensemble Studio Theater, Complete, by Andrea Kuchlewska at the SoHo Playhouse as part of the Fringe NYC Encore Series, A Christmas Carol and Paris by Night (Trinity Rep), The Book of Liz (Roadworks, Chicago), Iggy Woo (Brown/Trinity Summer Playwrights Rep, Providence) and co-directing Fatty Arbuckle's Spectacular Musical Review (Second City Theatricals, Chicago), which she also choreographed. She has also directed new works by Molly Rice, Cory Hinkle, Andy Bragen, Enrique Urueta and Elyzabeth Wilder. Birgitta recently assisted Steve Cosson on The Civilians' In the Footprint: The Battle Over Atlantic Yards. Choreography credits include The Encyclopedia of the Dead (Miloco Theatre, Prague, CZ) The Ghost's Bargain (Two River Theater, NJ), Among the Thugs (Goodman Theatre, Chicago), and Stupid Kids (Roadworks, Chicago) for which she received a Joseph Jefferson Nomination for Best Choreography. Birgitta is a graduate of Northwestern University, and she received her MFA in Directing from the Brown/Trinity Consortium. She is a member of SDC.
Inside a double-wide off some random interstate exit, a man named Bryan founded a newspaper for truckers, striving to bring meaningful news and insight to people "who have homes but are homeless, who are citizens of a place but who never stop moving." Vanishing shortly after he started it, Bryan returns years later and finds a very different paper than the one he started, and begins to wonder if true meaning and insight even exist anymore. The Few is an examination of how the isolated residents of rural America relate to the rest of the country and to one another.
SAMUEL D. HUNTER is a graduate of NYU, the Iowa Playwrights Workshop, and Julliard. Recent productions include Jack's Precious Moment (Page 73 Productions at 59E59), Five Genocides (Clubbed Thumb), I Am Montana (Arcola Theatre in London). His new play A Bright New Boise will be produced by Partial Comfort Productions at the Wild Project in September 2010, and his new play Norway will be produced regionally at the Phoenix Theater of Indianapolis and Boise Contemporary Theater in Winter 2011. His plays have been developed at the O'Neill Playwrights Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, PlayPenn, Ojai Playwrights Conference, the Lark's Playwrights Workshop, Julliard, LAByrinth Theater Company, Rattlestick, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, and elsewhere. Awards: 2008-2009 PONY Fellowship from the Lark Theater, two Lincoln Center Lecompte du Nouy Awards, others. Internationally, his work has been translated into Spanish and presented in Mexico City, and he has worked in the West Bank with Ashtar Theatre Ramallah and Ayyam al-Masrah of Hebron. At Ashtar, he co-wrote The Era of Whales, which was performed in Ramallah and Istanbul. A native of northern Idaho, Sam lives in New York with his partner, dramaturg John Baker.
DAVID F. CHAPMAN: A proud Chicago native, David worked in theatre in many places. Highlights include performing his solo shows in Edinburgh, Montreal, Budapest, and London, directing Tennessee Williams in Ho Chi Minh City, leading a devised theatre workshop in Cambodia, and interning for the International Theatre Institute in Paris and NYC. David has directed for Ars Nova's ANT Fest, FringeNYC, Studio 42, Metropolis Opera Project, NYU Grad Acting, NYMF, New Leaf (Chicago), The Old Vic / New Voices TS Eliot Exchange (London), Millbrook Playhouse (PA), and Northwestern's Cherubs program. He has also directed readings/workshops for Reverie Productions, EST/Youngbloods, and the Lark, and has worked many talented playwrights including Matthew-Lee Erlbach, Anna Moench, A. Zell Williams, Bekah Brunstetter, Jason Grote, Andrew Muir, Joe Tracz and Philip Dawkins. Assisting includes The Pitmen Painters (MTC/Broadway), That Hopey Changey Thing (The Public), The Addams Family (Chicago & Broadway), plus Playwrights Horizons, Primary Stages, Encores!, and four productions at Chicago Shakespeare.. Awards: Fulbright to Hungary, Luce Scholarship to Vietnam, Chicago Artists Grant, Drama League Fall Fellowship. Training: BA with Highest Honors (UNC-Chapel Hill), DirectorsLabChicago.
Untitled Photo Project is a fast-moving absurdist revue centering on the connections between the rise of photography in 20th century America with mortality, violence, the creation of popular culture.
JACKIE SIBBLIES DRURY recently graduated from the M.F.A. playwriting program at Brown, where she studied with Erik Ehn, Lisa D'Amour, Tracy Scott Wilson, and Chay Yew. While at Brown, she received a 2010 Weston Award for her play Jenny and Tommy are Very Much in Love, the David Wickham Prize in Playwriting, and was a 2009 Weissberger Award nominee. Her play We Are Proud to Present a Presentation... is being presented at Victory Gardens' 2010 Ignition Festival. Currently, Jackie is working on a play for Trinity Repertory Theater's resident acting company, and she is happy to be a 2010 New York Theater Workshop playwriting fellow.
LILA NEUGEBAUER is a freelance director based in New York City. Her recent directing work has been seen at Ars Nova, Cherry Lane Studio, The Brick, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, NYU Tisch/Atlantic Acting School, and Theater of the American South. Workshops/Readings: Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Dramatists Guild, EST/Youngblood, NYU Tisch Graduate Playwriting, and the Yale Playwrights Festival. New Georges Affiliated Artist, Drama League Fall Directing Fellow, EST Resident Director (2009-2010), member of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab (2010-2011) and the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab.