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Lark and FONCA Announce 2013 Mexico/U.S. Word Exchange Playwrights; Readings Set for 12/14-16

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Lark and FONCA Announce 2013 Mexico/U.S. Word Exchange Playwrights; Readings Set for 12/14-16

The Lark Play Development Center in collaboration with Mexico's National Fund for Culture and Arts (FONCA) is pleased to announce the 2013 México/ U.S. Playwright Exchange Program. For the eighth year the Lark will host playwrights from México and pair them with bilingual U.S. playwrights, actors, and directors for a ten day cultural exploration that establishes ongoing channels of communication between artists in both countries.

One of Lark's many international exchange initiatives-which have involved artists from nearly 50 countries- this program focuses on the creation of stage-worthy translations of contemporary plays from México; it also introduces the visiting writers and guest observers from other countries to New York's theater scene, industry leaders, and the Lark community. Playwright Migdalia Cruz describes her work with the program: "This exchange has challenged me to become a better artist by working beside an artist I might not have otherwise met. In a difficult time in our history, with baffling wars, unnecessary borders, and unreasonable governments, it is more important than ever to remember why we became artists and why as artists we maintain pure connections with the world. This program helps remind me to stay in the present, create for the future and build hope and trust. As a Nuyorican writer living in the United States, I am constantly reminded of my place by the small-minded who have yet to understand that what unites us is ultimately stronger than what divides us. Making art together is making room for us all. It is making the future."

Public readings of these newly translated works will be presented on December 14 and 15 at the Lark BareBones Studio, followed by a closing night Celebración on December 16 at the Tony Kiser Theatre at Second Stage. All events are free and open to the public.

This year's exchange includes Mia, All Mine by Amaranta Leyva, translated by Carmen Rivera; Severed Moon by Alberto Castillo, translated by Caridad Svich; Sky on the Skin by Edgar Chías, translated by Migdalia Cruz; and Without a Parachute by Gabriela Ochoa, translated by Enrique Urueta.

The 2013 U.S./México Advisory Committee includes Mariana Carreno-King (playwright), Migdalia Cruz (playwright), Ana Graham (Artistic Director, Por Piedad Teatro Producciones), Daniel Jáquez (director), Lisa Rothe (Lark Play Development Center, Director of Offsite Programs and Partnerships), Debbie Saivetz (director), Caridad Svich (playwright), Andrea Thome (México/U.S. Playwright Exchange Program Director) and Isabel Zapata (Mexican Cultural Institute, Program Coordinator).

This program is a collaboration between the Lark and Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (México's National Fund for Culture and Arts) with support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and The Mexican Cultural Institute of New York. The Washington Jefferson Hotel is the official hotel of the México/U.S. Word Exchange Program.

PLAYS AND PLAYWRIGHTS:

Mía, All Mine (Mía) by Amaranta Leyva, translated by Carmen Rivera - Mía would have liked it better if her father and mother didn't love her so much and loved each other more. Mia would have liked things to go back to how they were, to how they aren't anymore. To when her father and her mother named her Mía -- mine -- because she was supposed to belong to them both.

Severed Moon (Luna Desmembrada) by Alberto Castillo, translated by Caridad Svich - Guadalupe's son has disappeared. She must find him before the world comes to an end. Will she spend the rest of her days searching, and will he continue to run away from her, as if from a demon?

Sky on the Skin (El Cielo en la Piel) by Edgar Chías, translated by Migdalia Cruz - In this dark fairy tale, the mistreated body of a woman appears amidst a landscape of bright colors, evoking the tragedy of gender violence in Mexico. A rhapsodic deconstruction of love -painful and piercing - which journeys into the deepest landscape of the body. Told through many voices, there is only one way to feel the sky on your skin-by reinventing yourself through the flesh of another.

Without a Parachute (Sin Paracaídas) by Gabriela Ochoa, translated by Enrique Urueta - The theatrically imaginative and playful emotional journey of a woman submerged in her bathtub, trying to decide whether to let herself be pulled under by the urge to die, or to step out. Her state of indecision makes her split into several characters, through which we explore her extravagant internal world.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHTS:

Alberto Castillo "It wasn't my destiny to become a playwright, I was headed more towards biology or veterinary medicine. However, when I was around four years old I became fascinated with the magic of an improvised puppet theater and that marked me for life. One person is many, and maybe that's why writing theater is what's natural when many voices and conflicts intersect in one's head. I'm asthmatic, caffeine-aholic, I like riding the subway and I speak Dutch."

Edgar Chías, born in Mexico City, 1973, is a playwright, actor, translator and professor who graduated from the Department of Philosophy and Letters at UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico). He writes theater criticism, works in arts administration, and directs works for the stage. His plays have been translated into French, Italian, German, Greek, English and Latvian. He has received grants from the Fundación Carolina (Spain) and the international theater program IBERESCENA. He is also a recipient of Mexico's National System of Creators fellowship and the José Fuentes Mares National Literature Prize (2009).

Amaranta Leyva was born in Cuernava, Morelos. I decided to dedicate myself to playwriting when, one day, my other profession of puppeteer filled me up with characters who awaited their own stories. Puppets became my principal medium of expression and children the audience. Why do I write for children? Because when I explore their universe I can dive into the most hidden, deep, intense emotions of human beings: those of childhood. My plays include: Dog Heaven, My Grandparents' Century, Draw Me a Cow, The Dress and Mía, which have been produced and published in Mexico and abroad. Some awards: Ontario Council of Arts Grant and INBA's National Prize for Literature 2006.

Gabriela Ochoa is a director, actress and playwright. She completed her artistic and academic studies in Xalapa, Mexico and Paris, France. She refined her theatrical work in Canada, France, and Argentina. In 2007 she began directing, mounting ten productions of texts written by her as well as other authors, focusing on developing a scenic language with its own analysis and aesthetic, through her company Conejillos de Indias. She received a Creador Escenico "B" grant from FONCA in 2008-2009. gabrielaochoa.com

BIOGRAPHIES OF THE TRANSLATORS:

Migdalia Cruz is an award-winning playwright of more than 50 works including: Salt, Lucy Loves Me, Satyricoño 21, TWO ROBERTS: a Pirate-Blues Project, Fur, & Miriam's Flowers, produced at BAM, CSC, Mabou Mines, National Theater of Greece/Athens, Old Red Lion/London, Houston Grand Opera, Ateneo Puertorriqueño, Teatro Vista, & Latino Chicago Theater Company (writer-in-residence from 1991 to 1998), among others. This will be her 4th translation for the Lark's US/Mexico Word Exchange. Nurtured by Sundance, she is an alumna of New Dramatists, & was mentored by Maria Irene Fornés at INTAR. Migdalia was born & raised in the Bronx. Next: El Grito Del Bronx at Brown University (RI), April 2014; facilitator for Rising Circle's INKtank 2014, a program for emerging playwrights of color, Jan/June 2014; & she's a member of the Lark's "Meeting of the Minds" program through June 2014.

Carmen Rivera holds an MA in Playwriting and Latin American Theatre from New York University. Her OBIE-Award winning play La Gringa, just celebrated its' 17th year anniversary in repertory at Repertorio Español. It is now the longest running Spanish-language play in Off-Broadway history. Carmen co-wrote, with Cándido Tirado, Celia: The Life and Music of Celia Cruz, (HOLA Award 2008, Outstanding Achievement in Playwriting), which played Off-Broadway at New World Stages and toured Florida, Chicago, Tenerife, Canary Islands and the Centro de Bellas Artes (Center for the Fine Arts) in Puerto Rico. Other Off-Broadway productions include: La Lupe: My Life, My Destiny (2002 ACE Award - Best Production); Julia de Burgos: Child of Water; To Catch The Lightning (1997 Nomination ACE Award - Best Production); The Next Stop (INTAR / Repertorio Español); Under The Mango Tree (INTAR). Other works include: The Magic of the Salsa Kingdom, with director/choreographer, Maria Torres; Riding The Bear; The Loves of our Lives; Trujillo: America's Dictator; The Next Cycle; Betty's Garage; Ghosts in Brooklyn; ameRICAN; Delia's Race; Plastic Flowers; The Power of Words; and Caravan of Death which have appeared at Brooklyn Academy Of Music (BAM); La Mama E.T.C; The Women's Project and Productions; Soho Rep; New Georges; New Perspectives Theatre; Martice Enterprises; Nuyorican Poet's Café; Theatre for a New City; National Public Radio (NPR); City Lights Youth Theatre and in theatre festivals in New York, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, England, Puerto Rico, and Russia. She has also participated at the Lark Play Development Center's Mexico/U.S. Exchange program, as a translator.

Carmen is a Founding Member and Co-Executive Director of E.P.P. (Educational Play Productions), which brings plays that deal with social issues into the public schools. She is also a Teacher Artist with Manhattan Theatre Club, Arts Connections and Teachers and Writers. Publications include: LA GRINGA (Samuel French); POSITIVE/NEGATIVE: women of color and HIV (Aunt Lute); ONE-ACTS AT THE WOMEN'S PROJECT; WOMEN WHO WRITE THEATRE (Smith and Kraus) and NUESTRO NEW YORK (Penguin USA.) For more information on Carmen, check out carmenrivera-writer.com.

Caridad Svich received a 2012 OBIE Award for Lifetime Achievement in theater, a 2012 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award for Guapa, and the 2011 American Theatre Critics Association Primus Prize for her play The House of the Spirits, based on the Isabel Allende novel. She has won the National Latino Playwriting Award (sponsored by Arizona Theatre Company) twice, including in the year 2013 for her play Spark. She has been short-listed for the PEN Award in Drama four times, including in the year 2012 for her play Magnificent Waste. In January 2014 In the Time of the Butterflies (based on the Julia Alvarez novel) will receive its English language premiere at San Diego Repertory Theatre under the direction of Herbert Siguenza and Todd Salovey. In development: Jarman (all this maddening beauty) with Washington D.C.-based ensemble force/collision and Carthage/Cartagena with UK-based ensemble Signdance Collective International. Five of her plays radically re-imagining ancient Greek tragedies are published in Blasted Heavens (Eyecorner Press, University of Denmark). Her works are also published by TCG, Broadway Play Publishing, Playscripts, Arte Publico Press, Smith & Kraus, Manchester University Press, Alexander Street Press, StageReads and more. She has translated nearly all of Federico Garcia Lorca's plays, works by Julio Cortazar, Lope De Vega, Calderon de la Barca, Antonio Buero Vallejo, and plays from Cuba, Mexico, Catalonia and Serbia. She is an alumna playwright of New Dramatists, founder of NoPassport theatre alliance and press, and on the advisory board for the US-Mexico Exchange at the Lark Play Development Center. Website: caridadsvich.com

Enrique Urueta Enrique Urueta's plays include The Johnson Administration, The Danger of Bleeding Brown, Learn To Be Latina, and Forever Never Comes. He has been a recipient of a Jerome Fellowship from The Playwrights Center of Minneapolis, a Walter Dakin Fellowship from the Sewanee Writer's Conference, and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship. BA: The College of William & Mary; MFA: Brown.

About LARK PLAY DEVELOPMENT CENTER: The Lark Play Development Center, now in its 20th year, is a laboratory for new voices and new ideas, providing playwrights with resources to develop their work, nurturing artists at all stages in their careers, and inviting them to express themselves freely in a supportive and rigorous environment. The Lark reaches across international and cultural boundaries to seek out and embrace unheard voices and diverse perspectives, celebrating differences in language and worldviews. By placing authors at the center of the creative process, and giving them the tools they need to succeed financially and professionally, Lark's goal is to empower them to tell their stories and reflect the world back to us in unique and important ways. Lark's focus is on maintaining a laboratory where talent is rewarded, diversity abounds, and everyone's idea is worthy of consideration.

In April 2012, the Lark opened a new 10,000 square foot custom-designed, play-creation studio in New York City's theater district. As part of its growth over the last few years, the Lark has created a portfolio of major playwriting fellowships that provide economic flexibility to writers at different stages of their careers including the PONY Fellowship. Last year, Lark served 1103 artists, including 193 playwrights; partnered with over three dozen theaters and universities; welcomed 3,886 audience members to 51 public presentations and had 63 Lark-developed plays move on to 95 productions around the world. Lark has supported numerous projects serving a diversity of communities, such as a touring residency program for Roma youth in Eastern Europe, an annual U.S.-Mexico Playwright Exchange and, in partnership with Signature Theatre, a Contemporary Chinese Playwriting Series. Recent plays substantially developed at the Lark include David Henry Hwang's Chinglish, Mona Mansour's The Way West, Katori Hall's The Mountaintop and Rajiv Joseph's Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo. The Lark is led by its co-founder and Artistic Director John Clinton Eisner and Managing Director Michael Robertson. For more information about the Lark Play Development Center, visit: larktheatre.org.

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