Official: James Franco to Make Directorial Debut with THE SHRIFT at Rattlestick; 20th Season to Include Works by Keith Josef Adkins, Robert Boswell & More

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Official: James Franco to Make Directorial Debut with THE SHRIFT at Rattlestick; 20th Season to Include Works by Keith Josef Adkins, Robert Boswell & More

Rattlestick Playwrights Theater Artistic Director David Van Asselt and Managing Director Brian Long have announced the company's 2014-2015 programming celebrating it's 20th anniversary season. The season will include New York and World premieres by Keith Josef Adkins, Robert Boswell, Sheila Callaghan, Laura Eason, Michael Laurence, Laith Nakli, Scott Organ, Rubén Polendo, and Daniel Talbott.

In a special summer season, Rattlestick will produce two plays by film directors making their theatrical directorial debuts. Robert Boswell's world premiere, The Long Shrift, will be directed by James Franco and Scott Organ's Phoenix, (a co-production with Poverty Row Entertainment, and Rian Patrick Durham) will be directed by Jennifer DeLia. There will be a specially priced membership exclusively for The Long Shrift and Phoenix priced at $60.

The Rattlestick 2014-15 Season

The Long Shrift (World Premiere)
Written by Robert Boswell; Directed by James Franco
July 7-August 23, 2014
Playing at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (224 Waverly Place)

Robert Boswell (Playwright) has published seven novels, three story collections, and two books of non-fiction. Mr. Boswell most recent book, Tumbledown ,was published in 2013.

Richard Singer, a dorky teenage boy is accused and thrown in jail for rape, tearing his parents apart. Now, nine years later, Richard is out of jail and his accuser is back in his life.

Phoenix
Co-Production with Poverty Row Entertainment and Rian Patrick Durham
Written by Scott Organ; Directed by Jennifer DeLia
July 28-August 23, 2014
Playing at Cherry Lane, Mainstage (38 Commerce Street)

Scott Organ's (Playwright) work has been commissioned by The Atlantic Theater Company, developed by The New Group, Page 73 and The Barrow Group, and has been performed and work-shopped throughout the United States.

When Bruce (James Wirt) and Sue (Julia Stiles) meet four weeks after an uncharacteristic one-night-stand, Sue has this to say to him: one, I had a great time with you that night and two, let's never see each other again. Thus begins a 4,000 mile journey well beyond the confines of their carefully structured worlds. Bruce is fueled by an overwhelming but undefined compulsion to join her in Phoenix. Sue is reluctantly charmed by his persistence, but steadfast in her resolve to keep him at bay. Both are forced to consider a whole new world of possibility, though not one free of difficulty and loss. PHOENIX is a one-act dark romantic comedy.

**Special discount membership will be available for The Long Shrift and Phoenix. Priced at $60 for both shows.

Theater:Village, the West Village Theater Festival
September 3-October 5, 2014

This year's 2nd annual Theater:Village, presented by Axis Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, New Ohio Theatre, and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, is entitled E Pluribus and features four new plays celebrating the diversity of America.

Theater:Village presents annually a series of new plays in several prominent West Village theater, based around one playwright or common theme. The goal is to involve the collaboration of many producing partners, deepening community engagements and audience experiences.

Theater:Village signifies a major shift in the ways theaters work. It challenges the assumptions that we must cut back and compete more fiercely with each other in order to survive as nonprofit arts institutions, and promotes collaboration and community-conscious programming to expose emerging audiences to essential new work they would not otherwise be able to see.

Juárez: A Mythology Documentary
Co-Production with Theater Mitu
Conceived and Directed by Rubén Polendo
Playing at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (224, Waverly Pl)

More than two years in development. Over 200 hours of interview footage. Hundreds of conversations. Theater Mitu creates an artful portrait of a community in crisis and transformation. Gangs, cartels, corruption, NAFTA, femicide, the War on Drugs, fear, familial honor, mythology and hope all appear in stories collected from parents, politicians, artists, activists, factory workers, journalists, professors and more.

*Other Theater:Village venues, plays and memberships to be announced soon

Pitbulls (World Premiere)
Written by Keith Josef Adkins; Directed by Leah Gardiner
November 6-December 13, 2014
Playing at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (224, Waverly Pl)

Keith Josef Adkins (Playwright) is the co-founder and artistic director of The New Black Fest, a festival of new and provocative playwriting, music and discussion from the African Diaspora. The New Black Fest recently curated Facing Our Truth: Ten-Minute Plays on Trayvon, Race and Privilge that's being produced at theaters around the country.

A small black community in rural Appalachia. Pitbull country. Mary and her son Dipper live in a trailer a few miles from their bible-belt, war-loving, dog-fighting neighbors. Despite being the community's pariah, Mary is at peace making and selling wine. However, when a prize-winning pit bull is slaughtered on the Fourth of July, Mary's solitary existence becomes suspect. Pitbulls explores what it costs to be an individual in America.

Shesh Yak (World Premiere)
Co-Production with LaiLou Productions
Written by Laith Nakli; Directed by Bruce McCarty
January 15- February 19th, 2015
Playing at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (224 Waverly Pl)

Laith Nakli (Playwright) is a Syrian-Bristish actor/writer who has written many short pieces for the Annual Arab American Comedy Festival and written 11 screenplays including, "Wudu", which is slated to begin production later this year.

In the spring of 2011, five weeks into the civil uprising in Syria, we find Jameel, a 40-year-old Syrian-American writer in his New York apartment waiting for a houseguest to arrive from DC. Haytham, 15 years Jameel's senior, a Syrian ex-patriot and a leader in the anti-Syrian government movement has come to New York on business. Jameel is overwhelmed with excitement to have someone of Haytham's stature in his home and the two share stories from their younger days in Syria. An unclear tension starts brewing between the two leading them into a re-examination of their lives and a revelation of how their different pasts have intertwined and forced them into choices that neither ever imagined.

Everything You Touch (New York Premiere)
Co-Production with Boston Court and True Love Productions
By Special Arrangement with Cherry Lane Theatre
Written by Sheila Callaghan; Directed by Jessica Kubzansky
February 13-April 14, 2015
Playing at Cherry Lane, Mainstage (38 Commerce St)

Everything You Touch received its World Premiere production in Pasedena this spring in a co-production between Boston Court and Rattlestick. This was the first leg in it's journey to the New York stage and is the second play featured in Rattlestick's LA Initiative.

Sheila Callaghan's (Playwright) plays have been produced and developed by a number of theaters including That Pretty Pretty; or, The Rape Play at Rattlestick. She currently writes for the Showtime series SHAMELESS. She was also named one of Variety magazine's "10 Screenwriters to Watch" of 2010.

Victor is a ruthless fashion designer in the 1970s at the top of his game. Esme, his glamorous protégé and muse, is pushed aside when an ordinary Midwestern woman inspires Victor to make his artistry accessible to the masses. A generation later, a woman grappling with a healthy dose of self-loathing must wrestle her own family demons to find her way back through the world of fashion that won't give her size a second look. Sipping back and forth in time, Everything You Touch is a viciously funny look at the struggle to find an identity that's more than skin deep.

The Undeniable Sound of Right Now (World Premiere)
Written by Laura Eason; Directed by Kristen Kelly
March 20-May 2, 2015
Playing at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (224 Waverly Pl)

Laura Eason (Playwright) is the author of twenty plays, a musical book writer and screenwriter. She was a staff writer and is currently a story editor on season three of the Netflix show HOUSE OF CARDS.

It's 1992. Hank is struggling to keep his legendary rock club going amid changing times and changing tastes. When his beloved daughter, Lena, starts dating a rising star DJ, Hank must contend with the destructive power of the next big thing.

Hamlet In Bed (World Premiere)
Written by Michael Laurence; Directed by Lisa Peterson
May 14-June 18, 2015
Playing at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (224 Waverly Pl)

Michael Laurence (Playwright & Performer) is the author of the plays Krapp39, The Escape Artist, Virgil's Cauldron, and the co-creator (with playwright-performer Edgar Oliver) of Chop Off Your Ear. He also wrote and directed the independent feature film Escape Artists.

Michael is a neurotic actor and adoptee obsessed with two things- finding his real mother, and playing the famous Gloomy Dane. His twin fixations collide when he tracks down Anna, a reclusive former actress-turned-barfly; gripped by the notion that she might be his actual birth-mother, he first stalks her from a distance, then lures her into a noirish production of Hamlet playing the role of the queen, his mother. Hamlet In Bed is a twisty and darkly comic story about mothers and sons. About what it means to live a life in the theatre, both a generation ago, and now. And about families- the ones we're born into, and the ones we find along the way.

Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, America, Kuwait (World Premiere)
Written and Directed by Daniel Talbott
Dates Spring 2015
Location TBA

Daniel Talbott (Playwright & Director) is an actor, director, playwright, producer, literary manager of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, and the artistic director of the Lucille Lortel and NYIT Award-winning Rising Phoenix Rep.

American soldiers Smith and Leadem kill time at a worn out desert outpost swallowed by sand on the other side of the world. Dutifully fulfilling their mission, they wait for a sign from the enemy, for further orders, for anything. As their rations shrink and the desert, sky, and sand seem to grow and expand around them, they fight for clarity and sanity, to stay on task, and to serve as they've sworn to do. Is the enemy trying to kill them, or is it the country they've been fighting for that's the real darkness they're running from? As the days fall away it becomes less and less possible to know what is future, past, living, dead, or dream.

Individually priced tickets are available for $20. Theater Artists/Under 30 tickets are $15. Student tickets are $5. Tickets are available at www.rattlestick.org, or by calling OvationTix at 1.866.811.4111

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos

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