PARACHUTE MEN, GIRL OF GLASS, THE TIGER AMONG US and More Set for Lark's 21st Annual Playwrights' Week
Lark Play Development Center has announced that seven plays have been chosen for its 21st Annual Playwrights' Week, which will take place September 22nd - 27th. This year's plays and playwrights are Parachute Men by Mando Alvarado, Lucky Ladies by Dominic Finocchiaro, INC. by Diana Grisanti, No More Sad Things by Hansol Jung, Girl of Glass by Jennifer A. Kokai, Chalk by Walt McGough, and The Tiger Among Us by Lauren Yee. Tickets will be available starting Tuesday, September 2nd. For more information visit www.larktheatre.org.
This year, Lark's Literary Wing, a team of 41 volunteer theater artists and community members, received 938 submissions, a record number of plays submitted for entry through Lark's Open Access Program since Playwrights' Week began back in 1994.
"These seven plays have been chosen from an enormous and deep pool of submissions," said Andrea Hiebler, Lark's Director of Scouting and Submissions. "They all, in their own unique style, tap into immediate and contemporary circumstances while engaging a variety of enduring questions, conflicts and themes."
Playwrights' Week has supported plays from early-career, emerging and established writers. Each submitted play was evaluated using a multi-step process starting with an initial blind review based on Lark support criteria which includes strength of voice, diversity of perspective, and potential impact of the Playwrights' Week program. The selected plays then advanced through a careful assessment of each author's goal statement about how the play would benefit from the Lark's development process. Final selections were made by an invited committee made up of Keith Joseph Adkins (Co-founder and Artistic Director of The New Black Fest), Christie Evangelisto (Literary Director of Signature Theatre), Olivia George (Playwright), Annie Henk (Actress), and Anna Moench (Playwright).
"These are smart, imaginative, challenging, weird, game-changing plays that are undeniably, grippingly theatrical," said Evangelisto. "There's a dark streak to the group that I find so exciting and sexy, and a rawness in the writing that I love. These are all new voices worth knowing about, and readings worth leaving your office for."
The seven playwrights participate in an intensive seven-day retreat, designed to foster a peer-based community among the writers, their creative teams, and Lark's staff, through a series of conversations around the work. After defining their goals, the playwrights receive ten hours of rehearsal in advance of a public staged reading, focusing on the writer's self-stated developmental goals.
Playwright Tony Meneses, whose play Guadalupe in the Guest Room was part of last year's Playwrights Week said of his experience, "It of course all started with being selected, then everything from finding Daniella Topol to direct the reading to discovering new key moments in the script to honestly all the events that have happened since, the Lark allowed this play to grow beyond anything I could have ever expected." Guadalupe in the Guest Room, will receive a world-premiere at Two River Theatre (February 14th - March 15th).
Recent work developed in Playwrights' Week include: Detroit '67 by Dominique Morisseau, winner of the 2014 Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History, produced by the Public Theater and Classical Theatre of Harlem; The Nether by Jennifer Haley, winner of the 2012 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, winner of seven Ovation Awards (2013) including "Playwriting for an Original Play," produced by Center Theatre Group; and Failure: A Love Story by Philip Dawkins produced by Victory Gardens Theatre and Azuka Theater.
PLAYS AND PLAYWRIGHTS
Parachute Men by Mando Alvarado - After the death of his mother, Eric - the oldest of three - traveled the world in search of global disasters to avoid his own familial responsibilities. When he returns, he finds the he's no longer "the man of the house."
Lucky Ladies by Dominic Finocchiaro - Cindy, Dina, and Gina are contestants on America's longest-running reality television dating show. However, when their Prince Charming suddenly goes missing, the girls must ask themselves: how long am I willing to wait for love, and just what am I willing to lose?
INC. by Diana Grisanti - Ada works at a call center. Ada gets a call. Ada tries to help. Ada screws it up. INC. is the story of what happens when good intentions go terribly, terribly wrong.
No More Sad Things by Hansol Jung - A girl catches a last-minute flight to Maui. A boy finds the girl on the shores of Ka'anapali. Something strange and familiar pulls them closer, close enough to forget things that won't stay forgotten.
Girl of Glass by Jennifer A. Kokai - Edgar, a delivery man, meets Truly who works in a strange shop, that she is never allowed to leave, filled with glowing glass jars. Every week Edgar visits her, falling more and more in love, but Truly is not who she seems to be.
Chalk by Walt McGough - Maggie survived the end of the world, but now her daughter's back and something isn't right. The two women square off, with survival on the line and nothing between them but a crude chalk circle, hastily drawn on the ground.
The Tiger Among Us by Lauren Yee - Being the only Hmong kids in town is tough, especially in Minnesota. But when a stranger's arrival, mid-hunting season, threatens their tenuous existence, Lia and her brother Pao find themselves caught between their family and their dreams in this modern-day Midwestern folktale.
BIOGRAPHIES OF THE PLAYWRIGHTS
Mando Alvarado (Parachute Men) is an award-winning playwright/screenwriter from South Texas. His play Basilica premiered Off-Broadway at the famous Cherry Lane Theater in NYC in 2013. His play Post No Bills received its Off-Broadway premiere at Rattlestick Playwright's Theater. His new play, Diablo Love, had its world premiere this summer at Central Park's Summer Stages. They also produced A King of Infinite Space, a Hamlet/Pearl Jam mash-up and Sangre, an adaptation of Blood Wedding. He also co-wrote the book for the bilingual musical A Yellow Brick Road, an adaptation of Wizard of Oz for Theaterworks USA which received its critically acclaimed Off-Broadway premiere at The Lortel. He is a member of Rising Phoenix Rep, alum of INTAR's Hispanic-Playwright-in-Residence Laboratory 2006 - 2008, a member of Company of Angels writer's group, and a graduate of The University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He's currently working on "Tyrant" for FX.
Dominic Finocchiaro's (Lucky Ladies) full-length plays include Astral Princess Saves Mankind, brother brother, complex, Exotic, The Found Dog Ribbon Dance, and The Lucky Ladies (someday you will be loved). His writing has been produced and developed around the country, including at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Portland Center Stage, the Flea Theater, the Amoralists, Pavement Group, Ugly Rhino, Pipeline Theatre Company, Spookfish Theatre, the Secret Theatre, Play on Words Productions, Bookshop Workshops, Hearth Gods, Communal Spaces, 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 currently in the process of completing the MFA Playwriting program at Columbia University. He has also trained as a writer at the New School for Drama, the Kennedy Center, the Playwrights Foundation, and through the Pataphysics at The Flea Theater.
Diana Grisanti (INC.) is a Playwright in Residence at Theatre  in Louisville, KY, and an Al Smith Fellow through the Kentucky Arts Council. Her plays have been produced or developed at the Playwrights' Center (Minneapolis), San Diego Rep, the Lark (NYC), the Alliance (Atlanta), Actors Theatre of Louisville, Walden Theatre, and more. Next season, her play River City will enjoy a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere at Actor's Theatre of Charlotte, the Phoenix Theatre (Indianapolis), and Borderlands (Tucson). Her short play Post Wave Spectacular was produced in the 2010 Humana Festival, and her musical Richie Farmer Will Have His Revenge on Durham (written with Matt Schatz) was Best of Fest in Austin's FronteraFest. She was a Core Apprentice at the Playwrights' Center, the inaugural recipient of the Marsha Norman Spirit of Achievement Lilly Award, a finalist in the Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition, a nominee for the Wasserstein Prize, and runner-up for the Leah Ryan Prize. Her plays for young actors include Dorina and the Plague: A Fairy Tale of Epidemic Proportions, and adaptations of 1,001 Nights and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. MFA: Michener Center for Writers, University of Texas at Austin.
Hansol Jung (No More Sad Things) is a playwright and director originally from South Korea. Her work has been developed at the Royal Court (London), Bushwick Starr, Asia Society New York, Lark Play Development Center, Seven Devils Playwright Conference, OD Musical Theater Company (Seoul), Yale Cabaret. Her works include Dis/Oriented: Antonioni in China (with Yin Mei and Bora Yoon), Among the Dead, Still Murky, No More Sad Things, and Cardboard Piano. She has translated over thirty English musicals into Korean, including Evita, Spamalot, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, while working on several award winning musical theatre productions as director, lyricist and translator in Seoul, South Korea. She is the recipient of the MacDowell Colony Artist Residency, International Playwrights Residency at Royal Court (London), Playwrights' Centre Core Apprenticeship, the Paul Stephen Lim Playwriting Award, the Pierre-Andre Salim Memorial Scholarship at Yale School of Drama, and was a 2014 finalist for the Ruby Prize (Southern Rep). Jung holds a Playwriting MFA from Yale School of Drama.
Jennifer A. Kokai (Girl of Glass) lives in Ogden, Utah, where she teaches at Weber State University. Most recently, her play Lost Land was performed as part of the Frontera Fringe Festival in Austin, Texas and as a reading at Good Company Theatre in Ogden. Previous works have been produced in New York City, Louisville, and Indianapolis as part of festivals or in educational settings.
Walt McGough (Chalk) is a Boston-based playwright, and a current Playwriting Fellow at the Huntington Theatre Company. His plays have been nominated for multiple Best New Play awards by the Independent Reviewers of New England, and include The Farm, Pattern of Life, The Haberdasher!, Priscilla Dreams the Answer, and Dante Dies!! (and then things get weird). He has worked around the country with companies such as New Rep (2014 Next Rep Fellow), Boston Playwrights, Fresh Ink, Sideshow, Nu Sass Productions, Chicago Dramatists, and Penguin Rep. He won the 2011 Best Comedy Award from the Capital Fringe Festival in Washington, D.C., and was named one of the Boston Globe's 2012 Artists on the Rise. He is a founding ensemble member of Sideshow Theatre Company in Chicago, currently serves on the staff at SpeakEasy Stage Company in Boston, and was previously the Company Manager at Chicago Dramatists. He holds a BA from the University of Virginia, and an MFA in Playwriting from Boston University.
Lauren Yee's (The Tiger Among Us) plays include Ching Chong Chinaman (Pan Asian, Mu Performing Arts, SIS Productions, Impact Theatre), Crevice (Impact Theatre), The Hatmaker's Wife (Playwrights Realm, The Hub, Moxie Theatre, AlterTheater, PlayPenn), Hookman (Company One workshop), in a word (Hangar and Williamstown workshops), King of the Yees (Goodman Theatre commission), Samsara (O'Neill Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Victory Gardens' IGNITION Festival), and The Tiger Among Us (MAP Fund, Mu Performing Arts). Upcoming productions in the 2014/15 season include Victory Gardens, San Francisco Playhouse, the Cleveland Public Theatre, Mo'olelo Performing Arts Company, and Encore Theatre. Yee's work has been developed at Lincoln Center/LCT3, The Magic, The Public, Rattlestick, and Kitchen Dog. She is a former Dramatists Guild fellow, a MacDowell fellow, and a Public Theater Emerging Writers Group member. Fellowships include Women's Project Lab, Ma-Yi Writers' Lab, Playwrights Realm Page One residency, Playwrights' Center Core Writer. Commissions: Goodman Theatre, Lincoln Center/LCT3, Mixed Blood, Encore Theatre, and TheatreworksUSA. BA: Yale. MFA: UCSD. www.laurenyee.com
About LARK PLAY DEVELOPMENT CENTER - The Lark Play Development Center provides transformative support for playwrights. Founded in 1994, this laboratory for new voices and new ideas provides playwrights and their collaborators with resources to develop their work in a supportive yet rigorous environment and encourages them to define their own goals and creative process in pursuit of a unique vision. We embrace new and diverse perspectives here at home and in all corners of the world, supporting innovative strategies to help new work reach audiences through a network of evolving partnerships. We strive to reinvigorate the theater's ancient and enduring role as a public forum for discussion, debate and community engagement, and to strengthen society's capacity to imagine its future through storytelling.
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 1,243 artists, including 174 playwrights; partnered with over three dozen theaters and universities; welcomed 2,917 audience members to 40 public presentations, and in the last two years had 112 Lark-developed plays move on to 184 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: www.larktheatre.org.