Cutting Ball Theater Announces Mellon Grant
San Francisco's cutting-edge Cutting Ball Theater announces that the company has been awarded a grant for $166,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to fund a three-year residency for resident playwright Andrew Saito. The grant will give Saito a full time salary and health benefits at Cutting Ball for the entire three years, with options to receive additional developmental funds. The grant is Cutting Ball's largest grant to date.
As part of Saito's residency, Cutting Ball Theater will present the World Premiere of KRISPY KRITTERS IN THE SCARLETT NIGHT, a poetic portrayal of the heart of the city in the spirit of Alan Ginsburg's Howl, William S. Burroughs, and the plays of Suzan-Lori Parks. KRISPY KRITTERS IN THE SCARLETT NIGHT dazzles with sublime, surreal language and images fit for a Dalí painting in a play about love and longing in the neglected neighborhoods of a fictional city. At the center is Scarlett, a woman who takes care of her grandmother by pulling wild animals out of her ears and letting them loose in her backyard menagerie. She makes her living as best she can off of the dreams and desires of married men who are willing to sacrifice everything for her. Drumhead, a lowly morgue worker with a wild imagination, comes across a carnival poster boasting of the wonders of Scarlett and can't get her out of his head. He too has a relative to care for: his Navy veteran father who lost his legs in a war and spends his days reenacting great battles in the bathtub. KRISPY KRITTERS IN THE SCARLETT NIGHT follows these seeming misfits on their journey to find each other. Artistic Director Rob Melrose helms the production, (May 17-June 16), which was workshopped during Cutting Ball's 2011 RISK IS THIS...festival.
Additionally, During Saito's residency time at Cutting Ball, the company plans to produce an additional World Premiere main stage production penned by Saito, develop two commissioned plays and two translations. Cutting Ball will commission a piece that adapts and responds to Herman Melville's Moby Dick, and Mt. Misery, a play about the plantation where Frederick Douglas was held as a slave, and which, a century later, was purchased by Donald Rumsfeld, which traces their imagined interactions across time. The company is also committed to developing Saito's play Stegosaurus (or) Our Golden Years, and other plays he would like to work on as resident playwright.
As part of Cutting Ball Theater's commitment to new experimental works for the stage, the company has provided commissions and developmental workshops for playwrights, and annually produces RISK IS THIS . . . The Cutting Ball New Experimental Plays Festival, one of the only play festivals in America solely dedicated to experimental works for the stage. Cutting Ball has developed innovative plays by such acclaimed writers as Marcus Gardley, Liz Duffy Adams, Eugenie Chan, Christine Evans, and Kevin Oakes, playwrights Cutting Ball championed early in their careers, and who went on to have their respective works produced by theaters including Arena Stage, American Repertory Theater, Magic Theatre, The Women's Project, and The Flea Theater.
Cutting Ball Theater presents the latest edition of the adventurous RISK IS THIS . . . The Cutting Ball New Experimental Plays Festival January 11 through February 9, offering a unique opportunity to see plays in development, alongside the artists creating them, as the works find their theatrical voice. This year's festival features three new works (Superheroes, written and directed by Sean San José, Passing by Dipika Guha, Sidewinders by Basil Kreimendahl) and two new "Risk Translations" (Ubu Roi by Alfred Jarry, in a new translation by Rob Melrose; Insect Play by the ?apek brothers, in a new translation by Bennett Fisher) in staged readings. Free and open to the public.
"I can hardly contain my excitement with the news that Cutting Ball and Andrew Saito received this extremely competitive national three-year playwright residency from the Mellon Foundation. This is obviously a life-changer for any young playwright, but it is also going to have an enormous impact on Cutting Ball as well. We are grateful to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support of experimental theater," said Cutting Ball Artistic Director Rob Melrose.