Cutting Ball Theater to Open 15th Season with World Premiere of SIDEWINDERS, 10/18-11/17

Cutting Ball Theater to Open 15th Season with World Premiere of SIDEWINDERS, 10/18-11/17

Cutting Ball Theater opens its 15th season with the World Premiere of SIDEWINDERS by Basil Kreimendahl. M. Graham Smith makes his main stage directing debut at Cutting Ball with SIDEWINDERS, featuring DavEnd, Sara Moore,Donald Currie, and Norman Muñoz. SIDEWINDERS plays October 18 through November 17 at the Cutting Ball Theater in residence at EXIT on Taylor (277 Taylor Street) in San Francisco. For tickets ($10-50) and more information, the public may or call 415-525-1205.

SIDEWINDERS owes as much to Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot as it does to SF Pride. In this absurdist-Western romp through gender queerness, Dakota and Bailey find themselves lost, possibly upside down, in a strange world with even stranger characters. Their journey to getting right side up provokes questions of sex anatomy, transgenderism, and who we really are from the inside out. SIDEWINDERS, which was developed as part of the 2013 edition of RISK IS THIS... The Cutting Ball New Experimental Plays Festival, was awarded The 2013 Rella Lossy Playwright Award. Administered by The San Francisco Foundation, the award honors the memory of Rella Lossy, a longtime champion of theater and playwrights. The award is given annually to support the production of a new play by an emerging playwright in the Bay Area. Kreimendahl's play was chosen by this year's juror, Michael Ritchie, the Artistic Director of the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles.

"When I think about the genesis of SIDEWINDERS," said playwright Basil Kreimendahl, "I think about William Faulkner's Light In August. In this novel, there is a character named Joe Christmas who has no past that he remembers, no family, and no idea what his ethnic background is. Wherever he finds himself, the people around him make determinations about who he is. I loved this idea of moving through the world not knowing something so vital to how other people treat you. Being someone who thinks a lot about gender and identity, I thought what if someone literally did not know what sex or gender they were. I have also been thinking about how all the queering of gender happening in the world was turning the realm of sex and gender into a new frontier, a 'wild west' of possibilities where the old laws did not apply, and new ones were being formed and broken all the time, leading to a sort of lawlessness."

Continued Kreimendahl, "SIDEWINDERS is a meditation on identity, especially in terms of gender and how that affects who we are. The play is also a deep look at the impermanence of our lives, how we fill it up with questioning, a need to know and pinpoint, and how that often makes us miss the things that are right in front of us. We miss the simple because we like to complicate the world to make it feel meaningful. Cutting Ball has a reputation for producing provocative, thoughtful work that deepens and challenges what it is to be human. A work like SIDEWINDERS fits in nicely with Cutting Ball's purpose, and it's an honor to have my first production with such a company."

M. Graham Smith makes his main stage directorial debut at Cutting Ball with SIDEWINDERS; he directed the staged reading of the production during Cutting Ball's 2013 RISK IS THIS... festival. Smith is the Artistic Director of Precarious Theatre and the Global Age Project producer at Aurora Theatre Company. He has directed at the Walnut Theater in Philadelphia and the HERE American Living Room series in New York City. In San Francisco, directing credits include productions at the Yerba Buena Garden's Festival, Bay Area Playwright's Festival, American Conservatory Theater's Masters program, EXIT Theatre, Asian American Theatre Company, Playground, Brava Theater, Berkeley Playhouse, Golden Thread, and New Conservatory Theatre. Additional directing credits include the West Coast Premiere of Jerry Springer: The Opera in San Francisco for Ray of Light Theatre, the opera Love/Hate with ODC and San Francisco Opera, and Ken Slattery's Truffaldino Says No at Shotgun Players.

A graduate of the University of Iowa Playwright's Workshop, Basil Kreimendahl's plays have been developed by New York Theatre Workshop, About Face Theatre, Wordbridge Inkwell, The Lark, Courier 12 Collective in Chicago, Stageworks, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Kreimendahl's play Orange Julius was developed at the O'Neill Playwright's Conference in 2012 and included in La Jolla Playhouse's DNA new work series. A Core Apprentice at the Minneapolis Playwrights Center (2012-13), and Jerome Fellow (2013-14) at the Minneapolis Playwright's Center, Kreimendahl is also the recipient of an Arts Meets Activism grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women for theater work with the trans community in Louisville. Kreimendahl has taught playwriting to elementary, high school, and college students in Florida, Kentucky, New York and Iowa, in addition to running and organizing a playwrights group for queer youth in Louisville called Out On The Edge. The Provost's Visiting Writer at the University of Iowa (2013-14), Kreimendahl's short plays have twice been finalists for the Heideman Award.

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