Paula Vogel to Produce New Startup Play Series BARD AT THE GATE Featuring Katrina Lenk and More

By: May. 29, 2020
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Paula Vogel to Produce New Startup Play Series BARD AT THE GATE Featuring Katrina Lenk and More

BARD AT THE GATE - a startup play series presented by Paula Vogel, the Pulitzer Prize-winning (HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE) and Tony-nominated (INDECENT) playwright - will debut on Wednesday, June 10 at 7:00 pm with a reading of Meg Miroshnik's THE DROLL {Or, a Stage-Play about the END of Theatre}.

THE DROLL, which will be pre-taped, will premiere on June 10th. Viewers can watch the event on YouTube and a direct link will be provided on A donation is suggested, and proceeds will benefit PAAL, Parent Artist Advocacy League, a national network for caregivers in the arts, and The Dramatists Guild Foundation.

The June 10th event will begin with live remarks by Ms. Vogel and the Tony-winning actress Katrina Lenk (THE BAND'S VISIT).

The following day a discussion of the play will be on live Zoom by appointment with Paula Vogel and the playwright, Meg Miroshnik. This hour-long event will take place Thursday, June 11 at the cocktail hour, 5 p.m. Visit to register for the discussion.

(Ms. Lenk appeared on Broadway in Paula Vogel's INDECENT and performed one of the leading roles in THE DROLL in a workshop of the play several years ago at South Coast Repertory.)

Ms. Miroshnik wrote THE DROLL in 2011 having pondered the question, as the play's preface notes, "What would it have been like to discover a passion for acting during the 18 years in which theatre was illegal in 17th-century Puritan England?" Her preface written nine years ago also posed the question: "What is it like to fall in love with theatre today in the face of anxieties about its future and future audiences?"

Devin Brain directs THE DROLL's the cast which includes Brett Dalton, Rachel Spencer Hewitt, Matt Biagini, Zach Appleman, Ceci Fernandez, Blake Segal, Irene Sofia Lucio. Additional casting TBA.

THE DROLL {Or, a Stage-Play about the END of Theatre} is one of four works that comprise the first installment of BARD AT THE GATE, curated by Ms. Vogel, herself a playwright for 40 years, and also one of the nation's preeminent teachers of playwriting, formerly at Brown University and Yale.

The plays in the new series have been chosen by Ms. Vogel from among the hundreds and hundreds of scripts she has read and/or mentored over four decades: works that have been overlooked and never produced, along with plays that deserve a wider audience.

About BARD AT THE GATE, Ms. Vogel states, "We may not want to admit it, but new plays are produced by theatre companies in a factory process. Three and a half weeks of rehearsal, and then onto the stage; four weeks, and strike the set, while preparing the next play in three and a half weeks."

In the time of Covid-19 she adds, "Well, now the factory is closed down. We have a moment to look at plays that were too ambitious, too quirky and too smart to be contained by the same factory process. Over the last 40 years, I've produced nine plays a season at Brown and at Yale, on $100 budgets. No box office names: just new and raw talent. I've seen these new plays work with a new audience on the strength of the script, the directing and the acting. And to see plays that linger in my mind for decades not get the attention they deserve has been frustrating. So I want to offer people a simple glance at plays that are ground-breaking."

Joining THE DROLL in the BARD AT THE GATE launch are: Eisa Davis's 2009 Pulitzer Prize-nominated BULRUSHER, Kermit Frazier's KERNEL OF SANITY and Dan LeFranc's ORIGIN STORY. (Performance dates TBA).

THE DROLL and ORIGIN STORY were, in fact, written by their authors in conjunction with one of Ms. Vogel's various celebrated playwriting exercises which she calls Bakeoffs. With each Bakeoff, Ms. Vogel invites anyone - whether or not they've written a play before - to create a play in 48 hours based on a recipe of ingredients that she provides. Bakeoffs have included Don Juan Bakeoff, St. Joan Bakeoff, and Leda and the Swan Bakeoff. In 2016, the UBU 45 Bakeoff had over 1,000 participants across the country.

The most recent Bakeoff is a Coronavirus challenge, the ingredients of which are a host of characters based in Wuhan, Milan, Teheran and Mar-a-Lago, and props such as face masks and cotton swabs. The challenge's components also include a soliloquy for a pangolin. These recipes can be found on Paula Vogel's website:

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos