The Lark Sets Lineup For 25th Annual Playwrights' Week
The Lark is thrilled to announce five plays and playwrights have been chosen through its Open Access Program for the 25th Annual Playwrights' Week. This year's plays, selected from a pool of over 1,200 submissions, will be: Sistren by Erin Buckley; Even Flowers Bloom in Hell, Sometimes by Franky D. Gonzalez; As Is: Conversations With Big Black Women in Confined Spaces by Stacey Rose; form of a girl unknown by Charly Evon Simpson; and Desarrollo by Juliany Taveras. The selected playwrights will participate in an intensive seven-day retreat, designed to foster a peer-based community among the writers, their creative teams, and The Lark's staff.
"Together, these five fantastic plays provide a compelling snapshot of the myriad evolving ways in which we identify, express, and understand ourselves as individuals navigating a shifting societal landscape," said Andrea Hiebler, Director of Scouting and Submissions at The Lark. "These writers deftly explore how profoundly the physical and psychological spaces that we construct and inhabit can shape discrete stories as well as shared cultural narratives writ large."
Playwrights' Week 2018 will take place November 5 - 9, 2018, when writers will each have twelve hours of rehearsal in advance of a festival of public readings, designed to serve as an extension of the rehearsal process. The week will kick off with The Lark's annual Meet the Writers event, sponsored by Dramatists Play Service, Inc., featuring a panel discussion with the writers, and excerpts from each of the plays, read by the playwrights themselves. The panel will be moderated by Andrea and Krista Williams (Roundtable and Casting Director, The Lark), and will be streamed via Facebook Live. Full schedule and ticketing information is available at larktheatre.org.
The goal of Playwrights' Week is to provide support for plays in various stages of development, by writers at a range of places in their careers. The program aims to help participating writers develop their work, by focusing on a set of self-defined goals, outlined in their initial application.
"Playwrights' Week shifted my relationship to the piece in a pivotal way," said playwright Sam Chanse, whose play The Other Instinct was part of Playwrights' Week 2017. "Before Playwrights Week, I'd been feeling disconnected from the play. Maybe a bit stuck, maybe a bit demoralized. The process at Playwrights Week unlocked something, and allowed me to make some key changes within the week, and to understand how I might address other elements moving forward. The week overall invigorated the play for me and renewed my enthusiasm for working on the piece."
Each submission is read with all of the writer's identifying information removed, by a committee of readers from across the country, within The Lark's network. Scripts are evaluated using a multi-step process that reviews the play's strength of voice, uniqueness of perspective, and emotional impact.
Other recent works developed in Playwrights' Week include: The Thanksgiving Play by Larissa Fasthorse (upcoming world premiere at Playwrights Horizons); Moon Man Walk by James Ijames (Definition Theater Company, 2018); Against the Hillside by Sylvia Khoury (world premiere at Ensemble Studio Theatre, 2018); The Antelope Party by Eric John Meyer (world premiere at Theater Wit, 2018); Detroit '67 by Dominique Morisseau, winner of the 2014 Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History, (world premiere at The Public Theater, 2013); and The Nether by Jennifer Haley, winner of the 2012 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, and seven Ovation Awards (2013) including Playwriting for an Original Play (world premiere at Kirk Douglas Theater, 2013).
Playwrights' Week is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts with additional support from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and Axe-Houghton Foundation.
SCHEDULE & PLAYS
Tuesday, November 6th @ 2pm
DESARROLLO by Juliany Taveras
As kids growing up in New York City, Nelly, Alaida, and Sol spent hot summer days daring, dancing, and documenting their way across boroughs, rivers, and storefronts. Ten years later, time has seemed to warp everything, from their once-indestructible friendship to the landscape of the streets they used to call home. Desarrollo is an unraveling-a discovery-of what happens to the people and places we love when put under pressure; like film developing in the dark, their stories are ones of transformation, of capturing moments that change us.
Tuesday, November 6th @ 8pm
form of a girl unknown by Charly Evon Simpson
Amali is a 12-year-old girl who is finds herself on the edge of womanhood and is having trouble navigating her new world. Her mom's always busy, her sister is about to have a baby of her own, her old best friend Marina ditched her, but her new best friend Finn is always there to listen-until he can't take it anymore. Her fascination with her changing body is one thing, but her fascination with the story of siblings killed in the woods is another thing entirely.
Thursday, November 8th @ 8pm
AS IS: CONVERSATIONS WITH BIG BLACK WOMEN IN CONFINED SPACES by Stacey Rose
As Is, is the story of four Big Beautiful Black Women living the everyday struggle of trying to lose a few pounds and navigating their Big Black Womeness in the confined spaces of their lives. D. Everette has found her stride as a college professor. Antonia seems to have stumbled upon the perfect manifestation of Black love. Beverly, has her children and her grief. It is young Camille who threatens to unravel the four way friendship with her inability to, find and relegate herself to, a confined space of her own.
Friday, November 9th @ 2pm
SISTREN by Erin Buckley
In an austere future that feels a little like the past and a little like the present, a mother and daughter manage their multiple spouses.
Friday, November 9th @ 8pm
EVEN FLOWERS BLOOM IN HELL, SOMETIMES by Franky D. Gonzalez
An examination of the inmates within a system trying to discover meaning, in the face of isolation and doubt in one's own worth, over a 25 year bid. The play explores familial ties, love, race, religion, inmate-correctional officer relations, the passing of time, and the succeeding generation of individuals who deal with the challenges of trying to avoid a life of crime, or resigning oneself to becoming a part of the system that swept up previous generations.
Erin Buckley's upbringing in dressing rooms and green rooms as the daughter of an actor-mother and her training as an actor at Yale have profoundly influenced her creative aesthetic and ethos as a writer. In her projects, roles for actresses are plentiful, and female stories are primary. Erin strongly believes in company, writes with specific actors' voices in mind, and has collaborated repeatedly with a core company of actors (including Brooke Bloom, Candy Buckley, Aysan Celik, Emily Dorsch, Natalie Gold, Nancy Lemenager, Kurt Rhoads, Charlie Semine, and Zoë Winters). Erin is interested in creating work that is unabashedly feminist. Her plays include Sistren, Older Lady, Product, CC Dances the Go-Go, I've Been Stuck in this Bar Since the Mid-'90s..., and Platonic. Erin's pilots and screenplays include Guidance, Unavailable, Second Act Problems, and Parlor. Sistren was a finalist for the 2018 Leah Ryan Fund for Emerging Women Writers Playwriting Prize and a semi-finalist for the 2018 Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's National Playwrights Conference. Older Lady was a semi-finalist for the 2018-19 Hart New Play Initiative. Productions: Older Lady (Alchemical Theatre Lab, NYC); CC Dances the Go-Go (Williamstown & Dixon Place); Garden Sweet Garden (Communal Spaces Festival). Readings/Workshops: The Lark, Dixon Place, Vassar College, The Habitat, New Works Lab @ Stratford, and Stable Cable. Erin worked for the iconic producers Sheila Nevins (HBO) and Oskar Eustis (The Public Theater). MFA: Yale School of Drama, Acting. BA: Stanford University. Study abroad: Oxford University. UCLA's 2017-2018 Professional Program in Writing for Television. erin-buckley.com
Franky D. Gonzalez is a Colombian-American playwright living in Dallas, TX originally from Queens, NY. He holds a BA in Theatre from the University of North Texas and has had productions and readings with several theater companies and colleges in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex since 2011, including Kitchen Dog Theater, Camp Death Productions, Sundown Collaborative Theatre, Nouveau 47, Bishop Arts Theatre Center, the UNT University Players, The Aviary, University of North Texas, Mountain View College, and Grayson College. He also serves as the Dramatists Guild Regional Representative for the Dallas - Fort Worth region. Nationally his work has been featured with The Mid-America Theatre Conference, The Great Plains Theatre Conference, Repertorio Español, The Midwest Dramatists Conference, Focal Theatre Lab/reACT Gallery, A Light in Dark Places, Jenny Magazine, PEN America's Inaugural Writer's Resist, and the Dallas One-Minute Play Festival. His work has been selected for reading as part of the MetLife Nuestras Voces National Playwriting Competition, for development in the PlayLab Series of the Great Plains Theatre Conference, a finalist for San Diego REP Latinx New Play Festival, and a semi-finalist for the Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference.
Stacey Rose hails from Elizabeth, New Jersey and Charlotte, North Carolina respectively. She is a proud mom, daughter, and sibling. She earned a BA in Theatre at UNC Charlotte and is an alum of the MFA program in Dramatic Writing at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. While at Tisch she was the recipient of an AAUW Career Development Grant, was a Future Screenwriting Fellow, and honored with The Goldberg Prize for her play The Danger: A Homage to Strange Fruit. Her work has been presented at: UNC Charlotte, On Q Productions, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, The Fire This Time Festival (Slavesperience, America v. 2.1), The Brooklyn Generator (As Is: Conversations with Big Black Women in Confined Spaces), The Bushwick Starr Reading Series (Igniting The Alabaster You!), Mosaic Theatre (The Black Jew Thing co-written with Alexis Spiegel), The Amoralists Theatre Company (Bones, Bonez, Bone$), Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre (Muva Death), National Black Theatre (The Ballad O' Nigg-O-Lee) and Pillsbury House Theater (Sven, Ole & The Armageddon Myth). She is a two time semi-finalist for The Princess Grace Fellowship (The Danger), a semi-finalist at Premiere Stages Play Festival (As Is), and a finalist at the Fusion Film Festival (Up-And-Coming). Stacey was a 2015-16 Dramatist Guild Fellow, a 2017-18 Playwrights' Center Many Voices Fellow, a 2018 Sundance Theatre Lab Fellow, and is a 2018-2021 Playwrights' Center Core Writer. Stacey is a 2018-19 member of The Goodman Theatre's Playwrights' Unit and The Civilians R&D Group. She served as writers assistant and script coordinator for season one of She's Gotta Have It, The Series. Stacey's work celebrates and explores Blackness, Black identity, Black history, body politics, and the dilemma of life as the "other."
Charly Evon Simpson's plays include Jump, Behind the Sheet, Scratching the Surface, form of a girl unknown, it's not a trip it's a journey, and more. Her work has been seen and/or developed with Ensemble Studio Theatre, Ars Nova, Chautauqua Theater Company, Salt Lake Acting Company, The Flea, P73's Summer Residency, National New Play Network through its NNPN/Kennedy Center MFA Playwrights Workshop and National Showcase of New Plays, and others. Behind the Sheet will be having its world premiere at Ensemble Studio Theatre this January. Jump will receive an NNPN Rolling World Premiere, with productions at Playmaker's Rep (Chapel Hill, NC), Actor's Express (Atlanta) and Milagro Theatre (Portland, OR) in 2019-20. She's currently a member of WP Theater's 2018-2020 Lab, The New Georges Jam, The Amoralists 18/19 'Wright Club and she's The Pack's current playwright-in-residence. Charly is a former member of SPACE on Ryder Farm's The Working Farm, Clubbed Thumb's 17/18 Early Career Writers' Group, Ensemble Studio Theatre's Youngblood, and Pipeline Theatre Company's PlayLab. She received her BA from Brown University, a master's in Women's Studies from University of Oxford, New College, and her MFA in Playwriting from Hunter College. She is currently an adjunct lecturer at SUNY Purchase. charlyevonsimpson.com
Juliany Taveras is a Dominican-American writer, photographer, and theatre-maker from Brooklyn. Their playwriting has been nationally recognized (The Kilroys List 2016, 50 Playwrights Project List 2018) and their images/poetry have been published online and in print. Their plays have been developed and/or staged with Corkscrew Theater Festival, Manhattan Rep, The Bechdel Group, WOW Café Theatre, Greenhouse Theater Center, and Unbound Theatre Company, among others. Juliany is a graduate of Vassar College and the St. Joseph's College Writer's Foundry, and currently works as a teaching artist with NYC youth while continuing to develop work that navigates bodies in diaspora. See more at julianytaveras.com.
Founded by The Dramatists Guild and a number of prominent theater agents, Dramatists Play Service, Inc. (DPS) was created to foster national opportunities for playwrights by publishing affordable editions of their plays and handling the performance rights to these works. DPS has since grown steadily to become one of the premier play-licensing and theatrical publishing agencies in the world. Offering an extensive list of titles that includes many of the most significant plays of the past century, DPS preserves the rich history of drama. It works with thousands of theaters to ensure the future vitality of the theater. It is committed to providing a home for established writers and to nurturing new playwrights of exceptional promise. Dramatists Play Service is sponsoring the 2018 Meet the Writers event.
The Lark is an international theater laboratory, based in New York City, dedicated to amplifying the voices of playwrights by providing transformative support within a global community. Founded in 1994, The Lark provides writers with funding, space, collaborators, audiences, professional connections, and the freedom to design and drive their own creative processes. The guiding principal of The Lark's work is the belief that playwrights are society's truth tellers, and their work strengthens our collective capacity to understand our world and imagine its future.
In order to provide economic flexibility to writers at different stages of their careers, The Lark has created a portfolio of major playwriting fellowships. The Lark continues to offer a free and open submission process that allows any and all writers to submit to our Playwrights' Week program, and maintains free admission to the public for all readings and workshops.
Plays substantially developed at The Lark include Describe the Night by Rajiv Joseph, brownsville song (b-side for tray) by Kimber Lee, Skeleton Crew by Dominique Morisseau, and Sweat by Lynn Nottage.
For more information about the artists, initiatives, and plays of The Lark, please visit: www.larktheatre.org.
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