What's On The List? A Look At The Female- and Trans-Written Plays Honored By The Kilroys

By: Jun. 22, 2016

As reported by BroadwayWorld, The Kilroys, a collective of women playwrights named for the iconic graffiti tag "Kilroy Was Here" that was left by America's WWII soldiers, has released its 2016 edition of The List, a collection of plays written by authors who identify as female or trans that have been judged to be of high quality by theatre professionals.

This is the third edition of The List, which in previous years has included the work of several notable playwrights with major regional and New York productions, including Madeleine George's Pulitzer Prize Finalist THE (CURIOUS CASE OF THE) WATSON INTELLIGENCE, Dominique Morisseau's SKELETON CREW, Martyna Majok's IRONBOUND, Paula Vogel's DON JUAN COMES HOME FROM IRAQ, Fernanda Coppel's KING LIZ, Lynn Nottage's SWEAT and Lucy Thurber's THE INSURGENTS.

Theater professionals who have read or seen at least 40 plays in the previous year are invited to nominate themselves as respondents. Each industry respondent may recommend 3-5 plays, either unproduced or with just a single professional production, representing the best work they have encountered in the past 12 months.

Click here for BroadwayWorld's interview with Playwright Leah Nanako Winkler, who saw a sharp increase in interest in her work after her play KENTUCKY was included on last year's List.

As seen by the descriptions below, this year's assortment of plays covers a diverse assortment of topics, such as political lobbying, the brutality of drone warfare and the ambitions of pre-teen, competitive dancers. Visit thekilroys.org for information on acquiring reading copies and performance rights.

THE ART OF GAMAN by Dipika Guha: As Tomomi's steamer pulls into San Francisco from Japan, her arrival coincides with the first wave of west coast Japanese internment. So when an old man on board offers to arrange her marriage to his son who lives in New York, Tomomi knows she must accept. Funny, intimate and deeply magical, The Art of Gaman is an account of one woman's journey towards independence and self-expression through her life and American history.

KINGS by Sarah Burgess: A first term congresswoman worries for the state of our republic when she experiences Washington's political fundraising apparatus up close. When she doesn't play along with lobbyists, her numbers suffer, and her party tries to push her aside. Tries.

CURVE OF DEPARTURE by Rachel Bonds: On a balmy New Mexico night in a too-small motel room, a "ragtag little group" gathers in anticipation of the funeral that has brought them together. But the dearly departed is the least of their concerns as they all grapple with the curves life has thrown them.

LAURA AND THE SEA by Kate Tarker: It's company outing day, and Laura, one of the top travel agents of her generation, decides to end it all. Afterwards, her colleagues try to piece things together on a memorial blog, but how do you mourn someone you didn't know that well?

AIR SPACE by Tori Keenan-Zelt: As Glory and Kyle try to flip a falling-down house in an abandoned neighborhood, they discover that the evicted owners have been living secretly in a hollowed-out wall. A surreal comedy about what happens when a new generation tries to build something from the broken pieces another generation hasn't given up yet.

RADIO ISLAND by Liz Birkenmeier: Ellen is an ex-military crisis negotiator. When she comes home to care for her injured and isolated mother, she remotely handles a hostage situation overseas. Worlds blur as she attempts to manage menacing threats both near and far; whom is controlling who in this house and on this earth?

COST OF LIVING by Martyna Majok: The lives of four people in Jersey intersect. Cost of Living delves into the chasm between abundance and need and explores the space where bodies - abled and disabled, rich and poor - meet each other.

DANCE NATION by Clare Barron: An army of pre-teen, competitive dancers plots to take over the world.

CYGNUS by Susan Soon He Stanton: Cydney believes an angel rescued her from an ineffable trauma, and the truth may prove stranger than she imagines. Cygnus is a mythic, hilarious, and dark fairy tale where a burnt feather may illuminate the possibility of a divine intervention.

PILGRIMS by Claire Kiechel: On a ship to colonize a newly discovered planet, a soldier and a teenage girl find themselves quarantined together in a cabin and are forced to explore their own traumatic pasts and roles in a dying society.

PRETTY HUNGER by Patricia Ione Lloyd: Lea, a biracial seven year old girl with an epic imagination, takes us on a journey of growing up as she realizes that her babysitter is actually her father and that she is actually Black. Guided by her imaginary friend Bette Davis, Lea explores what it means to be a woman of color and how to come to terms with both of her parents and the baggage they carry with them.

SCHOOL GIRLS; OR THE AFRICAN MEAN GIRLS PLAY by Jocelyn Bioh: Inspired from actual events, School Girls tells the story of Paulina,the most popular (mean) girl in school and Ericka, the new girl with a unique background - both students at the prestigous Aburi Girls boarding school, who face each other in a battle of wits and beauty as they compete to be named Miss Ghana 1985.

381 BLEECKER by Gia Marotta: It's 2015, and Meg, an avant-garde choreographer in her early 60s, is losing the West Village apartment where she's spent her entire adult life. When her sister, Ellen, shows up with her nephew, David, to help Meg pack, the two women must reckon with a complicated snarl of old wounds connected to their brother's battle with AIDS in the 1980s.

BRILLIANT WORKS OF ART by Donna Hoke: Law student Abby Gates has no qualms about becoming a sugar baby to get her tuition bills paid-- until it means keeping a secret from the man she loves, an artist exploring confession and thresholds of shame. When Abby's two worlds collide, she discovers her sugar daddy has taught her about more than good wine.

COLLECTIVE RAGE: A PLAY IN FIVE BOOPS by Jen Silverman: Betty is rich; Betty is lonely; Betty's busy working on her truck; Betty wants to talk about love, but Betty needs to hit something; Betty keeps using a small hand mirror to stare into parts of herself she's never examined. Five different women named Betty collide at the intersection of anger, sex, and the "thea-tah."

MERIT by Lenelle Moise: Mona is the only black student and Southerner in a prestigious graduate fiction program in rural Vermont. When she befriends her divorced literary hero, sexy secrets, betrayal and ferocity ensue.

OUT OF ORBIT by Jennifer Maisel: The Jet Propulsion Lab Scientist mom and the underachiever teenage daughter: Sara lives on Mars time, spearheading the Mars Rover Expedition, visiting a planet she cannot touch, while her daughter, Lis, on earth time, falls under the spell of the cyber-cypher Edgar2330. Sometimes it takes being worlds apart for an exploring woman and a longing-to- be-explored girl to find each other in our increasingly disconnected universe.

THE RUG DEALER by Riti Sachdeva: "I'm mad to be a woman running this rug business...but...sometimes the right person comes along for the right rug and the match is magic."

TRANSFERS by Lucy Thurber: As two young men from the Bronx vie for acceptance to an elite liberal arts college, their shared past threatens to overshadow their bright futures. Class, ambition and expectations are called into question when higher education and it's life changing potential is within reach.

WILD GOOSE DREAMS by Hansol Jung: Nanhee is a North Korean defector whose family was left behind in North Korea. Minsung is a South Korean goose father whose family has left him behind in South Korea. Nanhee and Minsung find each other on the internet. A story about modern aspirations and its betrayals, Wild Goose Dreams explores the miracle of quiet intimacy among the noise of the contemporary world.

WINK by Jen Silverman: Sofie is an unhappy housewife, Gregor is her bread-winning husband, Dr. Franz is their psychiatrist, Wink is the cat... and Gregor has just skinned the cat. Violent desires, domestic terrorism, and feline vengeance make WINK a dark comedy about the thin, thin line between savagery and civilization.

AGAINST THE HILLSIDE by Sylvia Khoury: Over the course of 30 years, a drone pilot in New Mexico, a mother in Pakistan, and eventually their children in London struggle with the pervasive, relentless brutality of modern warfare.

EAT AND YOU BELONG TO US by MJ Kaufman: Grands and Jaime are both obsessed with Joan of Arc. Grands wakes up from gender affirmative surgery speaking French and claiming they survived a fire. The same day, Jaime, their genderqueer grandchild who has been pretending to be Joan of Arc for weeks, goes missing.

FIRECRACKER by Rachel Bonds: Tasha has recently returned to her home in the rural south, tight-lipped about the past decade and determined to make a new start with Calvin, a local boy she knew as a teenager. When her former drama teacher, fueled by white wine and regret, comes over to "catch up," the fabric of Tasha's new life begins to unravel.

GOOD GRIEF by Ngozi Anyanwu: GOOD GRIEF follows Nkechi a young first generation Nigerian/American woman as she rewinds, fast forwards and re does her journey of love loss and growing up.

ORANGE by Aditi Brennan Kapil: An adventure through Orange County from the point of view of a young woman on the autism spectrum.

PASS OVER by Antoinette Nwandu: PASS OVER, a mash-up of the biblical Exodus story and some Godot-inspired absurdity set in a modern urban wasteland, asks if there is a Promised Land for black men in America, what does it take to get them there?

ROZ AND RAY by Karen Hartman: San Diego, 1976: Ray, a newly single father of twin hemophiliac boys, meets Roz, a hematologist in possession of a miracle drug that over time becomes a nightmare. A fifteen-year tale of two adults growing up, ROZ AND RAY is a story of love, trust, sacrifice and forgiveness between two friends.

SOFONISBA by Callie Kimball: As court painter to Philip II and his 14-year- old queen, Sofonisba Anguissola navigates the tricky waters of court politics as an unmarried woman doing traditionally man's work.

SOMEBODY'S DAUGHTER by Chisa Hutchinson: A Chinese-American guidance counselor deals with the consequences of giving unorthodox advice to a troubled protege.

WELCOME TO FEAR CITY by Kara Lee Corthron: It is July 1977 and the South Bronx is HOT: from a heat wave, from this new thing that would come to be known as "hip-hop," and from an astounding number of fires burning the borough to the ground. E, a young African-American man, dreams of being a poet, but unemployment, a raging fiscal crisis, and a family on the brink of disaster drive him to ask a dangerous question: Can you love your 'hood if you take part in its destruction?

WOLF AT THE DOOR by Marisela Treviño Orta: Isadora finds the strength to stand up to her abusive husband Septimo when he forces the very pregnant Yolot to stay against her will. While Septimo makes plans for the baby, Isadora and Yolot devise one of their own.

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