Video: Playwright a.k. payne Talks FURLOUGH'S PARADISE at Alliance Theatre

Performances run through March 3, 2024

By: Feb. 25, 2024
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Playwright a.k. payne shares their experience bringing FURLOUGH'S PARADISE  to life at the Alliance Theatre and what the Alliance/Kendeda Program means for upcoming playwrights in the interview below!

FURLOUGH’S PARADISE follows Cousins Sade and Mina, raised like sisters but now leading very different lives, as they return to their childhood town for a funeral.

While Sade is on a three-day furlough from prison and Mina experiences a brief reprieve from her career and life on the West Coast, the two try to make sense of grief, home, love, and kinship. But traumas and resentments from the past, both real and surreal, threaten to pull them apart, all as time ticks towards the correctional officer's impending arrival. 

The cast of FURLOUGH’S PARADISE includes Asha Duniani (Synchronicity Theatre: Eclipsed; Tyler Perry Studios: Meet the Browns) as Mina; and Kai Heath (Baltimore Center Stage: Hall in Men on Boats; Kennedy Center: The Play that Goes Wrong) as Sade.  Understudies include Cymiah Alexander and Makallen Kelley. 

The creative team of FURLOUGH’S PARADISE is led by Director Tinashe Kajese-Bolden (Alliance: Toni Stone and The Many Wondrous Realities of Jasmine Starr-Kidd) and includes Chika Shimizu (Scenic Design), Shilla Benning (Costume Design), Thom Weaver (Lighting Design), Milton Cordero (Projection Design), Christopher Lane (Sound Design), Julie B. Johnson, PhD (Movement Integration), Laura Morse (Mental Health Consultant), and Ashey Thomas (Dramaturg). Additional production support is provided by Kaylee Mesa (Stage Manager), Samantha Honeycutt (Stage Management Production Assistant), Amanda Watkins (Line Producer), Jayla Dyas (Associate Line Producer), and Lawrence Bennett (Production Management Lead). 

The Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition solicits plays from the leading MFA graduate programs in the United States and then conducts a rigorous selection process to find four finalists and one winning play.  The winner receives a full production as part of the Alliance Theatre’s regular season.  The winner and four finalists also receive development opportunities for their works including staged readings with industry professionals.  A one-of-a-kind opportunity for emerging playwrights, the Competition transitions student playwrights to the world of professional theatre.

Past winners of the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition have become some of today’s most exciting playwrights and writers, including Tarell Alvin McCraney, whose play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue inspired the 2017 Academy Award-winning film for Best Picture, Moonlight; Marcus Gardley, who wrote the recent film adaptation of the musical, The Color Purple; Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalist Meg Miroshnik (The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls), Mike Lew(Tiger Style!), 2018 winner of the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award for an Emerging American Playwright, and Mansa Ra, whose competition-winning play Too Heavy For Your Pocket opened off-Broadway in 2017. 

FURLOUGH’S PARADISE runs on the Hertz Stage at Alliance Theatre through March 3, 2024. Opening night is Wednesday, February 7, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25 and are available at the Alliance Theatre Box Office by calling 404.733.4600. Tickets are available online at 


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