Huntington to Kick Off 2014 Breaking Ground Festival of New Plays, 1/30

The Huntington Theatre Company announces that the 2014 Breaking Ground festival of new plays will be held January 30 - February 2 at the Huntington's home for new work, the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA.

A vital part of the Huntington's new play development efforts, the festival will highlight the work of locally-based Huntington Playwriting Fellows and present national writers in partnership with the Huntington. Over the last ten years, the Huntington has produced full productions of eight Breaking Ground plays, and many have been seen at theatres in Boston, across the country, and internationally.

Readings are free and open to the public, though not to reviewing members of the press. Advance reservation is required. RSVP at

The four-day festival will include:

  • Merit by HPF Lenelle Moïse, directed by Robert O'Hara
    Thursday, January 30 at 7:30pm; Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
  • Home of the Brave by HPF Lila Rose Kaplan, directed by Sean Daniels
    Friday, January 31 at 7:30pm; Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
  • Tania in the Getaway Van by Susan Bernfield, directed by Portia Krieger
    Saturday, February 1 at 2pm; Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
  • The Second Girl by HPF Ronan Noone, directed by Campbell Scott
    Saturday, February 1 at 7:30pm; Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
  • Bright Half Life by Tanya Barfield, directed by Daniel Goldstein
    Sunday, February 2 at 7:30pm; Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

"We're incredibly excited to welcome Ronan Noone (Brendan, The Atheist) back to Breaking Ground, to introduce Susan Bernfield and Tanya Barfield to our Huntington family, and to showcase the work of current HPFs Lenelle Moïse and Lila Rose Kaplan," says Director of New Work Lisa Timmel. "The festival's slate of new plays is stellar, and we can't wait to support their development and to share them with the Boston theatre community."



by Lenelle Moïse

Directed by Robert O'Hara

Featuring James Boland, Breean Julian*, Lonnie Farmer, Joy Jones*, Sharon Washington*, and TBD

Thursday, January 30 at 7:30pm; Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA


Winner of the 2012 Ruby Prize, Merit follows Mona, a precocious and passionate fiction writer who is the only student of color (and Southerner) at her prestigious graduate program in contemporary Vermont. When she befriends distinguished professor Doctor Sive-a demanding divorcee with fatigued sex appeal-the two are called to strike a balance between curiosity and propriety, power and love, desire and professionalism.

Lenelle Moïse is a 2012-2014 Huntington Theatre Company Playwriting Fellow. She wrote, composed, and co-starred in the critically acclaimed drama Expatriate that launched Off Broadway at the Culture Project. Her other plays include The Many Faces of Nia, Matermorphosis, and Cornered in the Dark. Moïse is an internationally touring solo performer and was the fifth Poet Laureate of Northampton, MA. Her writing has been featured in several magazines, journals, and anthologies, including Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution. She has received awards, residencies and/or commissions from the Gaea Foundation, Southern Rep, Kitchen Theatre Company, Hedgebrook, Astraea, Clark University, Northwestern University, UT Austin, and the Black Women Playwrights' Group. Her first book, Haiti Glass, is forthcoming from City Lights Publishers' Sister Spit imprint. Visit for more information.


by Lila Rose Kaplan

Directed by Sean Daniels

Featuring Erin Brehm, John Gregorio*, Nick Sulfaro*, Paula Plum*, Joel Van Liew*, and Jessica Worthan-Newman*

Friday, January 31 at 7:30pm; Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA


As she begins her presidential campaign, Evelyn is depending on her family to come across as wholesome. But when her campaign manager visits at Christmas, her family can't quite fit into the all-American mold. Inspired by Moliere's Tartuffe, this new comedy reveals what happens when the slick lies of politics collide with the messy truth of family.

Lila Rose Kaplan is a 2012-2014 Huntington Playwriting Fellow who creates bittersweet comedies and modern myths that delve into the mysteries of human relationships. Her play Wildflower debuted Off Broadway at Second Stage Uptown. Her other plays include 123, We All Fall Down, 100 Planes, Bureau of Missing Persons, and the musical The Light Princess (with Mike Pettry). Her work has been produced and developed by the ART, Arena Stage, La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Vic, Perishable Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Chalk Rep, Ensemble Studio Theatre, and Center Theatre Group. Awards include The National Science Award in Playwriting, The International Women's Playwriting Award, and The Shank Playwriting Fellowship. Ms. Kaplan also is currently a Playwrights Realm Writing Fellow. She is a graduate oF Brown University and received her MFA from UC San Diego. More information at


by Susan Bernfield

Directed by Portia Krieger

Featuring Therese Plaehn*, Colleen Werthmann*, Stephanie Wright-Thompson*, and TBD

Saturday, February 1 at 2pm; Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA


Fall 1975: Eleven-year-old Laura is in the hall closet, pretending to be Patty Hearst. Diane, her mom, heads back to school, gonna get a job, gonna make Laura her companion in liberation, openness, possibility! If, by quirk of history, Laura is supposed to come of age at the same time as her mom... well, she's not gonna play, no way. Flash forward to today: is Laura a model product of the women's movement, or just of Diane's expectations?

Susan Bernfield's plays include Stretch (a fantasia) (People's Light & Theatre, New Georges, Ohio Theatre's Ice Factory Festival, published by Playscripts), Barking Girl (Chrysalis Productions, O'Neill Playwrights Conference), Big Hungry World (First Light Festival/EST), Out From Under It (Vital Theatre, published by Indie Theatre Now), and a solo musical, Tiny Feats of Cowardice (music, Rachel Peters, FringeNYC, Adirondack Theatre Festival). In addition, she has developed work at New Harmony Project, Lark Play Development Center, Playwrights Horizons, Magic Theatre, and HB Playwrights, among others. Her plays have been finalists for the National New Play Network's Showcase of New Plays, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and the Playwrights Center's PlayLabs. She is the founder and producing artistic director of New Georges, a theatre company in New York City; in that capacity, she serves on the boards of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York, the League of Professional Theatre Women, and the LIT Fund.


by Ronan Noone

Directed by Campbell Scott

Featuring Liam Craig*, Kathleen McEfresh*, and McKenzie Meehan*

Saturday, February 1 at 7:30pm; Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA


With Eugene O'Neill's classic Long Day's Journey Into Night as a backdrop, The Second Girl takes us into the kitchen of the Tyrone family in August 1912. In the interplay between the immigrant Irish servant girls Bridget and Cathleen and chauffeur Jack Smythe, playwright Ronan Noone evokes the love and despair of the big house while exploring the tragedy and triumph of sacrificing one home for another.

Ronan Noone is a 2003-2005 Huntington Playwriting Fellow. The Huntington previously produced his plays Brendan (2007) and The Atheist (2007, featuring Campbell Scott). These and his other plays, The Lepers of Baile Baiste, The Blowin of Baile Gall, Little Black Dress, A Small Death, and The Compass Rose, have played in theatres across the United States including Williamstown Theatre Festival and The Culture Project in New York, London (Theatre 501, St James Theatre), and the Philippines. His plays are published by Samuel French, Smith and Kraus, Bakers Plays, and Dramatists Play Service. He has received three Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) Awards for Best New Play, an Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Script, and a Kennedy Center National Playwriting Award. He is a recent invited artist at the Hermitage Artist retreat in Manasota Key, Florida.


by Tanya Barfield

Directed by Daniel Goldstein

Featuring Laura Heisler* and Sue Jean Kim*

Public reading: Sunday, February 2 at 7:30pm; Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA


A kaleidoscopic love story, Tanya Barfield's Bright Half Life collides an ever-shifting present with fragments of the past. Erika and Vicky are hurled through 25 years of love and heartbreak in a collection of the moments that make up a life.

Tanya Barfield's The Call premiered last spring at Playwrights Horizons in co-production with Primary Stages and was named a New York Times Critic's Pick. Her play Blue Door was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, premiered at South Coast Rep, and has been seen at Playwrights Horizons and numerous theatres around the country. She wrote the book for the Theatreworks/USA children's musical, Civil War: The First Black Regiment which toured public schools regionally. A recipient of a Lilly Award, the inaugural Lilly Award Commission and a Helen Merrill, she is a proud alumna of New Dramatists and member of The Dramatist Guild Council.

*Member of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.


The Huntington Theatre Company is a national leader in the development of new plays. The cornerstone of activity is the Huntington Playwriting Fellows (HPF) program, a two-year fellowship for selected local writers. A three-year, $245,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation adds local playwrights Melinda Lopez to the Huntington's full-time staff as playwright-in-residence. The annual two-week Summer Workshop, developed as a result of conversations with HPFs and the local community, gives playwrights the opportunity to develop their work in three dimensions with the support of a director, dramaturg, cast, and designers. The Breaking Ground festival of readings is another opportunity for selected HPFs and national writers to develop their plays. At the end of the 2013-2014 Season, the Huntington will have produced 106 world, American, or New England Premieres.

The cornerstone of the Huntington's new works activities, the Huntington Playwriting Fellows (HPF) program creates relationships between a local community of writers and a nationally prominent producing theatre, forges those bonds through authentic conversation and artistic collaboration, and encourages dialogue between local artists. Huntington productions of plays by Fellows include Ryan Landry's "M" and Psyched by Ryan Landry, Luck of the Irish by Kirsten Greenidge, Before I Leave You by Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro, Stick Fly by Lydia R. Diamond, The Atheist and Brendan by Ronan Noone, Sonia Flew by Melinda Lopez, The Cry of the Reed by Sinan Ünel, Shakespeare's Actresses in America by Rebekah Maggor, and the upcoming Smart People by Lydia R. Diamond and Becoming Cuba by Melinda Lopez.

Since 2003, the HPF program has invited writers to participate in two-year residencies, during which playwrights receive a modest honorarium, join in a biweekly writers' collective with artistic staff, attend Huntington productions and events, and are eligible for readings and support through the Breaking Ground reading series.

The primary focus of the program is creating relationships with writers at all stages of their careers, from emerging talent to established professionals. The program provides a framework for an in-depth, two-year artistic conversation and a long-term professional relationship.

In 2009, the Huntington instituted an open application process for the HPF program with submissions solicited from any writer primarily based within commuting distance of Boston. The theatre selects two to three writers whose terms overlap with adjacent cohorts.

The Huntington is now accepting applications for the 2014-2016 cohort of HPFs. Visit for more information.

ABOUT THE Huntington Theatre Company: Recipient of the 2013 Regional Theatre Tony Award and named Best of Boston 2013 by Boston magazine, the Huntington Theatre Company has developed into Boston's leading professional theatre and one of the region's premiere cultural assets since its founding in 1982. Bringing together superb local and national talent, the Huntington produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current to create award-winning productions, runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development, and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. Under the direction of Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso and in residence at Boston University, the Huntington cultivates, celebrates, and champions theatre as an art form. For more information, visit

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