The Playwrights Realm Announces 2019/20 Season And Radical Parent-Inclusion Project
The Playwrights Realm announces its 2019-2020 season productions, with world premieres of Anna Moench's Mothers (beginning September 13, 2019 at the Duke on 42nd Street, 229 W 42nd St), and Noah Diaz's Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally (beginning April 3, 2020 at A.R.T./New York Theatres, 502 W 53rd St), two bold new works from early-career playwrights about parental care-and what that means in circumstances that have catapulted beyond anyone's control.Inconjunction with Mothers, the Playwrights Realm proudly pilots the Radical Parent-Inclusion Project, which seeks to dismantle the barriers preventing parent-artists from succeeding in the theater by illuminating, creating, and tracking new pathways of access and approaches to production.
Mothers unfolds amidst a socially suffocating Mommy & Me-type meet-up where small talk doubles as a ruthless game of parental one-upmanship. But the passive and micro-aggressions deployed in everyday conversation are overlaid by hints that the world beyond this elitist enclave is descending into far less subtle violence. As their bourgeois safe-zone abruptly becomes a war-zone, all norms dictating characters' social positions-and their means of providing for and protecting their children-are upended beyond recognition. Part probing social satire, part harrowing survival tale, Mothers taps into the primal heartache of raising children in a disintegrating world.
The unprecedented Radical Parent-Inclusion Project (RPI) will be integrated deeply into the casting, rehearsal, and production process of Mothers. This initiative launched by Playwrights Realm, in association with Parent Artist Advocacy League for the Performing Arts (PAAL), seizes on the Realm's core value of reflecting "the full spectrum of humanity," understanding the socio-economic realities of parenting as an issue of equity and inclusion. Playwright Moench says: "Mothers examines motherhood, fatherhood, gender, and race through the unifying thesis that the tug-of-war between fear and power is what drives us to create systems of inequality that replicate themselves over and over throughout human history. The Playwright's Realm production of Mothers aims to model the kind of world in which we aspire to be living, as the play itself is an unsparing indictment of the one we're in."
RPI aims to confront the challenges of working parents in the performing arts by applying the best practices of support within every facet of this high-end Off-Broadway production. This includes: family-friendly scheduling (5-day, 6-hour-per-day work weeks); the provision of free child care during auditions and rehearsals; intentional hiring of parent-artists; welcoming children into the space at specific moments; increased support for parent-artists during high-demand episodes such as tech week and opening night; and family friendly housing for early-career playwright and mother/artist Anna Moench.
"RPI does not aim to 'solve' the problem of children," said The Playwrights Realm Producing Director Roberta Pereira, herself a mother. "For those who choose to be parents, children are a fulfilling and important part of their lives and in many ways, make them better artists. We want to celebrate that, encourage visible parenting, and make life a little bit easier for everyone."
The Realm follows Mothers with a play about characters grappling with the sudden absence of such a figure. Noah Diaz' Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally sees the harsh, realistic evolution of characters who became part of America's collective unconscious via a series of iconic 1950s children's books by William S. Gray and Zerna Sharp. In Diaz's theatrical universe, Dick (now Richard) and Jane are grown up; Richard is recently widowed and hasn't spoken to Jane in ages, while his children are retreating into the realm of fantasy. Richard's son Dick sports his mother's clothes in hopes of conjuring her, and his daughter Sally-who is deaf and feeling the crushing weight of her father's desire for her to fit into the hearing world-converses with the family dog, Spot. In this dramatic comedy, Diaz makes a stunningly lyrical off-Broadway debut that exposes the gap between the idealized archetypes we internalize as children and the often painful real-life experiences that drive our emotional development as adults.
Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally is a co-production with Baltimore Center Stage-and part of Stephanie Ybarra's inaugural season as the Maryland state theater's artistic director-as well as a collaboration with The Sol Project, a national theater initiative amplifying the voices of Latinx playwrights, founded by Jacob G. Padrón.
The productions this season underscore the Realm's commitment to fostering and kickstarting the careers of playwrights who'll go on to drive the conversation of American theater. Across New York and America, the 2018-2019 theater season has featured/will feature a number of exhilarating productions and workshops from writers whose early works were incubated and/or produced by the Realm-including Benjamin Benne, Bekah Brunstetter, Sarah Einspanier, Miranda Rose Hall, Donja R. Love, Patricia Ione Lloyd, Sarah B. Mantell, Jonathan Payne, Christina Quintana, and Celine Song. Other groundbreaking writers championed by the Realm have included Michael Yates Crowley, Mia Chung, Sarah DeLappe, Sarah Gancher, Amy Herzog, Ethan Lipton, christopher oscar peña, Mfoniso Udofia, and Anna Ziegler.
THE Playwrights Realm. 2019-2020 PROGRAMMING
Mothers (World Premiere)
By Anna Moench
Previews begin September 13, 2019
Opening: September 24, 2019
The Duke on 42nd Street, 229 W 42nd St
The moms at Mommy-Baby Meetup are used to competing: whoever's the most devoted to her family, has the best-behaved child, and the most satisfied husband wins. But when political turmoil turns their squabbles into actual war, the mothers' fighting instincts turn to the most coveted prize of all - survival.
Anna Moench is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter. Her plays include Man of God (East West Players 2019, InterAct 2020), Birds of North America (BETC 2017, ThrownStone 2019), and Sin Eaters. She has received fellowships from the New York Foundation of the Arts, the Jerome Foundation, and the Van Lier Foundation, and her awards include the Paul Stephen Lim Playwriting Award from the Kennedy Center, Boulder Ensemble Theater Company's 2017 Generations Award, and East West Players' 2042: See Change Award. She is an alum of UCSD's Playwriting MFA program, the Emerging Writers Group at The Public, Youngblood at EST, and the Jam at New Georges. Anna is currently adapting a book to the screen for Universal and Michael DeLuca Productions.
Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally (World Premiere)
Written by Noah Diaz
Previews begin April 3, 2020
Opening: April 14, 2020
A.R.T./New York Theatres, 502 W 53rd Street
A Co-Production with Baltimore Center Stage
In Collaboration with The Sol Project
See Dick grieve his dead mother. See Jane come home after decades away. See Sally lip-read her dog Spot. See Richard struggle to hold his family together. The classic Dick and Jane books are forced out of childhood fantasy and into harsh adult reality in this playful but heart-wrenching take on the "ideal" 1950s American family.
Noah Diaz is an MFA candidate in Playwriting at the Yale School of Drama. His work has been produced and/or developed at Baltimore Center Stage, The Playwrights Realm, The Sol Project, Two River Theater, the Kennedy Center, Yale School of Drama, Yale Cabaret, Howlround Latinx Theater Commons, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, The Shelterbelt Theatre, 5th Wall Productions, Campfire Theatre Festival, and the Rose Theater, among others. Awards/Fellowships include: three Kennedy Center Playwriting Awards, the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center NPC Finalist, 50PP Best Unproduced Latin@ Plays, Blue Ink Playwriting Award Finalist, and the Woodward/Newman Playwriting Award Finalist. He is currently under commission from the La Jolla Playhouse and the Great Plains Theatre Conference.