2020 National Showcase of New Plays Announces

The Showcase and surrounding social offerings will take place November 19 - 22.

By: Sep. 15, 2020
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2020 National Showcase of New Plays Announces

National New Play Network, the country's alliance of nonprofit theaters that collaborate in innovative ways to develop, produce, and extend the life of new plays, is delighted to announce the plays selected for its 19th Annual National Showcase of New Plays. This slate, chosen by a panel of industry professionals from across NNPN constituencies, will receive live virtual readings as part of the Network's convening of its Member Theaters, Affiliated Artists, Ambassadors, and guests. Additionally, the eight finalists whose plays will not receive full readings are invited to share their work during the Showcase Playwright Slam. The Showcase and surrounding social offerings will take place November 19 - 22. A more detailed schedule will be available soon.

Chosen from over 90 submitted scripts in a three-tiered selection process that included nearly 100 compensated adjudicators from across the country, this year's Showcase plays are: can i touch it? by Francisca Da Silveira, Mother of Exiles by Jessica Huang, FLEX by Candrice Jones, Laughs in Spanish by Alexis Scheer, and Native Pride (and Prejudice) by Vera Starbard.

The final selection committee for this year's showcase is comprised of co-chairs Lynde Rosario and Liz Engelman, Patrice Amon, Nan Barnett, India Nicole Burton, Reginald Douglas, Sonia Fernandez, Marguerite Hannah, Jamil Jude, and Catherine Randazzo.

Established in 2002, the National Showcase of New Plays is an annual event that highlights unproduced plays from across the country. The Showcase creates a unique and invaluable opportunity for production-ready new plays to be viewed by NNPN's Core and Associate Members' artistic and literary leaders, as well as new play-makers and experts, invited from around the country.

More than 90% of the plays featured in Showcase has received a production within the next three seasons, many of them supported as NNPN Rolling World Premieres.


can i touch it?

by Francisca Da Silveira

Shay is many things - a business owner, a single mom, a community leader - but there's one thing she's definitely not: a pawn in United Bank's efforts to buy up foreclosed real estate in the heart of Boston's black community. At risk of losing her own store to the bank, she is forced to choose between a personal fight for her family's livelihood and a moral fight against gentrification. When pushed to her limits, Shay finds herself in the fantastical peaceful place where women of color have to recede into when they get asked stupid ass questions. Using devices like double casting through onstage wig changes, can i touch it? examines themes of black hair politics, social exclusion and the racial inequity black owned businesses face every day.

Mother of Exiles

by Jessica Huang

Mother of Exiles follows the Loi family's journey through America across 160 years-as they are ushered along by the spirits of their ancestors. In 1898 California, a pregnant Eddie Loi faces deportation. In 1998 Miami, her grandson Braulio accidentally summons her spirit while patrolling the border. In 2063 somewhere on the ocean, their descendants try to survive climate crisis.


by Candrice Jones

It's 1997 and Cynthia Cooper rules the WNBA. Every player on Plainnole's Lady Train basketball team wants to "go pro," but none more than Starra Jones. She and her teammates, Cherise, Sidney, April, and Donna, make a pact to stick together come hell or high water. However, the realities of living life in rural Arkansas may tear them apart. Written in the structure of a four-quarter basketball game, FLEX presents a world in which a mistake on the court becomes a foul off the court. Hitting a shot on the court is a score in real life.

Laughs in Spanish

by Alexis Scheer

It's Art Basel and the stakes are high for the gallery Mariana runs in the Wynwood Arts District in Miami. And when Mariana's movie-star mother tries to help out, things get even more complicado. A fast-paced, cafecíto-induced comedy about art and success-and mothers and daughters.

Native Pride (and Prejudice)

by Vera Starbard

Austen's classic tale takes a spin through modern-day Alaska villages, in which Raven quickly takes over the story - to tell it right!

New this year, the eight finalists whose plays will not be featured in Showcase readings are invited to share their work with Network Member Theaters, Affiliated Artists, and guests during the Showcase Playwright Slam. The finalists and their plays are:

Walden by Amy Berryman

The Birds of Empathy by Clarence Coo
A Distinct Society by Kareem Fahmy
Paletas de Coco by Franky D. Gonzalez
The Communist Revolution: A Ninth-Grade European History Project (There Will Be a Practical Demonstration) by Grace McLeod
PARKS by Harrison David Rivers
it's not a trip, it's a journey by Charly Evon Simpson
seal boy by Ken Weitzman

The Playwright Slam, adapted from the Colorado New Play Summit under the leadership of Doug Langworthy and Lynde Rosario, features playwrights sharing work in an informal, poetry-slam inspired setting.


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