More Than 60 Theater Makers To Develop New Works At The Kennedy Center

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National New Play Network, an alliance of professional theaters that collaborate in innovating ways to develop, produce, and extend the life of new plays, is pleased to co-present the 13th annual MFA Playwright's Workshop (MFAPW) in association with the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival and Stanford University's National Center for New Plays. The Kennedy Center will host more than 60 theater-makers from July 28-August 5, 2018 as part of the 13th annual week-long MFA Playwrights' Workshop featuring new works by graduate students or recent MFA graduates from Iowa Playwrights' Workshop, Northwestern University, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of California, San Diego.

A committee comprised of NNPN Core Member Theater leaders selected six plays from the over 65 nationally nominated. Those chosen include plays by Joe Giovannetti, Dave Harris, Courtney Meaker, Daria Miyeko Marinelli, Anna Moench, and Cary Simowitz. The Workshop will also feature new play development opportunities for NNPN Affiliated Artist and Workshop alumnus Tim J. Lord and Alliance Theatre's Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Prize-winner B.J. Tindal.

This annual program, now in its thirteenth year, pairs gifted early-career playwrights with directors and dramaturg from NNPN Core and Associate Member Theaters across the country, as well as from a wider circle of theaters around North America, and an acting company from the Washington, D.C. community. The Workshop will also feature the seventh annual New Play Dramaturgy Intensive, led by Mark Bly, who serves as an Ambassador at Large for the Network.

Additionally, the fourth class of National Directors Fellowship recipients will be in residence for the week to observe the new play development processes, lead masterclasses, and start building professional relationships with representatives from NNPN Member Theaters and the Washington, D.C. theater community. This program is a partnership of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, National New Play Network, Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, and the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. The 2017 National Directing Fellows are:

Arpita Mukherjee, Tatiana Pandiani, Mei Ann Teo, Hannah Wolf, and Jenna Worsham.

The Promotion by Joe Giovannetti, Northwestern University
Directed by Nicole A. Watson, Round House Theatre* (Bethesda, MD)
Dramaturgy by Bridget O'Leary, NNPN Literary Chair (Boston, MA)

Trish and Josh are coworkers and good friends. When they are offered the same promotion, they learn how far they will go to get ahead and eliminate the competition. The Promotion is a play about race, gender, privilege and power in the workplace, and about how competition makes beasts of us all.

Incendiary by Dave Harris, University of California, San Diego
Directed by Lili-Anne Brown (Chicago, IL)
Dramaturgy by LA Williams, 2017-18 National Directors Fellow (New York, NY)

Incendiary tells the journey of Tanya, a single mother who is preparing to break her death row-bound son out of prison. She navigates the practical steps of planning her son's prison break, like purchasing guns, getting a personal trainer, and preparing her daughter for a lonely life ahead. A collision between the violently comedic and the tenderly tragic, Incendiary explores generational violence, heroism, and the gendered expectations of emotional labor in Black families.

You Must Wear a Hat by Courtney Meaker, University of Iowa
Directed by Layley Lippard, 2016-17 National Directors Fellow (Washington, DC)
Dramaturgy by Luan Schooler, Artists Repertory Theatre* (Portland, OR)

Tuesday and Weeks make hats on the Great Barrier Reef, waiting for the world to end.

A Departure by Daria Miyeko-Marinelli, The University of Texas at Austin
Directed by Jesca Prudencio (New York, NY)
Dramaturgy by Adrien-Alice Hansel, Studio Theatre (Washington, DC)

They say you are leaving / Yes
Do you even know what love is? / No but I know what it is not
Ume has fallen in love, again. This time, with a woman. In Japan. And what about her family in The States? Who does she want to be and who is it she should be? Taking place on the eve of World War Two in both The United States and Japan, A Departure follows Ume as she negotiates her duties as daughter, mother, and lover as is torn between loyalty or love in the great war of her heart.

Mothers by Anna Moench, University of California, San Diego
Directed by Lyndsay Burch, B Street Theatre* (Sacramento, CA)
Dramaturgy by Sonia Fernandez, Magic Theatre* (San Francisco, CA)

Three moms, a stay-at-home dad, and a nanny watch their kids play at Mommy-Baby Meetup. One mom is the queen bee and one is here to shake things up. The dad just wants to fit in, and the nanny doesn't say a word. When catastrophe comes, the five of them have to figure out how to survive a war and each other. Mothers examines the primal heartache of raising children in a disintegrating world.

Djarum Vanilla by Cary Simowitz, University of California, Los Angeles
Directed by Reginald Douglas, City Theatre Company* (Pittsburgh, PA)
Dramaturgy by Francisca Da Silveira, Company One* (Boston, MA)

November 2014. St. Louis, Missouri. The Darren Wilson verdict is imminent. Protests are becoming a part of daily life in Ferguson. The nascent Black Lives Matter movement is gaining national traction as racial tension in Missouri reaches a boiling point. To make matters worse, rumors perpetuated by the media are spreading about the possibility of a race war igniting between a group of black teenagers and Bosnian immigrants. Meanwhile, ten miles away from Ferguson at an aging gas station/autobody shop, an unlikely friendship is fostered between a twenty-four-year-old black man named Malcolm and a poverty-stricken, seventeen-year-old white girl named Bex after the pair discover a secret hidden beneath the front seat of an abandoned Maserati. In the coming weeks, Malcolm and Bex are forced to test the boundaries of their friendship as the two are confronted with the harsh reality of living in a changing, unjust America.

MFAPW Alumni Project
On every link a heart does dangle; or, Owed by Tim J. Lord, MFAPW 2006 - University of California, San Diego
Directed by Shannon Musgrave, Salt Lake Acting Company* (UT)
Dramaturgy by Freddie Ashley, Actor's Express* (Atlanta, GA)

The town of Thebes on the banks of the Mississippi River was once the jewel of Southern Illinois, but pregnant women are suffering mysterious deaths and the town's leader has locked himself away, leaving the residents to cast about for answers. Suspicion falls on Mellie, a young woman born with a serious disability. Despised from birth by the gods and barely tolerated by the rest of town, might she hold the key to redemption?

Alliance Theatre's Kendeda Prize Recipient
Goodnight, Tyler by B.J. Tindal, Northwestern University
Directed by Christopher Betts (New York, NY)
Dramaturgy by Celise Kalke, Alliance Theatre (Atlanta, GA)

"Tyler Evans was a beloved best friend, grandson, mentor, and (almost) husband."
"Tyler Evans was a young Black man killed by a police officer."
Desperate to control which of the two statements he will be remembered for, Tyler returns to haunt his best friend Davis, only to come face to face with the reality of whose grief matters and whose lives matter most.

*NNPN Member Theater

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