Keen Company Announces 2018 Playwrights Lab Readings
Join Keen Company for the first public reading of three new plays, developed through the Keen Playwrights Lab. The 2018 Playwrights Lab features playwrights Kia Corthron, Rinne Groff, and Edwin Sánchez. Tickets are FREE and open to the pubic! Space is limited, so reservations are a must.
Launched in October of 2013, The Keen Playwrights Lab brings together three American Playwrights in mid-career to develop new work and facilitate that work's exposure to a greater audience. Over the course of a season, each playwright develops a new full-length play inspired by Keen's mission. The program culminates in a public reading series, where these new plays are shared with the Keen community, the larger theater industry, and the general public. Previous Lab participants include Courtney Baron, Brooke Berman, Jessica Dickey, Kenny Finkle, Julia Jordan, Michele Lowe, Gabe McKinley, Qui Nguyen Kate Moira Ryan, Andrea Thome, Ken Weitzman, and Stefanie Zadravec. Courtney Baron's play When It's You, developed in the Lab in 2016, was produced by Keen Company in 2017. Kenny Finkle's 1993, developed in the 2015 Lab, was awarded an NEA Grant and is still in development with Keen Company.
The Keen Company Playwrights Lab is led by Jeremy Stoller, Keen Company's Director of New Work. All readings are free and open to the public. Reservations can be made at keencompany.org/readings
This season's offerings are:
Wednesday, December 5th at 4pm at Theater Row (410 West 42nd Street)
Destiny by Edwin Sánchez, directed by José Zayas
A trans child tries to redefine hir place in a family coming apart at the seams due to the father's illness. As Destiny's mother rages at the cancer eating away at her husband she comes close to destroying her own children insisting that things must stay the same. No matter the cost.
Running time: approx. 90 minutes
Thursday December 13th at 4pm at New George's The Room (520 8thAvenue/3rd Floor)
The Rented Bridegroom by Rinne Groff, directed by Johanna Gruenhut
A feisty young woman, caught in a love triangle between the highbred son of her employer and a poor but adoring klezmer-player, must decide whether to stoop for love or money. And why is stooping the only choice anyway? Set in a shtetl of romanticized memory, this heart-breaking comedy is based on the classic Yiddish play The Singer of His Sorrows by Osip Dymov (as adapted by Adrian Silver and Rinne Groff, from a translation by Adrian Silver). Running time: approx. 75 minutes
Monday December 17th at 4pm at New George's The Room (520 8th Avenue, 3rd Floor)
Fish by Kia Corthron, directed by Tamilla Woodard
Between acting as guardian to her fifth-grade brother and losing her BFF to the charter school on the upper floor, Tree is just trying her best to navigate senior year and collect that diploma. But when unforeseen monumental circumstances wreck her plans, she is forced to find answers well beyond the confines of any standardized test. Can the efforts of an embittered teacher help her find her path?
Running time: approx. 100 minutes.
"As our industry continues to reexamine how we define the canon of theatrical literature, I am proud to give support to writers who are helping to shape a canon reflective of the fullness of human experience and artistic possibility. They are telling compelling, compassionate stories with immense craft and skill, and with a heart that embodies Keen's mission. These are artists who have proven themselves through their already sizeable bodies of work, and their generosity as creators, teachers, and community members. We are eager to share some of what they have been working on this past year, with colleagues and friends," said Jeremy Stoller, Keen's Director of New Work.
Kia Corthron is the 2017 resident playwright of Chicago's Eclipse Theatre Company, which has produced three of her plays including the world premiere of Megastasis. She is a contributing writer of Anne Bogart/Siti Company's Steel Hammer (Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival, Brooklyn Academy Of Music, now on world tour). Other plays: A Cool Dip in the Barren Saharan Crick (Playwrights Horizons co-production with The Play Company and The Culture Project), Trickle (Ensemble Studio Theatre's Marathon), Moot the Messenger (ATL/Humana), Light Raise the Roof (New York Theatre Workshop), Snapshot Silhouette (Minneapolis' Children's Theatre), Slide Glide the Slippery Slope (ATL/Humana, Mark Taper Forum), The Venus de Milo Is Armed (Alabama Shakespeare Festival), Breath, Boom (London's Royal Court Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, Yale Repertory Theatre, Huntington Theatre and elsewhere), Force Continuum (Atlantic Theater Company), Splash Hatch on the E Going Down (New York Stage and Film, Baltimore's Center Stage, Yale Rep, London's Donmar Warehouse), Seeking the Genesis (Goodman Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club), Digging Eleven (Hartford Stage Company), Wake Up Lou Riser (Delaware Theatre Company), Come Down Burning (American Place Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre), Cage Rhythm (Sightlines/The Point in the Bronx). For her body of work for the stage she has been awarded the Windham Campbell Prize for Drama, the USArtists Jane Addams Fellowship, the Playwrights Center's McKnight National Residency, the Simon Great Plains Playwright Award (Honored Playwright), the Otto Award for Political Theatre, the VCCA Wachtmeister Award, and the League of Professional Theatre Women's Lee Reynolds Award. For individual plays (produced or commissioned) she has been awarded the Masterwork Productions Award, Columbia College/Goodman Theatre Fellowship, Barbara Barondess MacLean Foundation Award, AT&T On Stage Award, Daryl Roth Creative Spirit Award, Mark Taper Forum's Fadiman Award, National Endowment for the Arts/TCG, Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays, New Professional Theatre Playwriting Award, Callaway Award; and in television she was awarded a Writers Guild Outstanding Drama Series Award and Edgar Award for The Wire. Her debut novel The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter (Seven Stories Press) was the winner of the 2016 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. She serves on the Council of the Dramatists Guild, is a New Dramatists alumnus, and is a member of the Authors Guild.
Rinne Groff's plays and musicals including Fire in Dreamland, 77%, Comfort Inn, Compulsion, Saved, In the Bubble, What Then, The Ruby Sunrise, Inky, Jimmy Carter was a Democrat, The Five Hysterical Girls Theorem, and Orange Lemon Egg Canary have been produced by Target Margin, The Public Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Trinity Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Yale Rep, the Women's Project, PS122, Clubbed Thumb, Target Margin, and San Francisco Playhouse, among others, in the United States and internationally. TV: staff writer on Weeds, season two. Rinne is a recipient of the Whiting Writers Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an Obie Award grant. Founding member of Elevator Repair Service Theater Company. Affiliations: New Dramatists, Dramatist Guild; Clubbed Thumb, Target Margin, NYTW. Associate Arts Professor, NYU, Tisch School of the Arts.
Edwin Sa?nchez has been writing professionally since 1989 when he won a NYFA Playwriting Fellowship for his play Trafficking in Broken Hearts. He joined the playwrights group at the now defunct Circle Rep Theatre and from there came a chance to apply to the Yale School of Drama for their playwriting class, to which he was accepted. He wrote two plays while he was there: Unmerciful Good Fortune, which won him a 1994 Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship and the 1995 AT&T On Stage New Play Award, as well as being produced in Chicago, New York, Seattle, and Los Angeles; and Clean, for which he was awarded the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays in 1994 and which has been produced in Connecticut, New York, Washington and Seattle. Other awards received while at Yale include the William Morris Agency Fellowship, the George Pierce Baker Scholarship, the Eugene O'Neill Scholarship, the Barrie Stavis Playwriting Fellowship - New Theatre Voice Award, and the ASCAP Cole Porter Prize. Upon graduating from Yale he won the Berilla Kerr Foundation Award for contribution made to contemporary American theatre. In 1997 he received a National Arts Club, Kesselring Honorable Mention for his play Icarus. That was followed in 1999 by the Herbert and Patricia Brodkin Scholarship, selected by the dramaturges at the National Playwrights Conference at the O'Neill Theatre Center for Barefoot Boys with Shoes On. He won another New York State Arts Foundation Fellowship in 2000, this one for screenwriting for his screenplay Bobby M. In 2000 he also received the Daryl Roth Creative Spirit Award for outstanding talent and vision. The following year, 2001, he was honored with the Urban Stages Certificate of Achievement in recognition of significant artistic contribution to the New York theatre community as well as an Off Off Broadway Review Award for excellence for the Fourth Unity Production of Icarus. In 2003 he received a Theatre Communications Guild Residency at Hartford Stage and an Excellence in Playwriting Award. That year also saw him win the In The Spirit of America Award, from the Barbara Barondess MacLean Foundation, a playwriting award given to a graduating member of New Dramatists in New York. In 2006 he received his third New York State Arts Foundation Fellowship, this one for playwriting for his play La Bella Familia, followed by the National Latino Playwriting award in 2007. In 2017 he received the Nuestras Voces playwriting award from Repertorio Español for his newest play, The Merit System. That year also saw the publication of his first novel, Diary of a Puerto Rican Demigod. In between writing Mr. Sanchez continues to teach and mentor playwrights.
Keen Company creates theater that provokes identification, reflection, and emotional connection. In intimate productions of plays and musicals, we tell wholehearted stories about people striving to do their best and the decisive moments that change us. Keen has been honored with eleven Drama Desk nominations, two Drama Desk Awards, two Drama League nominations, and two Obie Awards.
For more information about the Keen Company Playwrights Lab or any of Keen's programs, visit keencompany.org.