Martin Zimmerman's SEVEN SPOTS ON THE SUN to Continue The Sol Project at Rattlestick

By: Jan. 23, 2017
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The Sol Project, the New York-based theater collective devoted to producing Latinx playwrights in NYC and beyond, continues their work with the initiative's second production, Martin Zimmerman's Seven Spots on the Sun, directed by Weyni Mengesha, who makes her New York directorial debut.

Presented in collaboration with Rattlestick Playwrights Theater from April 26-June 4, 2017, this will be the New York premiere of Seven Spots on the Sun, a meditation on mourning, redemption, and revenge.

In Seven Spots, the village of San Isidro has been without its doctor, Moisés, for 18 months. A recluse, he has refused to look at any patients since the army took his wife away during the country's civil war. When a mysterious plague ravages the countryside, the local parish priest convinces Moisés to act. Upon examining his first patient, Moises discovers he has the miraculous power to heal the plague with the touch of his hand. As thousands of pilgrims flock to him, Moisés is forced to confront his past, and the violence that tore San Isidro apart. The play follows each character's attempt to come to terms with extraordinary loss and The Miracles they have witnessed.

Daniella Topol, Artistic Director for Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, said, "Seven Spots on the Sun, which I first encountered at PlayPenn in 2012, was one of those plays that stuck deep into the recesses of my heart. When I became AD, I was thrilled to discover that Seven Spots was on our roster to produce but there wasn't a clear path to how. Then I met Jacob and The Sol Project - our perfect collaborators. Working with Sol allows us to produce with a scope and a vision that supports the expanse of Martin's script and the direction of Weyni, a stunning Ethiopian-Canadian director. Our stage will be filled with diverse Latinx artists whose curiosities and sensibilities match the world that Martin has created."

Rattlestick joins New Georges, The Public Theater, LAByrinth Theater Company, Atlantic Theater Company and WP Theater in the first six of 12 trailblazing theater companies that have signed on to present a Sol Project playwright as part of their respective main stage seasons in New York City.

The Sol Project's Founder and Artistic Director Jacob G. Padrón, "I am grateful the Project continues its work with Rattlestick, under the inspired leadership of Daniella. She and her team are actively working to promote a more inclusive American theater. A Latinx story is also an American story. Martin and his deeply moving play, Seven Spots To The Sun, get us closer to that mission incisively."

Zimmerman said, "Being involved with The Sol Project is a breath of fresh air, especially because of its regional theater initiative. It frees the NYC production of the burden of having to be what launches play, and instead allows us to craft the most captivating, thought-provoking theatrical experience we can. It allows the decisions we make in rehearsal to be about the art. All of which allows us to be more present to each other as collaborators, and to our impulses as artists. This helps craft a more cohesive ensemble, and a more coherent, compelling theatrical world onstage."

Well known as homes to new plays, Cara Mía Theatre, based in Dallas, and the Bay Area's Berkeley Repertory Theatre are the first two regional partners that have committed to productions of a Sol Project playwright. Both organizations are dedicated to showcasing the depth and breadth of the new American theater, furthering the reach of Latino theater in this country.

As with the New York companies, The Sol Project will provide funding to help subsidize the cost of regional productions. The shows will not be remounts, rather brand new productions or premieres that will pull resources and talent from the theaters' respective communities.

Padrón conceived The Sol Project to secure true representation of Latin stories on America's stages, starting with New York's vibrant theater scene. The initiative began to activate and unite the Latinx theater community with the official launch in May 2016. The project commenced in late 2016 with the first production - Hilary Bettis's Alligator, directed by Elena Araoz, presented in collaboration with New Georges - and the 2016 Latino/a Theatre Commons NYC Convening at The Public.

Martin Zimmerman is a multi-ethnic, bilingual playwright and screenwriter whose plays include Seven Spots On The Sun, White Tie Ball, The Making Of A Modern Folk Hero, The Solid Sand Below, and Let Me Count The Ways, and have been produced or developed at The Kennedy Center, Goodman Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse In The Park, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, Roundabout Underground, LCT3, NYTW, Victory Gardens Theater, The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's National Playwrights Conference, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Marin Theatre Company, The Playwrights' Center, ALLIANCE THEATRE, A.C.T. (Seattle), PlayPenn, Icicle Creek Theatre Festival, American Theater Company, The Theatre @ Boston Court, Chicago Dramatists, Primary Stages, Teatro Vista, Playwrights Foundation, Cara Mía Theatre Co, Ojai Playwrights Conference, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, The City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs, Theatre Row, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Borderlands Theater, Source Festival, The Gift, Collaboraction, Red Tape, UT-Austin and Duke University.

A recipient of the Terrence McNally New Play Award, Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award Citation, Humanitas Prize New Voices Award, Sky Cooper New American Play Prize, McKnight Advancement Grant, Jerome Fellowship, Carl Djerassi Playwriting Fellowship, and the National New Play Network's Smith Prize, Martín was a Staff Writer on Netflix's Narcos, has been the Alliance for Latino Theater Artists (ALTA) Artist of the Month, was a member of the 2011-2012 Playwrights' Unit at Goodman Theatre, is a Playwright in Residence at Teatro Vista, a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, and has been a finalist for the Kendeda Competition and Heideman Award. MFA in Playwriting: The University of Texas at Austin. BA in Theater Studies, BS in Economics: Duke University.

Weyni Mengesha built her award-winning storytelling career in theaters across Canada. She recently made her U.S. directorial debut with Bars and Measures at the Boston Court in Los Angeles where she lives. She makes her NYC debut with Rattlestick Playwrights Theater directing Martin Zimmerman's Seven Spots on the Sun. Recent directing work includes the Canadian premiere of Father Comes Home from the Wars by Suzan-Lori Parks and Breath Of Kings, an original adaptation of the Herniad Cycle at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Toronto Critics Award-winning productions include Lungs and The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs with Tarragon Theatre. Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts awards and nominations include Butcher (Why Not Theatre/The Theatre Centre), Kim's Convenience and A Raisin in the Sun (Soulpepper Theatre), blood.claat (Theatre Passe Muraille), and the acclaimed 'da Kink in My Hair (Mirvish Productions). Other upcoming productions include Soulpepper On 42nd St at The Pershing Square Signature Center. Mengesha received her BFA in Directing at York University.

The Sol Project is a New York City-based theater initiative dedicated to producing works by Latinx playwrights, bringing the stories and culture of their community to the fore of American theater. Founded by Artistic Director Jacob G. Padrón, and driven by a collective of actors, producers and directors, The Sol Project will elevate the visibility of Latinx writers in New York and nationally by activating a synergistic network of off-Broadway companies and regional theaters while prioritizing diversity within casts, crews and creative teams. Twelve playwrights, at all stages in their careers, are first partnered with off-Broadway theater companies to execute main stage productions. Regional partners will then commit to the continued life of each play with subsequent productions. By placing Latinx plays in conversation with works in the seasons of major companies, the project is slated to not only make a difference in the lives of gifted Latinx playwrights; it will contribute a bold, kaleidoscopic body of work to what will become the new American canon. The Sol Project's artistic collective is Claudia Acosta, Elena Araoz, Adriana Gaviria, David Mendizabal, Padrón, Kyoung Park and Laurie Woolery. The initial six company partners are New Georges, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, The Public Theater, LAByrinth Theater Company, Atlantic Theater Company and WP Theater.


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