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Page 73 Announces Four Virtual Residencies for Fall 2020

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Peter Gil-Sheridan, Sanaz Toossi, Bleu Beckford-Burrell, and Emma Goidel will team up with a director and group of actors to shape their new full-length works.

Page 73 Announces Four Virtual Residencies for Fall 2020

Page 73, the organization that develops and produces the work of early-career playwrights who have yet to receive a professional production in New York City-and who have launched the careers of playwrights including Clare Barron, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Samuel D. Hunter, and Michael R. Jackson-announces four 11-day virtual residencies for Fall 2020. Not long after the company's two recent productions-Michael R. Jackson's Pulitzer Prize-winning A Strange Loop (co-produced with and presented at Playwrights Horizons) and Zora Howard's STEW-garnered immense critical and audience acclaim, the pandemic struck; continuing on the same course became, for the entire theater world, an impossibility. Staying true to their mission despite disruption, Page 73 has decided to focus on their fundamental aim of supporting groundbreaking playwrights whose voices the New York theater community at large has yet to hear. By offering them the resources to hone works-in-progress, Page 73 helps these playwrights ready work for a time when audiences return to theaters-and can fully appreciate conversation-stirring theater that reaffirms the vitality of the form that, in this pause, has been so missed.

In an array of genres, styles, and settings, resident playwrights' works give voice to the anxieties and horizons of a moment at the crossroads of oppressive politics, grave inequality, and overdue social awakening. The playwrights and their respective new plays include: 2013 Interstate writers group member Peter Gil-Sheridan with This Space Between Us, a subtle, socially probing drama tracing the ripple effect of one lawyer's attempted altruistic life-change; 2019 Playwriting Fellow Sanaz Toossi with The Persians, set amidst a Los Angeles family gathering celebrating Norooz, the Persian New Year-against the backdrop of an election won off racism and xenophobia; 2020 Interstate 73 writers group member Blue Beckford-Burrell with La Race, a panoramic play mining issues of local politics, race and gentrification in Far Rockaway; and 2020 Playwriting Fellow Emma Goidel, with the near-future nightmare Women and Children, imagining the chilling next phase in the war against reproductive rights. (See below for more detailed descriptions of these works). In the coming months, the organization will team each playwright with a director and actors over the course of their respective 11-day residencies. On the final day, playwrights will present a 10-20 minute selection of their full-length plays-brought to life by the actors and director they've been working with-for live virtual audiences, preceded by a conversation and followed by a Q&A. Gil-Sheridan's work will be presented October 8; Toossi's on October 22; Beckford-Burrell's on November 5; and Goidel's on November 19.

Says Page 73 Artistic Director Michael Walkup, "There are a lot of incredible plays that could take advantage of an intervention of resources to push them forward and ready them for production. Ultimately, the idea for the Fall 2020 season was, simply, let's use this time when theater production is halted to give playwrights creative and financial support to focus their attention on making these scripts the best they can be. That's how these residencies grew into this substantial engagement -44-days in total-with the first 10 days of each 11-day residency devoted wholly to the playwrights' processes of experimentation and revision in conversation with the insight working with a director and actors brings."

The company today also announces their Time Capsule, a collective journaling project drawing on the keen observation of playwrights to create a virtual record of experiences that will launch this fall and then be unlocked in five, and again in ten, years. Page 73 will keep this Time Capsule open for additions-from anyone in their community of over 130 playwrights who wishes to contribute-throughout the theater industry's pause, and seal it up when our work resumes.

Walkup describes, "When I talked to playwrights in the virtual happy hours we began hosting with our community in the wake of the pandemic, the sense was that playwriting is a more reflective art form, and that the really great play about this time is probably going to be written in about 5 to 10 years. Some of them were understandably having trouble writing anything right now, even the play they'd already been working on. Some were trying to journal, though, and we talked about how in a journal you capture material that, when you do finally feel ready to think about this time as a reflective artist, you're going to be grateful to yourself for having written down what it felt like."

Residency Works:

Reservations to attend the live-streamed New Play Conversations can soon be made at page73.org; they will remain online for four days following the live-stream.

Residency 1: This Space Between Us by Peter Gil-Sheridan

October 8

When Jamie quits his job at a high-powered law firm to take a non-profit position in Kenya, he begins to slowly absent himself from his friendships, his relationship with his boyfriend, and most of all from his conservative Cuban-American family. Jamie's search for something more and withdrawal from his old life brings his concerned family and friends together in unanticipated ways, with irreversible consequences for all of them.

Peter Gil-Sheridan's play This Space Between Us was originally written on commission from The Silverton Mine in Silverton, Colorado. He developed the play further at the Bloomington Playwright's Project in Bloomington, Indiana and was awarded a residency at the New Harmony Project to further develop the piece. The Rafa Play was produced by the Pool at the Flea Theatre in NYC. Cockfight was written at Soho Rep's Writer/Director Lab and further developed by PlayPenn in Philadelphia. Ritu Comes Home, commissioned by InterAct in Philadelphia as part of their 20/20 Commission program had its world premiere there. Other plays include What May Fall, commissioned by the Guthrie and performed there. Topsy Turvy Mouse was produced by the Cherry Lane Mentor Project and Borderlands Theatre in Tucson and was the winner of The Smith Prize awarded by the National New Play Network for outstanding political work. Residencies include the Jerome Fellowship, Sundance, The Millay Colony, The Ucross Foundation, and the Tofte Lake Residency. Peter was a member of I73, P73's weekly writing group. He's performed his solo piece People Tell Me Things across the U.S. including Ars Nova's ANTFest. He is an Affiliated Artist with the Playwright's Center and NNPN. Peter recently joined the Drama Department Faculty at Vassar College after spending five years running the MFA Playwriting Program at Indiana University. He received his MFA from the University of Iowa's Playwright's Workshop and his BA from Fordham University's College at Lincoln Center.

Residency 2: The Persians by Sanaz Toossi

October 22

Every year, an Iranian-American family gathers in Los Angeles to celebrate Norooz, the Persian New Year. Shadi and Mostafa find themselves increasingly at odds over their memories of the country they fled thirty years before, and the dissolution of their marriage forces their three children to reconsider their Iranian heritage against the backdrop of the 2016 election and its aftershocks.

Sanaz Toossi is an Iranian-American playwright from Orange County, California. Her plays include Wish You Were Here (Williamstown 2020; Playwrights Horizons 2021) and English (Roundabout Underground 2021; Weissberger New Play Award; Kilroys' List 2019). She is currently under commission at the Atlantic Theater (Launch commission; Toulmin grant), Williamstown Theatre Festival, South Coast Repertory, IAMA Theatre and Oregon Shakespeare Festival (American Revolutions Cycle). Sanaz is a member of Youngblood and the Middle Eastern American Writers Lab at the Lark, and an alum of Clubbed Thumb's Early Career Writers' Group. She was the 2019 P73 Playwriting Fellow. MFA: NYU Tisch. Sanaz is a proud child of immigrants.

Residency 3: La Race by Bleu Beckford-Burrell

November 5

While Maxine is grappling with personal and professional setbacks, her best friend is scheming to have her run for local office in Far Rockaway. As Maxine and her unconventional election committee navigate race, identity, and gentrification along the trail, a campaign that began as a distraction turns into a mission of vital importance to Maxine and her community.

Bleu Beckford-Burrell is a first-generation Jamaican-American actor/playwright. Born and raised in New York city, she works for non-profit organizations where she teaches acting to teens, as well as write and direct plays. Her plays include P.S.365 -2019 O'Neill Finalist, showcased in EST workshop series and The National Black Theatre -Keep the Soul Alive reading series. Lyons Pride --Ink'd Festival of New Plays, EST Bloodwork Reading Series, Finalist for: 2018 PWC New Voices Fellowship, 2018 BAPF, 2018 Princess Grace Award; 2020 Arnold Weissberger Award Nominee, 2019 Honorable Mention for The Kilroys, and longlisted 2018 Theatre503 Award. La Race-2020 Finalist for Faultline Theatre, Normal Ave, and Semi-Finalist for O'Neill and BAPF. She is the 2018 Yale Drama Series Award Runner Up, Playwrights Realm 2018-19 Fellow, 2020 P73 Fellowship Finalist, I73 playwright and Finalist for 2020 PWC Core Writers program and 2020 WP Lab. She received the Playwrights Horizons 2020 Jody Falco & Jeffrey Steinman Commission for Emerging Playwrights. M.F.A. Rutgers University. BleuBeckford.com

Residency 4: Women and Children by Emma Goidel

November 19

Set in the near-future, Women and Children takes the battle over abortion to chilling new heights as a group of reproductive rights advocates joins forces with big pharma for an experimental new treatment aimed at pregnant women charged with crimes against their unborn babies.

Emma Goidel's plays include The Gap (Barrymore Award, Kilroys List 2019), A Knee That Can Bend (Nominee, ATCA/Steinberg Award & Lanford Wilson Award), Local Girls (Finalist, Princess Grace Award), and We Can All Agree To Pretend This Never Happened (EST, Òran Mór, Tiny Dynamite/InterAct). Her work has been presented by Ars Nova, Clubbed Thumb, InterAct, LAByrinth, Playwrights Realm, Playwrights' Center, NYSAF, and PlayPenn's the Foundry. She is a co-founder of Orbiter 3, and a Kilroy. Emma is the 2020 Page 73 Playwriting Fellow.


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