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The Playwrights Realm Celebrates 10th Anniversary of INK'd Festival Of New Plays, April 15-18


The Playwrights Realm announces the 10th Anniversary INK'D Festival of New Plays (April 2019), the annual showcase of new works by The Realm's Writing Fellows. Over the past decade, the festival has introduced audiences to a diversity of fresh perspectives on theater's ability to address the world around it-and has proven to be an indispensible launching pad for the voices driving the future of playwriting.

This milestone year for the festival features four captivating and socially probing plays from 2018-2019 Fellows: Activist, teaching artist, and playwright Keelay Gipson's #NewSlaves, directed by Whitney White (April 15), is an epic fantasia on the commodification and criminalization of the Black Body in America through the lens of the NFL Draft and the prison system. Bleu Beckford-Burrell's Lyons Pride (directed by Estefanía Fadul, April 16) intimately depicts the struggles-and pride-of a Jamaican immigrant family in the U.S. To prepare for I LOVE SEAN (directed by Jenny Koons, April 17), playwright Sarah Einspanier transcribed an entire season of The Bachelor, and created a work that explores the show's effect on female friendships, expectations, and fantasies. Else C. Went's Initiative, directed by Emma Went (April 18), plays out within an early 2000s high school Dungeons & Dragons group whose members are striving to figure out their identities-in the game and real life.

Playwrights Realm Associate Artistic Director Alexis Williams says, "This was my first time working with the Writing Fellows, and this cohort was very exciting! They all have such distinct perspectives and are at different moments in their careers, which challenged us to find specific ways to support their individual voices and goals. It's been a joy to work with them through the year and we're excited for them to share their work in our upcoming INK'D festival, but we're also a little sad-it's time for them to leave the nest! I can't wait to see what they do next."

These presentations come at a fruitful time for recent Writing Fellows, as many are earning much-deserved recognition around the country: Celine Song's Endlings, presented last year at INK'D, recently opened to acclaim at A.R.T. in Boston; Sarah B. Mantell's Everything That Never Happened premiered last year at the Boston Court Theater, where the L.A. Times called it "audacious, imaginative, and moving"; Donja R. Love's Sugar in Our Wounds also made its "soaring world premiere" (Theater Mania) Off-Broadway in 2018 with Manhattan Theatre Club, while Patricia Ione Lloyd's "ambitious, genre-bending dark comedy" (The Wrap) Eve's Song haunted audiences Off-Broadway at The Public Theater; and Christina Quintana's Azul is set to open this month at Southern Repertory Theatre. Jonathan Payne, during his time as a 2015/2016 Writing Fellow, honed his incisive social-satire/drama/detective story The Revolving Cycles Truly and Steadily Roll'd, which was thenpresented in 2018 in a world premiere production by Playwrights Realm; his second full production, A Human Being, of a Sort will premiere this summer at Williamstown Theatre Festival.

INK'D is the culminating event for the Writing Fellowship. Each season, from hundreds of applications, four exceptional Fellows are selected to receive a $3,000 stipend and nine months of script meetings, professional development sessions with industry leaders, a director and design collaborators to work with throughout the year, and both in-house and public workshop opportunities. Between INK'D; the company's recent month-long Beyond the Realm Festival of bold and unconventional works-in-progress; and their developmental workshop, the Scratchpad Series; The Realm continues to further their commitment to providing holistic and ongoing support to playwrights striving to make a life in the arts.

INK'D 2019 Schedule

Keelay Gipson
Directed by Whitney White
Monday, April 15th at 3pm & 8pm

An epic fantasia on the criminalization and commodification of the Black Body in America. #NewSlaves follows the stories of three black men, exploring the historical and cultural patterns of entrapment from slavery, to the prison system, to the multi billion dollar industry of the NFL.

Keelay Gipson (#NewSlaves) is an Activist, Teaching Artist, and award-winning Playwright whose plays include #NewSlaves (Finalist; The O'Neill), CRH, or the placenta play (Semi- Finalist; The O'Neill, Bay Area Playwrights Conference, AADA Main Stage Live!), Nigger/Faggot (Downtown Urban Theater Festival), The Lost (Or, How to Just Be), What I Tell You in the Dark (Premiere Stages Finalist), and Mary/Stuart, a dramatic queering of friederich schiller's classic play (BAM Next Wave Festival, partnership with Wendy's Subway and Lambda Literary). He is the recipient of the Van Lier Fellowship (2016-2018) at New Dramatists, as well as writing fellowships with Lambda Literary, The Amoralists, Page 73 and the Dramatist Guild Foundation. He has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Cultural Affairs Department of the City of New York, the Administration of Children's Services of the City of New York, New York Stage and Film's Powerhouse Season at Vassar College and Yale University. His work has been seen/developed at the Wild Project, HERE Arts Center, Pace University, National Black Theater, Rattlestick Playwrights' Theater, The Fire This Time Festival, Classical Theater of Harlem, and New York Theatre Workshop. He is published in The Best American Short Plays anthology by Applause Theatre and Cinema Books and 48 Hours in Harlem, Vol. 3 by Harlem9.

Bleu Beckford-Burrell
Lyons Pride
Directed by Estefanía Fadul
Tuesday, April 16th at 3pm & 7pm

The Lyons household may be struggling to stay afloat, but one thing it doesn't lack is pride. A family play about love, identity, and overcoming life challenges, Lyons Pride tells the story not only of what it means to be Jamaican and proud, but also the universal struggles shared by all families, immigrant or native, in America.

Bleu Beckford-Burrell (Lyons Pride) is a first-generation Jamaican-American actor/playwright. Born and raised in New York City, she works for a non-profit organization where she teaches acting to teens, as well as writing and directing plays. Her M.F.A in acting was received at Rutgers university, some credits include; Doubt as Mrs. Muller, Uncle Vanya as Marina, Intimate Apparel as Mrs. Dickson; NYC Credits, Nelly as Jenny, Hobart's Dilemma as Eileen, Seen Her as Yara. She is the 2018 Yale Drama Series Award Runner Up, A new member for New Georges 2019 The Jam Director-playwright Lab, a former member of the Obie Award Winning Ensemble Studio Theatre playwright's group Youngblood and was Page73 2017 Summer resident. She was also commissioned for the EST 2019 One-Act Play Festival. Her plays include P.S.365 (EST workshop series,The National Black Theatre's Keep the Soul Alive reading series), Lyons Pride (EST Bloodwork Reading Series, Finalist for 2018 PWC New Voices Fellowship, Finalist of 2018 BAPF, Finalist for 2018 Princess Grace Award) and La Race (EST 2018 Bloodwork Reading Series). Some of her short plays produced at EST Brunch series and Play festivals include: Tomorrow Tomorrow Yesterday Tomorrow, Neutered, M.D.M.A., Forecon, and Masque.

Sarah Einspanier
Directed by Jenny Koons
Wednesday, April 17th at 3pm & 7pm

Jay is "living the dream" competing for love on national television, while back home, Rachel keeps forgetting she's pregnant, and Shelley tries to get her shit together enough to make a casserole. Three to three hundred women strive to find happiness between what they want and what they're told they should want, who they are and who they're told they should be.

Sarah Einspanier (I LOVE SEAN) is a playwright from Dallas, TX. Her plays include I LOVE SEAN, The Convent of Pleasure (Cherry Lane's Mentor Project with Sheila Callaghan), House Plant (Horton Foote Scholar at Sewanee Writers' Conference with Naomi Iizuka), Lunch Bunch (upcoming, Clubbed Thumb's Winterworks), and MADONNA col BAMBINO created with composer Deepali Gupta and director Caitlin Sullivan (Ars Nova's ANT Fest and the New Ohio's Ice Factory, curated by New Georges). Her work has also been developed and presented by Ars Nova's Play Group, Clubbed Thumb's Early Career Writers' Group, the New Georges Jam, a New Georges Special Residency, New York Theatre Workshop's Mondays @ 3, and Williamstown Theatre Festival's Directing Studio. She has been a resident at the Millay Colony, SPACE on Ryder Farm, and Stratford New Works Lab, and has participated in Erik Ehn's annual Texas Silent Writing Retreat.

Else C. Went
Directed by Emma Went
Thursday, April 18th at 3pm (Part I) and 7pm (Part II)

It's the early 2000s; the internet is still young, the millennium still under warranty, and the new Harry Potter book is coming out soon. Fridays after class high school students Riley, Clara, Em, Tony and Kendall play D&D fantasy games. Em sorta likes Clara, Kendall sorta likes Em, Riley likes Em's brother Lo, and Tony just likes 4chan. A mid-term transfer introduces gender-dysphoric Ty into the group and the game, but a small-town tragedy brings the fantasy world, and the real one, to a standstill.

Else C. Went (Saving Throw) is a co-founder of The Renovationists and current member of Trans Theatre Lab. Their work has been produced and developed by Trans Lab @ The Public and WP, The Tank, The Brick, The Flea, Living Room Theatre, and Parity Productions. Recipient of 2017 Parity Productions' commission for women and transgender playwrights. Finalist for The Public's Emerging Writers Group, Ingram Works New Play Lab @ Nashville Rep, Scratchpad Series @ Playwright's Realm; semi-finalist for the Ars Nova Play Group, and Shakespeare's New Contemporaries @ American Shakespeare Center. Plays include They Stay Together, Old Names for Wildflowers, Courage! To the Field!, Three Seconds, Saving Throw, Boxcar, The Great American Folksong, and The Tarantists. BA Sarah Lawrence College.

About The Playwrights Realm

The Playwrights Realm, led by Founding Artistic Director Katherine Kovner and Producing Director Roberta Pereira, is devoted to supporting emerging playwrights throughout their careers, helping them to hone their craft, fully realize their vision, and build meaningful artistic careers. To serve this mission, The Playwrights Realm provides comprehensive support to playwrights throughout their creative processes and careers with the Page One Residency, Alumni Playwrights Program, Writing Fellowship, Scratchpad Series, and of course productions.

Responsiveness and a commitment to playwrights' needs are at the heart of The Realm's practice. In lieu of a second full-length production for the 2018-2019 season, in February The Realm launched the month-long Beyond the Realm Festival, seizing the opportunity to devote time to four acclaimed playwrights-MJ Kaufman, Nia Witherspoon, Michael Yates Crowley, and Asiimwe Deborah Kawe-testing and honing exhilarating new works-in-progress in workshop performances that often blurred the divide between spectators and creators.

In the fall of 2016, The Playwrights Realm produced the world premiere of Sarah DeLappe's The Wolves, which became an Off-Broadway sensation during its sold-out run, extension and remount. It was then named a 2017 Pulitzer Prize Finalist, featured on the New York Times' Best Theater of 2016 list, and remounted at Lincoln Center (with its original director, design team and most of the cast) in the fall of 2017. It's currently hailed as one of the "25 Best American Plays Since 'Angels in America'" by the New York Times, and was recently featured on TCG's "Top 10 Most-Produced Plays in 2018-2019" list.

Previous Productions by The Playwrights Realm include Jonathan Payne's The Revolving Cycles Truly and Steadily Roll'd (2018), Don Nguyen's Hello, From the Children of Planet Earth (2018), Michael Yates Crowley's The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias (2017), Jen Silverman's The Moors (2017), Mfoniso Udofia's Sojourners (2016), Anna Ziegler's A Delicate Ship (2015), Anton Dudley's City Of (2015), Elizabeth Irwin's My Mañana Comes (2014), Lauren Yee's The Hatmaker's Wife (2013), Ethan Lipton's Red-Handed Otter (2012), Jen Silverman's Crane Story (2011), Gonzalo Rodriguez Risco's Dramatis Personae (2010), Christopher Wall's Dreams of the Washer King (2010), Anna Ziegler's Dov and Ali (2009) and Anton Dudley's Substitution (2008).

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