EST Announces MARATHON 2009, Performances Begin 5/22

EST Announces MARATHON 2009, Performances Begin 5/22

Ensemble Studio Theatre (William Carden, Artistic Director, Paul Alexander Slee, Executive Director) will present Marathon 2009, E.S.T.’s 31st annual festival of new one-act plays, at E.S.T. (549 West 52nd Street).  Performances begin Friday, May 22nd, and continue through Saturday, June 27th.

Marathon 2009 offers nine World Premieres and one Off-Broadway premiere of one-act plays in two separate evenings.  The two series will run in rotating repertory (a detailed schedule of the series follows below).  The playwrights, both established and emerging, contributing to Marathon 2009 are Billy Aronson*, Leslie Ayvazian*, Maggie Bofill, Garrett M. Brown*, Kia Corthron, Jeanne Dorsey*, Christine Farrell*, Cassandra Medley*, M. Z. Ribalow*, and Tommy Smith.

“For this year’s Marathon we selected 10 plays out of the over 350 submitted,” says E.S.T. Artistic Director, William Carden. “As we looked at all those scripts it was clear that the state of America and the world were very much on the minds of today’s playwrights.  And I think that is clearly reflected in the final cut because interesting times make compelling plays.  So while this year’s selection covers a broad spectrum of themes we definitely will be hearing about Iraq and the economy.  We will also be hearing about growing up in the 1950’s and growing older in 2009.  We will see confrontations between father and daughter, a nun and her student and the fastest guns as they square off in a western saloon.  Once again established writers like Kia Corthron, and Leslie Ayvazian share the stage with emerging playwrights like Tommy Smith and Maggie Bofill to create a program that is stimulating, challenging and full of surprise.”      

Ensemble Studio Theatre is a not-for-profit developmental theatre founded in 1972 with two primary goals: to nurture individual theatre artists, and to develop new American plays.  Among E.S.T’s members are winners of accolades and higher awards including Pulitzer Prizes, Oscars, Tonys, Emmys, and Obies. E.S.T. is a lifelong artistic home for its member playwrights, directors, actors, designers, technical personnel, and administrators.  Each year, The Ensemble produces over 300 projects, including readings, staged readings, and fully produced mainstage full-lengths. For more information, visit
Billy Aronson’s plays have been produced by Playwrights Horizons, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, and Wellfleet Harbor Actor's Theatre, awarded a commission from the Magic Theatre and a grant from the NY Foundation for the Arts, and published in Best American Short Plays. His TV writing includes scripts for Cartoon Network’s Courage the Cowardly Dog, MTV’s Beavis & Butt-head, Nickelodeon’s Wonder Pets and Backyardigans, and PBS’s Postcards From Buster (Emmy nomination). His writing for the musical theater includes the original concept and additional lyrics for the Broadway musical Rent, and the book for the Theatreworks musical Click Clack Moo. A graduate of Yale Drama School, Billy lives in Brooklyn with his wife Lisa Vogel and their children Jake and Anna. For more information, visit

Leslie Ayvazian's new full length play Make Me is running this Spring at the Atlantic Theatre Stage Two, with Christian Parker directing.   The play Motherhood Outloud, of which she is one of several collaborators and is directed by Lisa Peterson, will be in workshop production at Bay Street Theatre this July and scheduled to open for its premiere at Hartford Stage in 2010. Other full-length plays include Nine Armenians (John Gasner Outer Critics Award for Best New Play, Susan Smith Blackburn 2nd Place, Roger L. Stevens Award), Singer's Boy, High Dive, Rosemary And I (Susan Smith Blackburn finalist) and Lovely Day.  Her one-act plays have all been done at EST, most of them directed by Curt Dempster. Her short film “Every Three Minutes,” stared Olympia Dukakis, was directed by Michael Pressman, ran on Showtime and won a Telly Award.   Leslie is an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate Department of Theatre Arts at Columbia University.    Leslie is a long time member of EST.  She thinks this may be her 10th Marathon.  She wrote the one act “Carol and Jill” to perform with Janet Zarish.

Maggie Bofill is proud to be one of the few Cuban-Hoosiers that exist. The first “American” born to her very Cuban family in Indiana, she left the Midwest to get her M.F.A. at Temple University, and then hopped to New York, and pretty much has this city’s blood now coursing through her veins. She is primarily an actress, has worked at The Public, Cherry Lane, the Vineyard, and regional houses among others Her passion is originating new roles in new work, which rather naturally lead to the writing. She started writing with her artistic family, Labyrinth– of which she is a founding member. “Face Cream” was given a staged reading at the Labyrinth Barn Series at the Public, last fall, and she has had a workshop of her one-act “Drawn and Quartered” at INTAR.

Garrett M Brown is an actor, writer, director and thanks to little Gary and Christa Speck, a painter, too. He has written eleven short plays, three full-length plays (Ruritania, Mentor and Home By Dusk), two novels (Los(s)t and Tin Sea), and a book of poems (Erotik/Tug). His full length, Home By Dusk, was produced in EST-LA’s 2004 First Look Series. His one act, “Ambulance Men,” about the three ambulance men who picked up Marilyn Monroe’s body the night she died, was produced in EST-LA’s 2005 Marathon of One-Acts.

Kia Corthron's plays include Moot the Messenger (Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival), 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), Life by Asphyxiation (Playwrights Horizons), Wake Up Lou Riser (Delaware Theatre Company), Come Down Burning (American Place Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre), Cage Rhythm (Sightlines/The Point in the Bronx).  Awards include the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Creative Arts Residency (Italy), Playwrights Center’s McKnight National Residency, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Award for Excellence in the Arts, 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, Connections Contest winner, and in television a Writers Guild Outstanding Drama Series Award and Edgar Allan Poe Award for The Wire.  She has developed work through the Hermitage Artists Retreat, Norton Island retreat, Sundance retreat at Ucross, O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Women’s Playwrights Festival in Seattle, Hedgebrook retreat, Shenandoah International Playwrights Retreat and elsewhere.  She traveled to Liberia in 2004 under the auspices of the Guthrie Theater’s Bush Foundation grant, inspiring her to write Tap the Leopard.  Kia is an elected member of the Dramatists Guild Council, a member of the Writers Guild of America, and an alumnus of New Dramatists.
Jeanne Dorsey’s plays include:  Footprints in the Snow (semi-finalist for the 2009 O’Neill Playwrights Conference, finalist for the 2009 Summer Play Festival); Let it Bleed, a one-act trilogy that includes:  Blushing Clara Barton, Blood Work (finalist for the 2008 Perishable Theatre International Women’s Playwriting Festival) and Blood from a Stoner; Baby Talk – produced in October 2008 by Axial Theatre in Westchester, NY; The Soul Savers - produced by Apartment A Theatre in L.A., May 2007; The Longbottom Way - produced by Apartment A, 2002; Too Small to Drive - produced by The Play Group, 1999; Compliments to Amanda - produced by Gilgamesh Theatre, 1998; finalist for the Heidemann Award; Stepping Out with Mr. Markham - produced by New Georges at Soho Rep, 1997; finalist for the 1997 Bay Area Playwrights Festival; Out to Lunch with Vera and Vivian Vigilante -produced by “Go to Pieces” Theatre; Birthday Vigilance produced at Westbank Café; Gideon and Josephine - Westbank Café; At the Movies with Vera and Vivian Vigilante - Westbank Café. 

Christine Farrell is an actress, playwright and director.  She is currently a tenured professor at Sarah Lawrence College.  As an actress she has appeared in television on Law and Order, Daytime soap operas and Commercials.  Her theater credits include roles in twelve world premieres off-Broadway, in modern and classical plays in several regional theaters throughout the country as well as seasons at Williamstown Theater Festival and the Los Angeles Shakespeare Festival.  Christine is a member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre and has directed and acted in productions in Youngblood, Octoberfest and the Marathon. Christine’s published plays include Mama Drama (co authored) and The Once Attractive Woman. Both were originally produced at E.S.T. 

Cassandra Medley’s most recently produced plays include: Noon Day Sun, Diverse City Theatre Company-Theatre Row, 2008; Relativity, featured in online radio broadcast, L.A. Repertory Theatre – 2008; Relativity, produced by Kuntu Repertory of Pittsburg, Southern Repertory of New Orleans, 2007, the Ensemble Studio Theatre, 2006, the St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre, 2006, and the Magic Theatre in San Francisco in 2004.  Relativity won the 2006 Audelco “August Wilson Playwriting” Award and was featured on Science Friday, National Public Radio.  Broadway Play Publishing is the publisher of the play. Medley’s Ms. Mae, is one of several individual sketches that comprise the Off-Broadway musical, A....My Name is Alice.  Alice, first produced at the Women's Project, received the 1984 Outer Critics Drama Award, and continues to play in regional theatres across the U.S.

M. Z. Ribalow has had 24 of his plays receive some 180 productions worldwide, including at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre and numerous times in London and NY. They have won awards in London, New York, and regionally. His work is published and anthologized. He has also won national awards for fiction, his widely published poetry, and musical lyrics; co-written ten children’s books; and published articles on sports, music, theatre, literature, film, travel, and chess. He is co-author of three books on sports, and is Director of an award-winning sports website. Several of his screenplays have been optioned; he was film columnist for The Sciences magazine, has appeared as a film historian on The Discovery Channel and on several DVD releases of classic films, and is co-host of the online Icons Radio program on movies. He is Artistic Director of New River Dramatists, was Joseph Papp's Production Associate at the NY Shakespeare Festival for several years, and is currently full-time Artist-in-Residence at Fordham University.

Tommy Smith is a New York based playwright and director.  His plays include Firemen, Beautiful Night, The Wife, White Hot, Sextet, Air Conditioning, Sunrise, April’s Subject, Caravan Man (with Gabriel Kahane and directed by Kip Fagan) and A Day In Dig Nation (with Michael McQuilken).  His work has been seen at The Public Theatre, The Flea Theatre, PS 122, Ars Nova, HERE Arts Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Ontological Theatre, 78th Street Theatre, Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Huntington Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, among others; his work has been produced internationally in Prague, Edinburgh, Athens and Montreal. He is a two-time winner of the Lecomte du Nouy Prize for emerging writers (2005 and 2006), a graduate of The Juilliard School’s Playwriting Program, a recipient of the 2008 E.S.T. Sloan Grant, the 2008 Page73 Playwriting fellow and a member of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writer’s Group at Primary Stages.

*indicates Ensemble Studio Theatre member artist

Series A:

by Garrett M. Brown*
directed by Linsay Firman
10-year-old Gary has sent out coupons from magazines in hopes of getting mail. But, on this night in November 1958, it’s a real person who arrives instead – the Americana Encyclopedia salesman. He brings knowledge not only of Norman Rockwell and even perhaps Hugh Hefner, but there’s something in the air of things bygone and things to come.

“Face Cream”
by Maggie Bofill
directed by Pamela Berlin*
When a woman runs out of her very expensive face cream all hell breaks loose. Because “Face Cream” isn't ever really about just face cream.

“For the Love of God, St. Teresa”
by Christine Farrell*
directed by Deborah Hedwall*
A girls’ lavatory in A Catholic School in 1962 becomes the battleground for a nun and her smartest, wildest eighth grader. They find each other and their favorite Mystic in the process.

by Tommy Smith
directed by William Carden*
A soldier re-encounters his family members one-by-one on the night of  his return from war.

by Kia Corthron
directed by Will Pomerantz*
It takes high-speed recklessness for a crash. In the stock market. And the vehicles behind piling up...

* indicates Ensemble Studio Theatre member artist
All the plays above are making having their world premiere.

Performance schedule:
Friday May 22 at 7pm
Saturday May 23 at 2pm
Saturday May 23 at 7pm
Sunday May 24 at 3pm
Wednesday May 27 at 7pm
Thursday May 28 at 7pm
Saturday May 30 at 2pm
Saturday May 30 at 7pm
Sunday May 31 at 3pm
Monday June 1 at 7pm
Thursday June 11 at 7pm
Saturday June 13 at 7pm
Sunday June 14 at 3pm
Monday June 15 at 7pm
Friday June 19 at 7pm

Series B:

“Blood from a Stoner”
by Jeanne Dorsey*
directed by Maria Mileaf
An elderly and, as it turns out, stoned father and his fed up daughter share a fraught lunch served by an efficient ironical waiter who adds a dash of empathy to the meal.

“Carol and Jill”
by Leslie Ayvazian*
On the eve of turning 60, two long time friends visit in the lobby of a Bed and Breakfast while their husbands are out buying charcoal.

by Cassandra Medley*
directed by Petronia Paley*
A daughter returns from the Iraq war.

“Little Duck”
by Billy Aronson*
directed by Jamie Richards*
In Little Duck, five impure people attempt to make one pure television show.

by M. Z. Ribalow*
directed by Matthew Penn*
Hickock shoots down men to protect right and justice; Jesse because he enjoys it; The Kid for revolutionary purposes. At least that’s what each of them claims. But when they are faced with a monolithic, purposeless killer called Sundance, they and the groveling Barkeep must find a way to survive, and a reason for doing so.

*indicates Ensemble Studio Theatre member artist
+All plays above are having their World Premiere, except “Sundance” which is having its Off-Broadway premiere

Friday June 5 at 7pm
Saturday June 6 at 2pm
Saturday June 6 at 7pm
Sunday June 7 at 3pm
Monday June 8 at 7pm
Friday June 12 at 7pm
Saturday June 13 at 2pm
Thursday June 18 at 7pm
Saturday June 20 at 2pm
Saturday June 20 at 7pm
Sunday June 21 at 3pm
Monday June 22 at 7pm
Thursday June 25 at 7pm
Friday June 26 at 7pm
Saturday June 27 at 2pm
Saturday June 27 at 7pm

For more information, visit

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