Cutting Ball Theater to Open 15th Season with World Premiere of SIDEWINDERS, 10/18-11/17

Cutting Ball Theater opens its 15th season with the World Premiere of SIDEWINDERS by Basil Kreimendahl. M. Graham Smith makes his main stage directing debut at Cutting Ball with SIDEWINDERS, featuring DavEnd, Sara Moore,Donald Currie, and Norman Muñoz. SIDEWINDERS plays October 18 through November 17 at the Cutting Ball Theater in residence at EXIT on Taylor (277 Taylor Street) in San Francisco. For tickets ($10-50) and more information, the public may or call 415-525-1205.

SIDEWINDERS owes as much to Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot as it does to SF Pride. In this absurdist-Western romp through gender queerness, Dakota and Bailey find themselves lost, possibly upside down, in a strange world with even stranger characters. Their journey to getting right side up provokes questions of sex anatomy, transgenderism, and who we really are from the inside out. SIDEWINDERS, which was developed as part of the 2013 edition of RISK IS THIS... The Cutting Ball New Experimental Plays Festival, was awarded The 2013 Rella Lossy Playwright Award. Administered by The San Francisco Foundation, the award honors the memory of Rella Lossy, a longtime champion of theater and playwrights. The award is given annually to support the production of a new play by an emerging playwright in the Bay Area. Kreimendahl's play was chosen by this year's juror, Michael Ritchie, the Artistic Director of the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles.

"When I think about the genesis of SIDEWINDERS," said playwright Basil Kreimendahl, "I think about William Faulkner's Light In August. In this novel, there is a character named Joe Christmas who has no past that he remembers, no family, and no idea what his ethnic background is. Wherever he finds himself, the people around him make determinations about who he is. I loved this idea of moving through the world not knowing something so vital to how other people treat you. Being someone who thinks a lot about gender and identity, I thought what if someone literally did not know what sex or gender they were. I have also been thinking about how all the queering of gender happening in the world was turning the realm of sex and gender into a new frontier, a 'wild west' of possibilities where the old laws did not apply, and new ones were being formed and broken all the time, leading to a sort of lawlessness."

Continued Kreimendahl, "SIDEWINDERS is a meditation on identity, especially in terms of gender and how that affects who we are. The play is also a deep look at the impermanence of our lives, how we fill it up with questioning, a need to know and pinpoint, and how that often makes us miss the things that are right in front of us. We miss the simple because we like to complicate the world to make it feel meaningful. Cutting Ball has a reputation for producing provocative, thoughtful work that deepens and challenges what it is to be human. A work like SIDEWINDERS fits in nicely with Cutting Ball's purpose, and it's an honor to have my first production with such a company."

M. Graham Smith makes his main stage directorial debut at Cutting Ball with SIDEWINDERS; he directed the staged reading of the production during Cutting Ball's 2013 RISK IS THIS... festival. Smith is the Artistic Director of Precarious Theatre and the Global Age Project producer at Aurora Theatre Company. He has directed at the Walnut Theater in Philadelphia and the HERE American Living Room series in New York City. In San Francisco, directing credits include productions at the Yerba Buena Garden's Festival, Bay Area Playwright's Festival, American Conservatory Theater's Masters program, EXIT Theatre, Asian American Theatre Company, Playground, Brava Theater, Berkeley Playhouse, Golden Thread, and New Conservatory Theatre. Additional directing credits include the West Coast Premiere of Jerry Springer: The Opera in San Francisco for Ray of Light Theatre, the opera Love/Hate with ODC and San Francisco Opera, and Ken Slattery's Truffaldino Says No at Shotgun Players.

A graduate of the University of Iowa Playwright's Workshop, Basil Kreimendahl's plays have been developed by New York Theatre Workshop, About Face Theatre, Wordbridge Inkwell, The Lark, Courier 12 Collective in Chicago, Stageworks, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Kreimendahl's play Orange Julius was developed at the O'Neill Playwright's Conference in 2012 and included in La Jolla Playhouse's DNA new work series. A Core Apprentice at the Minneapolis Playwrights Center (2012-13), and Jerome Fellow (2013-14) at the Minneapolis Playwright's Center, Kreimendahl is also the recipient of an Arts Meets Activism grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women for theater work with the trans community in Louisville. Kreimendahl has taught playwriting to elementary, high school, and college students in Florida, Kentucky, New York and Iowa, in addition to running and organizing a playwrights group for queer youth in Louisville called Out On The Edge. The Provost's Visiting Writer at the University of Iowa (2013-14), Kreimendahl's short plays have twice been finalists for the Heideman Award.

Cutting Ball Theater has assembled a talented ensemble for SIDEWINDERS.

DavEnd (Bailey) is a genderqueer songwriter, performance artist, and costume designer. Recent credits include Magic Theatre's production of Taylor Mac's The Lily's Revenge. DavEnd wrote, produced and starred in 2 sold out runs of the original musical Fabulous Artistic Guys Get Overtly Traumatized Sometimes: The Musical! at CounterPULSE. Additionally, DavEnd has released two studio albums (How To Hold Your Own Hand, Fruits Commonly Mistaken For Vegetables) and tours the U.S. extensively, performing at queer teen centers, festivals, and colleges.

Lauded physical comedienne Sara Moore (Dakota) has created, directed, and performed material for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, The Krofft Puppets, The New Pickle Circus, and Circus Center, among others, and has opened for and performed with such stage greats as Chita Rivera, Carol Channing, Rita Moreno, Sammy Cahn, and Phyllis Diller. Regional theater credits include productions at New Conservatory Theatre Center, Theatre Rhino, Aurora Theatre Company, Brava Theater, Center Repertory Company, The Rrazz Room, and Z Space; New York credits include productions at La Mama ETC, Ars Nova, Women's Project, The Vital Theatre, and P.S. 122. Additionally, Moore is the recipient of awards and commissions from The McKnight Independent Film Fund, The Jerome Foundation, and The Playwrights Foundation, among others. Her "human cartoon," Wunderworld, made its World Premiere at the Children's Creativity Museum in summer 2013; in 2014 she will debut Cyclones with fellow San Francisco clown Joan Mankin, directed by M. Graham Smith and co-produced with Z Space.

Donald Currie (Sandy) is a company member of Boxcar Theatre and Artist in Residence at Virago Theatre. Credits include productions at Virago Theatre, Theatre Shark, Theatre Rhino, Boxcar Theatre, and New Conservatory Theatre Center.

Norman Muñoz. (Sam) is a dance, theater, circus, and burlesque performer. A current teaching artist with TheatreWorks, credits include productions at San Francisco Playhouse, New Conservatory Theater, and tours of Europe and Africa with Theatre of Yugen.

Co-founded in 1999 by theater artists Rob Melrose and Paige Rogers, Cutting Ball Theater presents avant-garde works of the past, present, and future by re-envisioning classics, exploring seminal avant-garde texts, and developing new experimental plays. The company has commissioned, developed, and produced new experimental plays, and has partnered with Playwrights Foundation, and the Magic Theatre/Z Space New Plays Initiative to commission new experimental works. In addition to producing West Coast Premieres and re-imaging various classics, Cutting Ball Theater has produced nine World Premieres and seven World Premiere translations. Cutting Ball received the 2008 San Francisco Bay Guardian Goldie award for outstanding talent in the performing arts, and was voted "Best Theater Company" in the 2010 San Francisco Bay Guardian Best of the Bay issue. The company also earned the Best of SF award in 2006 and "Best Experimental Theater Company" in 2012 from SF Weekly, and was selected by San Francisco magazine as Best Classic Theater in 2007. Cutting Ball Theater was featured in the February 2010 and 2012 issues of American Theatre Magazine. In 2012, Cutting Ball was awarded a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to fund a three-year residency for resident playwright Andrew Saito. The American Theatre Wing, best known as the creator of the Antoinette Perry "Tony" Awards, awarded the company with a 2013 National Theatre Company grant.

The San Francisco Foundation is the community foundation serving the Bay Area since 1948, granting more than $808 million over the past 10 years. Through the generosity and vision of their donors, both past and present, TSFF granted $89 million in fiscal year 2012. TSFF brings together donors and builds on community assets through grantmaking, leveraging, public policy, advocacy, and leadership development to make a greater impact in our community. By focusing on people, organizations, neighborhoods, policy, advocacy and organizing, the Foundation addresses community needs in the areas of community health, education, arts and culture, community development, and the environment. In response to the economic downturn, TSFF is also focusing funding on safety net partners, job creation and training, and mortgage foreclosure relief and neighborhood preservation. The San Francisco Foundation serves San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, and San Mateo Counties.

Following the World Premiere of SIDEWINDERS, Cutting Ball presents Alfred Jarry's provocative UBU ROI in January, directed by Yury Urnov, in a new translation by Rob Melrose. RISK IS THIS...THE CUTTING BALL NEW EXPERIMENTAL PLAYS FESTIVAL returns in February with five new works in staged readings that push the boundaries of what theater can be. Rounding out the main stage season in April, Cutting Ball presents the American Premiere of Samuel Gallet's COMMUNIQUÉ N°10, in a World Premiere Translation, and directed by, Rob Melrose.

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