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Rorschach Theatre Announces Original (Digital) Works

Rorschach Theatre Announces Original (Digital) Works

This year's Magic in Rough Spaces New Play Lab (MIRS) is going virtual! Join Rorschach Theatre on June 7, 2020 for three online readings of brand new works plus a "bonus track" by acclaimed playwright Heather Ruth McDonald.

Launched in 2018, MAGIC IN ROUGH SPACES is a collaboration with three playwrights to workshop and develop a trio of new plays. The playwrights - one of whom will always be DC-based - will set new goals for their work and spend three days working with a director, dramaturg, actors and designers.

Audiences will also have the opportunity to talk with artists in a digital post-show conversation following each play.


by Kate Attwell

Directed by Dustin Wills

Dramaturgy by Jonelle Walker

Designed by Katie McCreary

Sunday, June 7 at 1pm

A high school boy is dead. His friends find a haven in the girls' bathroom. As the weeks go by, their dark explorations inch ever closer to the thin veil between this world and the next. Where do the dead go and who goes with them?

"What if, what if death wasn't like,

A psychological thriller,

A horror,

That's what I'm saying

What if it really is just,

Just people still being here.

And not being here.

But absolutely not not being here."

The MERCURY team will include a lighting designer to explore the medium of light and how it can shape the narrative and enhance the transitions between this world and the next.

The performance features actors Becca Berlind, Jake Gee, Donnie McElveen, Madison Middleton, and Shirite Westreich.

Kate Attwell is a playwright, TV writer, and devised theater maker. She is an MTC/Sloan, Ensemble Studio Theatre, WRAPT Films, and Playwrights Horizons commissioned writer, and was a member of Ars Nova's PlayGroup, Page 73's writers' group, a Mabou Mines Resident Artist and a member of The Public Theater's Devised Theater Working Group. Recently her plays have been developed at Playwrights Horizons, A.C.T., Portland Center Stage, New York Theatre Workshop, and The Bushwick Starr. Previous work has been seen at: REDCAT / Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (LA), The Public Theater (Under the Radar, 2016), JACK Arts, La MaMa E.T.C., Movement Research at Judson Church, BRIC, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (Everybooty), The Segal Center (Festival of Performance & Film), and The Wassaic Project. Her play Testmatch premiered last season directed by Pam McKinnon at A.C.T. in San Francisco, and will play at the Yale Repertory Theatre directed by Margot Bordelon, and at Bath Theatre Royal produced by the English Touring Theatre, directed by Nicole Charles, later this year. She holds a BA in Performance from The University of Bristol in the UK and an MFA from Yale.


by Stephen Spotswood

Directed by Cara Gabriel

Dramaturgy by Medha Marsten

Designed by Debra Kim Sivigny

Sunday, June 7 at 4pm

Astrophysicist, atheist, and uber-geek Naomi is just weeks away from the birth of her first child. The baby's father, still floating unaware in outer space, may not make it back in time...or at all. Straddling the line between high science and modern myth, this play explores what it means to face the end of the world as you know it.

"Somewhere out there. In the dark. There's a wolf. This terrible beast. I can hear him. Can you hear him? He's so hungry. He's swallowing the stars, one by one."

The WHEN THE STARS GO OUT team will include a set designer who will explore the creation of a world that encompasses the whole universe.

The performance features actors Omar Cruz, Bianca Lipford, Jonathan Del Palmer, Megan Reichelt, and Sue Schaffel

Stephen Spotswood is an award-winning playwright, journalist, educator, and soon-to-be novelist. His previously produced works include: Girl in the Red Corner (winner of the 2017 Helen Hayes Award for best new play); Doublewide (an NNPN rolling world premiere; In The Forest, She Grew Fangs; We Tiresias; Sisters of Ellery Hollow; and others. He is an alumnus of The Welders playwrights' collective. His novel, FORTUNE FAVORS THE DEAD, debuts in October 2020 from Doubleday.


by Jason Grote

Directed by Catherine Tripp

Dramaturgy by Olivia Haller

Designed by Nate Sinnott

Sunday, June 7 @7PM

A woman nurses a goat to save the earth, as her boyfriend navigates a complex relationship with his terminally ill stepfather. An infinite cornfield has settled in her Brooklyn apartment.Together they search for connection in a broken world. A surreal and emotionally grounded story that looks at a society teetering on the brink of extinction and asks: what is to be done?

"I don't think there's a name for it. But I think it's --

A radical form of empathy. The most radical I can think of.

We're literally dying from our inability to empathize."

-- Desire Path, Jason Grote

The DESIRE PATH team will include a set designer who will explore the creation of the corn fields that populate the world of the play.

The performance features actors Ian Armstrong, Robin Covington, Stefany Pesta, and Robert Pike.

Jason Grote is California based writer whose plays include 1001, Civilization (all you can eat), Maria/Stuart, and Desire Path. Devised theatre includes En Garde Arts' Basetrack, David Levine's HABIT (2013 OBIE), and Radiohole's Tarzana. Film and TV include "Mad Men," "Hannibal," and "Smash," and a feature film adaptation of John Cheever's "Goodbye, My Brother." Honors include the P73 Playwriting Fellowship and a WGA Award Nomination. He is currently writing on a AAA video game for Take Two Interactive.


by Heather Ruth McDonald

Directed by Jenny McConnell Frederick

Sunday, June 7 at Noon

Playwright Heather Ruth McDonald is quarantined in Baltimore... and she is listening. Her story of this moment unfolds in less than 5 minutes. Rorschach will invite a dozen actors to explore this piece of text, each in their own way. The resulting digital short will serve as its own Rorschach test--what does the world look like today from your back porch?

Heather McDonald is a playwright, director, librettist, and professor that has published eight plays, two screenplays, and a libretto. Her plays have been performed nationally and all over the world. She has attended The Sundance Institute twice, first as a director, and most recently as a playwright for the 2010 Playwrights Retreat at Ucross. McDonald has been a regular teacher at the Kennedy Center Intensive at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.


The INDELIBLE project explores Rorschach's love affair with what we call "impossible stage directions." We are drawn to moments in which playwrights invite us to create theatre magic and to embody something abstract in a tangible way. Over six weeks, the company explored the phenomenon of Impossible Stage Directions through tiny digital works of art--30 seconds or less--released weekly on social media and via email.

The full project is available on Facebook and Instagram or at

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