Plays & Playwrights
We are proud to announce the six Plays and Playwrights for our 2016 Conference!
July 5-24, 2016
The Drake, a new home for new plays, 302 S. Hicks Street, Philadelphia, PA
by Gabriel Jason Dean
Director: Edward Sobel
Dramaturg: Kittson O’Neill
Executive Producers: Jeanne Ruddy and Victor Keen
Associate Producers: Nancy Boykin and Dan Kern
Featuring: Owais Ahmed, Taysha Canales, and Dan Kern
READINGS: Wednesday, July 13 at 5pm
Saturday, July 23 at 4pm
Nazrul, an Afghan refugee, travels to Nebraska to find Dr. Harold Banks, the father of his friend Greta and a renowned professor. These two unlikely roommates go on an emotional journey of love and loss that demands they exam their own culpability. What results is moving meditation on the power of forgiveness.
Gabriel Jason Dean returns to PlayPenn, where he developed Terminus in 2013. Selected plays include In Bloom (Kennedy Center Paula Vogel Prize, Runner-Up Princess Grace Award); The Transition of Doodle Pequeño (AATE Distinguished Play Award, NETC Aurand Harris Award); Qualities of Starlight (Essential Theatre New Play Award, B. Iden Payne Award). Notable awards include a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University and a Dramatist’s Guild Fellowship. Gabriel is currently a Visiting Writer in Residence at Muhlenberg College, a Core Writer at The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis and a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.
Another Kind of Silence
by Lauren Feldman
Director: Megan Sandberg-Zakian
Dramaturg: Jeremy Stoller
Executive Producers: Leonard and Mary Lee Haas
Associate Producers: Anonymous, Wendy and Lawrence White
Featuring: Kevin Bergen, Katrina Clark, Lynette Freeman, Russell Harvard, Monique Holt, Sabrina Profitt, and Jackie Roth.
READINGS: Thursday, July 14 at 8pm
Sunday, July 24 at 5pm
Two already-partnered women cross paths in Athens and find themselves falling for one another. Through a lush, winding landscape, we track two couples as they wrestle with long-term partnership, the elusiveness of desire, and the mysteries of a changing self. Another Kind of Silence is a bi-lingual play, told simultaneously in English and American Sign Language, with a cast of four characters and a Greek Chorus.
Lauren Feldman is a freelance playwright, dramaturg, professor of playwriting (Bryn Mawr College), and a creator-performer of theatrical contemporary circus. She loves theater that is brave, honest, loving, and slightly impossible. She has been nominated for the Barrie and Bernice Stavis Playwright Award, Wendy Wasserstein Prize, Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, ATCA/Steinberg New Play Award, New York Innovative Theatre Award, and the Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama and the New England Center for Circus Arts, she is also a New Georges Affiliated Artist, a mentor with The Foundry, and a Playwrights Realm Writing Fellow.
The Found Dog Ribbon Dance
by Dominic Finocchiaro
Director: Oliver Butler
Dramaturg: Elaina Di Monaco
Executive Producer: Josephine Klein
Associate Producer: The Chatham Foundation
Featuring: Jared Michael Delaney, Dave Johnson, Mary McCool, Campbell O'Hare, Allen Radway, Johnny Smith, and H. Michael Walls.
READINGS: Tuesday, July 12 at 8pm
Friday, July 22 at 8pm
Norma, a professional cuddler in Portland, Oregon, has devoted her life to healing others and ignoring her own needs. When she discovers a lost dog and attempts to return it to its rightful owner, Norma’s ordered life takes a turn. A story of loneliness, intimacy, and the healing power of the music of Whitney Houston.
Dominic Finocchiaro is a Brooklyn-based playwright, performer, and freelance dramaturg. His writing has been produced and developed around the country, including with Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Civilians, the Lark Play Development Center, the National New Play Network, Portland Center Stage, the Flea Theater, the Kennedy Center, the UCross Foundation, the Amoralists, and at the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival. Dominic is a native of San Francisco and recently completed the MFA Playwriting program at Columbia University.
by Meghan Kennedy
Director: Daniel Goldstein
Dramaturg: Emilia LaPenta
Executive Producer: Anne M. Congdon
Associate Producers: Willy Holtzman, Jan Rothschild
Featuring: Kimberly Fairbanks, Kevin Meehan, Dwayne Thomas, and Molly Ward
READINGS: Tuesday, July 12 at 5pm
Thursday, July 21 at 8pm
Winnie’s closest relationship is with her brother. Or is it with her lover? Or her stuffed parrot? As we jump through time in Winnie’s life, Heavenly Cosmic explores how the intimacies we keep, with people and otherwise, help us hold onto ourselves. And when faced with our own mortality, how some relationships anchor us while others carry us away.
Meghan Kennedy’s Napoli, Brooklyn will have its world premiere at the Roundabout Theatre in New York City in 2017 and is the recipient of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Grant. Meghan’s play Too Much, Too Much, Too Many (PlayPenn ‘12) premiered at the Roundabout Underground in 2014 and was published by Dramatists’ Play Service. Meghan is currently under commission from The Roundabout Theatre Company, Williamstown Theater Festival and The New York State Council of the Arts/New Georges Theater. Her play Light is the winner of the David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize. Meghan’s plays have been produced around the U.S., Ireland and Sweden. She is an alum of Page 73 and Ars Nova Play Group. She is currently a writer for the upcoming TV show, Falling Water (USA). She lives in Brooklyn.
by Antoinette Nwandu
Director: Danya Taymor
Dramaturg: Jacqueline Goldfinger
Executive Producer: Patrick Wayman
Associate Producers: Carol Baker and Mark Stein, Gayle and David Smith
Featuring: Kevin Bergen, Gavin Cole, Kimberly Fairbanks, Sabrina Profitt, and Brett Robinson
READINGS: Wednesday, July 13 at 8pm
Saturday, July 23 at 8pm
Who is Theresa Baker and why does she have a life-sized poster of a soldier in her house? A play about fractured families, death, grieving, and learning to love when it counts the most, Flat Sam asks us to consider what happens when we come home to war and war comes home to us.
Antoinette Nwandu is a New York-based playwright via Los Angeles. She is a second-year member of the Ars Nova Play Group, the 2015-16 Naked Angels Issues PlayLab Resident Playwright, and a Dramatists Guild Fellowship alum. Her plays have been produced and developed by Page73, Ars Nova, The Flea, Naked Angels, Fire This Time, The Movement Theater Company, WordBRIDGE and Dreamscape Theatre. Honors include the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, the Negro Ensemble Company’s Douglas Turner Ward Prize and a Literary Fellowship at the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference. Upcoming: Pass Over at Steppenwolf in 2017.
by Jonathan Payne
Director: Katherine Brook
Dramaturg: Michele Volansky
Executive Producers: Richard and Laura Vague
Associate Producers: Steven Engelmyer and Lisa Wershaw, Joe Zebrowitz, MD
Featuring: Lynette Freeman and Dwayne Thomas
READINGS: Thursday, July 14 at 5pm
Sunday, July 24 at 2pm
Opal and Eddie are together. Well, she’d call it survival, and he’d call it penance. As night descends, two people grapple for a good enough story to make a new life for each other in this hypnotic, haunted tale of intimacy and survival.
Jonathan Payne recently received a 2015 Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship. His work has been produced and developed at the Tristan Bates Theatre (UK), Ars Nova, Fringe Festival NYC, The Bushwick Star, and the Fire This Time Festival. He is a proud fellow at New Dramatists, Playwrights Realm and The Dramatist Guild, as well as a 2014-15 Ars Nova Play Group member. Awards include the Holland New Voices Award (2014), Rosa Parks Award (2011), John Cauble Short Play Award (2002). He received a BA from the GSA Conservatoire (UK) and an MFA in Playwriting from Tisch School of the Arts.
OUR 2016 CONFERENCE INCLUDES...
by Lena Barnard
Director: Maura Krause
Dramaturg: Elaina Di Monaco
Featuring: Andrew Carroll, Melanye Finister, Charlotte Northeast, and Isa St. Clair
READING: Monday, July 18 at 7:30pm
Les drives a semi truck in and out of reality and resents Nancy. Nancy waits at home and resents Les. When Nancy starts sleeping with Brady, Les seeks revenge. The revenge takes the form of a mysterious girl named Kitty who seems to know more about the couple's past than anyone should. What unfolds is a long-bubbling psychological catastrophe set in a bleak nowhere about how the people we use to wound others have a way of wounding everyone involved.
Lena Barnard is a playwright and theater artist. She is a member of the Foundry's second class. Her work has been presented in SoLow Fest and Azuka Theatre's Spotlight Series. Outside of playwriting, she has worked with the Philadelphia Artist Collective, Azuka and Revolution Shakespeare as a stage manager and is one of the organizers of the SoLow Festival. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College.
by MJ Kaufman
Director: Rebecca Wright
Dramaturg: Michele Volansky
Featuring: Eliana Fabiyi, Iman Hafif-Jones, Jenna Horton, Meryl Sands, and Mary Toumanen
READING: Tuesday, July 19 at 7:30pm
The members of the men’s peer education group at Watson College spend hours unpacking male privilege. They love each other. But could it be that even sensitive guys sometimes have trouble managing their anger or commit sexual assault? In this play women and gender non-conforming people try to understand men who are trying to understand masculinity.
MJ Kaufman is a playwright and devised theater maker. This year they worked with the Bearded Ladies Cabaret, as an incubated artist at University of the Arts and as an artist in residence at the New Museum in New York. They are part of the Emerging Writers Group at the Public Theater, a Core Playwright at InterAct Theatre, and a member of Colt Coeur Theater Company. Their plays have been seen at New York Theater Workshop, The Huntington Theater, Yale School of Drama, New Conservatory Theatre Center and performed in Russian in Moscow.
Symposium: Pop Politics
Thursday, July 21 at 6pm
With the Democratic National Convention on our doorstep in an election year, join us to examine the good, bad and ugly of politics, pop culture and the written word. From blogs to cartoons to social satire on-stage, we are adrift a seemingly endless political gab-fest. What makes great political writing? How do you create a space for a meaningful exchange of ideas in the 24-hour assault of political punditry? How does theatrical writing fit into, or not fit into, the great social discussion? Panelists will include Philadelphia favorite Jen Childs of 1812 Productions’ annual political review This is the Week That Is, Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce's Malcolm Kenyatta, and Inquirer writer Amy Rosenberg. We’ll explore these questions and more at the PlayPenn Conference Symposium moderated by playwright Jacqueline Goldfinger.
Summer Education Offerings
For details and registration about this wide-range of classes for theater lovers and theater artists, please visit our classes page.
Playwriting is all too often an isolating activity. Even at playwriting conferences, we authors often meet only briefly before going our separate ways to work on our own pieces. The opportunity that PlayPenn afforded us to spend significant time with other playwrights, comparing notes and making connections that will outlive the conference, before we began work on our plays was as valuable as it is rare. - James McLindon, Playwright