2022 Conference

All the Emilies in All the Universes, by Ian August

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All the Emilies in All the Universes
by Ian August

Ian August’s world bending drama takes us on a journey with Emilie and Jeff, a couple struggling with the devastating loss of their stillborn child. Emilie exists in four distinct parallel timelines. But when an unexpected bend in the space / time continuum brings these four grieving Emilies together, they realize that infinite possible realities means that somewhere, “somewhen”, their lost son was born alive. The four Emilies vow to travel through infinite dimensions, risking permanent erasure from the multiverse, to find the baby boy they thought they’d lost forever. All the Emilies in All the Universes is a play about coping with grief, the act of pursuing self-acceptance, and finding the truth hidden in yourself in the ever-expanding multiverse around you.

Ian August (he/him) is a queer Caucasian playwright. His plays include: ZERO (Winner, 2020 Ashland New Plays Festival; Semi-Finalist 2020 BAPF), EVERYTHING YOU CAN DO (TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE) (Selection, Catalyst: A Theatre Think Tank 2020; Semi-Finalist Blue Ink Playwriting Prize), THE EXCAVATION OF MARY ANNING (Selection, 2019 Powerhouse Theater with NYSAF / Vassar; 2018 Ashland New Plays Festival; 2018 DVRF New Playwright Program), BRISÉ (Selection, 2019 Great Plains Theatre Conference; Finalist, 2019 Seven Devils Playwrights Conference; Finalist, 2020 Lark Playwrights Week), DONNA ORBITS THE MOON (Scripps Ranch Theatre; Tiny Dynamite Productions; NJ Repertory Company; Utah Contemporary Theatre), INTERVIEWESE (Winner, Garry Marshall Theatre New Works; Finalist, B Street Theatre New Comedy Fest), THE GOLDILOCKS ZONE, (Passage Theatre Company; Semi-Finalist, 2015 O’Neill Conference), MISSING CELIA ROSE (NYC Summer Play Festival; Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s “Playfest 2009″; Bermuda Musical and Dramatic Society), and ALL THE EMILIES IN ALL THE UNIVERSES. Mr. August’s newest YA play, STAY SAFE!, will premiere at the 75th Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August, 2022. He is a founding member of the American Theatre Group’s Playwrights Lab, and a graduated member of PlayPenn’s playwriting lab, The Foundry. Several of Mr. August’s plays have been published by Sam French Inc., Smith and Kraus, and Pipeline / Applause Books. He was a 2019 Playwright in Residence at the William Inge Center for the Arts in Independence, Kansas, and a recipient of a 2021 Independent Artist Fellowship from the NJ Council for the Arts. Mr. August lives at a boarding school with one husband and three cats. ianaugustplaywright.com

Fat Muslim Girls, by Ken Kaissar

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Fat Muslim Girls
by Ken Kaissar

In this drama by Ken Kaissar, risqué photographs of female college students are found in the desk of Edgar, a college professor, at fictional McCabe University. His colleague, Dr. Diane Patterson, becomes the self appointed seeker of justice for Zayna, a female student who took and shared the photographs of herself and her friends. Diane writes letters and gives interviews to keep the story alive, but she fails to take two major details into account: all of the photographed students are overweight, and all are of Middle-Eastern descent.  The public becomes less concerned with justice for one student, and more concerned with body shaming and threats of global terrorism.

Ken Kaissar (he/him) is an American-Israeli playwright. His plays have been performed or developed by the Philadelphia Theatre Company, Delaware Theatre Company, Phoenix Theatre Company, Fusion Theatre Company, Jewish Repertory Theatre, Urban Stages and Passage Theatre.  His play THE VICTIMS OR WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO ABOUT IT (published by McFarland & Company, Inc.) was developed by Golden Thread Productions and Silk Road Rising. His adaptation of Geoffrey Chaucer’s THE CANTERBURY TALES was commissioned by Columbia University. His other plays include A MODEST SUGGESTION (available on Amazon), WEEKEND AT BETTY’S and A LEG UP, which will receive a world premiere at the Bristol Riverside Theatre in September of 2022. Ken holds a BFA in directing from Carnegie Mellon University and an MFA in playwriting from Columbia University. Ken is a co-producing director at the Bristol Riverside Theatre (brtstage.org), and the host of the podcast The Audition Helper available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Goddess at the Lucky Lady Motel, by Nimisha Ladva

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Goddess at the Lucky Lady Motel
by Nimisha Ladva

After a death in the family, Mummy-ji, a first generation South Asian immigrant, and her son, Ravi, clash over almost everything. Most of all, they are at odds over two things: Ravi’s wish to marry Seema, a Ph.D. candidate from a different caste, and how to keep their family’s motel business afloat. Can Mummy-ji confront her own caste bigotry and misogyny to make amends with her son or will she lose everything she has loved? Ladva’s play explores whether the generational divide can ever be broached–even by the Goddess.

Nimisha Ladva (she/her) is a South Asian writer, storyteller, playwright and screenwriter. Her storytelling has been nationally broadcast on NPR: THEMOTH RADIO HOUR and PBS: STORIES FROM THE STAGE. She is currently a member of The Foundry, a three-year playwright development program sponsored by PlayPenn. An excerpt of her play GODDESS AT THE LUCKY LADY MOTEL was selected by The Bechdel Group in New York for the Sunday Shorts Program in March 2022. She is a 2022 finalist in the Red Bull Short Play Festival. In 2019, she was selected for the Kennedy Center Playwriting Intensive and was a finalist at SPACE at Ryder Farm in 2020. Her solo play, UNINVITED GIRLfirst staged in Philadelphia at the First Person Arts Festival in 2016, premiered in New York at the Women in Theater Festival in 2018. Her work has been supported by grants from the Mellon Foundation and the Leeway Foundation. She teaches writing and public speaking at Haverford College.

The Pigeon, by Brie Knight

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The Pigeon
by Brie Knight

Nina, Constantine, Irina, and Trigorin may all be familiar characters to you. They live eternally dissatisfied with their lives. But in this new dark comedy by Brie Knight, we find the characters in an adjacent universe in the middle of the apocalypse. With the world threatening to break open, will they finally fulfill their desires? Or will happiness once again escape them, when they are sucked into a black hole?

Brie Knight (she/her) is an award winning Black playwright whose works have been featured at InterAct Theatre, Eagle Theatre, PlayPenn, The Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival, and Universities and festivals around the country. She is a graduate of the Philadelphia Playwright’s Incubator – The Foundry.

Her play PANCAKE QUEEN won the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre’s 2018 Playwriting Competition and the Sue Winge Playwriting Award from Villanova University. It was at Villanova that she developed her solo show THE N-WORD.  Her play THE BABY was selected to be a part of NYC’s 2022 United Solo Festival.  For Juneteenth 2021 Brie Co-Produced the virtual theatrical revolution BLACKBESTFRIEND. She is currently collaborating with Steel River Playhouse to develop a community-based piece of theatre dedicated to and honoring the community of Pottstown. She is the co-host of  “Kevin and Brie Save the World”, an advice podcast centering on friendship, creativity, mental health, and more.  Brie is a graduate from Villanova University’s Masters in Theatre program. As a storyteller, Brie enjoys challenging the status quo, disrupting complacency, and using art to incite conversation and positive societal change.

Whispers of My Sister, Stephanie Kyung Sun Walters

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Whispers of My Sister
by Stephanie Kyung Sun Walters

Something’s not right with Yoon-Ah. The normally indomitable matriarch has been jumping at shadows and blurring memories from Korean burial grounds with her suburban American kitchen. Her daughters are convinced it’s all in Yoon-Ah’s head—until a figure materializes in the light of the refrigerator. Who will see the ghosts of the past? And how long will the ghosts stay? 2022 McNally Award winner Stephanie Kyung Sun Walters explores the impact of inherited trauma within immigrant families. Through magical realism the past meets the present, as two generations of sisters attempt to reconcile the past by meeting the past head on.

Stephanie Kyung Sun Walters (she/her) is a Korean-American playwright. She is the Philadelphia Theatre Company Terrence McNally Award Recipient for her play, ACETONE WISHES AND PLEXIGLAS DREAMS. She’s a recent alum of InterAct Theatre Core Playwright, a current American Theatre Group PlayLab artist, and serves as the Lead Artist on the Philly Asian Performing Artists’ Playwrights Project. Her play, ESTHER CHOI AND THE FISH THAT DROWNED will have a world premiere production with Simpatico Theatre Company (postponed due to COVID-19) and has earned her a spot on the 2020 Kilroys List and Table Work Press Recommended list. Her play ACETONE WISHES AND PLEXIGLAS DREAMS was recently workshopped at the UC Santa Barbara Launch Pad BIPOC Reading Series and will be featured at the Great Plains Theatre Conference in June 2022. Her play HALF OF CHOPSTICKS was a finalist for both the 2021 Bay Area Playwrights Festival and Seven Devils New Plays Conference, and received a stage reading at the inaugural Boise Contemporary Theatre BIPOC Playwrights Festival. Stephanie’s K-pop romcom, BE LIKE THE FLOWER, was a finalist for the Austin Film Festival’s Table Read My Screenplay. She is a two-time finalist for Unicorn Theatre’s In-Progress New Play Reading Series as well as a finalist for the Playwrights Center Many Voices Fellow. She was a semi-finalist for Nashville Repertory Theater’s Ingram New Works and received a nomination for the NNPN Smith Prize for Political Theatre. Due to COVID-19, Stephanie received a 3Views Theatre The Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation Grant. Additional plays have been developed with Asian Arts Initiative, Philly Asian American Film Festival, Dragon’s Eye Theatre, Revolution Shakespeare, PlayPenn, Revamp Collective, and Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival. Stephanie is a proud graduate of Bucknell University and received her MFA in Playwriting from Point Park University.

Santi Castro

Gente Del Sol, Santiago Tonauac Castro

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Gente Del Sol 
by Santiago Tonauac Castro

Valeria and Leonardo are at a crossroads. Leonardo, afraid of losing his relationship with Valeria, seeks professional help. Unsatisfied with western medicine, Leonardo seeks a second opinion from someone that can speak to Mexican culture and indigenous practices. Valeria does not feel capable of leaving Leonardo in his time of need but finds herself falling for Fern. This new play by Santiago Tonauac Castro uses magical realism to explore the intricacies of personal identity, sexuality, and transracial relationships.

Santi Castro

Santiago Tonauac Castro (he/him) is a Latinx-Indigenous maker of plays and sculpture. Santi’s work uplifts the bilingual voices of his community and decolonizes your expectations. Santi’s favorite achievements include being a 2019 Playwriting finalist with YoungArts Foundation, writing for the Kimmel Center’s SONGS WE LEFT BEHIND, and being a published poet with Toho Journal, Tilted House and Queerbook. Currently you can find him working with Mural Arts, and the Philadelphia Art Museum!