The Playwrights Realm, in lieu of a full production this winter, will launch Beyond the Realm, a month-long festival showcasing bold, new works-in-progress by four boundary-pushing playwrights. The 2019 lineup will feature workshop productions of plays by MJ Kaufman, Nia Witherspoon, Michael Yates Crowley, and Asiimwe Deborah Kawe; directors include David Mendizábal, Mei Ann Teo, Michael Rau, and Saheem Ali.
Beyond the Realm will take place at venues across Manhattan and will run February 10–28. Tickets are free and can be reserved here.
Kaufman (who was a Scratchpad Series playwright in 2017) will present Double Atlas, a queer thriller with a shapeshifting central character (February 10, directed by Mendizábal at Theatrelab). Witherspoon intertwines the stories of black women warriors with Yoruba sacred texts in Witness (February 13 and 14 at The West End Theatre, directed by Teo). Crowley (whose dark satire The Rape of the Sabine Women premiered at the Realm in Fall 2017) presents Block Association Project—which offers audiences the chance to interact with the play (via texts and emails from the characters of the story) before the performance itself (February 20, 22, and 23 at University Settlement, directed by Rau). And, in Asiimwe Deborah Kawe’s Appointment With gOD, set at an American embassy, the story of Visa seekers is elevated to a religious quest (February 26, 27, and 28 at Theatrelab, directed by Saheem Ali).
“Playwrights are always thinking of what's ahead, pushing boundaries, telling new stories, and imagining new ways to use the stage. As a playwright-centric organization, we’ve always strived to embrace playwrights evolving needs," explains Realm Artistic Director Katherine Kovner says. "We are constantly evaluating whether our programming is doing as much as we can to nurture exciting new work from early-career playwrights. In programming this season we wanted to encourage, big, bold, and unconventional work, so we decided to create space for those projects that needed a bit more support—ideas that were aiming bigger and pushing further.”