The presentations are open to the public and allow a first look at works that may later surface in full stagings at the Goodman, or around the country.
Goodman director of new play development Tanya Palmer and the Goodman's artistic team selected the following works for the eighth annual New Stages, a script-in-hand staged reading series at the Goodman's Owen Theatre:
By Leslye Headland
Directed by Stuart Carden
Jan. 14 at 7 PM
"Indie-rocker Dorian is doing his singer-songwriter thing, abandoning his band Ringfinger (or is it Hipster Bike Sale?) in hopes of making a gorgeous symphony out of the chaos of his existence — and in particular his relationship with his muse girlfriend, June. But behind closed doors they keep their relationship alive with violence and painful explosions of abuse — their present controlled by a painful past that reverberates throughout their lives." Los Angeles-based playwright and screenwriter Leslye Headland is also the author of Bachelorette.
Written and directed by Danai Gurira
Jan. 15 at 7 PM
"Set in southern Africa in the late 19th century, The Convert tells the story of a young girl who escapes a polygamous marriage by becoming the newest convert of a stalwart black Catholic, whose support of the British makes him a figure of fun and suspicion to his fellow Africans. Her gratitude and devotion to her new faith is complicated by the culture and family she loves, but finds herself disassociating from. When a civil uprising against colonial white rule grips the region, she is forced to examine where here loyalties lie."
Actor/playwright Danai Gurira is a recipient of the Drama League and Obie Awards. Her play In the Continuum appeared at the Goodman in 2007. Picked
By Christopher Shinn
Directed by Joanie Schultz
Jan. 16 at 7 PM
"Kevin, a young actor, is given the chance of a lifetime: he will play both the villain and the hero in a big-budget feature film. But it turns out Kevin may be in for more than he bargained for. John, the film's director and writer, develops a script drawn from the most personal depths of Kevin's psychology. The project becomes unexpectedly intimate, and even after the film is complete, Kevin cannot shake that feeling. Christopher Shinn's hauntingly comic play explores the ups and downs of being 'picked.'"
Obie Award winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist Christopher Shinn is also the author of Dying City.
Black n' Blue Boys/Broken Men
By Dael Orlandersmith
A Goodman Theatre co-commission with Berkeley Repertory Theatre
Directed by Chay Yew
Jan. 21 at 7 PM
"In Black n' Blue Boys/Broken Men playwright/performer Dael Orlandersmith portrays six male characters whose outward dissimilarities belie their inextricable link: a history of violent abuse. Each character relates his harrowing story with humanity and grace, laying bare his relationships with parents, peers, lovers and strangers. In this jarringly poetic script, Orlandersmith shines a light into the darkest corners of society and gives voice to those who are too often silent."
An Obie Award winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist, Dael Orlandersmith's solo performance piece Stoop Stories appeared in the Goodman's 2009-2010 season.
Written and directed by Seth Bockley
Adapted from a story by George Saunders
Jan. 22 at 7 PM
"It's another day in the office of Community Communications at the DeLong Air Force Base — except the base is closing and there's a funny smell coming from the copier closet. Ron Rimney, the boss from hell, promises Jim a job at the soon-to-be-built Dirksen Center for Terror if he'll help him get rid of the smell, but Jim finds that executing that particular order is more complicated — practically and ethically — than he'd first imagined. This strange, funny and ultimately moving new play is the latest collaboration between adaptor Seth Bockley and MacArthur Award-winning fiction writer George Saunders."
Seth Bockley is the recipient of the 2009 Ofner Prize and an inaugural member of the Goodman's Playwrights' Unit.
By Kathleen Tolan
Directed by Kimberly Senior
Jan. 23 at 7 PM
"Joe, a young economist whose mentor is the brilliant Milton Friedman of the University of Chicago, finds himself in Santiago, Chile in 1973. An unstable situation erupts into a coup; mass killings and disappearances soon follow, and Joe suddenly finds himself in a murky world when the new government anoints 'los Chicago Boys' as their economists. As he navigates a love affair with a woman whose brother has disappeared and a friendship with a fellow American whose dark past erodes his present, Joe discovers that theory and practice collide in a very messy world."
Kathleen Tolan's most recent play Memory House premiered at Actors Theatre of Louisville.
The Goodman's New Stages Series — as well as the new Playwrights' Unit — is part of the Goodman's ongoing initiatives to commission and develop new plays and cultivate emerging American writers. New Stages has provided the first look at nearly 40 new plays, many of which have gone on to receive world-premiere productions at the Goodman — including The Trinity River Plays by Regina Taylor (Jan. 15-Feb. 20 in the Albert) and Mary by Thomas Bradshaw (Feb. 5-March 6 in the Owen). Others have been produced at theatres across the country, including Manhattan Theatre Club, Playwrights Horizons, The Public Theater in New York, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, American Theatre Company and Geffen Playhouse.
Tickets are free, but reservations are required. Visit GoodmanTheatre.org or call (312) 443-3800.