In conjunction with their more famous film festival, The Sundance Institute annually presents a three-week-long July Theatre Lab, giving playwrights, directors and others the time and support to develop new theater texts without pressure of production. This year, Sundance has announced eight projects selected for the Lab including:
Minneapolis playwright, David Schulner's play Isaac, which explores the biblical story and the nature of trust, faith, and fear. The play will be directed by Craig Lucas (The Dying Gaul, Prelude to a Kiss).
Offspring of the Cold War, by Carlos Murillo and directed by Matt Wilder of Los Angeles. Offspring tells of two twenty-something neighbors who stumble upon a doorway into history, through which they channel a myriad of figures from their pasts and reconstruct their ancestral heritage.
The Laramie Project, adapted by Moises (Gross Indecencies) Kaufman and his Tectonic Theatre Company, chronicles the murder of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming and the subsequent national media frenzy and community response. The play uses actual interviews from Laramie townspeople as a basis.
Lee Breuer and his Mabou Mines troupe continue to work on their piece Animal Magnetism, by Mabou member Terry O'Reilly. The piece, which originated in Texas, examines the attraction between first and third world countries through the inter-spacial relationship between a rhinoceros and a chimpanzee.
Karin Coonrod (of Arden Place) will adapt four Flannery O'Connor short stories from the author's final collection, Everything That Rises Must Converge, depicting the multi-cultural South of the 1950s and 1960s. The site-specific, The Invisible Medium is the latest from OBIE award winning W. David Hancock (The Race of the Ark Tattoo), directed by Vicky Boone of the Frontera Theater. The piece recounts the story of Boone's geophysicist grandfather, who traveled through the South and West of the United States and South America during the 30s and 40s.
Solo performer, Dael Orlandersmith will collaborate with Blanka Zizka of Philadelphia's Wilma Theatre on a new two-character play, Yellowman, which relates the tragic relationship between a dark skinned black father and his light skinned son.
Utah environmental writer Terry Tempest Williams will be writer-in residence at the Festival, developing a new play that explores our eroding relationship with the natural world alongside the breakdown of intimacy in relationships.
The Sundance Institute was founded in 1981 by film actor Robert Redford and others for promoting the development of individual voices and visions in the arts.
-- By Sean McGrath