New Work Now! has been absent from the Public's programming since 2006, as the downtown theatrical institution has put its focus on the Public LAB and the Emerging Writers Group, which fall under the umbrella of the Public Writers Initiative (a long-term program that provides key support to writers in all stages of their careers).
The New Work Now! program, which presents free play readings in the Public's Martinson Hall, will return May 7-23.
Joy Harjo's Wings of Night Sky, Wings of Morning Light is described as a "one-woman, allegorical play [that] re-imagines the creation myth through a precociously sensitive heroine — the child of a Cherokee waitress and an alcoholic Creek father." Randy Reinholz will direct the presentation at Joe's Pub. (May 7)
Hayley Finn will direct Rhiana Yazzie's Ady in which "a young Navajo woman, relates the mostly unknown story of Ady, a dancer from the West Indies who was the muse to surrealist artist Man Ray." (May 8)
Lisa Peterson (An Iliad) will direct A. Rey Pamatmat's Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them. "Kenny, his sister Edith, and their friend Benji are all but abandoned on a farm in remotest Middle America. With little adult supervision, they feed and care for each other, making up the rules as they go. But when Kenny's and Benji's relationship becomes more than friendship, and Edith shoots something she really shouldn't shoot…" (May 9) Urge for Going, directed by Johanna Gruenhut, is Mona Mansour's "story of 17-year-old Jamila, a Palestinian girl growing up in a Lebanese refugee camp, who is desperate to escape the small and impoverished world she calls home." (May 10)
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson composer Michael Friedman re-teams with director and writer Steven Cosson for The Civilians' The Great Immensity. "Polly, a photojournalist, disappears while working in the virgin rainforests of Barro Colorado Island in the Panama Canal. Phyllis, Polly's twin, embarks on an international search for her lost sister that spans the North American continent, from the tropics to arctic Churchill, Canada." (May 12)
Thomas Bradshaw's absurdist drama Mary will be directed by May Adrales. "At the height of what Time magazine dubbed 'AIDS hysteria' in 1983, college student David invites his boyfriend home to his parents' house in Virginia where nothing has changed since the 1800s — including the slave quarters." (May 13)
Katori Hall (The Mountaintop) will be represented with her Rwanda-set play Our Lady of Kibeho. "A girl sees the Virgin Mary, who shows her a vision of a glorious future for her country if only the people will pray. But will anyone believe her?" (May 16).
Playwright Adam Rapp will direct his play Welcome Home, Dean Charbonneu in which "Dean has just returned from a tour of duty in Iraq to his home in Wisconsin, where his extended family plans a welcome home party. But as the night wears on, no one is prepared for the destruction that awaits." (May 17)
Universes (comprised of Steven Sapp, Mildred Ruiz, Gamal Abdel Chasten, William Ruiz aka 'Ninja') will present Ameriville, directed and developed by Chay Yew. The work "takes on what it means to be an American — with heart, impassioned dance and incandescent harmonies. Universes uses Hurricane Katrina as a lens to scrutinize the state of the union and its attitudes about race, poverty, politics, history and government in their latest project." (May 18)
Liesl Tommy (The Good Negro) will direct Deborah Asiimwe's Forgotten World, a "multi-media play [that] investigates the lives of child soldiers in Uganda and other international areas of war. The play follows six dead children through the eyes of a photographer who captures the children's memories through images, while considering her conflicting role as artist and activist." (May 21)
Stop Kiss playwright Diana Son will present her latest work Jane Says, in which "a reporter becomes obsessed with a woman who doesn't know who she is or where she came from." (May 23)
To reserve seats (beginning April 22) phone (212) 967-7555. For further details visit PublicTheater.
The Public Theater is located at 425 Lafayette Street in Manhattan.