The conference features two weeks of intensive work on six works-in-progress by Lisa Dillman (American Wee-Pie); Jacqueline Goldfinger (Slip/Shot); Brian Quirk (Nerine); Lauren Yee (A Man, His Wife and His Hat); John Yearley (Another Girl); and Stefanie Zadravec (The Electric Baby). For descriptions of the plays, visit the PlayPenn website.
The six were culled from a list of 13 finalists, out of 600 applications. "The finalists were selected by a national panel of dramaturgs and artistic directors who share our fundamental belief that the development of new plays is essential to our community — in Philadelphia, the region, and the nation," Paul Meshejian, artistic director of PlayPen, said in a statement.
The chosen playwrights bring their works-in-progress to Philadelphia for more than two weeks of support with artistic resources including a professional director of their choice, dramaturgical and design assistance and professional actors from the Philadelphia theatre community.
The rehearsal period is preceded by a three-day retreat during which conference playwrights, directors and dramaturgs become familiar with one another, their plays and the city. Playwrights rehearse for two weeks with a team of artists devoted to the progress of their work, culminating in public staged readings July 21-24.
Here are the credits of the selected writers: Lisa Dillman's plays include Detail of a Larger Work (Steppenwolf Theatre), The Walls (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble/Steppenwolf), Flung (American Theatre Company), Half of Plenty (SPF-NYC; Rogue Machine, L.A.), Rock Shore (O'Neill Playwrights Conference), and Ground (2010 Humana Festival). She has received commissions from Goodman Theatre where she is currently a member of the 2010-2011 Playwrights Unit, Steppenwolf Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Chicago Humanities Festival, and Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. She is the recipient of the Sprenger-Lang New History Play Prize, two Illinois Arts Council fellowships, Sarett National Playwright Award, and Julie Harris–Beverly Hills Theatre Guild Award. Her work is published by Samuel French, Dramatic Publishing, Heinemann, Playscripts Inc., and Smith and Kraus.
Jacqueline Goldfinger's plays include the terrible girls (recently produced at Azuka Theatre and NYFringe), The Oath (Theatre Exile, Off-Off Broadway MTWorks, Penobscot Theatre), and The Burning Season (winner National Plays for the 21st Century Competition). Her commissioned adaptations include Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins (Gas & Electric Arts), Little Women (North Coast Repertory Theatre), A Christmas Carol (North Coast Repertory Theatre) and The Ghost's Bargain (Playscripts). Her works have been published by Playscripts and Smith & Kraus.
Brian Quirk is a three-time MacDowell Colony fellow, a Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA) fellow, Wurlitzer Foundation Fellow and recipient of an Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation Grant, Leon Levy Foundation Grant, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Grant, and winner of the 2010 Robert Chesley Award. His play Mapplethorpe/The Opening has been performed at New Georges ManFest, The Provincetown Playhouse, New Conservatory Theater Center, Sixth@Penn, Bahama's Popop Studio, and Dixon Place, which also presented his play Strangers. His other plays have been produced at EAT/Doubledecker (Crash) and Axial (Marrow). Summerland was a semi-finalist for the 2009 Eugene O'Neill Theatre Conference.
Lauren Yee has been a MacDowell Colony fellow, a Dramatists Guild fellow, and a Public Theater Emerging Writers Group member, and a finalist for the Heideman, the Jerome, the Princess Grace, the PONY Fellowship, and the Wasserstein Prize. Her other plays include Ching Chong Chinaman, Hookman, in a word and Samsara. Published by Samuel French, Ching Chong Chinaman has been produced at Impact Theatre, Mu Performing Arts, Pan Asian Rep, and SIS Productions. She has received commissions from AlterTheater, the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, the Kennedy Center, Mu Performing Arts (supported by the MAP Fund) and PlayGround.
John Yearley is the author of Leap, which was produced by Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and received the Mickey Kaplan New American Play Prize and Ephemera, which received the John Gassner Award. His new play, Another Girl, was read by Naked Angels in March. A member of the Writer's Guild, Dramatists Guild, and a MacDowell Fellow, his plays A Low-Lying Fog and All in Little Pieces are published by Samuel French. He is the author of the forthcoming book Daddy's Not Tall Enough to Touch the Moon.
Stefanie Zadravec's plays have been produced/developed at The Kennedy Center, The Women's Project, The Barrow Group, Bay Street, Theater J, Phoenix Theatre, and Working Theater and Theater 167 among others. Honey Brown Eyes won the 2009 Helen Hayes Award and was published in American Theatre. Save Me won the Phoenix Theatre's Playwriting Award and the Carol Weinberg Award. She received a Dramatists Guild Fellowship, a Playwrights Realm Fellowship, and is a member or the 2010-2012 Women's Project Lab. With director Daniella Topol, Zadravec received NYCWAM's Women's Collaboration Award for their work on The Electric Baby.
The group of 13 finalists also included Lisa Halpern (Flying Through Blue), Meghan Kennedy (A Bright Wind Over A Bent World), Alex Lewin (Alexandria), Kenneth Lin (Fallow), Kara Manning (Sleeping Rough), Emily Schwend (Route One Off) and Andrea Stolowitz (Antarktikos).
PlayPenn "is an artist-driven organization dedicated to improving the way in which new plays are developed. Employing an ever-evolving process, PlayPenn creates a relaxed tension within which playwrights can engage in risk-taking, boundary-pushing work free from the pressures of commercial consideration."
The Conference will also host a Symposium (6 PM July 22) titled "Two Actors and a Board?," bringing together artists and thinkers whose work has persistently crossed boundaries, taken risks, and sought new audiences and forms. Moderated by Rick DesRochers, the conversation will also include Stephen Belber, playwright and member of both Tectonic Theatre Project and Labyrinth Theatre; David Dower, associate artistic director at Arena Stage; and playwright/director KJ Sanchez, CEO of American Records Theater.