Each year Chicago Dramatists produces three of the best new plays from the hundreds developed through its many developmental programs. The coming titles and authors will be Ten Cent Night by resident playwright Marisa Wegrzyn, How I Became an Interesting Person by resident playwright Will Dunne, and Hope VI by resident playwright Nambi E. Kelley.
The coming fourth annual Many Voices Project is Chicago's first playwriting contest and developmental showcase embracing playwrights of color. The Saturday Series will showcase 44 staged readings of plays-in-progress, "many of which will move on to productions at theatres in Chicago and around the nation."
Here's the 2008-09 Chicago Dramatists season at a glance:
Wegrzyn's The Butcher of Baraboo was produced in Steppenwolf Theatre's First Look Repertory in 2006, and premiered Off-Broadway at Second Stage in 2007. Her play Killing Women was produced by Theatre Seven of Chicago.
How I Became an Interesting Person by Will Dunne, directed by Russ Tutterow, Jan. 15-Feb. 22, 2009: "According to Wayne Drabowski, he is what the Neanderthals evolved into. His room is what caves evolved into. And his isolation is what life evolved into at the end of a 20th century where no one really knows what's happening on the other side of the wall. In a struggle to escape his isolation, Wayne finds himself more and more entangled with his elderly landlady, Mrs. Walker, and three unusual boarders with whom he shares the bathroom and refrigerator. Love surfaces where he least thought he would find it and leads him to discover the unexpected in himself, his neighbors, and a boarding house born out of the mysterious and violent death of an Army Colonel seven years ago." How I Became an Interesting Person has received staged readings at the National Playwrights Conference at the O'Neill and the Playwright's Kitchen series at the Coronet Theatre in Los Angeles, been translated into Croatian and presented in a script-in-hand production at the National Theatre of Istria in Pula, Croatia, and received showcase production by PlayBrokers, Inc. at ODC Theatre in San Francisco. It is the recipient of the Charles MacArthur Fellowship at the O'Neill, a finalist for the Humana Festival at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, and was presented as an international showcase at the Australian National Playwrights Conference in Canberra, New South Wales, in 1999.
Hope VI by Nambi E. Kelley, directed by Ilesa Duncan, April 23-May 31, 2009: "The story of Hope Graves, age six, a high spirited and funny young girl who has become strangely quiet since her mother beat her in the head with a steel-toed boot. A scar covers the length of her face, but she escapes the pain of her dreary life into the world of TV. Hope VI is the journey of her dream and her family's struggle to survive after the wrecking ball hits the Robert Taylor homes on Chicago's Southside." Kelley is an award-winning, published and produced playwright. Her work has included projects for Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago and Lincoln Center Theater in New York City. Honors have included 2004-05 TCG Candidate for Playwriting, Goodman Theatre, Chicago; 2004 O'Neill Playwrights Conference nomination; 2004 Finalist, Chesterfield Writer's Film Project, Paramount Studios; and three children's play commissions for Unibooks in Seoul, Korea, 2004. Her plays have been produced in Chicago at MPAACT and Prop Thtr.
Many Voices Project, Showcasing Playwrights of Color, July 16-19, 2009: "Working together with Chicago's race- and ethnic-specific theatres, Chicago Dramatists will seek out theatrical works by minority playwrights from around the country. From this pool, three will be selected to have their work showcased in a week of staged readings and workshops, held Thursday-Sunday…with the winning play receiving a $1,500 cash prize." For more information about Chicago Dramatists, visit www.chicagodramatists.org.