Expected at the Sundance Resort in Utah July 7-27 are Annie Baker, Kirsten Greenidge, Lisa Kron, Dan LeFranc, Darci Picoult, Cori Thomas and Sarah Treem. They will be under the stewardship of Sundance artistic director Philip Himberg, and will work on their scripts with directors and dramaturgs.
According to the not-for-profit, "The Sundance Institute Theatre Lab offers writers and directors three full weeks in a creative environment in which to develop new work in a rehearsal setting with actors and support from a staff of dramaturgs. Fellows receive creative advisement, in addition to their transportation, lodging and meals. Part of the Institute's continuum of support includes pre-lab and post-lab consultations, at the playwrights' request."
The summer fellowship is the centerpiece of the Theatre Program's developmental programming and "represents Sundance's commitment to supporting emerging theatre artists and the creative growth of established artists by offering them an environment to explore new work without the constraints of the commercial marketplace," stated Himberg, Sundance Institute Theatre Program producing artistic director. "The genres of writing range from psychologically based naturalism, to mystery, to a comic romance involving an East Indian transgender and an exploration of the graphic novel onstage. It's an impressive array of originality and exciting new work surely headed to production."
The writers and directors will work with a respected staff of dramaturgs and creative advisors. Dramaturgs include Mame Hunt, Sundance Theatre associate artist; Morgan Jenness, dramaturg; and Janice Paran, Sundance Theatre associate artist. Creative advisors will be James Bundy, artistic director of Yale Repertory Theatre and Dean of Yale School of Drama; Moisés Kaufman, playwright and director (33 Variations, The Laramie Project); and Lynn Nottage, playwright (Intimate Apparel, Fabulation).
One additional dramaturg will be added. Meg Simon and Findley Davidson are the casting directors for the 2008 Theatre Lab. 2008 Sundance Institute Theatre Laboratory Fellows and Projects are:
When January Becomes Summer by Cori Thomas, directed by Chuck Patterson, "is a contemporary, urban comedy about love and acceptance. Jeron and Devaun, competitive homeboys and best friends, get caught up in two missions: combating global warming and protecting their neighborhood from an alleged homosexual predator. Jeron is the brains of the operation, constantly correcting Devaun's malapropisms and redesigning his call-to-action posters. Meanwhile, Nirmala who runs a convenience store, is dealing with her own personal issue: her transgendered (transitioning) brother Irfan is encouraging her to take up with Joe, a neighborhood sanitation worker." Thomas is a member in acting and playwriting at Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York City. *
As part of the Theatre Program's ongoing commitment to international collaboration, the Lab is hosting two East African theatre artists — Eric Wainaina of Kenya, and Odile Gakire of Rwanda — who will observe the workings of the Lab.