The readings continue through Aug. 10. One of the three plays will receive a year of development, including a potential workshop production.
Three playwrights are currently in residence: Gabriel Jason Dean, Idris Goodwin and David Bar Katz, led by directors Jonathan Berry, Wendy C. Goldberg and ATC artistic director PJ Paparelli.
"This collaboration with the American Theatre Company excites us to no end," Amanda Watkins, executive vice president of production and development at The Araca Group, said in a previous statement. "PJ Paparelli's fervent commitment to playwrights and their work is a beacon for all of us committed to the development of new plays. We are thrilled AracaWorks in Chicago can serve as a forum for the question 'What does it mean to be an American?' With the nurturing environment fostered by PJ and his team, we look forward to exploring the brave voices offering an answer."
The lineup includes:
By Gabriel Jason Dean
Directed by Jonathan Berry
"In 2006, Aaron, an American documentary filmmaker, goes to Afghanistan to shoot a film about the sudden rise of the opium trade post-Taliban. During the shoot, Aaron encounters an ancient Afghan tradition in which young boys dress in women’s clothing, dance for wealthy warlords, and are prostituted to the highest bidder. When Aaron meets Hafiz, the most coveted boy, he becomes obsessed with saving him and lines of east and west begin to blur."
By Idris Goodwin
Directed by Wendy C. Goldberg
"A romantic comic-drama set in the underground hip-hop scene of the 90s. Thomas has escaped the burbs and come to the city to savor authentic hip-hop culture. He falls madly in love with Prima, a super dope MC and he is willing to lie, cheat and scheme to win her well-guarded heart. But is he after real love or fulfilling a middle class rap fantasy? A meditation on authenticity and class collision, The Realness follows a young man’s journey for his heart and identity."
By David Bar Katz
Directed by ATC artistic director PJ Paparelli
"Platoon Sergeant James Green was stationed in Afghanistan when President Obama declared that gay soldiers no longer had to live a lie. When Green comes out to his men, he was shot to death the next day. Ask/Tell delves into the mystery of his murder and the unspoken hypocrisies that accompany intense intimacy between men in a war zone."
The Araca Group has produced Broadway productions of Urinetown, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, The Wedding Singer, Lend Me a Tenor and A View From the Bridge. The Araca Group has previously partnered with ATC in the development of Yeast Nation and on the world premiere of Ayad Akhtar's Disgraced.
Visit araca.com for more information.