National Showcase of New Plays Will Present Works by Christina Anderson, Steven Dietz, Carson Kreitzer and More
By Michael Gioia
September 26, 2012
The National New Play Network (NNPN), the country's alliance of non-profit theatres that champions the development, production and continued life of new plays, will produce six American and two Australian new plays. Staged readings of the works will be presented at the National Showcase of New Plays, held Nov. 29-Dec. 2 in Washington, DC, by Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.
A committee of artistic, managing and literary leaders from across the country selected plays by Christina Anderson, Steven Dietz, Carson Kreitzer, Carlos Murillo, Peter Sinn Nachtrieb and Steve Yockey for the tenth installment of the Showcase.
Two additional plays by Australian playwrights, soon to be announced, comprise the first half of a new international exchange program, Sydney-based PlayWriting Australia.
Here's a look at the selected plays:
By Christina Anderson
Submitted by Unicorn Theatre
"Klass, a homeless young man, sets up residence in the courtyard of a housing project where Ida Peters lives. Triggered by a confrontation between a local street vendor and the police, they quickly develop a precarious bond. Inspired by the Greek myth 'Leda and the Swan,' BlackTop Sky explores the concept of love, violence, and seduction. Anderson was 2011-12 NNPN Playwright-in-Residence at Magic Theatre; BlackTop Sky will receive its world premiere production at Unicorn Theatre (in Anderson's hometown, Kansas City, MO) in January 2013."
Diagram of a Paper Airplane
By Carlos Murillo
Submitted by New Dramatists
"Widely produced and widely admired, playwright Carlos Murillo weaves his latest tale about a reclusive American playwright named Javier C., who dies in a freak flash flood in the wilds of New Mexico. As a final act before his death he sends fragments of his last play, Diagram of a Paper Airplane, to a group of his former collaborators and friends, forcing them to come together after 20 years of estrangement. Will the fragments of his final opus shed light on a secret they've been harboring all these years?"
Lasso of Truth
By Carson Kreitzer
An NNPN Commission submitted by Marin Theatre Company
"Who is Wonder Woman and where did she come from? One of the country's most incisive and adventurous playwrights (The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer, Slow Drag) turns her lyrical, hard-hitting eye to the knotty origin story of the first-ever female comic book hero. There she finds William Marston – renowned early 20th-Century psychologist, inventor of the lie-detector machine, and creator of the legendary character. Kreitzer's hallucinatory script crashes Marston's ideas and biography together with onstage manifestations of the two women he actually lived with in a polyamorous relationship: the Wife and the Amazon."
By Steve Yockey
Submitted by the playwright.
"In the wake of a local tragedy, single mother Elizabeth Miller and her withdrawn son Bailey try to jump-start their relationship across the breakfast table. But with berserker appliances, shifting astronomy, the talkative new family dog, and some noisy, angry forces threatening to invade her kitchen, Elizabeth might not be able to really 'see' the person she needs to see most. Yockey, a Rolling World Premiere alumnus for Afterlife and the upcoming Wolves, was 2009-10 NNPN Playwright-in-Residence at Marin Theatre Company."
By Steven Dietz
Submitted by the playwright
"From one of America's most widely-produced playwrights (and a Rolling World Premiere alumnus for Yankee Tavern) comes a bitingly funny black comedy about what happens when the fictions that hold our lives together are exposed. In Dietz's sharp and surprising sojourn into the psyche of 2012 America — where affluence is perhaps our greatest mirage — three couples, long-time friends, find themselves at a dinner party where everyone finally decides to tell the truth. What remains between us when our youth, our dreams, and our last bottle of wine is gone?"
By Peter Sinn Nachtrieb
NNPN Commission, lead theater Southern Rep
"We might be on the brink of revolution in Nebraska. Penny, a compulsive and compulsively-watchable candidate for state office enlists the help of Francine, a silver-tongued operative. Francine's husband Jeffrey, a doctor, is lying to his dying patients – one of whom opens his eyes to Penny’s nefarious plans for the Cornhusker State. The newest play from the author of boom and BOB was commissioned by NNPN through the Full Stage/USA Program at New Dramatists with a lead grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation."
The National Showcase of New Plays is a traveling new-play festival that presents "the country's best unproduced plays in staged reading format to an intimate gathering of theater professionals."
For more information, visit NNPN.org.