David Henry Hwang, Robbie McCauley, Adrienne Kennedy, Annie-B Parson Among USA Fellows Receiving $50,000 Award
By Kenneth Jones
December 4, 2012
United States Artists, the not-for-profit organization that grants money to artists in multiple disciplines, announced its 2012 USA Fellows, including playwright David Henry Hwang.
Hwang, the Tony Award-winning playwright of M. Butterfly, is currently the playwright-in-residence at Signature Theatre Company in New York City. His Golden Child is currently in revival there through Dec. 16.
Each year, "United States Artists honors 50 of America's finest artists with individual fellowship awards of $50,000 each," according to the organization. Here are the 2012 Fellows in the Theater Arts division, with descriptions provided by United States Artists:
USA James Baldwin Fellow, 2012
"Poet and playwright Marcus Gardley says that he writes 'epic plays.' His works have included the story of an African American transvestite during the Civil War and a trilogy about a tribe of half-Black, half-Native American people who incorporated the first all-Black town in the U.S. His play every tongue confess (2010) was nominated for both the Steinberg New Play Award and the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play and received the Edgerton New Play Award. Gardley is a Visiting Lecturer at Brown University."
USA Hoi Fellow, 2012
"Guillermo Gomez-Peña is a performance, video, and installation artist, writer, and cultural theorist. He moved from Mexico to the U.S. in 1978. In his performances and writings, Gomez-Peña focuses on cross-cultural issues, immigration, the politics of language and the body, and U.S.-Mexico border issues. His mix of experimental aesthetics with activism results in works that have been called 'Chicano cyber-punk performances.' Gomez-Peña has won several awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship (1991)."
David Henry Hwang,
USA Donnelley Fellow, 2012
"Playwright David Henry Hwang is best known as the author of M. Butterfly, which won the Tony, Drama Desk, John Gassner, and Outer Critics Circle Awards (1988) and was nominated as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize (1989). Although he is known as the premier Asian American dramatist, Hwang has had a varied career, including as the most-produced living opera librettist and the author of a story about the life of the Spanish playwright/poet Federico García Lorca. Hwang's Yellow Face (2007) is a biting comedy about cultural identity in which a playwright inadvertently casts a white actor in the Asian lead role. The play received an Obie Award and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize (2008)."
John Kelly, USA Gracie Fellow, 2012
"Performance and visual artist John Kelly trained as a dancer with the American Ballet Theater, studied painting and drawing at Parsons The New School for Design and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and studied mime and voice in Europe. Kelly writes, directs, and appears in his character-driven performances in roles as varied as (most famously) Joni Mitchell and Antonin Artaud. His works are visual theatre with music and often include collaborators, as in the multimedia The Escape Artist (2011) in which a man inhabits a Caravaggio painting."
Adrienne Kennedy, USA Women With Plans Fellow, 2012
"Adrienne Kennedy is a preeminent playwright, whose works confront issues of race and violence in American society. She appeared on the Off-Broadway theatre scene in 1964 with her Obie Award-winning play, Funnyhouse of a Negro, which was selected for the Black Norton Anthology. Kennedy has been hailed as one of the first African American playwrights to use avant-garde modes such as non-linear structure and surrealism. She is the recipient of three Obie Awards, including one for Lifetime Achievement (2008), as well as numerous other honors."
Robbie McCauley, USA Ford Fellow, 2012
"Playwright, actor, and director Robbie McCauley became involved in theatre as an apprentice at the Negro Ensemble Company in New York during the late 1960s. Her first play, Sally's Rape (1990), a story about slavery that was inspired by her great-great grandmother, received an Obie Award for Best Play (1992) and a Bessie Award (1990). Her most recent play, Sugar (2012), is a solo performance piece in which she recounts her experiences of living with diabetes."
USA Ford Fellow, 2012
"Annie-B Parson is the artistic director of Big Dance Theater, which she co-founded in 1991 with Paul Lazar and Molly Hickok. She describes her work as 'theatre…that borrows liberally from dance,' and she has received commissions from dance and theater festivals and venues, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Walker Art Center. Parson has choreographed over 15 works for the company, including pure dance pieces and adaptations of plays and literature. In Comme toujours here I stand (2009), she adapted the classic Agnes Varda New Wave film, 'Cléo from 5 to 7,' for the stage, presenting a day in the life of a pop singer as she waits to find out if she has cancer. She has received an Obie Award (2000), two Bessies (2002, 2010), and a Guggenheim Award (2007)."
For more information about the work of United States Artists, visit usafellows.org.