Public Theater's Inaugural Public Studio Series to Develop Plays by A. Zell Williams and Mary Kathryn Nagle
By Adam Hetrick
New works by emerging playwrights A. Zell Williams and Mary Kathryn Nagle will be presented at the Public Theater as part of the downtown theatre company's new writers' initiative, Public Studio.
Akin to the Public Lab series, Public Studio was created to allow theatregoers to witness new work in development with accessible prices. All pared-down presentations in the Public Studio series are $10.
The inaugural plays include Urban Retreat by Williams, directed by Liesl Tommy, in repertory with Manhatta, written by Public Theater Emerging Writers Group alumni Mary Kathryn Nagle and directed by Kate Whoriskey. Peformances are May 15-25.
Each play will rehearse for two weeks, with seven public performances presented. According to the Public, "Public Studio is a new performance series dedicated exclusively to developing the work of emerging writers. In a laboratory environment, writers will be in rehearsal with actors and a director, incorporate bare bones design elements, and open the process to an audience over a series of performances. More than a reading or workshop, but not a full production, this middle step affords early career writers the important opportunity to deepen their experience of working collaboratively over an extended rehearsal period and to see their work staged in front of an audience."
Here's how they're billed:
"Fiercely funny, gripping and raw, Urban Retreat is a powerful new American play about Chaucher Mosley, an English teacher and long-rejected writer, hired by a publisher of Urban Lit to turn the grandiose ramblings of a rap superstar into a compelling memoir. Unimpressed by the material but desperate for money, Mosley takes on the assignment. But when the rapper turns out to be a former student that Mosley unknowingly failed, the writing process becomes a surprising and deeply honest exchange about survival, selling out and what it means to be a black man in America today. United by the power of their words and a shared need to face the past, Mosley and Trench discover a brotherhood that transforms them both."
"A gripping journey from the fur trade of the 1600s to the stock trade of today, Mary Kathryn Nagle's Manhatta tells the story of Jane Snake, a brilliant young Native American woman with a Stanford MBA. Jane reconnects with her ancestral homeland, known as Manahatta, when she moves from her home with the Delaware Nation in Anadarko, Oklahoma to New York for a job at a major investment bank just before the financial crisis of 2008. Jane’s struggle to reconcile her new life with the expectations and traditions of the family she left behind is powerfully interwoven with the heartbreaking history of how the Lenape were forced from their land. Both old and new Manahatta converge in a brutal lesson about the dangers of living in a society where there’s no such thing as enough."
For tickets phone (212) 967-7555 or visit PublicTheater. The Public Theater is located at 425 Lafayette Street in Manhattan.
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