Play On Shakespeare is partnering with The Magic Theatre for a multi-year residency focused on developing new plays. The partnership kicks off December 18 with Naomi Iizuka's version of Richard II, performing at 7 PM.
Iizuka will also share pieces from two new plays alongside the work, an example of the partnership's template to present new Shakespeare translations alongside new work to generate explorative cross-connections. Ultimately, the program hopes to develop a company of actors that will perform in the Shakespeare translations and the new plays.
In April 2023, educational organization The Blueprint and the Magic Theatre will work with Migdalia Cruz on her Play On Shakespeare translation and new play, while a third piece from Virginia (Vicki) Grise is set to premiere in 2024 alongside a production of Grise's All's Well That Ends Well.
Lue Douthit, President and Creative Director of Play On Shakespeare, said in a statement, “All plays are new plays to me. And should feel that way to the artists who embody them and the audiences who experience them. Hard to do with Shakespeare often. The central question we are examining here is how can the skills and experience of artists dedicated to the development of new plays apply to how we think about and work on Shakespeare? And conversely, what can the old teach the new?”
The residency and its productions will focus on historically marginalized populations including women, people of color, and queer- and trans-identifying people "not as directorial concepts but as citizens and denizens of the plays, and creators and performers in our contemporary theatre world."
Play On Shakespeare commissions contemporary playwrights and translators to update Shakespeare’s words into modern verse, “with a majority of commissions being helmed by BIPOC and womxn playwrights.” Translations are presented as audio performances by Next Chapter Podcasts in episodic form, and are often accompanied by additional episodes that take listeners inside the play.