Continuing WP Theater’s mission to foster the next generation of female artists, WP joins Brown University’s Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies in a unique residency for third-year MFA playwrights Julia Izumi and Kyla Searle. As part of the Writing for Performance program at Brown University, this partnership creates a year-long vehicle for professional support and development of these graduating writers’ thesis projects and opportunities for mentorship and collaboration with seasoned actors and directors. The Brown Playwrights at WP residency will culminate in spring 2019 with 29-hour industry readings of Julia Izumi’s (An Audio Guide for) Unsung Snails and Heroes, and Kyla Searle’s Mimi, directed by WP Directors Lab member Sarah Hughes and by Caitlin Sullivan.
This reading series is made possible through support from an endowed fund for the Adele Kellenberg Seaver ’49 Professorship in Literary Arts.
by Kyla Searle ’19 MFA
directed by Caitlin Sullivan
Saturday, April 27 at 1pm
Monday, April 29 at 1pm
Eighty-seven year old Mimi has decided to end her life but she doesn’t want to do it alone. Her granddaughter Joi broke up with her girlfriend and now she’s drowning in regret. How do women ask each other for help when they are at their most vulnerable? Taking place against the burning backdrop of the 1980s real estate boom in San Francisco, Mimi confronts the intimacy of pain in the lives of two mischievous women.
(An Audio Guide for) Unsung Snails and Heroes
by Julia Izumi ’19 MFA
directed by Sarah Hughes
Sunday, April 28 at 1pm
Monday, April 29 at 4pm
(An Audio Guide for) Unsung Snails and Heroes is an epic yet personal play about a young girl journeying from Japan to Manchuria to retrieve her deceased father’s bones in 1945, just before the end of World War II. Inspired by a true story from the playwright’s family history, this beguiling play follows an ancestor snail and a self-guided audio tour to excavate the definition of heroism across generations and cultures.
Readings will be at WP’s rehearsal space at 55 West End Ave. (Entrance on W.62nd street)
In this fierce and feverish world premiere comedy from WP Theater and Second Stage, a gang of teenage girls gathers in an abandoned treehouse to summon the ghost of Pablo Escobar. Are they messing with the actual spirit of the infamous cartel kingpin? Or are they really just messing with each other? A rollercoaster ride through the danger and damage of girlhood-the teenage wasteland has never been so much twisted fun.
In a town running low on compassion, an exile seeks forgiveness, forcing the community to decide between mercy or justice. A storyteller spins a tale of a lonely soul tempted by the devil’s kindness on a fateful trip to the crossroads. Where We Stand is an epic fable of penance filled with humor, heart, and music. This world premiere production brings together two WP Lab alums: rising-star playwright Donnetta Lavinia Grays (Last Night and the Night Before), and director Tamilla Woodard, whose smash hit 3/fifths the New York Times called “extraordinary” and “relentlessly provocative.”
Meet the future of the American theater: the fifteen playwrights, directors, and producers of the 2018-2020 WP Lab, and their very newest works. The 2020 Pipeline Festival represents the culmination of our acclaimed two-year early-career artist residency, showcasing five new plays in development over five weeks created by collaborative Lab teams, ranging from staged readings to full-length workshop productions. Don’t miss out — be the first to see the best new works by the most exciting artists in town!
Previous Festival works have included Martyna Majok’s queens, Sarah Burgess’ Kings, Sylvia Khoury’s Power Strip, Zoe Sarnak and Emily Kaczmarek’s Afloat, and MJ Kaufman’s Galatea.
For the third year in a row, WP Theater will team up with Colt Coeur to present their annual Parity Plays Festival, a series of free new play readings by female and trans playwrights and directors highlighting some of the most exciting current plays-in-progress. Previous Parity Plays works have gone on to acclaimed world premiere productions, including WP and Colt Coeur’s own co-production of Rehana Lew Mirza’s Hatef**k in the 2018-19 season.
A darkly hilarious solo tour-de-force where an unnamed woman is forced into her basement when she finds herself in the path of a tornado. Trapped there, she spills over into confession, regret, long-held secrets, and giddy new love. But as the storm approaches, she becomes less and less sure where safety lies — and how best to defy the danger that awaits. Directed by the acclaimed May Adrales (Vietgone at Manhattan Theatre Club), Natural Shocks marks the highly-anticipated New York return of Lauren Gunderson, the most produced female playwright in America today.
In April of 2018, 107 theaters in 45 states, plus the District of Columbia, and 5,000 audience members came together nationwide to hear public readings of Natural Shocks
, raising more that $50,000 for charities dedicated to addressing the issues of guns in America. WP is excited to continue this national conversation with the World Premiere of Natural Shocks
“With a title borrowed from Hamlet
and A THEME WRESTED FROM THE HEADLINES
, Lauren Gunderson’s new play, directed by May Adrales, stars Pascale Armand as a woman preparing for a tornado that may not be all it seems.”
“HAUNTING! Natural Shocks is a character play — led by a GRADE-A, TONY-NOMINATED actor Pascale Armand! She is warm and charming and the person with whom you’d gladly wait out a storm with a bottle of wine and a game of Monopoly.”
“Lauren Gunderson’s Natural Shocks RAISES IMPORTANT POINTS ABOUT THE NEED TO TAKE ACTION in times of crises. Actor Pascale Armand reveals Angela’s ebullient personality, makes some attempts at jokes, discusses her professional expertise and love of statistics, probability, and dice, then slowly begins to get to the heart of the real imminent danger, recounting memories from her life, confessing her increasing distress and regrets, and exposing the MOMENTOUS SECRETS she’s been hiding. Her performance transitions from the chatty energy of a woman determined to find shelter, to her increasing fear and panic with the realization that she might not, shifting her emotions with the UNEXPECTED TWISTS AND TURNS of the plot.”
“ASTONISHING & HILARIOUS. A perfect storm of timely tragicomedy.” -New York Times
Meet Diane, a permaculture gardener dripping with butch charm. She’s got supernatural abilities owing to her true identity—the Greek god Dionysus—and she’s returned to the modern world to gather mortal followers and restore the Earth to its natural state. Where better to begin than with four housewives in a suburban New Jersey cul-de-sac? Pulitzer Prize finalist Madeleine George pens a hilarious evisceration of the blind eye we all turn to climate change and the bacchanalian catharsis that awaits us, even in our own backyards. Tony nominee Leigh Silverman (WP Theater’s Bright Half Life) directs.
“FANTASTIC, HEARTBREAKING and Dionysus be praised!—it’s a comedy. Hilarious, shattering, and full of keen observation and profound human affection, the play both lifts us up and wrings us out.” -New York Magazine
“BRILLIANTLY IMAGINATIVE! Dionysus never really left us—she’s traveled to New Jersey to save humanity from itself. That’s the starting point of Hurricane Diane, the uproarious queer riff on Euripides’s The Bacchae, a play that was already pretty queer to begin with.” -Theatermania
“Smart, mouthy, and sexy!” -New York Times
“Complex and provocative! Fun to watch! ” -Timeout
“Magnetic tension that draws us in!” -Theatermania
“Taut and tart. A smartly and wittily written play!” -News India Times
WP Theater teams up with Colt Coeur to present the world premiere of the 2017 Kilroys List play Hatef**k. Passions ignite when Layla, an intense literature professor, accuses Imran, a brashly iconoclastic novelist, of trading in anti-Muslim stereotypes. But as their attraction grows into something more, they discover that good sex doesn’t always make good bedfellows. Conflicting cultural identities collide in this thornily clever antidote to a “meet-cute” romance, which reunites Heroes stars Kavi Ladnier and Sendhil Ramamurthy. Adrienne Campbell-Holt (WP Theater’s What We’re Up Against) returns to WP Theater to direct this bracingly insightful new play by Rehana Lew Mirza.
As part of our “ruby anniversary” season, WP Theater will be launching our Fortieth Anniversary Reading Series to take place this Spring. Past meets present as WP shares staged readings of five extraordinary plays from throughout its history, directed by recent alums and current members of the WP Theater Directors Lab…
Monday, March 25 at 7:00pm
conceived by Sabrina Peck and Chiori Miyagawa
by Tanya Barfield, Karen Hartman and Chiori Miyagawa, Lynn Nottage and Caridad Svich
directed by Victoria Collado and Rebecca Martinez (2018-2020 WP Lab Directors)
Originally produced in 2004Produced at WP Theater in 2004, Antigone Project is a collection of short plays written by 5 celebrated women playwrights. Inspired by Sophocles’ Antigone, these plays examine moral courage in the face of unbridled power and tackle themes of civic, state and familial responsibility through the lens of one of dramatic literatures most well known heroines.
Monday, April 1 at 7:00pm
by Emily Mann
directed by Arpita Mukherjee (2018-2020 WP Lab Director)
Originally produced in 1981
First produced at WP Theater in the 1980 season, Emily Mann’s Still Life went on to win the Obie for Best Production. Inspired by interviews Mann conducted at the conclusion of the Vietnam War, Still Life remains a layered masterpiece and potent interrogation of love, family, home and war as seen through the intertwined lens of a Combat Veteran, his wife and his Mistress.
Monday, April 22 at 8:00pm
by María Irene Fornés
directed by Melissa Crespo (2016-2018 WP Lab Director)
Originally produced in 1987
María Irene Fornés’ Abingdon Square, first produced by WP Theater in 1987, remains a relevant exploration of passions that erupt from a marriage between a young girl and an older man. Set in pre-WW1 Greenwich Village, this play exhibits a rich and incisive study of a young woman’s sexuality.
Friday, April 26 at 7:00pm
Aye Aye Aye I’m Integrated
by Anna Deavere Smith
Originally produced in 1984
by Pearl S. Cleage
Originally produced in 1992
directed by Tamilla Woodard (WP Associate Artistic Director, 2014-2016 WP Lab Director)
In a reading of their little known short plays, Anna Deavere Smith’s Aye, Aye, Aye, I’m intergrated and Pearl Cleage’s Chain, one evening will celebrate the voices of two powerful African American Women of the theater.
The Exact Center of Universe
by Joan Vail Thorne
directed by Sarah Krohn (2014-2016 WP Lab Director)
Originally Produced in 1999
“I never interfere! I intervene!” insists Vada Love Powell – Southern doyenne, adoring mother, and force of nature. Vada’s small-town universe is shaken to its core when her devoted son Apple follows his heart instead of mother’s expectations. Gossip whirls, barbs fly, and secrets emerge in this comedy, first produced at WP Theater in 1999, about a mother, a son, and the woman who dares come between them.
The Parity Play readings are free and open to the public.
All readings will take place at HERE Arts Center.
For the second year in a row, WP Theater will team up with Colt Coeur to present their annual Parity Plays Festival, a series of new play readings by female and trans playwrights and directors. Inspired by advocacy groups like #MakeItFair, The Kilroys and The Lilly Awards, WP Theater and Colt Coeur are committed to the promotion of gender parity in programming, staffing, and representation within theatrical narratives.
February 1 at 4:00pm
by Kate Cortesi
directed by Jenna Worsham
Five former employees. One great love. Thorny, uncomfortable, funny and surprising (and… sexy?) LOVE asks what accountability looks like when an abuser of power is one of our favorite men of all time and dares us to get to the other side of accountability and hashtags together.
February 2 at 4:00pm
Ole White Sugah Daddy
by Obehi Janice
directed by Caitlin Sullivan
A young Black female coder wrestles with love, identity and the tension between striving and thriving as she tries to get her startup off the ground. How can you fully be yourself in spaces where no one can see all the sides of you?
February 8 at 4:00pm
by Lily Padilla
directed by Orion S. Johnstone
A diverse support group for sex and love addicts meets weekly to “heal in community.” Every Monday at group, they breathe in, breathe out, and try to love in a world that’s taught them hate – especially the kind turned inward. But is communal healing possible when each person carries different wounds, legacies and privileges?
February 9 at 4:00pm
The Place Women Go
by Sylvia Khoury (2016-18 WP Lab Alum)
directed by Maggie Burrows
Late at night in a Texas immigration detention center, three Guatemalan mothers keep watchful eyes on their sleeping children. Tomorrow, they must face the immigration judges, who will grant or deny them asylum in America. In THE PLACE WOMEN GO, these mothers quietly rehearse the stories of their trauma to make them palatable and convincing, while encountering new, daily traumas within the detention center itself.