Six D.C.-area playwrights have been selected to participate in the inaugural Playwrights' Arena as part of the American Voices New Play Institute at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. Playwrights' Arena is a collaborative group of local writers dedicated to the support and development of each other's work and practice. The yearlong program commences in January 2013, and the inaugural members include Norman Allen, Randy Baker, Jacqueline E. Lawton, Heather McDonald, Danielle Mohlman and Shawn Northrip. Also in January as part of the Institute's programming will be the next installment of the Kogod Cradle Series featuring readings of The Age of Innocence, a new adaptation for the stage by Resident Playwright Karen Zacarías, January 14-16, 2013.
"Arena's focus on American voices extends beyond the mainstage," comments Arena Stage Artistic Director Molly Smith. "The unique nature of this program is how it will bring writers together to support each other. We are proud to create a forum for collaboration, process and discovery, to connect these artists to each other as well as to another world of artists as only Arena can."
"I'm thrilled to launch the Playwrights' Arena and to work with these amazing D.C. playwrights," shares Arena Stage Director of Artistic Programming and facilitator of Institute programs David Snider. "It is a great group of artists-and another great step in the development of the American Voices New Play Institute."
More than 30 applicants were considered for the program, which will include bimonthly three-hour meetings on a weeknight at the Mead Center to investigate each other's work and develop their dramaturgical practice. They will meet regularly with the Institute's resident playwrights and Arena Stage directors, designers and staff. At least twice during the year actors will read their work in private laboratory rehearsals, giving the playwrights a chance to hear their work and respond to it. The playwrights will be able to attend opening nights and special events and be supported as members of the Arena Stage artistic community.
In regards to the upcoming Kogod Cradle Series selection, Snider continues, "We worked on Karen's The Age of Innocence for several days in November with a full cast of actors as well as Institute Dramaturg Jocelyn Clarke and I immediately knew we had to dive further into this great new piece. I'm very excited for audiences to see it."
The Age of Innocence
January 14-16, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. in the Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle
Newland Archer couldn't be more pleased with his recent engagement to the beautiful debutante May Welland. However, his world is thrown upside down by the sensational arrival of May's cousin, Countess Ellen Olenska. Resident Playwright Karen Zacarías brings Edith Wharton's American masterpiece to the stage in a new adaptation that explores love, loss and longing through the lens of New York's social elite.
Each performance will be followed by a post-show discussion, encouraging audiences to participate in this new play's development with Zacarías and Clarke. Tickets are $10; to reserve call 202-488-3300.
The Kogod Cradle Series supports the exploration and development of new and emerging work in the Kogod Cradle with visiting companies, artists and ensembles. Focusing on the development of new plays and devised work by artists from throughout Greater Washington and around the country, this series of readings and workshops invites artists and audiences to explore the development process, and allows artists and audiences to participate who otherwise might not be able to easily access Arena Stage. In November 2012, the Kogod Cradle Series featured banished? productions' Into the Dollhouse and dog & pony dc's A Killing Game. Both productions were presented together in one evening of creative development.
Karen Zacarías' plays include The Book Club Play, Legacy of Light, Mariela in the Desert, The Sins of Sor Juana and the adaptation of How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents. Karen is currently writing the libretto of The Sun Also Rises for the Washington Ballet, adapting the nonfiction book Just Like Us about the politics of immigration for the Denver Theater Center New Play Summit, and beginning a Brazilian themed musical for the Kennedy Center. She also has commissions for the American Revolutions Series for Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Cincinnati Playhouse. Her children's musicals include Jane of the Jungle (World Premiere at South Coast Rep, May 2012), Looking for Roberto Clemente, Chasing George Washington, Ferdinand the Bull, Einstein Is a Dummy and Cinderella Eats Rice and Beans. Her plays have been produced at Arena Stage, The Kennedy Center, The Goodman Theater, The Denver Theater Center, Round House Theater, The Arden, Cleveland Playhouse, The Alliance Theater and many more. Her awards include: 2010 Finalist for the Steinberg Award for Best New American Play (Legacy of Light), National Francesca Primus Prize (Mariela in the Desert), Winner: National Latino Play Award, Winner ATT/TCG First Stages Award, Finalist Susan S. Blackburn Award, New Voices Award and the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play (The Sins of Sor Juana). Karen lives in D.C. with her husband and three young children. She is a Resident Playwright at Arena Stage, playwriting professor at Georgetown University and the founding Artistic Director of Young Playwrights' Theater in D.C.