Brooklyn College to present acclaimed playwrights

June 25, 2014 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Erin Courtney is one of the playwrights performing at Brooklyn College
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The Brooklyn College Department of Theater will present its inaugural New Works Brooklyn festival from June 25 to 29. The series will feature staged readings of one-act plays written by Kia Corthron, Erin Courtney, José Rivera, Anne Washburn and Mac Wellman, all of whom will take part in audience talkbacks during the week. In addition, Rivera will be directing his own piece.  Additionally, Corthron, Courtney, Washburn and Wellman will take part in a panel discussion on the development of new plays on the closing day of the festival.

Five groundbreaking one-acts will be presented: “Megastasis” by Kia Corthron, directed by Elena Araoz; “The Last Book of Homer,” written and directed by José Rivera; “I Will Be Gone” by Erin Courtney, directed by Mary Beth Easley; “The Small” by Anne Washburn, directed by Benjamin Kamine; and “The Offending Gesture” by Mac Wellman, directed by Meghan Finn. Each of the readings will be curated by current and former students of the Department of Theater.

Kia Corthron’s explosive works for the theater include “Breath, Boom,” “Force Continuum,” “Light Raise the Roof,” “Urban Zulu Mambo” and “A Cool Dip in the Barren Saharan Crick.” They have premiered at the Atlantic Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, New York Theatre Workshop, Playwrights Horizons, Signature Theatre, the Goodman Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum and London’s Royal Court among others. She has also written for such television series as “The Wire.”

Obie winner, New Dramatists member and Guggenheim Fellow Erin Courtney is a former graduate and now co-coordinator of Mac Wellman’s MFA Playwriting Program at Brooklyn College. Her productions include 13P’s “A Map of Virtue”; Kaspar Hauser’s “A Foundling’s Opera,” which she created in collaboration with Elizabeth Swados; “The Service Road” at Adhesive Theater Project; “Black Cat Lost” at Soho Rep; and “Demon Baby” for Clubbed Thumb.

She has also been a contributor for The Flea Theater’s celebrated productions of “The Great Recession” and “The Mysteries.”

José Rivera’s screenplays include “The Motorcycle Diaries,” for which he was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005; “On the Road”; and “Letters to Juliet.”

Rivera won Obies for his Public Theater premieres of “Marisol” and “References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot.” Other critically acclaimed works include “Cloud Tectonics” at Playwrights Horizons, “Sueño” at MCC Theater and “School of the Americas” at The Public. He was also a contributing playwright to “Standing on Ceremony” at the Minetta Lane and “The Mysteries” at The Flea.     

New Dramatists and 13P fellow Anne Washburn is the author of such pioneering works as “The Internationalist”; “Apparition”; “Mr. Burns,” a post-electric play; “The Ladies”; “A Devil at Noon”; and “The Communist Dracula Pageant.” She has been an associated artist with The Civilians and New Georges, a Susan Smith Blackburn finalist and, most recently, a professor in Brooklyn College’s MFA Playwriting Program.

Since 1998, Brooklyn College’s Playwriting Program has been directed by multiple-Obie-winning playwright Mac Wellman, whose students have included this year’s Pulitzer Prize laureate, Annie Baker. Wellman’s own works include “Harm’s Way,” “Crowbar,” “Bad Penny,” “Terminal Hip,” “Sincerity Forever,” “7 Blowjobs,” “A Murder of Crows,” “The Hyacinth Macaw” and “Second-Hand Smoke.” He is a co-founder of The Flea Theater as well as a published poet and novelist. His 1984 essay, “The Theatre of Good Intentions,” is one of the most influential theater manifestos of the past 30 years.

Brooklyn College’s Department of Theater — Kip Marsh, chair; Mary Beth Easley, artistic director — is one of New York City’s leading institutions in the training of actors, directors, designers, dramaturges, performing arts managers and theater technicians. The department offers undergraduate degree programs in theater, acting, design and technical theater.  Master’s programs include theater history and criticism and additional concentrations in acting, directing, design and technical theater, and performing arts management.

The New Works Brooklyn festival will be held in Roosevelt Hall on the campus of Brooklyn College. No reservations required — suggested donation is $5. The performance schedule is as follows:

  • “Megastasis” by Kia Corthron, directed by Elena Araoz, curated by Shane Breaux

Wednesday, June 25, 7 p.m., 312 Roosevelt Hall

  • “The Last Book of Homer” written and directed by José Rivera, curated by Andy Buck

Thursday, June 26, 7 p.m., 316 Roosevelt Hall

  • “I Will Be Gone” by Erin Courtney, directed by Mary Beth Easley, curated by Joshua Bastian Cole

    Friday, June 27, 7 p.m., 312 Roosevelt Hall

  • “The Small” by Anne Washburn, directed by Benjamin Kamine, curated by Molly Marinik

Saturday, June 28, 3 p.m., 312 Roosevelt Hall

  • Panel Discussion on the development of new plays with Corthron, Courtney, Washburn, Wellman moderated by Andy Buck
    Sunday, June 29, 1 p.m., 312 Roosevelt Hall
  • “The Offending Gesture” by Mac Wellman, directed by Meghan Finn, curated by Christine Snyder
    Sunday, June 29, 3 p.m., 312 Roosevelt Hall

Roosevelt Hall is at 2950 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. (Flatbush Avenue stop on the 2 train; Avenue H stop on the Q train). For further information, visit the Department of Theater web page at http://depthome.brooklyn.cuny.edu/theater.


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