Theater & Performance

Sibyl Kempson

Posted January 16, 2015

New York, NY


Sibyl Kempson’s plays have been presented in NYC at New York Live Arts, Mass Live Arts, The Chocolate Factory, Dixon Place, Soho Rep, Performance Space 122, Little Theater, Brick Theater, the Fusebox Festival in Austin, TX, the Great Plains Theater Conference in Omaha, the Walker Arts Center and Red Eye Theater in Minneapolis, Theater Bonn in Germany, and by EMP Collective in Baltimore. Collaborators include Elevator Repair Service (FONDLY, COLLETTE RICHLAND), Big Dance Theater (ICH, KÜRBISGEIST), David Neumann/Advanced Beginner Group (RESTLESS EYE and the upcoming I UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING BETTER), Rude Mechs & Salvage Vanguard Theater (FROM THE PIG PILE: THE REQUISITE GESTURE(S) OF NARROW APPROACH), Abrons Arts Center (LET US NOW PRAISE SUSAN SONTAG), and New York Theatre Workshop with Sarah Benson (KYCKLING AND SCREAMING). She is recipient of the McKnight National Residency and Commission, the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Commission, a New Dramatists/Full Stage USA commission, and a National Presenters Network Creation Fund Award; her work is and was supported by the Jerome and Greenwall Foundations; she is a MacDowell Colony Fellow and a member of New Dramatists, an NYTW Usual Suspect, and holds an MFA in Playwriting from Brooklyn College, where she studied under the instigation of Mac Wellman and Erin Courtney. She has taught playwriting as an adjunct lecturer and guest artist at Brooklyn College, the Eugene Lang College at the New School, Bloomfield College, Duke University, and now Sarah Lawrence College. Her plays are published by 53rd State Press, PAJ, and PLAY: A Journal of Plays.

Marcus Gardley

Posted January 16, 2015

New York, NY


Poet and playwright Marcus Gardley says that he writes “epic plays.” His works have included the story of an African American transvestite dur-ing the Civil War and a trilogy about a tribe of half-Black, half-Native American people who incorporated the first all-Black town in the U.S. His play every tongue confess (2010) was nominated for both the Steinberg New Play Award and the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play and received the Edgerton New Play Award. Gardley is a Visiting Lecturer at Brown University.

 And Jesus moonwalks the Mississippi, 2011; photo credit Nakissa Etemad

And Jesus moonwalks the Mississippi, 2011; photo credit Nakissa Etemad

Guillermo Gomez-Peña

Posted January 16, 2015

San Francisco, CA


Guillermo Gomez-Peña is a performance, video, and installation artist, writer, and cultural theorist. He moved from Mexico to the U.S. in 1978. In his performances and writings, Gomez-Peña focuses on cross-cultural issues, immigration, the politics of language and the body, and U.S.-Mexico border issues. His mix of experimental aesthetics with activism results in works that have been called “Chicano cyber-punk performances.” Gomez-Peña has won several awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship (1991).

 Gomez-Peña as El Warrior, Gringostroika, 1992; photo courtesy Walker Art Center

Gomez-Peña as El Warrior, Gringostroika, 1992; photo courtesy Walker Art Center

David Henry Hwang

Posted January 16, 2015

Brooklyn, NY


Playwright David Henry Hwang is best know as the author of M. Butterfly, which won the Tony, Drama Desk, John Gassner, and Outer Critics Circle Awards (1988) and was nominated as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize (1989). Although he is known as the premier Asian American dramatist, Hwang has had a varied career, including as the most-produced living opera librettist and the author of a story about the life of the Spanish playwright/poet Federico García Lorca. Hwang’s Yellow Face (2007) is a biting comedy about cultural identity in which a playwright inadvertently casts a white actor in the Asian lead role. The play received an Obie Award and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize (2008).

 M. Butterfly, 1988; photo courtesy Eiko Ishioka

M. Butterfly, 1988; photo courtesy Eiko Ishioka

John Kelly

Posted January 16, 2015

New York, NY


Performance and visual artist John Kelly trained as a dancer with the American Ballet Theater, studied painting and drawing at Parsons The New School for Design and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and studied mime and voice in Europe. Kelly writes, directs, and appears in his character-driven performances in roles as varied as (most famously) Joni Mitchell and Antonin Artaud. His works are visual theater with music and often include collaborators, as in the multimedia The Escape Artist (2011) in which a man inhabits a Caravaggio painting.

 The Escape Artist, 2011; photo credit Ves Pits

The Escape Artist, 2011; photo credit Ves Pits

Adrienne Kennedy

Posted January 16, 2015

Williamsburg, VA


Adrienne Kennedy is a preeminent playwright, whose works confront issues of race and violence in American society. She appeared on the off-Broadway theater scene in 1964 with her Obie Award-winning play, Funnyhouse of a Negro, which was selected for the Black Norton Anthology. Kennedy has been hailed as one of the first African American playwrights to use avant-garde modes such as non-linear structure and surrealism. She is the recipient of three Obie Awards, including one for Lifetime Achievement (2008), as well as numerous other honors, such as the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Lifetime Achievement (2003).  Kennedy is one of five playwrights included in the Norton Anthology of Literature.

 Funnyhouse of a Negro, 1964; produced by Barr Albee and Wilder; photo credit Frederick Eberstadt

Funnyhouse of a Negro, 1964; produced by Barr Albee and Wilder; photo credit Frederick Eberstadt

Robbie McCauley

Posted January 16, 2015

Boston, MA


Playwright, actor, and director Robbie McCauley became involved in theater as an apprentice at the Negro Ensemble Company in New York during the late 1960s. Her first play, Sally’s Rape (1990), a story about slavery that was inspired by her great-great grandmother, received an Obie Award for Best Play (1992) and a Bessie Award (1990). Her 2012 play, Sugar, is a solo performance piece in which she recounts her experiences of living with diabetes.

 Sugar, 2012; photo credit Joyce Linehan

Sugar, 2012; photo credit Joyce Linehan

Annie-B Parson

Posted January 16, 2015

Brooklyn, NY


Annie-B Parson is the Artistic Director of Big Dance Theater, which she co-founded in 1991 with Paul Lazar and Molly Hickok. She describes her work as “theater…that borrows liberally from dance,” and she has received commissions from dance and theater festivals and venues, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Walker Art Center. Parson has choreographed over 15 works for the company, including pure dance pieces and adaptations of plays and literature. In Comme toujours here I stand (2009), she adapted the classic Agnes Varda New Wave film, Cléo from 5 to 7, for the stage, presenting a day in the life of a pop singer as she waits to find out if she has cancer. She has received an Obie Award (2000), two Bessies (2002, 2010), and a Guggenheim Award (2007).

 Supernatural Wife, 2011; photo credit Christina Rogala

Supernatural Wife, 2011; photo credit Christina Rogala

Lee Breuer

Posted January 16, 2015

Brooklyn, NY


Theater director, filmmaker, writer, and teacher Lee Breuer is also the co-founding artistic director of Mabou Mines Theater Company in New York. Now an avant-garde institution, Mabou Mines, established in 1970, was instrumental in merging the theater and art worlds and pioneering performance art. In his earliest productions, Breuer collaborated with conceptual artists, musicians, and dancers, and he is well known for his productions with puppets. His adaptations of Samuel Beckett, Sophocles, Henrik Ibsen, and J. M. Barrie have won him numerous awards, including 14 Obies for Performances as well as for Writing, Directing, and Overall Achievement. Breuer has also directed internationally, and he won a MacArthur Fellowship in 1988.

 Mabou Mines, DollHouse, 2011, directed by Lee Breuer; photo credit Michael Lebrun

Mabou Mines, DollHouse, 2011, directed by Lee Breuer; photo credit Michael Lebrun

John Collins

Posted January 16, 2015

New York, NY


John Collins is the Artistic Director and Founder of the Elevator Repair Service (ERS) Theater in New York. Founded in 1991 with a group of actors, ERS is now one of the most acclaimed experimental theater companies in New York. In describing the company’s work, Collins says, “ERS pieces incorporate a great variety of narratives, forms, and ideas but they all have in common their inappropriateness for the stage.” An example is the highly praised Gatz, a seven-hour play in which the actors recite the entire F. Scott Fitzgerald novel The Great Gatsby with the actors morphing into the characters in the book. The play won a Lucille Lortel Award for Best Alternative Theatrical Experience in 2011, and Collins was nominated for Outstanding Director, among other honors.

 The Select (The Sun Also Rises) by Elevator Repair Service, 2011; directed by John Collins; photo credit Rob Strong

The Select (The Sun Also Rises) by Elevator Repair Service, 2011; directed by John Collins; photo credit Rob Strong