From October 10-16, 2011 Project Y Theatre Company presented the Inaugural New York New Playwright Festival at the Access Theatre located at 380 Broadway in New York City. The festival presented an incredible mix of strikingly engaging and diverse plays.
New playwrights often get caught in an endless series of play readings, never actually experiencing their words as a play, which lives only when it is performed rather than read. “Project Y hopes to support these new playwright voices and give them the opportunity to see their plays on their feet with professional actors and a supportive audience,” says Co-Artistic Director Michole Biancosino. “These plays are at different stages in their writing. Each playwright is a distinct and important new voice; each play selected for the quality and impact of the writing. We want to give these new plays the space to come alive, and these playwrights the chance to grow.”
The festival opened with How. What. Now. written by Michael Warner and directed by Campbell Scott. How. What. Now. is a one man play that chronicles the life of a recovering alcoholic. Michael Warner is both an Actor and Playwright who has appeared on TV, Film, and the stage including most recently Engaging Shaw (Old Globe) and Arthur Kopit’s Wings (Second Stage). How. What. Now. was an official selection of the 2011 New York Fringe Festival, and was performed at The Williamstown Theater Festival as a part of its Fridays @3 Reading Series last summer. Campbell Scott has made over 50 appearances in Film and TV including Rodger Dodger (National Board of Review-Best Actor), The Secret Lives of Dentists, Singles, Dying Young, The Sheltering Sky, among many others. Theater appearances include Broadway, Off-Broadway, and in many of the great Regional Theaters in the country.
Gidion’s Knot, the second show of the festival, was written by recent Princess Grace Award recipient Johnna Adams. The play explores a mother and teacher conflict during a 90 minute conference and asks, “who is ultimately responsible for the actions of children?” Directed by Project Y’s Co-Artistic Director Michole Biancosino with Lisa Velten-Smith as the fierce mother and Amy Lynn Stewart as the well-intentioned teacher, this play is about two women’s excruciating feelings of culpability over the bullying of an 11 year old boy. Ms. Adams’ play Sans Merci was the 2008-2009 Reva Shiner Award winner, and was produced by the Bloomington Playwrights Project in October of 2008. Johnna’s plays have been read or produced by theatres all over the country, including The Alliance Theatre Lab (Miami, FL), The New Group (New York, NY), and Flux Theatre Ensemble (New York, NY).
The festival concluded with a stage adaptation of the newly published book I’m From Driftwood. Both a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and online community, I’m From Driftwood (IFD) collects and shares first-person LGBTQ stories from all different communities, cultures, races and backgrounds to send a simple yet life-saving message to queer youth around the globe: You Are Not Alone. Edited by Nathan Manske, and written by Joe Basile, Jeffrey James Keyes, and Luke Harlan, the IFD Theater Project is an experiment in taking these stories and creating a live theatrical event: an intersection of wildly different experiences and beliefs, a snapshot of queer life across the country and the world. Directed by Luke Harlan the play featured an ensemble cast reading these humorous, courageous, and incredibly heartfelt stories in front of an audience for the first time. For more information about I’m From Driftwood the organization, please visit www.imfromdriftwood.com.
About Project Y Theatre Company
Founded in Washington, D.C. in 1999, Project Y is a worldwide community of artists, designers, and playwrights devoted to developing new work through staged readings, online video projects, workshop productions, and fully produced world premieres. Celebrating over 10 years of creating theater in both Washington, D.C. and New York City, Project Y has an unwavering presence in the Off-Off Broadway community and was recently nominated for seven Innovative Theater Awards with two wins for their last production of The Revival.