Interview with #parityplays playwright: Allyson Currin

Posted by MB - July 1, 2015

Ally Currin

 

Project Y Associate Producer, Sarah Dunivant, is reinstalling our Playwright Interview Series this #parityplays season.  Sarah is a playwright and actress interested in the process of writing and developing new work. After each reading in this series of plays that have 50% (or More) Women in Casting, Sarah will sit down with the playwright to get an inside view on their process, their writing, and to reflect on their experience being part of Project Y’s series.    We start with Washington, D.C. playwright, Allyson Currin, whose play “The Sooner Child” was performed at Cap21 Studios.

 

6/18/15
SD: What inspired “The Sooner Child”?

AC:  I have only one recurring nightmare: I wake up thinking that I never got married, and I never had children.  It’s a terrible feeling (thank God it doesn’t last as soon as the fog of sleep lifts) – that your whole life just didn’t HAPPEN.  I was talking with my dramaturg Sonya Robbins about it right as she was urging me to dig deeper into my own personal emotional experiences for my plays, and she encouraged me to figure out a way to write about that.  So I did.  I pulled a lot on my experiences raising teenagers (I have twin daughters who are amazing and wonderful), and mashed that up with my nightmare and some twists of my imagination.  The 1st draft of “The Sooner Child” was the result.

 

 

SD: How is this play similar or different to some of your other plays?

AD: Even if the subject matter is serious in a play of mine, there will always be comedy.  I know that as a playgoer I care more about characters when they are smart and make me laugh as well as care.  So those are the types of characters I strive to write.  Humor is kind of my default setting anyway.  I can’t imagine writing a play that didn’t pack in a lot of laughs, and I’m pleased to report that, in performance, “The Sooner Child” is delivering so far.  “The Sooner Child” is probably the saddest play I’ve ever written though.  In that way, it’s a bit of a departure for me.

 

 

SD: What was the process like for creating the piece? (How long did it take you, do you read the play with actors often, etc.)

AC: The play started out as a one-act (what is now the first act).  1st Draft at The Rose did a staged reading of it, and in a very lively talk-back with the audience, the comment was made that I ought to expand it and explore a reversal of the teenage character in the 2nd act.  I am always very careful when deciding which audience comments to implement in my work, but when I heard that one, I had a very simple and profound realization that the comment was dead-on.  So I wrote the second act, and did another staged reading here in DC with 1st Draft. The Project Y reading this spring was the second of the full-length, and I am busily shopping the play around for full production.  All in all, the play has probably taken three or four years to write.

 

 

SD: What did you gain or learn from the reading with Project Y?

AC: I found the Project Y presentation of “The Sooner Child” one of the most moving renderings of my work I’ve ever seen.  That was due in large part to amazing actors who gave themselves over to every moment, body and soul, and a director, Ryan Maxwell, who seemed to be reading my mind with his every comment.  It was an amazing team.  I am incredibly grateful to Project Y for giving a DC playwright the opportunity to reach an audience in another city.  I’d do it again in a heartbeat!

 

 

SD: When did you decide you wanted to pursue playwriting? 

AC: I have been writing since I was a child, but didn’t come to playwriting until after I got my undergraduate degree in acting, and an MFA in directing.  In my late twenties, I just started trying it out, and had some serendipitous success with my first play that opened the world of playwriting up for me.  I have been writing plays for over 25 years now, and while I still act and produce plays, writing for the theatre still feels like my true calling.

 

 

SD: Do you have any playwriting commandments or rules that you follow? If so, what are they? How do they instruct your writing?

AC: I don’t really have rules for myself except for one: I only write about subjects and characters I love.  Even if the work is commissioned by a theatrical institution with, say, an assigned topic, I find that I have to figure out how to fall in love with the project in order to be able to write about it.  I like keeping that standard for myself.  The only other over-arching guideline I use is to try to surround myself with artists who are true collaborators, with strong dramaturgical skills and a fearlessness about asking tough questions.  I like to be pushed and challenged, in a productive, healthy way, by the team on any project.

 

 

SD: What are you working on now?

AC: Lots!  I have two plays opening in September: the first is a Theatre for Young Audiences play commissioned by Cincinnati Playhouse called HIGH SCHOOL ALIEN.  I’ve been working on it with the Cincinnati folks for two and a half years now, so I’m really looking forward to that premiere!  I’m also devising a piece for September production here in DC by Factory 449 – I’m writing on that rather frantically at the moment!  I also have a national tour of my play “The Interior Castle” (a multi-media piece about St. Teresa of Avila, commissioned by Musica Aperta) hitting several major cities in May and June.  It has been performed in Boston, Los Angeles, Houston and San Antonio so far, and is coming to Chicago and DC in June.  I have several other projects in various stages of development, but the one I’m most excited about will premiere in 2016 at the Tony Award-winning Signature Theatre here in DC.  It’s called “Silver Belles” and I wrote the book, with composer-lyricist Matt Conner.  I just know it’s going to be a wonderful production – it will be directed by Signature’s Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer, who just finished directing “Gigi” on Broadway.  So stay tuned!

 

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PARITY PLAYS: Chisa Hutchinson on June 14th

Posted by MB - June 8, 2015

HutchinsonPostcard

 

Parity Plays continues with a reading of a new play by Chisa Hutchinson, Mama’s Gonna Buy You,  on Sunday, June 14th at Cap21 Studios (18W18th Street).  Chisa’s play takes on themes of white appropriation, the power of wealth, and powerlessness of poverty.  This funny and moving play raises questions of entitlement and who “deserves” to be a parent.  The reading will be directed by Jade King Caroll and will feature a talented cast of over 50% Women (per our Parity Plays mission).  Please join us for this FREE programming.

Mama’s Gonna Buy You

by Chisa Hutchinson

directed by Jade King Carroll

Sunday, June 14th at 7pm

Cap 21 Studio 505 (18W18th Street)

FREE!

RSVP on Facebook Here

ABOUT THE PLAY:

A play about entitlement, race, and who deserves to be a parent

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT:

Chisa Hutchinson (B.A. Vassar College; M.F.A NYU – Tisch School of the Arts) has happily presented her plays DIRT RICH, SHE LIKE GIRLS,THIS IS NOT THE PLAY, SEX ON SUNDAY, TUNDE’S TRUMPET, THE SUBJECT, MAMA’S GONNA BUY YOU, SOMEBODY’S DAUGHTER, ALONDRA WAS HERE and DEAD & BREATHING at such venues as the Lark Play Development Center, SummerStage, Atlantic Theater Company, Working Man’s Clothes Productions, the BE Company, Partial Comfort Productions, Mad Dog Theater Company, the Wild Project, Rattlestick Theater, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the South Orange Performing Arts Center, the Contemporary American Theater Festival, and the Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey. She has been a Dramatists Guild Fellow, a Lark Fellow, a Resident at the William Inge Center for the Arts, a New York NeoFuturist and a staff writer for the Blue Man Group, and is currently a second-year member of New Dramatists. Chisa has won a GLAAD Award, the John Golden Award for Excellence in Playwriting, a Lilly Award, a New York Innovative Theatre Award, the Paul Green Award, a Helen Merrill Award, the Lanford Wilson Award, and has been a finalist for the highly coveted PoNY Fellowship. A recent foray into screenwriting won her Best Narrative Short at the Sonoma International Film Festival. By day, Chisa writes copy for a retail company. To learn more, visit www.chisahutchinson.com .

Playwright

Chisa Hutchinson

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Parity Plays in May: Adam Szymkowicz’s COLCHESTER

Posted by MB - May 11, 2015

ColchesterPostcard

 

Project Y’s Parity Plays Reading Series continues this week with a reading of Adam Szymkowicz’s newest play, COLCHESTER.  Szymkowicz and Project Y co-Artistic Director, Michole Biancosino, recently collaborated in the first NY Indie Theatre One Minute Play Festival (#1MPF) at the New Ohio, and we are happy to continue the collaboration by showcasing his work as a playwright who often writes for predominately female casts.   Szymkowicz is a leading member of the Indie theatre community in NYC, through his work as a playwright as well as through his work interviewing playwrights from all walks of life.   Please join us on Sunday, May 17th, for our FREE reading of his latest woman-filled cast.

The Cast:

Heidi Armbruster, Ruibo Qian, Havilah Brewster, Jason Williams, Chinaza Uche, and Lila Claghorn

MONDAY, MAY 17th at 3:40pm

COLCHESTER

by Adam Szymkowicz

directed by Michelle Bossy

CAP 21  (18 W 18th Street, Studio 603)

FREE! (with Iced Tea and Cookies)

RSVP on FACEBOOK Here

ABOUT THE PLAY:

Welcome to Colchester, a town of dashed dreams and fervent hope, history and longing.  And there’s a hardware store too.

Adam Szymokowicz photo

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT:

ADAM SZYMKOWICZ’s plays have been produced throughout the U.S., and in Canada, England, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Germany and Lithuania.   His work has been presented or developed at such places as MCC Theater, Ars Nova, South Coast Rep, Playwrights Horizons, LCT3, LAByrinth Theater Company, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Primary Stages and The New Group, among others.

Plays include Deflowering Waldo, Pretty Theft, Food For Fish, Hearts Like Fists, My Base and Scurvy Heart, Herbie, Incendiary, Clown Bar, Fat Cat Killers, The Why Overhead, Adventures of Super Margaret, Elsewhere, Where You Can’t Follow, A Thing of Beauty, UBU, Mercy, Rare Birds, Violent Bones, Sarah Sarah Sarah, Good Morning Good Night, Colchester and Nerve.

Adam received a Playwright’s Diploma from The Juilliard School’s Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program and an MFA from Columbia University where he was the Dean’s Fellow. Szymkowicz is a two-time Lecomte du Nouy Prize winner, a member of the Dramatists Guild, Writer’s Guild of America, Primary Stages’ Dorothy Strelsin New American Writer’s Group, and was a member of the MCC Playwright’s Coalition and a member of the first Ars Nova Play Group.

He was the premiere Resident Playwright at The Chance Theater in Anaheim, CA and the first playwright to participate in Bloomington Playwrights Projects’ Square One Series. He has been to The Orchard Project, served twice as Playwright in Residence at the William Inge Center, received a grant from the CT Commission on Culture & Tourism, and was commissioned by South Coast Rep, Rising Phoenix Rep and Flux Theater Ensemble.

His plays are published by Dramatists Play Service, Samuel French, Playscripts, Original Works Publishing, Indie Theater Now and featured in New York Theatre Review ’07 and ’09, NYTE’s Cino Nights, Geek Theater, and numerous Smith and Kraus books.

He has written articles for Howlround, New York Theatre Magazine and The Brooklyn Rail and has interviewed over 700 playwrights on his blog. He also has a web series called Compulsive Love (NYTVF) and a comic strip called Toys In My House Comics.

For more, go to www.adamszymkowicz.com.

Michelle Bossy Headshot

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR:

Michelle Bossy is a Mexican-American film and theater director dedicated to bringing original, new work to the stage and screen.  She is the Associate Artistic Director of Primary Stages, where she has worked for the past twelve years. She recently directed the short films 18, written by Courtney Baron, and She Grinds Her Own Coffee, written by Cheri Magid.  Michelle produced the World Premiere of Dread Awakening and directed and produced the premieres of Cloven Tongues (by Victor Lesniewski), Un Plugged In (by Brian Pracht); South Beach Rapture (by David Caudle); Sarajevo’s Child (by Katie Simon); amongst many other new plays. She directed the world premiere of Little Monsters by Maria Alexandria Beech, and created the musical High School Confidential for Primary Stages with writers Janet Reed and Dan Ahearn.  She directed developmental readings of The Infinity Pond by Maria Alexandria Beech and Eat Your Heart Out by Courtney Baron (both at Perry Mansfield New Works Festival), Bicycle Girl by Rogelio Martinez (Repertory Theater of St. Louis),Gloria by Maria Alexandria Beech (EST), Mercy by Adam Szymkowicz, and May Day by Molly Smith Metzler, among many others.  Michelle is the Director of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group, where she has worked with over twenty five emerging writers. Michelle holds the first undergraduate directing degree from Webster University’s Conservatory of Theatre Arts. She is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Plum Productions. She teaches acting and playwriting for the Einhorn School of Performing Arts (ESPA) and directing for Syracuse University’s Tepper Semester. Member: Lincoln Center Director’s Lab and the League of Professional Theatre Women.  Upcoming: Sex of the Baby by Matthew-Lee Erlbach, and an untitled new commission written by Heidi Armbruster.  www.MichelleBossy.com

 

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PARITY PLAYS: “The Sooner Child” by Allyson Currin

Posted by MB - April 14, 2015

  Join us as as our PARITY PLAYS: 50% (or More) Women in Casting Reading Series continues with Allyson Currin’s newest play, “The Sooner Child.” This reading series addresses the documented gender disparity in theatre, by maintaining casts that include at least equal opportunities for female artists.   By making gender equality in casting a theme, we… 

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Parity Plays: The Ghosts of Lote Bravo by Hilary Bettis

Posted by MB - March 24, 2015

  PARITY PLAYS Reading Series Kicks off with a reading of a new play by Hilary Bettis, The Ghosts of Lote Bravo. Hilary has been a Project Y collaborator over the years.  Her play Mexico was featured in our “Feminine Mystique: 50 years Later” reading series and she was a writer/performer in the devised piece, Before & After in the… 

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