HOLY COW! Reading Series Interview with Playwright Laura Marks

Posted by MB - November 29, 2012

Project Y is getting ready for our upcoming HOLY COW! reading with Playwright Laura Marks.  PY Literary Manager, Michael Doyle, talked with the playwright about this new play, writing theatre, and her next big thing.  Enjoy the interview:
Gather at the River deals with the clash between rural Christian fundamentalism and urbane liberalism.  What was the impetus for this piece and why were you drawn to it?
I actually received a real-life fundraising email similar to the one that begins the play.  It was so absurd, and yet so sincere.  And it got me thinking about the human impulse toward “good works,” particularly the way it manifests in my own urban community.
You are originally from Kentucky and most of the action of the play takes place in Kentucky Appalachia.  Was the Christian fundamentalist experience part of your own upbringing?
Yes and no.  I grew up in Lexington, KY, which is a small city with a university.   But my parents are both from small towns in Eastern Kentucky.  And I spent a lot of time visiting my grandmother there, and going to her little Baptist church with pink carpet and a mural of the River Jordan behind plexiglass.  Back then it was still possible to be politically liberal and Baptist—think Jimmy Carter, not Pat Buchanan.
The three Kentuckians in Gather at the River are part of an extreme evangelical Christian sect: they don’t listen to music, they make women cover their heads, and they’re strict Biblical literalists.  They’re certainly not meant to represent most Christians—or most Kentuckians, for that matter.  You can find groups like this throughout the fifty states. But I wanted to explore the absolute farthest poles of the red-state/blue-state divide.  And at the same time, I wanted to leave room for a third alternative: people who have faith, but don’t necessarily believe that they have all the answers.
 Why do you write for theatre as opposed to other genres?
I love the community.  I also find the limitations of the medium really intriguing.  And it feels like there are still plenty of discoveries to be made in the theater, and you don’t need tons of money to innovate.  There are endless ways to tell a story on stage.  It’s not like you’re screwed if you don’t have the budget for CGI.
What is up next for Laura Marks?
My play Bethany is opening in January at City Center Stage II.  The Women’s Project is producing it, Gaye Taylor Upchurch is directing it, and I couldn’t be more excited about our fabulous cast and dream creative team.  It’s a dark comedy, or perhaps a perky tragedy. I’m not sure which.  I wrote it in early 2009, and it takes place amidst the wreckage of the foreclosure crisis.  I was a bit concerned that by the time it reached production the economy would have recovered completely and the play wouldn’t feel as relevant.  Happily, or unhappily, that hasn’t been the case!

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New Play: GATHER AT THE RIVER by Laura Marks

Posted by MB - November 24, 2012

We are excited to announce the next reading in our Holy Cow! Reading Series:  GATHER AT THE RIVER, by Laura Marks

With Alexander Cook, Birgit Huppuch, Adam LeFevre, Molly Ranson, Heidi Schreck, Dale Soules, & Gary Wilmes

About the Play

An affluent but unfulfilled stay-at-home-mom unwittingly finds herself volunteering in a fundamentalist Christian enclave where women cover their heads, music is immoral, and pregnant teenagers need all the help they can get.

About the Playwright

Laura Marks is the author of Bethany, scheduled to premiere off-Broadway at City Center Stage II in January 2013 (produced by the Women’s Project, directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch, starring America Ferrera). Bethany won the Leah Ryan Prize for Emerging Women Writers, was published in Methuen’s American Next Wave anthology in the UK, and was chosen by John Guare as runner-up for Yale’s David C. Horn Prize. Other plays include Mine (upcoming production at the Gift Theatre, Chicago) and Gather at the River. Ms. Marks recently graduated from Juilliard’s playwriting program and became a member of New Dramatists. Other honors include a 2012 Helen Merrill Award, a 2013 award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, a two-year residency in the Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group and two Lecomte du Nouy awards while at Juilliard. Her plays have been developed at the Public, the Women’s Project, Manhattan Theatre Club, the Royal Exchange Theatre (UK), HighTide Festival Theatre (UK), the Wilma Theater, the Lark, the Black Dahlia, Steppenwolf, Partial Comfort, Prospect Theater, Naked Angels, Synchronicity, Reverie Productions et al. and she currently holds a commission from South Coast Repertory. She’s a native of Kentucky, now living in New York. Proud member of the Dramatists Guild.


The reading will be at  [space on white], 81 White Street, NYC at 7pm. We will serve free wine before and after.

Look forward to seeing you there!



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HOLY COW! Reading Series: Interview with Playwright David Caudle

Posted by MB - October 26, 2012

We are excited for our upcoming reading of DOWNWARD FACING DEBBIE by David Caudle.  Project Y’s Literary Manager, Michael Doyle, took some time to sit down with David at a Yoga Studio to talk about the play.  Check out the video of their interview and join us for the reading!


Click here for more information on David Caudle and to RSVP for the reading.



DOWNWARD FACING DEBBIE was originally written and developed at Primary Stages in the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writer’s Group.

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HOLY COW! Reading Series

Posted by MB - April 1, 2012

The HOLY COW! Reading Series is a bi-monthly reading of  plays about religion, faith, and life after death. How do we see the possibility of life after death today? What does it mean to be a person of faith? How does belief in an afterlife inform everyday actions and emotions? How does religion really effect the… 

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