Racey Plays Finale: The Short Plays

Posted by MB - November 12, 2011

We are excited to announce the conclusion to our Racey Plays Reading Series happening on December 4th at 7pm at Luca Lounge as we present Racey Plays: The Short Plays. Luca Lounge is located at 222 Avenue B between East 13th and 14th.

Every other month this past year we’ve been working with some incredible playwrights to present a new play around the issue of race. The idea for the Racey Plays Reading Series comes from our interest in and fascination with race and racism and more specifically how race effects the way we see other people and ourselves.

We wanted to share the voices of others artists who are trying to explore the intricacies of race and culture in their work. Ultimately, these are plays about identity, about what it means to be a human being living in a skin, a culture, an ethnicity, or a language that just doesn’t quite fit the majority mold.

For the final reading, we are presenting the following 5 short plays by these prolific playwrights:

Ababuo by Julienne Hairston

Cataracts by Vanessa Shealy Younger

Final Request by Tariq Hamami

Hyena by Callie Kimball

Ready by Mando Alvarado

Join us to celebrate these great new works, have a beer, meet some playwrights you should know, talk shop, and join the Project Y community.  We will also be announcing our theme for our Reading Series in 2012!

See you there!

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Interview with RACEY Playwright Sean Christopher Lewis

Posted by MB - August 31, 2011

On August 15th, Project Y presented a reading of GOODNESS by Sean Christopher Lewis. Recently, we got a chance to talk to Sean about his new play.

MB:  What was the idea that sparked GOODNESS?

SCL:  I had read WHAT IS THE WHAT by Dave Eggers. I started thinking about the idea of a white writer, in the first person, detailing the story of an African child soldier in America. Around the same time the NY Times did a photo pictorial talking about Susan Sontag’s book about how people are engaged by the suffering of others. Suddenly, I was drawn to it. Alex, the photographer, is basically me. I have a lot of self hate and questioning. I’m a liberal who is really scared of liberals and conservatives. Basically, all of these things collected until I started thinking about how difficult it is to do anything ‘good.’ Tha invariably for anyone to do something ‘good’ something ‘bad’ must have happened.
Then I started writing.

MB:   You’ve got this pretty amazing career. You just came back from directing in Rwanda before the reading. Did that experience in Africa change your experience of GOODNESS?

SCL:  It did. When I wrote GOODNESS the African sections were all book research. The past two years I’ve been fortunate to go and work in East Africa. This past summer in Rwanda was really amazing- and then I got off the plane and went straight to the reading. It made me further appreciate the plays existence. I’m proud of this play, it’s a play that needs to be staged not simply about what it says regarding global atrocity but what it says about us as Americans. Plays aren’t doing that anymore in my opinion. Many avoid the American conversation that Miller and Williams started, that Naomi Wallace continued… I think our playwriting vocabulary as a country has grown vastly more imaginative and personal- which has its definite good points. However, the discussion of who we are- not as New Yorkers or Midwesterners, etc- but as Americans. Our country is politically divided, red and blue, and so are our conversations. We like to stay in our spectrums. I think the theater should demand more than that- at least the theater I make. This is the start of an ongoing conversation I’m interested in regarding who we are right now. Because we’re fucked up. And no one is talking about it.

MB:  Since we’re on the subject, what was your reaction to the reading?  Were there any differences from previous readings/drafts? What’s the next step for GOODNESS?

SCL:  The cast was the best ensemble I’ve gotten to see- it made me fall in love with the play again. Because you have enough readings at all these places and eventually you fall out of love, you lose hope in the possibility your voice will get a chance to speak. You start to question if you have to boil everything down and censor it if you want notice. All playwrights are basically idealists and egotists. They want a better world but they also think they can bring it to fruition.

Then you see bad readings, or only readings, and you say if this is how I’m gonna be articulated then forget it.
We made some slight changes. Which helped. But mainly a good cast and some care from a director make an amazing amount of things happen. Plays aren’t meant to be read on paper but that’s all people do, read it, put it in a pile, move on.

MB:  What are you writing now?   What else are you working on in your many different talents – writing, directing, or acting?

SCL:  I just got back from Performance Network in Michigan where I directed a reading of a play called RUST that I’ve been working on with NY Times Magazine journalist Austin Bunn. The rest of the year continues to be crazy. In October I’ll direct GOAT SHOW in Canada at Theatre Kingston. Then November I’ll act in my two solo shows KILLADELPHIA and JUST KIDS across the northeast at Touchstone Theatre, Sandglass Theatre, Hartbeat Ensemble and Pontine Theatre. and then the writing- I have commissions at Interact Theatre in Philly, Hancher Auditorium in Iowa and Adirondack Theatre Fest in NY that are getting finished up. And a musical I have been working on for the past two years is finally moving toward the workshop stage so I’ll have more than enough taking me toward December.

Read Sean’s bio page.

Pictures of GOODNESS taken at the Hourglass Tavern in New York City.

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Staged Reading of Yellow by Jessica Dickey

Posted by Project Y - June 1, 2011

Yellow, written by Jessica Dickey, is the story of Anna, a young American woman who befriends Ylbere, a young Muslim man who recently survived the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia. Set against The Yellow Wallpaper, the Victorian short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Yellow is an exploration of intimacy and violence.
This play will be presented as part of our Racey Plays Reading Series. Directed by Michole Biancosino, this reading features the fine work of Megan Byrne, Jessica Rothenberg, Josh Barrett, and Alfredo Narciso

Looking forward to sharing this amazing play with you.

RSVP on our Facebook Fan page.

See you there!

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Racey Plays Reading Series: Mourning Sun

Posted by Project Y - March 30, 2011

About the play: When Biftu, a bright and upbeat girl from the Bahr Dar region of Ethiopia, turns fourteen she suddenly becomes the focus of her mother’s ambition. Caught in a tug of war between cultural traditions and her own desires, Biftu dreams about the world beyond village life. “Mourning Sun” unearths the everyday violence… 

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Racey Plays follow-up: a chat with Kevin R. Free

Posted by Project Y - March 24, 2011

Playwright, Actor, and Theatre Artist Extraordinaire: KEVIN R FREE and I have a post-mortem discussion of his RACEY PLAY reading “A Raisin in the Salad: Black Plays for White People.” MB: 
In our reading, the stage directions were really important to the audience experience of the play. In thinking of staging the play, do you… 

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