Submissions for plays for the upcoming 2022-2023 season of the Talking It Out Virtual Arts Festival in support of mental health awareness will be accepted this May for Mental Health Awareness Month beginning May 1st at 12am EST. Please read below for more details.
This year, we will be accepting submissions for short plays, (less than 20 minutes) one-act plays, (20-40 minutes) & full-length plays (60-120 minutes) of all genres, including comedy, drama, sci-fi, horror, experimental, etc. The one requirement – in terms of subject matter – is that all plays should deal with the topic of mental illness. (i.e. anxiety, depression, autism, ADHD, PTSD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, dementia, etc.)
Depending on the length and quality of the submissions received, our November 2022 performance will feature between 5-6 short plays, our March 2023 performance will feature between 2-4 one-act plays, and our July 2023 performance will feature 1 full-length play.
There is no submission fee, and playwrights are welcome to submit as many plays as they wish.
Plays that have received a previous reading or production are eligible, as long as they are unpublished.
Tickets to the festival will be free, but we will be accepting donations. Half will be donated to a non-profit organization dedicated to direct action & relief for those struggling with mental illness, while the other half will be evenly distributed amongst the participating artists.
Our submission deadline is May 31st at 11:59pm EST. Playwrights will be notified by July 31st at the very latest if their play is selected for inclusion in the festival.
Playwrights who are interested in submitting should send each submission via email to Literary Manager Angelo Lorenzo at email@example.com under the subject line “Talking It Out Play Submission – INSERT PLAY NAME HERE”. Please also provide us with a brief synopsis & approximate run time of your play(s) in the body of your email.
> TICKETSAvailable Now for All Performances > HERE
> Download complete Festival Performance Schedule > HERE
“Accidental Intimacies” – by Megan Kemple
Tuesday 5/3 at 6:30 pm / Sunday 5/8 at 7:45 pm / Monday 5/9 at 6 pm / est. 80′
“An eviscerating sexual liberation ritual, approach with caution.” Accidental Intimacies is a choreopoem exploration of the psyche of a disabled, bisexual, polyamorous sex worker through the lens of the women she imitated from pop culture to create her own persona. M is a modern sugar baby/call girl/sex worker taking an inward look at how she became a part of this moment in American history. With the support of her “Muses” – Ms. Vanda, Stefani Germanotta, Lana Del Rey, Amy Winehouse, and Scarlett O’Hara – M explores themes of her life including sex work, sexuality, violence, assault, militarism, polyamory, and more.
“Deny We Were” – by Joe Moe
Wednesday 5/11 at 6:00 pm / Friday 5/13 at 8 pm / Saturday 5/14 at 5 pm / est. 90′
It’s all LA sunshine and fun until a handsome teenage inquisitor shows up with a chip on his shoulder. When precocious 17-year old Jonah McCabe bunks with adopted “Guncle” Dean Vela, raging hormones take a backseat to burning resentment of his controlling, ex-model dad, Jimmy (and a sneaking suspicion Uncle Dean and dad have been “more than just friends”). Jonah’s mom supports Jimmy financially and he, in turn, enjoys it. Who IS this gorgeous villain that has everyone eating off of his abs? When Jimmy finally appears in the charismatic flesh, thirsty secrets unravel in the narcissistic centrifuge that spins around an unsqueezable love-sponge. Desire and deceit – all suspended in a soap bubble of wicked humor.
“Eternal Flamer!” – Tommy Jamerson
Wednesday 5/4 at 6 pm / Saturday 5/7 at 8:30 pm / Sunday 5/8 at 3:15 pm / est. 90′
In this neon-coded, campy tribute to the 80s, pretty-boy Jessie Blade leaves his small Minnesota home for the bright lights of the city that never sleeps (…with the same person twice) only to get mixed-up in a labyrinth of plot twists, drag queens, sex, drugs, and open dance calls!
Love. Loss. Betrayal? You are not alone. How do young queer people find their place in a world that seems at first not to have a place for them? What happens when Queer Kids take their rebellion against a straight-dominated world a bit too far? Queerness is simply a fact of the story, a story told with all the passion and suspense the young are prone to, rejecting the notion that queer people are defined by their orientation.
“Motherf**king Girl Scouts” – by Emmy W
Wednesday 5/11 at 8:45 pm / Friday 5/13 at 6:00 pm / Saturday 5/14 at 3:00 pm / est. 70′
Camp counselors Jazmyn and Jia take an impulsive and unhinged group of young Girl Scouts on a camping trip they will never forget. On their journey, the Girl Scouts begrudgingly learn how to navigate the great joys and intense traumas of being a teenager, complete with motivational creatures popping out of the forest, accidental molly consumption, and most crucially, each other.
“Once on Rumspringa” – by Ellis Stump
Tuesday 5/3 at 8:30 pm / Wednesday 5/4 at 8:15 pm / Saturday 5/7 at 3:15 pm / est. 100′
Amish childhood gal pals, Sadie Smucker and ex-Preacher’s daughter Willa Stoltzfus, now 19, share a trailer, meth addiction, and sexual tension thick as a milkshake. They’ve spent their Rumspringa together higher than Heaven, but the analog clock is ticking on when they can revisit their Community, before being forced to surrender their love or leave town forever. With 24 hours until Communion, six intricately interrelated sinners, ranging from Church-possessed to dying in Purgatory, must come Clean. BYOBonnet. ADVISORY: Drug & alcohol abuse, violence, references to homophobia/religious trauma, non-consensual sex acts, and allusions to suicide.
“Roommates” – by Kia Barbee
Directed by Deborah Goodwin
Saturday 5/7 at 1:00 pm / Tuesday 5/10 at 6 pm / Thursday 5/12 at 8:30 pm / est. 90′
How do you get the courage to love openly and without regret? How long does it take? It’s 1991. Celia and Jocelyn, college freshman roommates meet and fall in love. They embark on a long term, sporadic and complicated private love affair until the women are forced to make a decision about their romance… commit or stay apart?
“Sassafras and the Captain” – by Sarah Elisabeth Brown
Thursday 5/5 at 6:00 pm / Friday 5/6 at 8:45 pm / Sunday 5/8 at 1:00 pm / est. 90′
When Sassafras, a role-playing submissive femme dyke, decides she wants to become a top, she upends her steady relationship with teddy-bear butch Captain Lou, and brings an old flame, the roguishly handsome boundary-pushing masochist Micky Penny, into the mix for an experiment in non-monogamy. Chaos ensues as Sassafras practices new skills of dominance, faces competition from the unassuming southern belle 50’s housewife next door, and gets schooled by the supreme Goddess of been-there-done-that, Mistress Chelsea. Can this young couple grow their love big enough to include these new elements? Or will they be shipwrecked on the sea of dyke drama? It remains – to be seen!
“Somewhere Between Mars and Venus” – by Otto Sanchez
Tuesday 5/10 at 8:15 pm / Thursday 5/12 at 6 pm / Saturday 5/14 at 12:30 pm / est. 100′
It’s only when people say you’re not normal that you feel that way. In this 90 minute dramedy, Juana, a jaded, middle aged, former drag queen on Gay Pride weekend 2015, meets and falls in love with Anika, the quintessential trans woman. The encounter sparks Juana to travel back in time to 1982 New York City, at the start of the AIDS epidemic. Juana recalls the underworld Drag Ball culture, including Miss Guided, house mother to transgenders, and her protégé Linda, a young trans woman who teaches Juana what beauty and “normal” really means.
“You’re a Weirdo, Annie Best” – by Erin Shea Brady
Friday 5/6 at 6:30 pm / Sunday 5/8 at 5:30 pm / Monday 5/9 at 8:15 pm / est.100′[ TICKETS AVAILABLE SOON! ]
Annie Best is queer, polyamorous, recently estranged from her family and her writing is at a creative standstill. When one of Annie’s partners convinces her to dive into the world of Nora Ephron’s great romantic comedies, she begins to see her life through the Ephron lens. She imagines scenes and conversations, paying homage to When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and Julie & Julia, and others. As seasons pass romantic relationships develop and change, with faith and family coming into question. Will reconnecting with her father help her find the courage to stand on her own?
Internationally produced and recognized playwright Elana Gartner has written Runtime Error (2021 semi-finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Conference. Virtual reading: Transformation Theater), Before Lesbians (2020 Dayton FutureFest Finalist; 2nd Place Recipient of the 2018 Henley Rose Playwriting Competition for Women. Readings: Oberlin College, Yellow Rose Productions. Virtual readings: Dayton Futurefest; Good Luck Macbeth), Because of Beth (Productions: Howick Little Theatre; The Workshop Theater), Daughter (Reading: UpTheater Company; PlayLab Selection, 2013 Great Plains Theatre Conference), Pilar’s Brother (Reading: Repertorio Español), Cortex Kin (Reading: Dixon Place), Spinning (Production:Fabrefaction Theater Company), and Ernie Evan (Productions: Genesis Repertory Theater; Heights Players, 6×10 Festival). Two monologues from Elana’s plays Daughter and Because of Beth were published in “Audition Monologues for Young Women #2: More Contemporary Auditions for Aspiring Actresses “(Meriwether Publishing, Ltd., 2013). Elana founded the EMG Playwriting Workshop and is also a member of the Manhattan Oracles playwriting group. Elana founded the International Centre for Women Playwrights 50/50 Applause Awards and served on the ICWP board for five years. Elana is a member of the Dramatists Guild and Honor Roll! She writes freelance articles for HowlRound. Elana is currently an MFA candidate at Spalding University. During the pandemic, Elana founded Four Walls Theater which has been producing socially responsible theatre online.
Four Walls Theater is a grassroots socially responsible theater that produces new plays through online readings, working with diverse artists from around the country. Four Walls Theater honors people of all backgrounds and works to create a safe and supportive community for our artists and audiences.
Theatre Beyond Broadway: The Podcast is sponsored by Teague Theatrical Group. Music by Robert Kaufmann. All rights reserved 2017 and 2018. Produced by Ian McDonald. Available wherever you get podcasts.
Tell us about your current project? I am producing a show called I Squeezed Really Hard. In it Anthony Misiano serves up a series of painfully funny, progressively more shocking stories about a turbulent childhood and the modern broken home. A journey as raw as it is intangibly universal, Misiano’s fearless, fast-paced storytelling takes us down an engrossing, hilarious and honest autobiographical road that makes us laugh at our darkest moments, and question what exactly we define as family. An unafraid comedy set in a simpler, more aggressive time known commonly as, the 90’s.
What continues to inspire your art? The capacity of theatre to entertain and elevate. I believe our stories create our reality. They have the power to deepen our connection to each other, heal the past, and serve a better tomorrow. We are what we consume. So I am passionate about bringing exquisitely crafted high quality stories that feed the mind, thrill the body and elevate the soul to the stage and screen. Any advice for your peers?Follow your heart and be of service. We can’t do this alone- All boats rise with the tide. And don’t forget to have fun along the way!
What’s next for you? I have another potential project on the horizon- but it’s a little hush hush at the moment. More to be revealed later.
Bio: Laura is the founder of the Vogels Creative, where she helps individuals and businesses express their brands authentically and provides creative direction & producing services for film, theatre and photoshoots. Laura has worked as a producer, director, AD and a myriad of other roles for over 20 films/theatrical projects and is honored to champion Anthony’s story. She views storytelling as a powerful tool for healing, creating empathy and connection and that the stories we consume determine the quality of our reality. Her production branch is called The-Aviary.com. Her goal is to entertain & elevate. As an actress, Laura studied at top London schools Italia Conti Academy, RADA and LAMDA. She has worked on stage in both Europe and the US. From Off-Broadway theaters like the Rattlestick Theatre to working in independent film with companies like Audacity Innovative, on TV, and in Voice Over, Laura loves every part of the creative process.
September 17-19 & 23-26 The Wild Project | 195 E 3rd St. NYC $25 ISqueezedReallyHard.com @LauraVogels
Qurrat Ann Kadwani (Actress, Writer, Producer) is the first South Asian female to have a comedic solo play, THEY CALL ME Q (www.theycallmeqshow.com), produced Off Broadway for which she has won awards including Best Actress, Best Play, citations from NYS Assemblyman and Bronx Borough President, Trailblazer from SAIPAF, Cultural from AAPICC, Dream from SAPNA. Featured on Fox News and highlighted as a “Woman Who Shapes the Future” on Fox 5 NY, she has performed over 200 times in 37 states, including at the United Nations and college campuses all over the US. Her second solo play on sexual violence prevention, INTRUSION (www.intrusionshow.com), has also been produced Off Broadway with a college tour, received rave reviews and several awards including Best Performer.
She is a working actress in NYC with TV credits that include Law & Order: SVU, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Madam Secretary, The Sinner, Falling Water. Film credits include Universal Pictures The First Purge, Marisol currently on HBO and she has starred in and produced the short film The Fifth of November which has received rave reviews, awards including two for Best Actress, and most recently, global distribution. She is also starring in and the Associate Producer of the award-winning short film Show & Tell. She has also worked in Branded Videos for International Refugee Center, HubSpot, Waze and more. www.imdb.me/qkadwani
Ms. Kadwani also coordinates an annual philanthropic project “A Slice of Hope” (www.asliceofhope.org) as well as the annual Echoes of Love: Suicide Prevention Fundraiser with music.
Ms. Kadwani has run the 2007 Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC, the 2009 ING NYC Marathon, 2008 Queens Half Marathon (13.1 miles), 2008 Manhattan Grand Prix Half Marathon (13.1 miles) and many more
Theatre Beyond Broadway: The Podcast is sponsored by Teague Theatrical Group. Music by Robert Kaufmann. All rights reserved 2017 and 2018. Produced by Ian McDonald. Available wherever you get podcasts.
Witches, Bitches, and Divas! Deemed “truly spellbinding” by NiteLife Exchange, songs from your favorite standards, musicals, and operas are given a fresh spin to keep you enchanted and bewildered. This is a night of cross-over comedy you do NOT want to miss. Celebrate iconic roles, both onstage and off, but beware… this program is sure to put a spell on you!
What continues to inspire your art?
The idea of working with external boundaries and breaking down walls to expand your sphere. Creating your own opportunities in a world where limits can at times feel overwhelming. Finding moments of connection in our shared humanity.
Any advice for your peers?
There are so many things that are out of our control and it can feel incredibly binding. Focus on what IS in your control. Find your glow and spread it to your community!
What’s next for you?
WBD hits the stage of The John W. Engeman Theater on Long Island on Friday, August 20th at 8pm and The Lyric Stage Company of Boston on Saturday, August 28th at 8pm.
Praised for her “astounding vocal expressivity”, Christina Pecce is a singing-actress who crosses over the genres of opera, musical theatre, jazz, and performance art. Her cabaret series Witches, Bitches, and Divas! has been featured across the country, most notably at 54 Below, The Green Room 42, and A.R.T.’s OBERON. Additionally, she has performed with Lyric Opera of Chicago (Jesus Christ Superstar, Earth to Kenzie), Timber Lake Playhouse (Man Of La Mancha), Chicago Opera Theater (L’autre moi), Chicago Fringe Opera (The Great God Pan, Tom Waits’ Woyzeck), Out Of The Box Opera (Diva Cage Match), Fort Worth Opera (Carmen, Voir Dire), and Boston Opera Collaborative (To Hell And Back, Rinaldo) among others. In 2015, she took part in the U.S. premiere of Lee Mingwei’s Sonic Blossom, a performance art piece featured at the MFA. More at http://www.christinapecce.com
Thursday, August 19th at 7pm The Green Room 42 in NYC
The Waterman revolves around a race of peaceful ocean-dwelling “Water People” who come into conflict with the so-called “Land Men” over their reckless pollution and illegal fishing practices. The two civilizations, both deeply suspicious of the other, are on the eve of a globally destructive war when a half-fish, half-man secret agent called The Waterman goes deep undercover as a human to save the day. The show is scored by a folk-rock palette, sometimes haunting, sometimes raucous, and always foot-stomping enjoyable. We grapple with questions about familial obligations, political war tactics, and what it means to love a half-human/half-fish.
What continues to inspire your art?
New audiences, The planet, making my friends laugh.
Any advice for your peers?
Make the show you’ve always wanted to see.
What’s next for you?
Writing a movie musical with The Barn, called Grapes of Rad
Sam De Roest is a Brooklyn based actor, improviser and playwright/composer. He is a graduate of Portland Actors Conservatory and the Curious Comedy Training Center in Portland, OR. In 2014, Sam and his writing partner Kyle Acheson (The Waterman) moved from Portland to New York City to pursue their interests in Musical Theatre.
(NY, NY) NPTC is pleased to announce the launch of THEATRE FROM THE STREETS, a 12-week pilot project prompted by discussions among theatre women involved with the 2020 Gilder/Coigney International Theatre Award, given by the International Committee of the League of Professional Theatre Women (LPTW). NPTC is partnering with U.S. and international companies to provide a platform in which theatre artists can use their creative talents to be a voice for THE PEOPLE.
The pilot program looks at the first of what are expected to eventually be worldwide regions: Palestine & Lebanon, Venezuela, and India for one month each on four successive Sundays. Each event includes the work of three invited theatre artists (12 total for each region.) To achieve the goals of the program, the theatrical pieces will focus on the themes of Correcting the Record, A Day in the Life and What Will It Take?
Palestine & Lebanon will be spotlighted August 1, 8, 15, and 22, 2021 at 12:00pm EST (U.S.) with works curated by Iman Aoun, Artistic Director of ASHTAR Theatre, the oldest youth theatre in Palestine. A renowned international trainer in theatre of the oppressed techniques, she works with marginalized youth in devising pieces based on their personal stories, including the global sensation The Gaza Monologues. Aoun is an award-winning actor and director, and has received numerous commendations for her work from different countries, international organizations and festivals. http://www.ashtar-theatre.org
Featured artists for the first four programs will include Abdelfattah Abusrour, Ali Abu Yasin, Raeda Taha, Bassem El Dirawi, among others.
The pieces will be performed in English in a 60-minute live Zoom meeting. Scripts in the native language will also be made available during the performances. Audiences will be invited to engage in a discussion immediately following the readings that will contextualize the theatre pieces and deepen our understanding of the lived experiences of marginalized and oppressed peoples in these areas.
Each event will be recorded and posted to the YouTube Channel of New Perspectives Theatre Company, a NYC-based non-profit which has been dedicated for 30 years to giving voice to the “other”. Partners in this endeavor include ASHTAR Theatre (Palestine), Brighton Theatre (U.K.), Darpana Academy of Performing Arts (India), LPTW International Committee (U.S.), Teatro La Comarca (Venezuela), and Theatre Beyond Broadway (U.S.).
NEW PERSPECTIVES THEATRE COMPANY (NPTC) is an award-winning, multi-racial company performing for the last 30 years in Midtown Manhattan, communities throughout NYC and the Northeastern U.S., and as of 2015, internationally. The Company’s mission is to: develop and produce new plays and playwrights, especially women and people of color; present classic plays in a style that addresses contemporary issues and restores forgotten female theatre practitioners to the Canon; and extend the benefits of theatre to young people and communities in need. Our aim is not to exclude, but to cast a wider net. http://www.nptnyc.org
MELODY BROOKS is the founder and Artistic Director of NPTC. She is an award-winning producer, director and dramaturg and recipient of the “Spirit of Hope Award” from Speranza Theatre Company for her career-long support of women theatre artists. Brooks and NPTC also received the “Trailblazing Women and Arts Institutions Award” from Rhythm Color Associates. She currently leads NPTC’s Women’s Work Project, which develops new plays and rescues plays by women from the past. Brooks is on the Board of LPTW and has co-produced the triennial LPTW Gilder/Coigney International Theatre Award Program since 2014.
LINDA CHAPMAN is a long-time member of the League of Professional Theater Women serving as Chair of the Lucille Lortel Committee and Co-chair with Joan D. Firestone of the International Committee. She is a Founding Board President of Youth Arts NY (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons coalition member – 2017 Nobel Peace Prize). Chapman was Associate Artistic Director at New York Theatre Workshop from 1995-2020; co-adapted Ann Bannon’s Lesbian classic, The Beebo Brinker Chronicles (GLAAD Media Award winner, nominated for a LAMBDA Literary Award) for the stage with playwright Kate Moira Ryan. Co-writer/performer of OBIE Award winning Gertrude and Alice: A Likeness to Loving with life partner, Lola Pashalinski.
JOAN D. FIRESTONE is a familiar figure in NYC’s cultural and civic communities, having held policy level positions in the for-profit, nonprofit, and government sectors including: Assistant Director of the New York State Council on the Arts; President of Primary Design Galleries; Executive Director of the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Association; Director of Economic Development and Cultural Advisor to the NYC Comptroller; Special Advisor in the Arts to the NYC Schools Chancellor; and Executive Director of The Moth. Firestone maintains an active role in the theatre community in the development of innovative new works promoting social change. A former Co-President of LPTW, she is currently co-chair of the International Committee and serves on the Boards of The Moth, En Garde Arts, and New Yorkers for Culture and Arts (NY4C&A).
LUPE GEHRENBECK is an award-winning playwright and director with a 30-year track record. She has collaboratively developed and independently produced more than 25 plays in Caracas and across three continents in multiple cities, using the same independent collaborative format to adapt them to the local audiences. She also created “Theater Without Borders” for UNESCO, working with at-risk migrant children populations in Mexico. Gehrenbeck has received numerous awards for her work; an anthology of eight of her plays was published in 2018. She is Vice President of Gimnasio de Actores, Caracas and a member of the PDW of the Actors Studio NYC. https://www.lupegehrenbeck.com
MALINI SINGH MCDONALD is the founder of Theatre Beyond Broadway which provides a platform to promote and support a broad range of independent artists through producing, publicity, education and a podcast. McDonald is currently Executive Vice President of the League of Professional Theatre Women, a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, and has been recognized with a Woman of Distinction Award from the City of New York for her contribution to Media, Arts and Culture. www.theatrebeyondbroadway.com.
MALLIKA SARABHAI is a celebrated Indian performer and activist best known for playing the lead role in Peter Brook’s magnum opus, The Mahabharata. She has traveled the world with her work for four decades, using dance, theatre, music, puppetry, video and martial arts to draw attention to issues relating to women, violence, human rights and the environment. Sarabhai received the second and third highest civilian award from France and India, numerous human rights awards, and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. www.darpana.com
FAYNIA WILLIAMS is a multi-award winning international theatre director and BBC producer of drama and documentaries. She has been artistic director of five UK theatres including her current post at Brighton Theatre, where she uses the power of the arts to go “where politics cannot, with the aim of effecting change”. Williams has also worked with a number of international organizations, including serving as honorary president of UNESCO’S International Theatre Institute Dramatic Theatre Committee. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. www.brightontheatre.com
Playwright and Actor Priyanka Shetty Makes Her NYC Debut at Off-Broadway, Drama Desk Award-Winning 59E59 Theaters with #CHARLOTTESVILLE, from her Triptych of Solo Plays Examining Racial Violence in the U.S.
Shetty’s #CHARLOTTESVILLE to Run at NYC’s 59E59 Theaters’ “East to Edinburgh” Festival
(New York – June 24, 2021) – Award-winning international actor and playwright Priyanka Shetty performs her solo play #CHARLOTTESVILLE, hand-picked as one of nine new works to be staged at the coveted 59E59 Theaters’ “East to Edinburgh” Festival in New York City this summer. This is the second of three plays in her Triptych of solos that reveals the harrowing and heart-wrenching experiences of the residents of Charlottesville, Virginia who were present as counter-protestors at the white-supremacist “Unite the Right” rally on August 11th and 12th, 2017. Many survived and were seriously injured in the violent car attack that led to the tragic death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
Speaking about why this piece was chosen from a significant pool of submissions, Associate Curator at 59 E 59 Theaters Jessica Hart says, “Priyanka’s profound text is moving and thought provoking. Her powerhouse performance made this an easy choice. This solo show held me captivated from the first silhouetted moment to its poignant, final breath.”
Written and performed by Priyanka Shetty, #CHARLOTTESVILLE will be staged as part of 59E59 Theaters’ “East to Edinburgh Goes Virtual” festival from July 15-25. Tickets are $20 and include access to all nine virtual productions. Click here for tickets and information.
#CHARLOTTESVILLEis a solo play about the white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally and the events that took place between August 11-12, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia. It is constructed verbatim from interviews with local residents impacted by the events and its aftermath, and highlights their real-life experiences as they dealt with the crisis and continue to find ways to move forward as individuals and as a community. The play explores deep-seated racial inequities that have existed historically in Charlottesville and how it escalated to one of the most terrible manifestations of racial violence during what is now known as the ‘Summer of Hate.’
Shetty has simultaneously been selected among a cohort of burgeoning dramatists to join the prestigious Kennedy Center’s mentorship program for extraordinary playwrights this summer, where she will be completing her triptych of solos, of which #CHARLOTTESVILLE is a part. The first play of the series, THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM, had its critically acclaimed DC-premiere at The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts’ Millennium Stage in 2019.
Program Director Gary Garrison remarks, “We’re thrilled to include Priyanka Shetty in the 2021 Kennedy Center Summer Playwriting Intensive. Priyanka’s extraordinary promise as a playwright and her beautiful theatrical work assured her a place in this year’s Intensive. We can’t wait to watch her grow.”
Originally from India, Shetty came to the U.S. to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting. She was enrolled at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville when the 2017 “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally transpired.
“I didn’t originally intend to become a playwright or write plays about social justice. But as an international student and artist who coincidentally landed in a city that saw one of the many manifestations of racism, discrimination and hate that continue to plague America, I had to speak up,” stated Shetty. “I realized my own cultural background and identity gave me a unique lens through which I could unpack these issues and bring awareness to them. I am hopeful that this virtual production of #CHARLOTTESVILLE will enable it to reach more people, because it is a play with a very important message and there’s an urgency associated with sharing it, given our current political climate.”
Priyanka brings a unique and global perspective as a South Asian immigrant and unpacks the quintessential American conflict of socio-economic inequality and racial violence in this triptych of solos. Each play in the triptych tackles the issues of race and discrimination from different perspectives – THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM approaches it from the viewpoint of a South Asian woman and her transition from deeply embedded roots in India to finding context and common ground in America; the second play #CHARLOTTESVILLE explores it from the perspective of a city that was at the center of one of America’s most terrible manifestations of racial violence; lastly, THE WALL ties it up by highlighting the immigrant experience in America.
The triptych will be available for production as a coordinated nationwide premiere across multiple cities in 2022-23.
#CHARLOTTESVILLE was originally presented as an ensemble play at Live Arts and the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center in Charlottesville, VA in April 2019 and workshopped as a solo play at The Abbey Theatre of Dublin in Dublin, OH in February 2021.
Priyanka Shetty is an award-winning actor, director, and playwright. Her critically acclaimed one-woman show THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOMhas been performed at numerous venues across the US including The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington DCand will be staged as part of the reputed Assembly Festival at the 2022 Edinburgh Fringe followed by a Scotland and wider-UK tour. The world premiere production of this play won the 2020 Broadway World Regional Awards for Best Performer of the Decade and Best Play of the Decade. Her second solo play #CHARLOTTESVILLEwill be presented at the Drama Desk award-winning, Off-Broadway destination 59E59 Theaters’ “East to Edinburgh” Festival in July 2021. Priyanka has been selected as a member of the prestigious Kennedy Center Playwriting Intensive 2021, where she will complete work on THE WALL, the final play in her triptych of solos which deals with the immigrant experience in America. Priyanka earned a Master of Fine Arts in Acting from the University of Virginia and has served on the faculty of the University of Virginia’s Department of Drama. www.priyankashetty.com
Untitled Theater Company No. 61 will present the World Premiere of Alma Baya, a new science fiction drama written and directed by Edward Einhorn (The Marriage of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein at HERE, NY Times Critic’s Pick), at A.R.T./New York’s Jeffrey and Paula Gural Theatre (502 West 53rd Street at 10th Avenue), August 13-28. Performances will be
– Friday, August 13 at 7pm – Saturday, August 14 at 6pm – Saturday, August 14 at 9pm – Sunday, August 15 at 2pm – Sunday, August 15 at 7pm – Tuesday, August 17 at 7pm – Wednesday, August 18 at 7pm – Thursday, August 19 at 7pm – Friday, August 20 at 7pm – Saturday, August 21 at 6pm – Saturday, August 21 at 9pm – Sunday, August 22 at 2pm – Tuesday, August 24 at 7pm – Wednesday, August 25 at 7pm – Thursday, August 26 at 7pm – Friday, August 27 at 7pm – Saturday, August 28 at 6pm – Saturday, August 28 at 9pm
The show will also be livestreamed on Saturday, August 14 at 6pm, Saturday, August 14 at 9pm, Sunday, August 15 at 2pm, and Sunday, August 15 at 7pm and will be available on-demand through September 19. Tickets ($25-$30) are available for advance purchase at www.untitledtheater.com. All live audience members must be vaccinated and bring their vax card or excelsior pass. The performance will run approximately 70 minutes, with no intermission.
Alma and Baya live on a hostile planet inside a pod designed to sustain them both. When a refugee arrives from another pod that has broken down, they have to weigh compassion versus survival. An original absurdist sci fi drama.
The show will be double cast as a Covid precaution and will feature Maggie Cino (The Hollow at The Brick), Nina Mann (It Pays to Advertise with Metropolitan Playhouse), and JaneAnne Halter (Somewhere I Can Scream at The Players Theatre) as Cast A with Ann Marie Yoo (Doctors Jane and Alexander at HERE), Rivera Reese (Matt & Ben at The Kraine), and Sheleah Harris (for colored girls who have considered suicide with 4th Wall Theatre) as Cast B. The design team will include Costumes by Ramona Ponce (The Mystery of Irma Vep with Red Bull Theater), Lighting by Federico Restrepo (Don Quixote Takes New York at La MaMa), Set by Mike Mroch (Unsex Me Here: The Tragedy of Macbeth at The Brick), Sound by Mark Bruckner (The God Projekt at La MaMa), Livestream Design by Iben Cenholt, and Fight Choreography by Dan Zisson.
Edward Einhorn (Playwright/Director) is a playwright, director, opera librettist, and children’s book novelist. Other work includes The Marriage of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein (HERE; New York Times Critic’s Pick from Jesse Green), planned this season for an Off-West End run at the Jermyn Street Theatre; The Last Cyclist (La MaMa), soon to be broadcast by WNET, the New York PBS affiliate, as part of their Theater Close Up program; A stage adaptation of Jack London’s dystopian socialist novel The Iron Heel (Judson Church and elsewhere), also made into an audio drama podcast; and an adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (3LD). The New York Times has called his work “exquisitely ingenious”, “dramatically shrewd,” and “almost unbearably funny”; Time Out has called it “challenging, thought-provoking,” “mesmerizing,” and “startlingly intense”; and The Village Voice has called it “hilarious, provocative,” and “inspired absurdist comedy.”
Untitled Theater Company No. 61 (UTC61)is a Theater of Ideas: scientific, political, philosophical, and above all theatrical. UTC61 has been performing independent theater in New York for over 25 years, collaborating with venues such as HERE, The New Ohio, 3LD, La MaMa, The Brick, and other downtown spaces. UTC61 has also maintained a durable partnership with the Czech Republic, originally established through the work with former President Vaclav Havel during the 2006 Havel Festival. Recent UTC61 work has been Critics’ Picks in The New York Times, The Village Voice, and Time Out New York. For more information visit www.untitledtheater.com.