The Alliance Theatre commits extensive resources annually to supporting and developing new work and new artists through two nationally recognized programs – the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition and the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab. The Alliance today announced the winner and finalists of the 16th Alliance/Kendeda Competition as well as the three projects chosen for development in the 5th annual Reiser Lab.
ALLIANCE/KENDEDA NATIONAL GRADUATE PLAYWRITING COMPETITION
The Alliance/Kendeda Competition continues to spotlight the best emerging playwrights with a full production for the competition winner and staged readings for four competition finalists. GOODNIGHT, TYLER by B.J. Tindal of Northwestern University is the 16th competition winner and will have its world premiere on the Hertz Stage February 16 – March 10, 2019.
GOODNIGHT, TYLER is a contemporary and unexpectedly humorous drama. From the show synopsis, “Depending on whom you ask, Tyler Evans was a beloved best friend, grandson, mentor, and fiancée, or, Tyler Evans was a young Black man killed by a police officer. Desperate to control the contradicting narratives of his untimely passing, Tyler haunts his best friend as his other friends and relatives quibble over his legacy, seeking an elusive common ground.”
“I started writing GOODNIGHT, TYLER shortly after the non-indictment of Darren Wilson in 2014. Every time a new photo of a dead Black person was plastered across my Facebook newsfeed, I immediately returned to push through the first draft.” said playwright B.J. Tindal. “I want this play to validate the Black experience of loving and living. I want it to affirm the fact that Black people are here, choosing to love how we love freely, outside of violence.”
The four finalists of the competition will be heard in staged readings in February 2019 during the Festival of New Plays celebrating new work. The finalists are:
- FADED: A CALYPSO by Karina Billini, The New School
- SOUTHERNMOST by Mary Lyon Kamitaki, University of Southern California
- HAPPY HOUR by Samantha Riley, NYU Tisch School of the Arts
- SHOE by Marisela Treviño Orta, University of Iowa
The Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition solicits plays from the leading MFA graduate programs in the United States and then conducts a rigorous selection process to find four finalists and one winning play. The winner receives a full production as part of the Alliance Theatre regular season. The winner and four finalists also receive development opportunities for their works including staged readings with industry professionals in Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. A one-of-a-kind opportunity for emerging playwrights, the Competition transitions student playwrights to the world of professional theatre.
This year’s selection panel included Mike Lew, Playwright and previous winner of the competition; Brad Edgerton, the Edgerton Foundation; and Daniella Topol, Artistic Director, Rattlestick Theatre Company.
Past winners have become some of today’s most exciting writers and playwrights and include Academy Award winner Tarell Alvin McCraney, whose play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue inspired the 2016 Academy Award-winning film for Best Picture, Moonlight; Kenneth Lin, a writer for the Netflix hit series “House of Cards,” Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalist Meg Miroshnik (The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls), and Mike Lew (Tiger Style!), 2018 winner of the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award for an Emerging American Playwright. Last season’s winning play was SHELTERED, by Alix Sobler, Columbia University, directed by Kimberly Senior, whose recent directing credits include the critically acclaimed and Tony-nominated production, DISGRACED.
Learn more about the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition here
REISER ATLANTA ARTISTS LAB
The Alliance Theatre is pleased to announce the three artistic projects chosen for development during its 5th Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab. Each project will receive $10,000 to use toward further exploration and development, as well as access to the Alliance’s artistic, educational, and production staffs, and rehearsal spaces. The lab productions will be presented in free performances in 2019. It is the goal of the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab to celebrate the breadth and vision of Atlanta-based artists, to encourage collaboration among Atlanta’s artistic community, and to seed projects that will be produced here in Atlanta. Since 2013, four projects from the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab have gone on to receive full productions at theaters in Atlanta (and beyond) – Moxie (Theatrical Outfit), Uprising (Horizon Theatre, Metro Stage in Washington, D.C.), The Magic Negro and other Blackity Blackness (produced as part of the Alliance Theatre’s 2016/17 season and will run again at Chicago’s acclaimed Second City Theatre, July 12-15, 2018); and Knead, which will be produced as part of the Alliance Theatre’s 2018/19 season in September 2018.
The three projects that were chosen for the 5th Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab are:
Lead Artist: Topher Payne – Executive Producer, Head Writer
Team Artists: Gina Rickicki – Fiction Editor; Richard Eldredge – Nonfiction Editor; Scott DePoy – Music Supervisor; Daniel Rider – Content Producer; David Russell – Research
What makes the South such an extraordinary place to live is also our greatest challenge – our adherence to tradition. There are so many customs of Southern existence that we observe without really considering how they came to be. Kudzu will be a live performance series and companion podcast utilizing storytelling, music, and conversation to explore the tropes of Southern culture with a curious mind, discovering in the process what it means to be a contemporary Southerner.
This is Kudzu. It covers the South.
Lead Artist: Okorie “OKCellos” Johnson
Team Artists: Radcliffe Bailey – Painter, Sculptor, Mixed Media Artist; Fahamu Pecou – Video and Multimedia
Liminal is a developing one man play that follows a spiritual cellist, who through his live-looping of music, generates multiple perspectives of his identity, explores the possibility of a liminal space between the physical and spiritual world, and engages the terrifying challenge of letting his music become the vehicle for messages from beyond. This project is based on the music of experimental cellist and writer Okorie “OkCello” Johnson and explores his personal relationship with music, improvisation, and prayer. Okorie is honored to partner with two internationally renowned visual and mixed media artists to bring the world and the soul of this play to life. Radcliffe Bailey is a painter, sculptor, and mixed media artist who utilizes the layering of imagery, culturally resonant materials, and text to explore themes of ancestry, race, and memory. Bailey believes that by translating his personal experiences, he can achieve an understanding of, and a healing from, a universal history. His work is often created out of found materials and certain pieces from his past, including traditional African sculpture, tintypes of his family members, piano keys, and Georgia red clay. Mr. Bailey will design and create the set for this play. Fahamu Pecou is an interdisciplinary artist and scholar whose works combine observations on hip-hop, fine art and popular culture. Pecou’s paintings, performance art, and academic work address concerns around contemporary representations of Black masculinity and how these images impact both the reading and performance of Black masculinity. Mr. Pecou will contribute video and multimedia aspects to the play. Both Mr. Bailey and Mr. Pecou will provide overall art direction to Liminal as well.
- SAFETY NET
Lead Artist: Daryl Lisa Fazio – Playwright/Actor
Team Artists: Karen Robinson – Director; Carolyn Cook – Actor/Collaborator
Project Description: Chris Dove is the only female fire captain in an Alabama town at war with opioids, and she’s facing it head-on, heart-out and under scrutiny. Meanwhile, her arthritic spitfire-of-a-mother, Xenia, now living with Chris after a bad fall, worries for her child’s right mind and tries to conjure stability with a bundt cake and a Bible verse. When Chris’ childhood friend, Val—a recovering addict Chris brought back from an overdose just a year earlier—drifts into their lives, they find themselves at a tipping point between what’s safe and what saves.
This year’s selection panel included Susan V. Booth, Jennings Hertz Artistic Director, Alliance Theatre; Tom Key, Artistic Director, Theatrical Outfit; Jim Steinberg, Steinberg Charitable Trust;Eric Ting, Artistic Director, California Shakespeare Festival; and Rodney Lamar Williams, Stage Manager and Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab, 4th Round Artist.
Learn more about the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab, including information on how to submit a project for consideration, at www.alliancetheatre.org/reiserlab.
The projects of the 4th Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab will be heard in free performances in September 2018. The shows are:
- CALMING THE MAN
Lead Artist: Anthony Lamarr White
Support Artists: Rodney Lamar Williams and Keith Franklin
Project Description: In a small Southern town in the 1970s, a black father born into segregation pushes one of his two sons to succeed and cripples the other with anger and hatred.
- INTO THE BRIAR PATCH
Lead Artist: Lee Osorio
Support Artists: Melissa Foulger and Angela Farr Schiller
Project Description: Georgia born artist and activist Javi Ramirez never imagined he’d be running for political office. But with the help of an ambitious campaign manager and the reluctant support of his partner he finds himself in a new spotlight. When Javi’s past catches up to him, will his campaign and relationship become irreparably mired in his past or can he find his way into the safety of the Briar Patch? A modern meditation on the story of Br’er Rabbit and the Tar Baby.
- CONFESSIONS OF A HIT MAN
Lead Artist: Hank Kimmel
Support Artists: Eric J. Little, Tisha Whitaker, Daphne Mintz, and Kathi Frankel
Project Description: Confessions of Hit Man is a 90-minute drama that explores the nature of duty, forgiveness, and redemption. It is the story of a how two former professional football players try to free themselves from a web that has left them inextricably and destructively linked. The goal of this project is to develop Confessions into a riveting, entertaining, and life-affirming drama that will have an appeal beyond a traditional theatre audience.
Funding for the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab is provided by Margaret and Bob Reiser. Support is also provided by the Mark & Evelyn Trammell Foundation.