SAN FRANCISCO: American Conservatory Theater has announced the projects chosen for its inaugural New Strands Residency. For the program, ACT will partner with a different new-work incubator each year to help select three playwrights who will spend a week in San Francisco. For this cohort, ACT teamed up with New York City’s Ma-Yi Theater Company, which focuses on works by Asian-American playwrights. The three playwrights who will develop new work at ACT will be Lauren Yee, Don Nguyen, and Dustin Chinn.
“When we put the call out to the Ma-Yi Writers Lab for the inaugural year of this program, we were overwhelmed by the amount of spectacular new work that came in from its membership,” said ACT’s associate artistic director Andy Donald in a statement. “These are all writers who are zeroed in on today’s American culture—its contradictions, its divisive politics, its future—so choosing just three was an enviable challenge. We could not be more thrilled to share Lauren, Don, and Dustin’s searing, often hilarious, deeply personal, and poignant work and watch it continue to grow with this esteemed group of directors and our San Francisco audience.”
Lauren Yee will work on her play The Great Leap, directed by Lisa Peterson, about an American college basketball team that travels to Beijing for a “friendship” game. Don Nguyen will work on The Man From Saigon, directed by Hal Brooks, about a South Vietnamese intelligence agent who forges a complicated friendship with Richard Armitage (who later became George W. Bush’s deputy secretary of state). Dustin Chinn will work on Snowflake, Or Rare White People, directed by Mina Morita, about the last white Americans.
The playwrights will develop their work at ACT, culminating in a free public presentation of the works at ACT’s annual New Strands Festival, which will take place May 19-21.