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Austene Van in "The Sea & The Stars" by Harrison David Rivers, part of the 2016-17 Ruth Easton New Play Series at the Playwrights’ Center. (Photo by Paula Keller)

Playwrights’ Center Sets 2017-18 Season of Readings

The Minneapolis development hub will present free public readings of 8 playwrights, including Jen Silverman, Stefanie Zadravec, and Harrison David Rivers.

MINNEAPOLIS: The Playwrights’ Center has announced the eight plays that will be developed in its 2017-18 season. Those pieces, which will receive readings that will be free and open to the public, include works by Jen Silverman,  Stefanie Zadravec, and Harrison David Rivers.

“We are living in a time when we need our vital storytellers more than ever,” said Playwrights’ Center producing artistic director Jeremy B. Cohen in a statement. “What is happening in our country currently—the barrage of hatred, systemic racism, misogyny, classism, homophobia, and transphobia—insists that our country’s artists and storytellers receive deep support. Being a playwright requires sustained attention in a culture of distraction, and seeking out complexity when so many put on blinders. The playwrights in our 2017-18 cohort, including those whose plays are part of the public season, have taken up this call. They are enriching the way communities and individuals talk to each other and, more importantly, hear each other.”

Three playwrights will be presented in PlayLabs, Oct. 23-29. They will receive 30 hours of workshop time with a team of collaborators, and two public readings. The lineup will be:

A Humbling in St. Paul by Alice Tuan, directed by Laurie Woolery. The piece follows a playwright who comes to the Twin Cities to work on a new play and contracts food poisoning.

Take Care by Jason Gray Platt, directed by Tracy Brigden. The work follows a matriarch who gathers her family to have a conversation about her end-of-life plans.

In the Time of the Volcano by Jen Silverman, directed by Jeremy B. Cohen. The play depicts a family struggling financially, and what happens when a piece of strange news that explodes their lives.

In addition to the readings, on Oct. 29 there will be a playwriting fellows showcase, in which writers will read snippets from projects they’re working on. The participating scribes will be Benjamin Benne, Mia Chung, Jessica Huang, Rachel Jendrzejewski, Tim J. Lord, Stacey Rose, Tori Sampson, Mfoniso Udofia, and Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay.

In the winter and spring, Playwrights’ Center will present its Ruth Easton New Play Series (December 2017 to April 2018). There, writers will receive 20 hours of workshop time to develop a new play with collaborators, culminating in two public readings. The lineup will be:

The Overcoat: a musical for non musical people by Kira Obolensky (Dec. 4-5). It is a musical re-imagining of Nikolai Gogol’s short story The Overcoat, about a man who needs a new coat.

How the Ghost of You Clings, The Anna May Wong Story by John Olive (Jan. 8-9, 2018). It is a bio-play about the prolific Chinese-American actor.

Three Quarter Inches of Sky by Sherry Kramer (Feb. 5-6), about a woman near the end of her life, trying to understand her past.

Tiny Houses by Stefanie Zadravec (March 5-6). The play is described as “a comic riff on Pandora’s Box.”

Harrison David Rivers’s the bandaged place (April 9-10). When a former lover resurfaces, Jonah Irby is forced to turn to his daughter and his grandmother for support.

The Playwrights’ Center develops work and connects playwrights to theatres. Every year, it chooses about 40 fellows and core writers to support, distributing more than $315,000 in residencies, commissions, and development funds. The organization develops more than 70 plays annually and of that number, eight are open to the public as free readings.

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