MINNEAPOLIS and ST. PAUL, MINN.: Trademark Theater has announced a new commissioning platform, with playwrights Kira Obolensky and Harrison David Rivers along with composer/lyricist David Darrow comprising the first commissioned creators. Artists will receive development opportunities for their new works as well as a two-week workshop and staged reading in a future season.
“2020 marks the first time we are welcoming artists from outside our organization to create under the Trademark banner,” said artistic director Tyler Michaels King in a statement. “These commissions are our first step towards becoming the hub of new theatrical work in the Midwest. We couldn’t be more fortunate to launch this platform with such amazing theatremakers.”
The new platform and commissions, which will award two teams of creators each year to develop new works of theatre, were previously scheduled to be announced on March 18. However due to the pandemic, the announcement and first workshop of the series were postponed. In his statement, Michaels King added that it is important to Trademark “to continue to support our artists and our staff during this difficult time.”
Kira Obolensky and David Darrow will work together on a new musical called Four Measures, with Obolensky writing the book and Darrow working on music and lyrics. The musical is based on the “21 grams” theory—a 1907 medical experiment in which Duncan MacDougall tried to measure the change in weight of six patients at the moment of their deaths to determine if the human soul has weight.
Obolensky’s plays have been produced Off-Broadway, in Los Angeles, and in Prague, among other locations. She has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Kesselring Prize, and a Mellon Foundation National Playwright Fellowship.
Darrow, an actor, composer, and playwright, has performed Off-Broadway and around the country and has co-written musicals which have been produced or developed at the NAMT Festival, Village Theater, Greater Boston Stage Company, Trademark Theater, and 7th House Theater.
The commission from Harrison David Rivers will be The Most Important I Do Not Tell You at All, which features hyper-realistic portraiture and original compositions to question how art can both enrich and destroy relationships through the lens of a young relationship between a photographer and a composer.
Rivers is the recipient of the McKnight, Jerome, and Van Lier Fellowships and has had residensies with the Siena Art Institute, Duke University, New York Theatre Workshop, New York Stage & Film, and the Williamstown Theater Festival. Rivers is also the winner of the 2018 Relentless Award for his play The Bandaged Place.
“It has always been our goal to support the work of emerging and established artists from both the Twin Cities and the national arts scene,” said Michaels King in a statement. “With these commissions, we are creating a home for bold storytellers and risk-takers. They allow us to put more projects in our pipeline, generate more content for our audiences, and enter more fully into the new works conversation.”