CHICAGO: Goodman Theatre has announced the four Chicago-based playwrights who will compose the theatre’s 2020-21 Playwrights Unit. The Playwrights Unit, in partnership with Chicago Dramatists, commissions and assists in the development of new work from its members. This year’s cohort will be Eliza Bent, Marisa Carr, Terry Guest, and Exal Iraheta. Assuming it is safe to do so, each new play will receive a staged reading in July 2021.
Previous Playwrights Unit members include Greg Allen, Alice Austen, Lucas Baisch, Scott T. Barsotti, Seth Bockley, Monty Cole, Sam Collier, Kristiana Rae Colón, Phillip Dawkins, Sandra Delgado, Lisa Dillman, Ricardo Gamboa, Anne Garcia-Romero, Issac Gomez, Andrew Hinderaker, Ike Holter, Kristin Idaszak, Laura Jacqmin, Dawn Renee Jones, Georgette Kelly, Nambi E. Kelley, Jenni Lamb, Evan Linder, Nancy García Loza, Alex Lubischer, Mickle Maher, Rohina Malik, Mia McCullough, Bonnie Metzgar, Carlos Murillo, Dianne Nora, Nigel O’Hern, Marisela Treviño Orta, christopher oscar peña, Steve Pickering, Elaine Romero, Stacey Rose, Laura Schellhardt, Emma Stanton, Calamity West, and Martín Zimmerman.
Eliza Bent is a playwright and performer whose work includes Toilet Fire (Time Out New York Critics’ Pick); Aloha, Aloha, or When I Was Queen; Indeed, friend!; The Hotel Colors (The L Magazine best of 2013); On a Clear Day I Can See to Elba; The Beyonce, (Payne Award for Excellence); She of the Voice; Real Talk / Kip Talk; Blue Wizard / Black Wizard (published by Sam French) and Bonnie’s Last Flight. As an actor, Bent has performed in pint-sized New York theatres, and toured regionally and internationally with the Obie award-winning performance ensemble Half Straddle. Bent was a senior editor at American Theatre magazine from 2006-2015 and her writing has appeared in Time Out New York, The Village Voice, HEEB, The Brooklyn Rail, Stages, Emergency INDEX, and ELLE. Bent graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BA in philosophy from Boston College and has an MFA in playwriting from Brooklyn College.
Marisa Carr is a Milwaukee native who recently transplanted to Chicago after a decade in the Twin Cities. Her work has been presented by theatres including the Guthrie, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Pillsbury House + Theater, the Playwrights’ Center, Intermedia Arts, University of Iowa MFA Program and Pangea World Theatre. Selected recent awards and honors include Scratchpad at the Playwrights’ Realm (2019-20), P73 finalist (2019-20), American Blues Theater Blue Ink Award finalist (2020), Bay Area Playwrights’ Festival finalist (2019), McKnight Fellowship in Playwriting finalist (2019), Jerome Artist Fellowship finalist (2019) and Lila Acheson Wallace Playwriting Fellowship semi-finalist (2019). Marisa is the co-founder and former artistic director of the Turtle Theater Collective, a Twin Cities-based company committed to producing high-quality, contemporary work that explores Native experiences. She is Turtle Mountain Ojibwe from the Turtle clan.
Terry Guest is a Chicago-based playwright, actor, and teaching artist. As an actor he has worked with theatre companies across the country including Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, and The Story Theatre (Chicago); Alliance Theatre, Actors Express, Aurora Theatre (Atlanta); and Arts Garage (West Palm Beach). His play At the Wake of a Dead Drag Queen is the recipient of the 2018 Out Front Theatre Spectrum Series Grant and had its world premiere at The Story Theatre. Other plays include Michael Jackson and the Devil’s Book (Jackalope Theatre Commission); Ghost Town (Chicago Children’s Theatre); DEAD GIRLS (Random Acts Chicago) and Marie Antionette and the Magical Negroes (workshopped with The Story Theatre).
Exal Iraheta is a Salvi-American playwright and screenwriter from Houston, based in Chicago. His full-length play They Could Give No Name was part of Victory Gardens’ 2019 Ignition Festival of New Plays, an honorable mention for the 2019 Relentless Award, a 2020 National Playwrights Conference finalist and a 2020 Judith Royer Excellence in Playwriting finalist. His short play Open Venas was produced in the 2019 Theater Masters’ Take Ten New York Short Play Festival and The Untold Collectiv’s 2019 Latinx Scratch festival in London, England. His full-length play Rules of a Closed Door was a semi-finalist for the 2019 Activate: Midwest New Play Fest. Recently, Exal was featured in the May/June 2020 issue of American Theatre magazine as part of its “People to Watch” list. Exal earned an MFA from Northwestern University’s Writing for the Screen and Stage program and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Film & Video Production.
Support American Theatre: a just and thriving theatre ecology begins with information for all. Please join us in this mission by making a donation to our publisher, Theatre Communications Group. When you support American Theatre magazine and TCG, you support a long legacy of quality nonprofit arts journalism. Click here to make your fully tax-deductible donation today!