NEW YORK: The Playwrights Realm has announced the lineup for the 2021 INK’D Festival of New Plays, the culminating event of their writing fellowship program. This year’s virtual festival will offer playwrights the ability to hone new work and audiences the chance to interact with exciting new artists.
The festival will kick off April 15 with the panel “Playwriting in a Pandemic” featuring the four fellows: Omar Vélez Meléndez, Francisca Da Silveira, Phillip Christian Smith, and May Treuhaft-Ali.
Vélez Meléndez’s play Lajasarriba will be presented in an invitation-only reading on April 19, directed by Andrés López-Alicea. The play follows a girl named Isabel at the funeral of her grandfather, where demons are unearthed, history is encountered, and the meaning of land is reconsidered—or could it all be inside Isabel’s head?
Following will be Treuhaft-Ali’s ABCD on April 20, directed by Zi Alikhan. ABCD weaves together stories of two different schools to interrogate the inequities of the public school system: In an underserved school, a teacher erases wrong answers from students’s exams, hoping higher scores will keep the school open. In an elite magnet school nearby, a student texts 140 other students the answers to a physics test.
Next up will be Da Silveira’s not-for-profit (or the equity, diversity and inclusion play) on April 21, directed by Reginald L. Douglas. The play follows Nadine and other junior staffers at RiseUp, an education nonprofit, as they try to match urban youth of color with business mentors despite being overworked and underpaid. When a scandal breaks within the mentorship program, Nadine finds out there are hard choices to be made by even the most well-intentioned workers.
The festival will conclude with Smith’s We Can’t Breathe on April 22, directed by Taneisha Duggan. The play follows Franklin and Rivington, two gay, Black teenage friends growing up in Bushwick in the aftermath of the 2014 murder of Eric Garner. When Franklin’s white aunt comes to stay with the family and expresses pro-police sentiments, differences erupt and the family’s love for one another is put to the test.
The Playwrights Realm Writing Fellowship Program annually awards four early-career playwrights with nine months of resources, including a $3,000 stipend, workshops, and feedback designed to help them reach their professional and artistic goals. The Playwrights Realm is devoted to supporting emerging playwrights throughout their careers, providing comprehensive support through a variety of programs.
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