KETCHUM, IDAHO: The Community Library has announced the inaugural Sun Valley Playwright’s Residency, in association with Sawtooth Productions and the Argyros Performing Arts Center. The program is a special initiative within the Library’s Hemingway writer-in-residence program, which will welcome Obie-winning playwright and performer David Cale as its first playwright.
“We believe that central Idaho can provide an incredible creative outpost for playwrights to explore new terrain in their work,” Jenny Emery Davidson, the Library’s executive director, said in a statement. “The spectacular natural setting, the solitude that is possible here within a supportive environment, and the historic setting of Ernest Hemingway’s final home all can contribute to a fertile writing environment. And we believe that having a playwright here will energize our community in ways that are unique to theatre.”
The Sun Valley Playwright’s Residency is aimed at pioneering what it calls “a radically new approach to supporting playwrights and the development of their new work.” Annually, the initiative focuses on an individual playwright who receives a $10,000 commission to foster a single project from a nascent idea to develop new work over the course of a year.
While in a month-long residence at the historic Ernest and Mary Hemingway House and Preserve, Cale will write and develop an original, full-length commissioned work for the stage centered on the connection between a reclusive Idaho artist and a New York City woman who discovers his work, and the transformative effect of the relationship on both their lives. From October 2021 to 2022, he will continue writing the piece with support from the Library, Sawtooth Productions, and the initiative’s artistic director, John Baker. In October 2022, he’ll return to Idaho for a developmental workshop of the commission with local and national theatre artists, culminating with a public reading of the play at the Argyros Performing Arts Center.
During both visits, Cale will also engage with the local community through events, conversations and receptions. On Oct. 4, he was introduced to the community with a presentation of his photography exhibit, “The Smiling Squirrels of Tompkins Square Park.” He will also present a work-in-progress preview of his newest solo play, Sandra, on Oct. 29, slated for an Off-Broadway run in spring 2022 at the Vineyard Theatre.
Cale’s works include solo performances, photography and collaborations for musicals, dance, and recording artists. As an actor, he has performed in television, film, Broadway and Off-Broadway productions. Recent writing work includes Harry Clarke, which received the 2018 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Solo Show. His solo musical memoir We’re Only Alive for A Short Amount of Time received the 2019 Jeff Award for Best New Musical, a 2020 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Solo Performance and a 2020 Obie Award, among others.
The Community Library is a privately funded public library serving the Wood River Valley of central Idaho, with a mission to bring information, ideas, and individuals together to enhance the cultural life of the community. Its Hemingway Writer-in-Residence program is a signature initiative to support and cultivate literary work in a place that Hemingway loved. Sawtooth Productions was founded in 2015 by Jonathan Kane as a collaboration between theatre artists living and working in New York City and artists in Sun Valley, Idaho, bringing the best in contemporary drama to both communities. Opened in 2018, the Argyros is the Sun Valley area’s newest cultural attraction. The Argyros operates year-round as both a state-of-the-art performing arts center and a private events venue.
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