BOSTON: The Huntington Theatre Company will host the 2023 Playwriting Fellows Summer Workshop for the first time since summer of 2019. Modeled after the Sundance Theatre Lab, the HPF Summer Workshop began in 2012 as an extension of the Playwriting Fellows program and Breaking Ground Reading Series. The two-week new work retreat will culminate in public readings of three new plays in development by playwrights Masha Obolensky, Melinda Lopez, and Catherine Epstein on July 15 and 16 in the theatre’s newly renovated Maso Studio. Playwright and poet Lenelle Moïse will also lead a community playwriting workshop for adults of all experience levels.
“All of us at the Huntington are thrilled to see this cherished piece of our creative community’s summer back in full swing,” said Huntington artistic director Loretta Greco in a statement. “The HPF Summer Workshop is foundational to our new-play commitment and has been the rigorous incubator which has brought us the joy of Kate Snodgrass’s The Art of Burning and this spring’s critically acclaimed K-I-S-S-I-N-G by Lenelle Moïse. This summer, we return under the sublime leadership of Charles Haugland, and we look forward to sharing the exciting gestating work from this summer’s thrilling writing cohort.”
The reading lineup includes Interior of the Artist Without Her Sister by Masha Obolensky, directed by Melia Bensussen, at 1 p.m. on Sat. July 15; Power Trio by Melinda Lopez, directed by Elena Araoz, at 1 p.m. on Sun. July 16; and Oxbow by Catherine Epstein, directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian, at 4 p.m. on Sun. July 16. Community workshop “Rehearse Freedom: Crafting Character Through Sound” with Lenelle Moïse will take place at 4 p.m. on July 15. All readings and events are open to the public, but not open to reviewing members of the press. The readings are free to attend and the playwriting workshop has a $15 fee.
“We created this program a decade ago out of a brainstorm with local writers of how to address specific needs of playwrights in our community,” said Huntington director of new work Charles Haugland in a statement. “I’m so proud to continue developing plays here that can then go on to productions near and far. Masha, Melinda, and Catherine’s plays are filled with vitality, joy, laughter, and sorrow.”
Masha Obolensky’s Interior of the Artist Without Her Sister tells a story of fierce interdependence and haunting beauty, focused on a pair of inseparable siblings: artist Vanessa Stephen Bell and writer Virginia Stephen Woolf. Obolensky is a Boston-based playwright and was a member of the 2011-12 Huntington Playwriting Fellows cohort. Most recently, Interior of the Artist Without Her Sister was selected as a finalist by the Eugene O’Neill National 2023 Playwrights Conference. Other plays and performance pieces include: Marvelous Fruit, Brazen (co-written with Melia Bensussen), Not Enough Air, The Girl Problem, Historic Beauty, and her frequently produced 10-minute Girls’ Play. She received an MFA in playwriting from Boston University. She currently teaches theatre at the International School of Boston and continues to meet with her Huntington Fellow Playwrights cohort who have formed the group MUTT.
In Power Trio, a reimagining of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night infused with music, Melinda Lopez explores how a new world becomes your own. The play is also in development with the UCSB LaunchPad Project. Melinda was the playwright-in-residence at the Huntington Theatre for six years, under the Mellon Foundation’s National Playwright Residency Program, and artist-in-residence for an additional three years, where she helped develop and produce Dream Boston, including writing By the Rude Bridge, and directing Joy and Wonderland, as well as serving as a core member of the artistic staff. Her work includes Black Beans Project (co-created with Joel Perez), Sonia Flew, Mala, Yerma (adaptation), Young Nerds of Color, Mr. Parent (co-written with Maurice Emmanuel Parent), Becoming Cuba, Back the Night, Orchids to Octopi, and many others. She is a professor of the practice at Northeastern University, as well as a faculty at Boston University.
Catherine Epstein’s Oxbow asks how we all deal with our desire to control the uncontrollable, as three sisters escape to a run-down cabin in Maine and the house starts breaking down. Epstein is a writer and teacher. Her plays include Arbor, Orchard, and Allemansrätten. She was a 2022 resident at the Catwalk Art Residency and has workshopped her plays at Bard’s Institute for Writing & Thinking, the Phillips Exeter Writers’ Workshop, and GrubStreet. Catherine was a 2019-2022 Huntington Playwriting Fellow, and she will be a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the 2023 Sewanee Writers’ Conference.
Playwright and poet Lenelle Moïse was part of the seventh cohort of Huntington Playwriting Fellows. She wrote, composed, and co-starred in the Off-Broadway show Expatriate (Culture Project). Her full-length plays include K-I-S-S-I-N-G (winner of 8 Elliot Norton Awards), Merit, and The Many Faces of Nia. She is the author of Haiti Glass (City Lights Books), an award-winning collection of poems. Moïse is an alum of Smith College, Ithaca College, and Cambridge Rindge and Latin School.
The Huntington Theatre Company is a professional theatre organization in Boston. The Huntington seeks to engage, inspire, entertain and challenge audiences with theatrical productions that range from the classics to new works; to train and support the next generation of theatre artists; to provide arts education programs that promote life-long learning to a diverse community; and to celebrate the essential power of the theatre to illuminate our common humanity.
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