The C.A. Lyons Project, 2015 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Award winner
By Tsehaye Geralyn Hébert (School of the Art Institute of Chicago)
Production on the Alliance Theatre's Hertz Stage from February 13–March 8, 2015
The 80’s. Black was in. They invented it. The founder of one of the city’s most important African-American dance companies is dying of AIDS, and the three lead dancers must find the strength and individual creative push to keep the company going without their charismatic leader. These are the Three Graces of the 20th Century: Chaos Unit, a tattooed hip hop phenom; Bethlehem Dunning, a ballerina raised by a deaf mother; and Amandla Sister Afrika, who seems to be in a continuous state of rebellion.
A Northwestern University graduate, Tsehaye Geralyn Hébert previously studied with Barbara Ann Teer (National Black Theatre in Harlem) and earned the M.F.A.W. at School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where pygMALI, her reimagining of Shaw’s Pygmalion, won the RhinoFest competition. Previous awards: New Voices and Visions Award (Louisiana State University); New Works/New Visions Midwest Playwrights Project (Bedtime Story). Hébert is a Dramatists Guild of America member. She sits on the honorary board of Piven Theatre Workshop (Evanston, Ill.) and interned at Lookingglass Theatre (Chicago). One of 80 poets selected to celebrate Gwendolyn Brooks’ 80th birthday, she has served as an artist and playwright-in-residence, most recently at Chicago State University, where Yvonne, Rhonda and Tracey Spend the Evening Together Again and A Meditation on Violence, a Piece…Peace Yet to Be Named were produced. Other works includeBlakk Love:Storeez of a Darker Hue/The Bath (Chameleon Theatre); Bedtime Story (ETA Creative Arts); pygMALI (Prop Theatre); and Elegy for Miss Lucy (M.F.A.W. thesis project). The C.A. Lyons Project is included in the National New Play Network (ATF/Kennedy Center).
Pocketful of Sand
By Emily Dendinger
Eight minutes. That's how long it takes for a soul to dry up before it can be preserved by the sea. This play introduces us to an old man named Coco who harvests souls from bodies he pulls from the sea, and how he comes to teach his trade to a young orphan girl named Sunny. As the more sinister aspects of Coco's work begin to emerge, however, Sunny must decide for herself whether or not the work they are doing outweighs the costs. A beautifully written piece of poetic theatre.
Emily Dendinger’s plays include Hideous Progeny, which has been produced by LiveWire Chicago Theater, Holland Productions and North Park College. She is a two-time winner of Theater Masters National Play Competition, a 2013 City Theatre National Award finalist, a 2012 Heideman finalist and a 2015 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Award finalist. Her plays have been developed at The Lark, Sideshow Theatre, LiveWire Theatre, The Trip, Mudlark Theatre and TimeLine Theatre. She is currently a member of TimeLine’s Writer’s Collective and a recent graduate of the University of Iowa’s Playwright’s Workshop.
An Alien in Inwood
By Kimberly Barrante
Fantastical and heartwarming, An Alien in Inwood considers complicated questions of contemporary American identity. Walter, the professor, has been around a New York University for a long time, and has many people that support his efforts and dreams. Believing the world to be increasingly unsafe, Walter thinks he will save the planet when he is blinded by a light in Inwood Park and ORION, an alien, appears. Graceful social commentary with a nod to the best of sci-fi/fantasy, this play asks what we allow to become our truths when we are protecting the people we love.
Kimberly Barrante is a playwright/screenwriter based in Los Angeles. Her original screenplay, CELERITAS, was featured on the 2014 Blacklist and Tracking Board's 2014 Hit List. Formerly based in New York City, Kim recently graduated from Tisch in May 2014 with an MFA in Dramatic Writing. While at NYU, she received the 2014 Outstanding Writing for the Screen Award and was featured in the Goldberg Ten-Minute Play Festival and New Works Festival. She also co-wrote and produced the half-hour comedy pilot Released, one of the first ever collaborations between the Television Production and Dramatic Writing departments. Kim received her B.A. in Theatre Studies and Creative Writing at Emerson College in 2008, where she received the Rob Parker Award for her play The Rubik’s Cube. Her original one-act Prelude to a Fall was produced in 2010 as part of Roots and Wings Theatrical's festival Duct Tape and a Dream II. Kim was a member of the Washington Heights' based People’s Theatre Project’s Professional Playwrights Unit for two seasons, where she developed the plays Man in Boat and the award-winning An Alien in Inwood. She would like to thank her family and friends for their unwavering support and encouragement.
Evanston: A Rare Comedy
By Michael Yates Crowley
Evanston: A Rare Comedy begins with the disappearance of a teenage girl in deepest suburbia and ends when a meeting of the local women's book club goes horribly awry. In between, a housewife dreams of Mexico, an economics professor has an affair with a check-out clerk at Whole Foods, and the financial crisis rages on. Inspired by the words of Psalm 137 and the bestseller Eat, Pray, Love, Evanston: A Rare Comedy takes a look at Middle America and asks: how can we sing a song of joy in this strange land?
Michael Yates Crowley is a Brooklyn-based playwright and performer whose work has been produced in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Berlin, Edinburgh, and elsewhere. His plays include Evanston: A Rare Comedy (2013 O’Neill NPC selection, 2015 Alliance/Kendeda Finalist); The Sabine Play (UMASS New Play Lab 2015); Righteous Money (3-Legged-Dog, 59E59 Theaters); and The Ted Haggard Monologues (published by S. Fischer Verlag; filmed by HBO). In New York, his work has also been produced at Joe’s Pub/The Public Theater, PS 122, the Bushwick Starr, and Ars Nova. He is a Writing Fellow at The Playwrights Realm, a NYFA Playwriting fellow, a past member of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, and graduate of the Lila Acheson Wallace Playwrights Program at Juilliard.
By Georgette Kelly
What happens when you wake up and find that the person sleeping next to you is not the person you thought they were at all? Zoe dreams of flying, of escaping to new heights. Grace, her transitioning spouse, dreams of standing on a pulpit and finding a religious community that accepts her transition from man to woman. Savannah dreams only of Xavier, a 16 year old that is coping with becoming a man, and Xavier is haunted by the nightmares he sees staring back at him from the mirror.
Georgette Kelly is a playwright with one foot in Chicago and the other in New York. Her play Ballast is a finalist in the 2015 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition and a 2014 Kilroys List nominee. Her play F*ck la vie d’artiste recently received the Jane Chambers Student Playwriting Award. Georgette’s other plays include: In the Belly of the Whale, How to Hero, I Carry Your Heart, and an adaptation of Jeanette Winterson’s Lighthousekeeping. Her work has been developed by The Kennedy Center, The National New Play Network, The Alliance Theatre, Prologue Theatre, New Leaf Theatre, and The City of Chicago DCASE. She is a member of the 2014-2015 TerraNOVA Groundbreakers Playwrights Group, The Dramatists Guild of America, and Chicago’s Writers WorkSpace. Georgette holds a B.A. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University and an M.F.A in Playwriting from Hunter College, where she studied with Tina Howe, Arthur Kopit, and Mark Bly.