Edges of Time by Jacqueline E. Lawton to Receive World Premiere Production at PlayMakers Repertory Company
PlayMakers Repertory Company proudly announces its 2019/20 Season: Legacy | NOW. The season brings to our Mainstage one of the Bard’s best tales of political intrigue, a sweeping, Tony Award-winning musical, a seminal American novel in a theatrical re-imagining, a comedy about why fences make for terrible neighbors, a fresh take on the age-old morality play, and a world premiere comedy about a farm-to-table food fight. Our PRC2 Kenan Stage series, curated to spark conversation, brings us the voices of two North Carolina writers as they explore two vastly different women of substantial legacy and a third story that examines the path to forgiveness forged in a community after an unthinkable tragedy.
As PlayMakers celebrates 100 years of playmaking at UNC-Chapel Hill, the upcoming 2019/20 Legacy | NOW season presents a slate of new work combined with new angles on older work that will challenge us to see beyond what we’ve thought of as history’s edges and to explore the diverse ways in which we tell our history, so as to open our hearts and minds to new perspectives.
“I couldn’t be more excited about the line-up for our Legacy | NOW season as an opportunity to celebrate, interrogate and renew the diverse and intersecting legacies that make us who we are,” said Producing Artistic Director Vivienne Benesch. “Some of the brightest and most thought provoking theatre-makers of today, like Karen Zacarías, Nambi E. Kelley, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Jacqueline E. Lawton, and Heidi Armbruster, will engage and collide with some foundational stories and storytellers in a season long conversation that recommits PlayMakers to the legacy of social justice and humanitarianism begun 100 years ago, and also to the tradition of producing world-class entertainment made right here in North Carolina with our exceptional resident company—one of the last resident theatre companies still operating in the country. With two world premieres by astonishing women writers sitting alongside PlayMakers’ first production of ‘Julius Caesar’ in its history, 2019/20 is going to be full to the brim with great theatre.”
Subscription packages are available for purchase now, and renewing subscribers can secure their current seats for the new season through May 1. Single tickets go on sale June 11. Call (919) 962-7529 or visit www.playmakersrep.org for information.
2019/20 MAINSTAGE PRODUCTIONS
“Native Son” by Nambi E. Kelley, Sept. 11–29, 2019
The season opens with a classic of American literature, adapted by Nambi E. Kelly into a theatrical and psychological kaleidoscope for a new generation. The first adaptation of Richard Wright’s “Native Son” was written at UNC-Chapel HIll, a collaboration between Wright and our own Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Green. In Kelley’s searing new adaptation, Bigger Thomas still struggles to find his place in a world whose prejudice has shut him out. Is Bigger’s slide into violence an inevitable outcome of the racism and poverty that surrounds him?
“Dairyland” by Heidi Armbruster, Oct. 16–Nov. 3, 2019
A world premiere comedy that invites audiences to experience an epic farm-to-table food fight. Allie, a food writer in New York City, is raw from failed office romance, journalistic rivalry, and baby shower crafts. When she finds herself on the wrong side of the food scene, will her father’s dairy farm and Patches, the cow, show her the way home? If the success of premieres like “The Cake,” “Temples of Lung and Air,” “Bewilderness,” and “Leaving Eden” are any indication, PlayMakers is becoming an essential home for the development of great new work for the American stage—you won’t want to miss this.
“Ragtime” book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynne Ahrens, Nov. 20–Dec. 15, 2019
Based on the novel of the same name by E.L. Doctrow, the Tony Award-winning musical, about the American experience and the volatile “melting pot” of turn of the 20th century New York weaves a tale that is as relevant today, as ever. Prepare to be swept away by its sweeping melodies, as three distinctly American stories—of a determined Jewish immigrant and his motherless daughter, a daring Harlem musician, and a well-off white family from New Rochelle—paint a powerful picture of the American Dream that will awaken the heart and captivate the soul. The Los Angeles Times calls Ragtime “some of the most breathtaking musical theatre writing of the last 25 years.” This production will feature the long-anticipated PlayMakers debut of Lauren Kennedy as Mother.
“Everybody” by Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins, Jan. 22–Feb. 9, 2020
This existential comedy updates the medieval morality play “Everyman” to take us on a life-affirming journey of love. Hounded by Death, the character of Everybody desperately searches everything and everyone in life with the hope of finding something to take to the grave. Five brave actors will be assigned their roles by lottery each night—that’s 120 possible combinations—as they fight to cheat Death.
“Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare, Mar. 4–22, 2020
The Bard’s classic play of politics and power hits the stage at PlayMakers for the first time ever. When Julius Caesar’s heroic magnetism tips the scale and threatens to undo four centuries of republican rule in Rome, a small band of patriots determine to put things right. But is their “right” any better?
“Native Gardens” by Karen Zacarías, Apr. 8–26, 2020
This comedy reminds us that good fences don’t always make great neighbors. An attorney on the rise and his very pregnant wife couldn’t feel more welcomed by their new neighbors. But soon, a friendly disagreement about the lay of the land quickly spirals into a war of taste, class, and entitlement.
2019/20 PRC2 KENAN STAGE PRODUCTIONS
Every PRC2 performance is followed by a “second act” of discussion.
“No Fear & Blues Long Gone: Nina Simone” by Howard L. Craft, Aug. 22–25, 2020
Our PRC2 series opens with Howard Craft’s tale of storytelling and song that celebrates the music, loves and losses of Nina Simone, legendary North Carolina singer.
“The Amish Project” by Jessica Dickey, Jan. 8–12, 2020
This timely drama is a fictionalized exploration of an all-too real scenario today: a schoolhouse shooting. When an Amish community is shaken by violence, the community finds a path of forgiveness and compassion in its wake.
“Edges of Time” by Jacqueline E. Lawton, Apr. 29–May 3, 2020
PlayMakers’ company member Jacqueline Lawton brings us her world premiere dramedy about the life and times of Marvel Cooke, pioneering journalist and activist, who was the first African-American woman writer to work for a mainstream newspaper. Company favorite Kathryn Hunter-Williams takes on the title role.
All performances will be presented in the Joan H. Gillings Center for Dramatic Art in Chapel Hill. Mainstage productions will be in the Paul Green Theatre; PRC2 shows will be in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre.
For information about PlayMakers’ 2019/20 season Legacy | NOW, visit www.playmakersrep.org or call (919) 962-7529.
PlayMakers Repertory Company is North Carolina’s premier professional theatre company. For more than 40 years, we have produced relevant and courageous work that tells stories from and for a multiplicity of perspectives and creates transformational impact in our immediate and extended communities. We are proud to be part of a 100-year tradition of playmaking at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. PlayMakers has been named one of the “best regional theatres in America.”
PlayMakers contact: For more information, contact Diana Pineda, 919.962.7114 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
During the second week in February, I was in workshop for my play, Among These Wild Things at InterAct Theatre Company in Philadelphia. The play had been awarded their inaugural New Play Development Award. This is the first national award that I have ever received for my work, which was thrilling. It was also deeply affirming because this play represents a return to my voice as a writer. It was a rigorous week of work. I continue to learn so much about these amazing characters and the powerful story being told. I'm struck by the responses to the play and by the play's clear message about what it wants to be. In the next draft, I will be shifting time significantly, which is exciting. I'm on a bit of hold as I look for funding opportunities or hear from a theatre that is interested in investing in further development. In the meantime, I've started to work on another play, which I'll tell you most about soon and I've gathered photos from my time with the lovely folks at InerAct and my cast in the room. This workshop was directed Seth Rozin with dramaturgy by Erin Washburn and featured Jay Charan, Ciera Gardner, Melanye Finister, Carlène Pochette, and Rupal Pujara. Please enjoy!
At long last, I'm finally able to share the photos from the stage reading/workshop production of The Inferior Sex at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. With this residency, I had the opportunity to work on any play. What a gift! To be told by the chair of the department: We just want to do and support whatever helps you, your craft, and your process. I have a lot of plays in the pipeline, as it were, and I'm glad that I chose The Inferior Sex.
I began writing this play in the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. As cities across the world prepared for the second Women’s March, I kept thinking about the Equal Rights Amendment, which would guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens regardless of sex. While it passed in 1972, it did not reach the 38 state threshold required for ratification. Recently, however, Nevada approved the amendment last year and Illinois approved it this past May. All hope is pointing to Virginia right now. If they approve it, then Equal Rights Amendment will become the law of the land. It’s amazing to think that the global focus on anti-sexual assault and women’s empowerment could lead to immediate, lasting, and comprehensive social and political change. Additionally, over the course of three workshops, actors--whether they were women or queer identifying, told me that they were so happy to be able to play smart, ambitious, passionate, and driven women, and that it was their first time doing so. It's an extraordinary statement, but not surprising given the history of the American Theatre.
My time at UNC Wilmington allowed me to dive deeper into the characters' emotional landscapes, clarify key plot points, and learn more about the world of the play. I remain deeply appreciative for this opportunity for and for the enthusiasm, humor, and talent of my brilliant cast and stage manager. I'm excited to see where this play goes next! Of course, I'll be sure to keep you posted!
Under the direction of Shirley Serotsky, the cast of The Inferior Sex included Alana Ashurst, Lizzie Bennett, Julie Bishop, Madeline Leah Mary Boltinghouse, Darien Bradley, Dajah Glenn, Margaret Naughton, Abigail Norris, Breonté Scarboro, and Samantha Stemmer. Our fearless stage manager is Heidi Casinger. It was such fun, productive, and inspiring experience. Please enjoy these photos of our time together!
Fun with Recipes
The Staged Reading!
Post Show Discussion
UNC Wilmington's Department of Theatre Presents A Stage Reading/Workshop Production of The Inferior Sex
I'm writing to you from Denver, where I'm dramaturging the world premiere production of Donnetta Lavinia Grays beautiful play, Last Night and the Night Before at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It's my first time in Denver and I'm beyond excited to be working on this new play with such a phenomenal group of theatre artists. It's also nice to be away for a bit. Of course, I'm still reeling from the joy and success of the new play workshop of Edges of Time. It was such a blessing to gather in a room full of women to tell the story of Marvel Cooke's extraordinary life and career.
I'll be working on revisions over the weekend. With this play, I'm thinking about what it means to leave a career that you love--a career you're good at, because economic and political forces push you out, and what is lost by your absence. I'm thinking about how a movement that focused on justice and workers' rights so terrified the powers-that-be that it was weaponized, and where we are now because impoverished people remain disenfranchised and do not control the narrative. I'm thinking about what happens to us as individuals when we begin to understand the larger systems at play that work to erase our humanity. I'm also thinking about how relevant this story is today given our socio-political and racial climate. This play has me so alive right now. To learn more about the play, the process, and to hear from my collaborators, please read this excellent interview, The Marvelous Life of Marvel Cooke, written by UNC College of Arts and Sciences Kim Weaver Spurr.
When I return from Denver, I'll be working to complete another rather exciting play, and I look forward to telling you more about it soon. In the meantime, please enjoy these photos from the rehearsal ad reading with my amazing, talented, generous, and brilliant ensemble: Kaja Dunn (Director), Ash Heffernan (Stage Directions), Kathryn Hunter-Williams (Marvel Cooke), and Jules Odendahl-James (Dramaturg). Please enjoy!
Edges of Time Workshop
I'm a playwright, dramaturg, and teaching artist. It is here where you'll find my queries and musings on life, theater and the world. My posts advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity in the American Theatre and updates on my own work. Please enjoy!