PlayCo is launching #Playfrom6FeetAway, an initiative of programming for our community while theatres are dark. We’re concocting a series of stimulating conversations and experimental new works that can be experienced together, even as we hunker down and shelter in place.
Follow along at #Playfrom6FeetAway
As part of our experimental programming while theatres are closed, we’ve distributed five mini-commissions for work that we’ll share digitally in the coming weeks. Our aim is to provide something useful and positive for artists and our PlayCo community during this time: bring artists a little $$, keep creativity flowing, and generate short pieces people can enjoy from home or wherever they are.
Theatre artists Ana Graham & Antonio Vega from Por Piedad Teatro follow the adventures and misfortunes of a man and his three-legged dog in this “table-top theatre” piece.
María Fernanda Videla Urra's experimental short film, LA VIDA NORMAL, will follow a drawing figure model's journey toward its own material identity.
Singer/actress Lauren Worsham and her musician/writer husband Kyle Jarrow collaborate on a new song and animated musical short film recorded with members of their band, Sky-Pony, and other artists across the globe.
Director Katie Brook and writer Trish Harnetiaux launch THE MS PHOENIX RISING, a serial podcast about a cruise ship conglomerate using avant-garde theatre to rebrand on their latest voyage.
In a liftoff from unwelcome routines, William Burke teams with songwriter/singer Starr Busby and other willing participants for F*CK THAT TINY TRAIN, a communal multidisciplinary piece.
PlayClub is a weekly virtual gathering to talk about a contemporary play with an intimate group and a rotating slate of special hosts. Like a book club, participants will read a designated play each week and then come together via Zoom for a one hour discussion. Each week will feature a different host who will lend their own perspective in leading the conversation. We’ll draw from a treasure trove of contemporary playwriting as a way to continue our mission of introducing our audiences, in a meaningful way, to a worldwide variety of stellar new plays. We’ll announce a new conversation each week. Spots will be limited to the first ten people to sign up via our website so keep an eye out for the announcements. While stages are dark, we can enjoy theatre on the page!
Admission is free but space is limited.
This event has been postponed.
Winter Solstice by Roland Schimmelpfennig
Translated by David Tushingham
Hosted by Ana Graham (Director; Actor; Translator;
Christmas Eve. Bettina and her husband Albert aren’t happy. Bettina’s mother is staying for the holidays. Which is awkward. Not least because Bettina’s mother met a man on the train. And now she’s invited him around for drinks…
Family, betrayal and the inescapable presence of the past reverberate through this razor-sharp comedy from Roland Schimmelpfennig, the most-performed playwright in Germany.
Ana Graham is a director, actor, translator and costume designer born in Mexico City. She is Artistic Producer and Founder of Mexico-based Por Piedad Teatro where she has developed most of her work. Since 2009, she splits her time working in Mexico City and in New York City, where Por Piedad Teatro partnered with The Play Company to present Ettore Scola’s Working On a Special Day in New York at 59E59 and The Duchamp Syndrome at The Flea. In 2017 Graham and collaborator Antonio Vega co-directed and performed in Mexico City, Roland Schimmelpfennig’s play Winter Solstice. As an actor she has performed in more than twenty plays. In 2005 Graham received an Ariel nomination as Best Actress for her role in the movie Mezcal directed by Ignacio Ortiz.
This event has been postponed.
The Attic by Yōji Sakate
Translated by Leon Ingulsrud and Keiko Tsuneda
Hosted by Tyler Micoleau (Lighting Designer)
The Attic, a dark comedy, provocatively imagines a society in which people lose the ability to cope with the pressures of everyday life and withdraw into tiny structures, called attics, manufactured by a mysterious corporation. The play examines the growing social phenomenon of “hikikomori” (acute social withdrawal) in Japan.
A young man embarks on a quest to find the source of these attics after his brother commits suicide in one. A teenage girl living in an attic writes in her diary comparing herself to Anne Frank. A mysterious man who seems linked to the attics may be a guide to another world. A kidnapper locks a girl in his attic for years. Along the way to discovering the attics’ source, we meet samurais, polar explorers, soldiers fighting a multi-national war, and many other commonplace and fantastical characters.
Tyler Micoleau designed the lighting for PlayCo’s 2007 production of The Attic.
Originally from Maine, lighting designer Tyler Micoleau has lived in Brooklyn for the last 26 years. He has designed extensively throughout New York Off-Broadway, as well as regionally and internationally, for world premiere plays, musicals and operas as well as outdoor spaces and touring productions. He is the recipient of a Tony Award (for The Band’s Visit), two Lucille Lortel Awards, two Henry Hewes Design Awards, and two Village Voice OBIE awards.
Recent designs include Be More Chill on Broadway and London’s West End, the Public Theater / Disney musical Hercules in Central Park, Harvey Fierstein’s Bella Bella for Manhattan Theatre Club and the revival of Christopher Shinn’s Dying City at Second Stage Theater. Postponed or cancelled productions include David Mamet’s American Buffalo on Broadway, a remounting of Annie Baker’s The Antipodes in Los Angeles and the New York premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s Becky Nurse of Salem for Lincoln Center Theater.
Previous PlayClub Conversations
The Sonic Life of a Giant Tortoise by Toshiki Okada
Translated by Aya Ogawa
Hosted by Dan Rothenberg (Director)
Lunch Bunch by Sarah Einspanier
Hosted by Phillip Howze (Playwright)
A Bring-Your-Own-Lunch conversation with Sarah Einspanier
Selling Kabul by Sylvia Khoury
Hosted by Catherine Coray (Program Director of the Lark Play Development Center US-Middle East Playwright Exchange; Arts Professor at NYU)
Consent by Nina Raine
Hosted by Trip Cullman (Director; PlayCo Associate Artist and Board Member)
Lunch Bunch Programming
We’re collaborating with community partner Bronx Defenders to offer a series of online conversations in anticipation of Sarah Einspanier’s Lunch Bunch (a play inspired by the Bronx Defenders’ own lunch bunch). The play was initially scheduled to be performed in March & April, in a production presented with Clubbed Thumb and directed by Tara Ahmadinejad, but has been postponed until New York theatres reopen.
Sarah, Tara, and lawyers from the Bronx Defenders discuss the play: Bx Defenders as inspiration; the cross over from real life to the theatrical world; what it’s like to be theatricalized; the complexity of writing about friends or directing actors to portray real people; how often real people are actually characters. The Bronx Defenders Family Defense lawyers will also share The Bronx Defenders holistic defense model and discuss how they get creative to advocate for clients: will they really file that 1028…what is a 1028?
Idea Lab: Public Defense
This event has been postponed.
Moderated by Justine Olderman, Executive Director of The Bronx Defenders
Featuring public defenders from various areas of this pioneering practice & leaders from other NYC public defender offices
The panel discusses the real work of public defenders, explores the state of public defense and its centrality to social justice, and examines the role of storytelling and persuasion in legal advocacy. It will also focus on how the pandemic has impacted this work.
An Extra Special Treat
Sarah and Tara are also making a video project featuring lawyers from the Bronx Defenders office exploring public defense, the legal system in the pandemic, and… lunch. We’ll be sharing these short pieces in the days surrounding the Idea Lab conversations.
The Idea Lab
POST-SHOW: Every play is an opportunity to bring our community together around issues and ideas that shape our lives. We partner with cultural, educational, social justice and social service organizations to leverage stories for positive change, co-programming public events and activities. ARTIST CONVERSATIONS delve into creative process with playwrights, directors, designers and actors. Or artists might lead ACTIVITIES with audience members to share playlists, play a game or try out a foley sound technique. PANEL DISCUSSIONS investigate themes raised in a play with journalists, scholars, activists and community leaders. PLAYBACK sessions welcome audience members into a conversation with each other about the show they’ve just experienced, facilitated by a PlayCo staff member or guest artist.
ANYTIME: Idea Lab occasionally presents staged readings, teach-ins, and other special events.
All Idea Lab events are free and open to the public.
Current Idea Labs
Creative Works, moderated by Kate Loewald, PlayCo Founding Producer.
Featuring Sarah Einspanier and Tara Ahmadinejad.
Sunday, May 31 at 4:00PM – RSVP HERE
Public Defense, moderated by Justine Olderman, Executive Director of the Bronx Defenders
Wednesday, June 3 at 7:30PM – RSVP HERE
Our commissioning program for both original works and new translations of plays from abroad.
Linda Bartholomai for a translation of Seymour, or I’m Only Here by Accident by Anne Lepper
Abhishek Majumdar for his new play 9 Kinds of Silence
Lee Sunday Evans for a new work with Christopher Chen
PlayCo is an international theatre for new writing. We host residencies for visiting collaborative artists, and introduce them to the local community through events such as artist roundtables, audience conversations, and informal receptions. The Residency Program also offers local students unique educational opportunities to engage with visiting artists in special classes and workshops. Students of theatre, literature and foreign studies see the work of visiting artists in production and interact with them directly in subsequent classes to learn about different theatre traditions, practices and points of view.
Paused for now – please check back soon