PlayClub is a virtual gathering to talk about a contemporary play with an intimate group, and a rotating slate of special hosts. Like a book club, participants read a designated play and then come together via Zoom for a one hour discussion. Each host lends their own perspective in leading the conversation. We 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 plays. Spots are limited to the first 20 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.
Tuesday, March 9 at 5:00PM EST
Time’s Journey Through A Room by Toshiki Okada
Translated by Aya Ogawa
Facilitated by Kate Loewald, featuring special guest Aya Ogawa (translator; playwright; director)
On the eve of the tenth anniversary of 3/11, join Kate Loewald and Aya Ogawa in revisiting Time’s Journey Through A Room. Having made its US premiere at PlayCo in the spring of 2018, Time’s Journey is set one year after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. This multi-layered play observes how hope can spring up alongside sadness and fear, and change can be realized if we are awake to the present moment.
Aya Ogawa is a Brooklyn-based playwright, director, performer and translator whose work reflects an international viewpoint and utilizes the stage as a space for exploring cultural identity, displacement and other facets of the immigrant experience. Cumulatively, all aspects of her artistic practice synthesize her work as an artistic and cultural ambassador, building bridges across cultures to create meaningful exchange amongst artists, theaters and audiences both in the U.S. and in Asia. She challenges traditional notions of the American aesthetic and identity by creating performances infused with a multiplicity of perspectives and languages, and by incorporating influences from outside the U.S. – of style, form, and content. As a theater-maker, she frequently uses a collaborative creative process with performers and designers and pushes the form with an eye not only on spoken text, but physicality, musicality, and interactivity.
As playwright/director in New York City, Ogawa’s 2003 A GIRL OF 16 (Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center) was hailed by The New York Times for its “stunning visual sense.” Her 2008 OPH3LIA (HERE) was called “riotously alive…great theater” by The New York Times. Ogawa’s ARTIFACT was featured in CUNY’s 2007 Prelude Festival and the 2009 Performance Mix Festival (Joyce Soho). She was commissioned by The Foundry Theatre to create a work in collaboration with Adhikaar, a human rights organization serving the US Nepali community. The resulting piece, JOURNEY TO THE OCEAN, was presented by The Rubin Museum in 2011. Her play LUDIC PROXY commissioned by The Play Company, explored our relationship to technology (from nuclear power to VR and video games) through the events of Chernobyl, Fukushima, and into the future. Its 2015 premiere at WalkerSpace was described as “beautifully conceived” by the NYTimes. She was a playwright in residence at The New Museum for X:ID a research-driven pop-up repertory theater designed to examine the shifting ethical boundaries surrounding intercultural cross-play on contemporary American stages. Most recently, she wrote, directed and performed in the 6-person cast for her play THE NOSEBLEED (formerly titled Failure Sandwich) at the Incoming! Series at the Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival 2019 and directed Kristine Haruna Lee’s play SUICIDE FOREST in its world premiere production at The Bushwick Starr. UPCOMING: The Nosebleed premiere, 9000 Paper Balloons (created by Spencer Lott and Maiko Kikuchi) and more.
Wednesday, March 17 at 5:30PM EST
Facilitated by Kate Loewald, featuring special guest Leah C. Gardiner
Leah C. Gardiner is an Obie Award-winning director known for the “incisive clarity” (The New York Times) of her work with physicality and text. Recent work includes the revival of Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls… (The Public Theater – Lortel Award; Outer Critics honoree; five Antonyo Award wins; Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel Award noms; Times Critics Pick), If Pretty Hurts… by Tori Sampson (Playwrights Horizons), and the premiere of Kevin Artigue’s Steinberg nominated Sheepdog (South Coast Rep). She has directed two Pulitzer Prize finalists, and countless other new plays by writers including Tanya Barfield, debbie tucker green, Dan Deitz, Anna Deveare Smith, Penelope Skinner, Kevin Artigue and Roy Williams. She is working with NY Times best-selling “Instapoet” Rupi Kaur to adapt her work for theatre. Other credits include: the national tour of Wit with Judith Light; Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Manhattan Theatre Club; Atlantic Theater Company; Soho Rep; NYSAF; Arena Stage; ACT; Berkeley Rep; Alliance; Baltimore Center Stage; Studio Theatre; CATF; Houston Shakespeare Festival; Barrington Stage; Philadelphia Theatre Company. As writer/director: Cultures Collide, a play with music created exclusively for the U.S. Congress, produced by Sony Entertainment. As short film director: The Belle of New Orleans (Alliance Theatre), and WHY (Arena Stage/Flash Acts Festival). As a film producer: Mother of George starring Danai Gurira (Best Cinematography, Sundance). As an actor: playing herself in Ira Sachs’ Little Men opposite Greg Kinnear. Leah holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.F.A. in directing from the Yale School of Drama.
Previous PlayClub Conversations
The Attic by Yōji Sakate
Translated by Leon Ingulsrud and Keiko Tsuneda
Hosted by Tyler Micoleau (Lighting Designer)
Bintou by Koffi Kwahulé
Translated by Chantal Bilodeau
Hosted by Charlene Adhiambo (PlayCo Literary Intern)
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.
Upcoming Lunch Bunch Programs
Lunch Bunch & The Bronx Public Defenders Podcasts.
The team behind Lunch Bunch is teaming up with attorneys and staff at the Bronx Defenders to make a new podcast. Look out for the release in August.
Previous Lunch Bunch Programs
Idea Lab: Creative Works
Moderated by Kate Loewald, PlayCo Founding Producer
Featuring Sarah Einspanier (Playwright), Tara Ahmadinejad (Director), and lawyers from the Bronx Defenders
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?
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.
Paused for now – please check back soon
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.
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