Denver, CO, October 28, 2020 – Plays In Progress is a unique program fostering new works by women* playwrights. Over 300 plays were submitted from across the country. The Plays In Progress Series is designed to give playwrights and audiences an opportunity to interact with work as it is being created. This year we highlight four playwrights. Their work will be presented all as table readings in a virtual format and the playwrights will still receive support from dramaturgs and directors. A table reading is the first step on the developmental path of the play. It is written and then read aloud by actors around a “table” usually in the living room of the playwright so she can hear how it sounds aloud. The Series is scheduled to take place in early June 2021 and will be subject to change in the health regulations at the time.
Since Plays In Progress Series’ inception, we have introduced six World Premieres and workshopped 40 plays. Six have gone on to be fully produced by other theatres across the U.S.
WHAT Plays In Progress Series
WHEN: June 2021
Short biographies and play summaries:
The Newlywed Game by Alyssa Haddad
THE PLAYWRIGHT: Alyssa Haddad is a Brooklyn-based, award-winning playwright of Lebanese and Italian descent. Her plays have been presented at the Capital Repertory Theatre, Centenary Stage Company, The Secret Theatre, Theater for the New City, Kraine Theatre, and The Midtown International Theatre Festival where she was the recipient of the Playwright’s Award. She was a 2019-2020 Artist-In-Residence at Art House Productions INKubator Play Lab. She holds a BA in History and Writing from The College of Saint Rose and an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. More at alyssahaddad.com and NPX.
THE PLAY: In The Newlywed Game, a young interracial couple hosts their traditional families for Thanksgiving and drops the bomb that they are engaged, begging the question how do you create a future with someone from an entirely different past?
Like a House of Cards by Eva Grace
THE PLAYWRIGHT: Originally from Dallas, Texas, Eva Grace is currently pursuing a B.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of Northern Colorado. Eva became interested in writing for theatre in high school, which is when she decided to pursue a career in dramatic writing. Focusing on queer and women’s issues in writing, Eva hopes to find footing in television and theatre after graduating with her bachelor’s degree in 2023. Eva is also a member of her college’s Improv theatre troupe, CHAOS. Website: works-by-eva-grace.webnode.com/
THE PLAY: Like a House of Cards is a full-length play following two annexed siblings, Jordan and Jude, as they must rekindle their relationship in order to care for their sick mother, Wendy, who has only a year left to live. This dramatic comedy deals with addiction, sexuality, and a pirate musical as the two young siblings struggle to work together to rebuild their home, their lives are as fragile as a house of cards.
Woman Wahala by Nikkita Duke
THE PLAYWRIGHT: Nikkita Duke is a multiple award-winning Nigerian writer with a UK Law Degree and an MFA in Screen/Stage Writing from Northwestern University. Presently, she is a recipient of the BAFTA Newcomer Program.
She is a proud member of The Dramatists Guild of America and her writing has been acclaimed internationally across continents from Africa to Europe to North America through writing competitions such as Austin Film Festival, StoryPros International Screenplay Contest, Evanston Literary Festival, Wild Claw Theatre’s Deathscribe Festival, and the list goes on. Her grant-winning, co-written TV pilot ‘U.S. Aliens’ is streaming on the esteemed platform, Open Television.
THE PLAY: Woman Wahala is a comedy-drama play that follows Minika, a 28-year-old Nigerian-American woman, who decides that she doesn’t want children. Her biggest challenge is effectively communicating this decision to Aniema, her loving yet over-involved Nigerian mother. The play explores the ideas of a ‘successful child’ and a ‘successful mother’ and the clashes and calmness that occur when some traditions and stigmas do not cross over generations.
KNEAD LOVE by Camille Darby
THE PLAYWRIGHT: Camille Darby is an award-winning playwright born in Jamaica, and raised in the Bronx. Her work explores myriad black cultural experiences through the lens of multi-layered characters who are designed to deeply and intimately illustrate our human connection. Camille attended Sarah Lawrence College, then went on to earn an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU. Her plays have been developed at various fellowships including Dramatists Guild, New York Stage & Film (Queen Nanny); The Fire This Time Festival (Lords Resistance), National Black Theatre (FREE); Opera Front Compagnietheater in Amsterdam (Die Zauberflöte:The Magic Flute Revisited), and Liberation Theatre Company.
THE PLAY: Knead Love Nina—a genius and Columbia University Biology major dropout—is close to figuring out how to escape life as she knows it on Earth. On a fateful Saturday, Nina has reached her final day of reckoning inside her late mother’s abandoned bakery in the Bronx. But she is interrupted by a friend from the past who thinks Nina’s plan is just a fancy scientific suicide. Knead Love follows Nina’s attempt to exist in another realm, and her old friend, Marcus who tries to convince her that her plan won’t work. Better yet, he won’t let it. While Nina pushes Marcus to see past his own limitations, he tries to ground her in a reality that even he struggles to accept. As the two collide, they discover that they both need/knead each other more than they ever imagined.
About Athena Project Athena Project empowers women through the arts and creates a world with gender equity where women’s voices are amplified. Programs include our Plays In Progress Series showcasing the contributions of women playwrights from the earliest stages of new play development; Curating Art for Impact authentically connecting brand or mission to stakeholders in a thoughtful and engaging way; Artists’ Night Out connecting our community in an open mic type forum allowing artists to give and receive feedback on projects as well as hold space for conversations around the unique challenges of being an artist; Girls Create summer intensive week-long camps exploring various art forms, which culminates in final performances shared with friends, family, and the public. This program empowers girls to lead and affect change in themselves and others through creative learning. Programs are offered in-person and virtually as Covid restrictions allow.
Hashtag: #AthenaInAction #AthenaProjectArts
*At Athena Project, we believe that “women” means many things and can be a complicated term. We recognize that the term “women” does not automatically include all aspects of the gender spectrum. We want to create a safer space for the expression and growth for all women, trans and gender-nonconforming individuals.