Sundance Institute Selects Seven Projects for 2013 Theatre Lab at Sundance Resort, July 8-28

Posted May 13, 2013

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Paula Vogel, Taylor Mac and Jackie Sibblies Drury to Work on Their Latest Scripts

Seven East African Theatre Fellows to Join the Lab

New York, NY — Sundance Institute today announced the seven projects selected to participate in the 2013 Theatre Lab, July 8-28 at the Sundance Resort in Utah. Under the supervision of Philip Himberg, Artistic Director, and Producing Director Christopher Hibma, the Theatre Lab is the centerpiece of the Sundance Institute's Theatre Program's year-round work and is designed to support emerging and established artists and to create a place where their original work can be effectively mentored and challenged.

The seven playwrights selected for the 2013 Theatre Lab in Sundance, Utah are: Adam Bock (The Colby Sisters of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), Jackie Sibblies Drury (Really Really Really Really Really), Taylor Mac (The Fre), Mona Mansour (The Vagrant), Qui Nguyen (War is F**king Awesome). Mfoniso Udofia (Sojourners), and Paula Vogel (The Vengeance Project).  Seven East African theater makers will join the Lab community as well.

"We look forward to welcoming back a number of seasoned alumni this year as well as playwrights who are new to the Sundance Institute family," said Artistic Director Philip Himberg. "The range of vision and process of these particular artists is vast. This mix of emerging and more experienced theater makers will create a lively and productive atmosphere at a Lab environment designed to support and amplify creative impulses and risk-taking."

"The work that comes to the lab for development needs to be strong to withstand an intense and challenging process," said Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute.   "There is nothing more exciting than seeing passionate, committed storytellers take risks and push their work to be the best it can be."

The Lab environment is an atmosphere solely focused on development in which mentors (Creative Advisors), dramaturgs, actors in the Lab ensemble, and Sundance Institute artistic staff work with Fellows to address the compelling needs of her/his text. The Theatre Lab provides rehearsal space, dramaturgical support, an acting company, and stage management for playwrights, directors, choreographers, composers, solo performers and ensembles. The Lab's unique day-on, day-off rehearsal structure provides Fellows the time to explore revising their work, without the pressure of daily rehearsals, as well as freedom from commercial attention. The three-week residency culminates in a closed presentation of each project for Lab participants, followed by a collaborative and specifically tailored feedback session.

The seven East African Fellows who participated in the 2012 Theatre Stage Directors Workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and are  traveling to Sundance, Utah, will divide their time between mentorship sessions with director Liesl Tommy and rehearsals of Lab projects to experience first-hand how play development processes function. These artists are: Habiba Issa (Tanzania), Aida Mbowa (Uganda), Rogers Otieno (Kenya), Wesley Ruzibiza (Rwanda), Freddy Sabimbona (Burundi), Azeb Worku Sibane (Ethiopia) and Surafel Wondimu (Ethiopia).

Fellows at the Lab will be supported by a team of advisors and colleagues who provide feedback on the material and process. Dramaturgs for the Lab are Janice Paran (Senior Program Associate), Elissa Adams (Minneapolis) and Jocelyn Clarke (Dublin, Ireland). Creative Advisors for the Lab are: Playwright Lynn Nottage and Artistic Director of Tricycle Theatre in London Indhu Rubasingham. The seven projects were selected with input from an Advisory Committee including: Program Associates Liesl Tommy and Mame Hunt Octavio Solis, Stephen Wadsworth and Senior Program Associate Janice Paran.

Projects selected for the 2013 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab are:

The Colby Sisters of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
By Adam Bock
Directed by Trip Cullman
Meet the Colby sisters of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Five sisters, "It girls" slightly past their time, living in New York City, trying to figure out how to put up with each other. Family. What are you going to do?

The Fre
By Taylor Mac
Directed by Lisa Peterson

This project is part of Mac's "Kothornos Festival" (four plays that will premiere separately but ultimately be performed in an all-day festival mirrored after the Greek Dionysia). It is an all-ages play written in the form of Old Comedy. It is the story of an intellectual aesthete, who is trapped inside a mud pit in the middle of a swamp, and his desperate attempt at escaping the swamp's fatuous inhabitants who call themselves, the Fre. Commissioned by the Children's Theater Company.

Really Really Really Really Really
By Jackie Sibblies Drury
Directed by Dan Rothenberg

Sibblies Drury's play centers on two women (the Mother and the Girlfriend of a conceptual artist who has vanished) leaving them to sort through his overwhelming body of work. It is a piece about artists, legacy and photography that asks about what we try to leave behind, what we actually leave behind, and how we deal with being left.

Sojourners
By Mfoniso Udofia
Director TBD

Abasiama Ekpeyoung came to America with high hopes for her arranged marriage and her future, intent on earning a degree and returning to Nigeria. But when her husband is seduced by America, she is forced to choose between the Nigerian or the American dream.

The Vagrant
By Mona Monsour
Directed by Mark Wing-Davey

England/London 1982. Part three of a trilogy. As Arab émigré, Adham faces his last hurdle to secure a coveted permanent position at university, a wave of "domestic terrorism" hits his chosen city, while at the same time, the family he's left behind in the Middle East faces their own escalating horrors. The life Adham has created threatens to unravel, destroying the political and personal equilibrium he's spent 15 years perfecting.

The Vengeance Project
By Paula Vogel
Directed by Rebecca Taichman

Vogel's latest play follows the circuitous path of Scholem Asch's play God of Vengeance from 1905 Warsaw to 1951 Stamford Connecticut. It chronicles a contentious work written by a young man during the Yiddish Renaissance: from the fights in the salon after its first reading in Warsaw to its triumph on Second Avenue New York—and onward to 1923 Broadway. What should be the pinnacle of the Yiddish theatre crossing over to the Great White Way becomes a spectacle of scandal: prosecution for obscenity, struggles over anti-Semitism, and oh yes, the first kiss between two women on the American stage. When does one fight to produce a manuscript? When does prudence dictate a manuscript stays in the drawer? And when should an author burn his/her own script?

War is F**king Awesome
By Qui Nguyen
Directed by Liesl Tommy

A politically incorrect action-comedy following the life of Unity Spencer, a young colonial girl imbued with immortality but cursed to fight in every American conflict from the American Revolution to present day and beyond.


About Sundance Institute Theatre Program: The Theatre Program has been a core component of Sundance Institute since Robert Redford founded the Institute in 1984. The Theatre Program identifies and assists emerging theatre artists, contributes to the creative growth of established artists, and encourages and supports the development of new work for the stage. Under the guidance of Artistic Director Philip Himberg and Producing Director Christopher Hibma, the Theatre Program is the leading play development program in the United States. Titles such as Spring Awakening, An Iliad, I Am My Own Wife, The Good Negro, Circle Mirror Transformation, Passing Strange, Grey Gardens, Crowns and Marie Antoinette have gone from Theatre Program Labs to production from coast to coast and internationally, garnering multiple Pulitzers, Tonys, Obies and other recognition. The Theatre Program's East Africa initiative is the only professional program of its type on the continent, offering Labs, cross-cultural exchange, mentorship and exposure to artists in six African countries. www.sundance.org/theatre

About Sundance Institute:  Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, Sundance Institute is a global, nonprofit cultural organization dedicated to nurturing artistic expression in film and theater, and to supporting intercultural dialogue between artists and audiences. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to unite, inform and inspire, regardless of geo-political, social, religious or cultural differences. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival and its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, film composers, playwrights and theatre artists, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Born into Brothels, Trouble the Water, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Amreeka, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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