Sundance Institute Announces 2009 Summer Theatre Lab Projects

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Los Angeles, CA – Sundance Institute today announced the five projects chosen for the 2009 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab to be held July 7 -22 at the Sundance Resort in Utah. Under the stewardship of Sundance Institute Theatre Program’s Artistic Director Philip Himberg, the projects and participants selected for this year’s residency are: Diagram of a Paper Airplane (Carlos Murillo); An Iliad (Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson); The Lily’s Revenge (Taylor Mac); Ngwino Ubeho (Come and Be Alive) (Odile Gakire Gatire); and Palomino (David Cale).

“The 2009 Sundance Theatre Lab reaffirms the Institute’s commitment to serious and poetic writing for the stage; as well as our insistence that artists of vision be given the room and support to create works of great ambition. Playwrights Carlos Murillo, David Cale and Denis O’Hare wrestle beautifully with language and the art of storytelling. Taylor Mac’s 47-cast-member fantasia, and Odile Katese’s multi-national theatre/dance/music piece are but two examples of sweeping imaginative, risky, theatrical works of scale. We look forward to hosting them on the Sundance mountain and to providing both atmosphere and Creative Advisors to help further their work,” said Sundance Institute Theatre Program Artistic Director Philip Himberg.

The Fellows will work with a respected staff of dramaturgs and accomplished Creative Advisors. Dramaturgs include Sundance Theatre Artists Mame Hunt, Roberta Levitow, and Janice Paran. Creative Advisors include Lynn Nottage (Ruined, Intimate Apparel and Fabulation)and Tony Toccone (artistic director, Berkeley Repertory Theatre). Meg Simon and Findley Davidson are the casting directors for the 2009 Theatre Lab.

The projects selected for development at the Lab join a growing list of recent work supported by the Institute’s Theatre Program including: 33 Variations by Moisés Kaufman, currently playing on Broadway, Passing Strange by Stew and Heidi Rodewald, Spring Awakening by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater, This Beautiful City by The Civilians, Blue Door by Tanya Barfield, I Am My Own Wife by Doug Wright and Current Nobody by Melissa James Gibson.


Diagram of a Paper Airplane

Carlos Murillo

A noir-ish, sly and soul-searching investigation into the life and legacy of Javier C., a once-visionary playwright whose death—nearly two decades after his estrangement from family and friends—prompts a prickly reunion and a post-mortem play reading (arranged by Javier) of his alleged masterwork. Driven by curiosity, guilt and the hope that the play will illuminate a shared but secretive past, his survivors reluctantly carry out his wish.

Carlos Murillo (Dark Play or Stories for Boys) is a Chicago-based playwright, director and teacher. Diagram of a Paper Airplane was commissioned by The Goodman Theatre.

An Iliad

Adapted by Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson

Directed by Lisa Peterson

The actor/director team of Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson are devising a solo adaptation of Homer’s epic war poem, rediscovering its roots in the oral tradition and reimagining the form in which it may have been originally performed: as the partly recited, partly improvised efforts of a itinerant poet who walks into a local tavern and begins to weave a tale of war and woe, creating a conversation between the past and present, the fixed and the fluid, the teller and the listener.

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The Lily’s Revenge

Taylor Mac

Directed by David Drake

The story of an uprooted flower who sets out to combat its oppressors, The Lily’s Revenge is described by the playwright as “part Noh play, part verse play, part vaudevillian theatric, part installation, part puppet play and part dance.” While at Sundance, Mac will focus on one act of the multi-part, 40+ actor extravaganza, conceived as a collaboration among four different performing ensembles.

Taylor Mac is a New York-based writer and performance artist (Red Tide Blooming, The Be(A)st of Taylor Mac) whose idiosyncratic and highly theatrical creations take aim at the homogenization of culture and the perils of nostalgia. The Lily’s Revenge is also scheduled for a workshop outing at the HERE Arts Center in New York in the fall of 2009.

Ngwino Ubeho

Odile Gakire Katese

Directed by Rebecca Taichman

Rwandan playwright and actor, Odile Katese’s original play with music and movement, reflects back fifteen years, as her country recalls the violence of the genocide, and then moves toward an exploration of what it means to truly heal and move into the future with hope and possibility. The poetry, music and dance will be performed by Ms. Katese , and two African artists – from Burkina Faso and Togo – as well as four American performers. Ngwino Ubeho (Come and Be Alive)is the result of the Sundance Theatre Program’s International Initiative which is currently focusing on the artists of East Africa (specifically Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.)


David Cale, Writer-in Residence

David Cale is a writer, actor and lyricist best known for his solo works (Deep in a Dream of You, Smooch Music, Redthroats, Lillian). He is currently developing a new solo play, Palomino (commissioned by Connecticut’s Long Wharf Theatre), about an enigmatic Irish horse-drawn carriage driver in Central Park who begins moonlighting as an escort for wealthy women, a development that will ultimately touch numerous lives in unexpected ways.

The Sundance Institute Theatre Program is a core program of Sundance Institute. Through its developmental activities at the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, the SUNDANCE INSTITUTE PLAYWRIGHTS RETREAT AT UCROSS and the SUNDANCE INSTITUTE THEATRE LAB AT WHITE OAK, the 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 Producing Artistic Director Philip Himberg, more than 85% of the work coming out of the Program’s labs has found professional production at theatres across the United States, Mexico and Europe. The Program is a Constituent of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre. Recent productions of Sundance-developed work includes: 33 Variations by Moisés Kaufman, Passing Strange by Stew and Heidi Rodewald, Grey Gardens by Doug Wright, Scott Frankel and Michael Korie, Spring Awakening by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater, Current Nobody by Melissa James Gibson, and Blue Door by Tanya Barfield.

The Program is made possible by endowment support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and leadership commitments from the National Endowment for the Arts, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Time Warner Inc. Additional major support is provided by the Shubert Foundation, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the California Institute of Arts.

Sundance Institute

Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, Sundance Institute is a not-for-profit organization that fosters the development of original storytelling in film and theatre, and presents the annual Sundance Film Festival. Internationally recognized for its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, film composers, playwrights and theatre artists, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Angels in America, Spring Awakening, Boys Don’t Cry, Sin Nombre and Born into Brothels.

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For more information contact:

Amy McGee, 310.492.2333

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