Long Wharf Theatre’s Contemporary American Voices Festival, an annual celebration of adventurous, innovative new plays, will kick off the 2016-17 season. Currently in its second year, CAV is part of a new initiative to support new work and give theatergoers a first look at some of the most exciting theatrical voices in the country.
The festival will take place September 9 and 10. There is a suggested donation of $5 and reservations can be made by calling 203-787-4282 or visiting longwharf.org. A cash bar featuring beer from Thimble Islands Brewery and food by Katalina’s Bakery and Stellato’s will be available for purchase.
Funding for the festival is provided by the Lord/Kubler Fund for New Work, with lead support from the Seedlings Foundation. “I am convinced that receptivity to new writing represents the very best of remedies for spiritual, emotional, and intellectual stagnation. And what better form than the theatre: live, immediate and visceral,” said Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein.
This year’s festival will include plays by Boo Killebrew, Jeff Augustin, and Clare Barron. Miller, Mississippi by Boo Killebrew will be presented on Friday, September 9. Jeff Augustin’s Last Tiger in Haiti and Clare Barron’s Dance Nation will be performed on Saturday, September 10. “Boo Killebrew, Jeff Augustin, and Clare Barron are three of the most distinctive, audacious new voices writing for the theatre today. I couldn’t be happier to bring them to Long Wharf, and for our audience to experience the singular vision and talent of each of these writers,” said Literary Manager Christine Scarfuto.
Jeff Augustin’s play The Last Tiger in Haiti will receive multiple productions in 2016. Jeff’s plays have also been produced at the Roundabout Underground (Little Children Dream of God) and Actors Theatre of Louisville (Cry Old Kingdom, Humana 2013; That High Lonesome Sound, Humana Apprentice Anthology 2015). His work has been developed at the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference, The Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep, American Conservatory Theater, and Seattle Rep. Jeff is the Shank Playwright-in-Residence at Playwrights Horizons and a member of the Rita Goldberg Playwright’s Workshop at the Lark. He is an alumnus of the New York Theatre Workshop 2050 Fellowship; The Working Farm at SPACE on Ryder Farm and was the inaugural Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence at Roundabout. Jeff is currently under commission from Manhattan Theatre Club, Roundabout, and Actors Theatre of Louisville. BA: Boston College, MFA: UCSD.
Clare Barron’s Dance Nation recently co-won the inaugural Relentless Award established in honor of Philip Seymour Hoffman. She is a playwright and actor from Wenatchee, Washington. Her plays include You Got Older, which received its world premiere with Page 73, directed by Anne Kauffman (Obie Award for Playwriting, Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding Play, Kilroys List, and Susan Smith Blackburn finalist); I’ll Never Love Again (The Bushwick Starr, NYTimes & Time Out Critics’ Picks); Baby Screams Miracle (Clubbed Thumb Summerworks); and Dirty Crusty (Youngblood’s Unfiltered). She is the recipient of the 2014 Page 73 Playwriting Fellowship and the Paula Vogel Award at the Vineyard. She is also a member of New Dramatists and Youngblood at EST, an Affiliated Artist with Target Margin, an alum of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, and is currently pursuing her MFA at Brooklyn College. As an actor, Clare appeared in the world premiere of Heidi Schreck’s The Consultant (Long Wharf Theatre) and traveled to Beirut to play Mae in an Arabic-English production of Maria Irene Fornes’ Mud.
Boo Killebrew’s play Miller, Mississippi won the 2015 Leah Ryan Prize. Killebrew is a playwright, actress, teaching artist, and co-founder of CollaborationTown Theatre Company. Boo is a Lila Acheson Playwriting Fellow at The Juilliard School and the recipient of The Paula Vogel Award at The Vineyard Theater. She is a resident of The SPACE Working Farm, an alumni of the Emerging Writers Group at The Public Theater, a recipient of a NYFA Fellowship, an alumni of TerraNova’s Groundbreakers, an Affiliated Artist and Kitchen Cabinet Member with New Georges, a teaching artist for The Roundabout Theatre Company, and a Usual Suspect with New Theater Workshop. Her plays include Romance Novels for Dummies, Days Like Diamonds, The Play About My Dad, The d Life, Caveat Emptor and The Momentum (NYC Fringe Festival Excellence Award for Overall Production of a Play; GLAAD Media Award Nominee). Her work has been presented at The Roundabout Theatre, The Public Theater, Williamstown Theater Festival, The Atlantic, New York Theater Workshop, New York Stage and Film, Perry Mansfield, Portland Center Stage, New Georges, Clubbed Thumb, The Huntington Theatre Co., 59e59 Theatres, The New Ohio, The Labyrinth, The Alley Theatre, and Boston Playwright’s Theatre. Boo was an Edward F. Albee Foundation Fellow, an Artist in Residence at NYFA, Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center, The New York Theater Workshop, The MacDowell Colony, Williamstown Theater Festival, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Boo has received two New York Innovative Theater Awards, two Fringe Excellence Awards, and The Bette Davis Foundation Award. She is currently commissioned by Victory Gardens and The Dallas Theatre Center. Boo is a writer for “Longmire” on Netflix and created the television pilot “Aim High”, which is currently in development at AMC.
CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN VOICES FESTIVAL
September 9 – 7 pm
By Boo Killebrew
Directed by Lee Sunday Evans
Set in volatile Civil Rights-era Mississippi, Miller, Mississippi is a Southern Gothic tale of one family’s heartfelt and devastating descent into ruin. As the country lurches towards a future of racial equality, the Miller family is poisoned by their own legacy.
September 10 – 5 pm
THE LAST TIGER IN HAITI
By Jeff Augustin
Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz
It’s the final night of Kanaval in Haiti, and a group of restaveks, abandoned children living in servitude, trade spellbinding tales blurring fiction and reality, and dreaming of freedom. When two of them reunite 15 years later, reality reveals itself to be more haunting than they could have imagined.
September 10 – 8:30 pm
By Clare Barron
Directed by Lee Sunday Evans
An army of pre-teen competitive dancers plots to take over the world. A play about ambition, competition, and growing up—and how we find our souls in the heat of it all.