Playwrights Corinne Donly, Kristen Kosmas, and Haruna Lee share an attention to language, a formal inventiveness, a commitment to social and environmental justice, and a deep interest in theater's liveness, its tangible connection to the possibilities it enacts. In this event, celebrating the release of their newest works from 53rd State Press, Donly, Kosmas, and Lee read excerpts from their plays and discuss dreams, nightmares, hells, utopias, alchemy, translation, change, and theater as a space of becoming what we are not yet.
In Corinne Donly's buoyant translation of Hieronymus Bosch's 15th-century triptych "The Garden of Earthly Delights," syllables combine to make words and people to make couples. An elegy to vestiges and a paean to puns, Wood Calls Out to Wood transforms Bosch's old paradise by means of a new alchemy of love, language, and radical tenderness.
On an asterism situated between two constellations in a universe not far from this one, a motley assortment of well-meaning but ineffectual people—who have been psychically kidnapped—train and prepare for the Bright Future, an almost-utopia they will eventually be deployed to enact back on planet Earth. Part boot-camp space-travel memoir, part how-to manual for the construction of a paradise, Kristen Kosmas's The People’s Republic of Valerie, Living Room Edition is an attempt to transform feelings of despair, grief, and rage into something of value, into positive action, into something of beauty that might uplift and create space and occasion for imagination and community.
In 1990’s Japan, a salaryman searches for self-worth, while a lonely teenage girl grapples with her sexuality in a nightmarish, male-defined society. When the two find an awkward companionship, they expose their darkest desires. Written to be performed by a Japanese heritage cast, Haruna Lee's Suicide Forest is a bilingual play that breaks through the silence and submissiveness often associated with Japanese and Japanese American identity, exploring questions of emotional, psychic, and social suicide through the playwright’s lived stories and inner landscape.
Corinne Donly is a playwright, an educator, and a lover of all things liminal. Their work often attempts to reimagine narrative structure via principles of ecology and play theory. Recent plays include Wood Calls Out to Wood, Orchid Receipt Service, Because of the Mud, and Sentience Structure #1. Donly is currently a fellow in the Trans Lab (co-sponsored by the Public Theater and WP). They teach writing to undergraduates at Brooklyn College and play-making to high school students throughout NYC. They hold an MFA in playwriting from Brooklyn College, an MA in Integral Ecology, and a BFA in acting from NYU’S Experimental Theatre Wing.
Kristen Kosmas makes contemporary performance. Her primary materials and concerns are language, presence, liveness, and collaboration. Kosmas has had new works commissioned by the Chocolate Factory Theater, On the Boards, PS122, The Theatre of a Two-Headed Calf, Seattle University's SITE Specific, Dixon Place, and the New City Theater. Her plays and critically acclaimed solo performances have been presented in Seattle, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and in New York City at numerous venues including the Chocolate Factory, PS122, La Mama, Dixon Place, Prelude, Barbès, the Ontological/Hysteric Downstairs Series, and the Poetry Project. Her writing has been published by Ugly Duckling Presse, PLAY: A Journal of Plays, and 53rd State Press, among others.
Haruna Lee is a Taiwanese-Japanese-American theater maker whose work is rooted in a liberation-based healing practice while committed to promoting arts activism and emergent strategies through ethical and process-based collaborations. Their play Suicide Forest, published by 53rd State Press, was a New York Times Critic’s Pick and hailed as “Vivid, haunted, heart-stingingly tender and explicitly personal.” It will be having its Off Broadway Transfer with Ma-Yi Theater Company in Feb 2020. Lee is a recipient of the Map Fund Grant, Lotos Foundation Prize for Directing and the New Dramatists Van Lier Fellowship. They currently teach at NYU’s Experimental Theater Wing. harunalee.com
Kate Kremer is a playwright and editor of 53rd State Press whose work explores past, present, and potential systems of oppression and care. Her plays have been developed/produced at JACK, the Figge Art Museum, the Public Theater, the Bushwick Starr, Dixon Place, SFX Fest, the Wild Project, and Brooklyn College. She was a finalist for the Princess Grace Award and the Dennis and Victoria Ross Foundation. She currently teaches playwriting at the University of Virginia's College at Wise. katekremer.com