Victory Gardens Theater announces the complete lineup for the 2014 IGNITION Festival of New Plays, including Where Did We Sit on the Bus? by Brian Quijada; Lack and Lack by April Fools (Kristiana Colón & Damon Williams); Sender by Ike Holter; Slingshot by Kia Corthron; Hillary and Clinton by Lucas Hnath; For Tomorrow, Please Prepare by Paul Downs Colaizzo; and Cocked by Sarah Gubbins. The festival will take place July 24-27, 2014. The IGNITION festival creates a productive environment for both emerging and established playwrights to explore and develop their new work.
"At Victory Gardens, we bridge communities through challenging, bold, and innovative new plays that are representative of the diverse voices in this city and beyond. So, for the first time since the Festival's inception, we have invited not only writers of color under 30, but have opened our festival to include all playwrights," comments Artistic Director Chay Yew. "IGNITION has consistently been an essential part of Victory Gardens’ new play development programming since 2008, and Ignition 2014 will be no exception."
“We are proud to announce our lineup of playwrights for our fourth edition of Victory Gardens' IGNITION Festival of New Plays. With a record of more than 1,000 submissions for our festival this year, we welcome seven remarkable playwrights from Chicago and from around the country. With themes ranging from race to class, gender to gun violence, Ignition will give these veteran and emerging playwrights the opportunity to develop their newest plays," comments Literary Manager Isaac Gomez.
INGITION’s seven selected plays will be presented in a festival of readings scheduled for summer 2014 and will be directed by leading artists from Chicago. Following the readings, two of the plays may be selected for intensive workshops during Victory Gardens 2014/15 season, and Victory Gardens may produce one of these final scripts in an upcoming season.
COMPLETE FESTIVAL LINEUP:
Where Did We Sit on the Bus? by Brian Quijada and Lack on Lack by April Fools (Kristiana Colón & Damon Williams)
Thurs July 24 | 7:00pm | Richard Christiansen Theater
We are starting IGNITION with a bang! Performed back-to-back, this double bill of rap and spoken word performances pieces explore growing up in a world where things aren't always as they seem:
During a 3rd grade lesson on the Civil Rights movement and Rosa Parks, a Latino boy raises his hand to ask "Where did we sit on the bus?" and his teacher can't answer the question. Told through rap, hip-hop, spoken word, and live looping, Brian Quijada’s autobiographical Where Did We Sit On The Bus? looks at what it means to be Latino in America.
In their theatrical debut, brother/sister hip hop duo April Fools (Kristiana Colón & Damon Williams) fuse music, spoken word, and humor in Lack on Lack, a journey through Chicago to plan a surprise birthday party for their mother April. Damon and Kristiana navigate the neighborhoods of Chicago, childhood memories, and the turns of their new grown-up relationship in this city of practical jokers.
Thursday July 24 | Victory Gardens Theater Lobby | 9:00 p.m.
IGNITION Festival Opening Night Reception
Sender by Ike Holter
Fri July 25 | 7:00pm | Richard Christiansen Theater
Over a year after faking his death in a sensational fashion, a young man returns to his former apartment: alive, well, and with a new found ambition to fix what went wrong. What starts as a miracle reunion turns into a catastrophic disaster as the past begins to catch up with the present and old debts return, expecting payment in full.
Friday July 25 | Victory Gardens Theater Lobby | 9:00 p.m.
Artist Night: Meet & Greet
Slingshot by Kia Corthron
Sat July 26 | 3:00pm | Richard Christiansen Theater
After suffering a terrible work accident as a result of a negligent manufacturing defect, Malik must live with the inevitable consequences. In a nation where lawsuits have been equated with greed, how can Malik’s father Gid attain compensation and justice comparable to human life?
Saturday July 26 | Richard Christiansen Theater | 6:00 p.m.
Panel Discussion | New Plays in Chicago
As one of the leading centers of new play development, Chicago is home to some of the richest and boldest new plays premiering across the country. In a city where audiences are hungry for new theatre work, what is the current state of new play development and its future? What should we be doing more to nurture the artists, audiences and the field?
Hillary and Clinton by Lucas Hnath
Sat July 26 | 7:00pm | Richard Christiansen Theater
In 2008, a woman named Hillary is trying to become the president of a country called the United States of America, but she's not doing well in the polls and needs more money to keep the campaign going. She calls her husband for help and he offers her a deal, but it's a deal that ends up costing a lot more than either of them had reckoned.
Saturday July 26 | Fiesta Mexicana | 9:00 p.m.
IGNITION Festival Cocktail Hour at Fiesta Mexicana
For Tomorrow, Please Prepare by Paul Downs Colaizzo
Sun July 27 | 2:00pm | Richard Christiansen Theater
Racial tensions in the suburban south reach a boiling point when a white student at a public high school in Georgia makes an inflammatory comment during a lesson on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The school's disciplinary process is threatened when hidden agendas are revealed, proving that when it comes to how we should teach our country's racial history, the issue is anything but black and white.
Sunday July 27 | Richard Christiansen Theater | 5:00 p.m.
Panel Discussion | From Script to the Stage
From the first draft to opening night, new plays are changing and evolving as new elements are introduced. With IGNITION Festival as a catalyst for developing new work, how does a rehearsal room shift when a living playwright is in the room? What are the best practices and collaborations? How do we better support and produce new plays and playwrights?
Cocked by Sarah Gubbins
Sun July 27 | 6:00pm | Richard Christiansen Theater
Taylor and her girlfriend, Izzie have always been staunchly opposed to gun ownership. But when Taylor’s brother shows up unannounced one afternoon, that position slowly corrodes as new discoveries surface and the lines between safety and protection are blurred.
Sunday July 27 | Victory Gardens Theater Lobby | 8:00 p.m.
IGNITION Festival Closing Night Celebration
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Brian Quijada is a New York based, Chicago born actor and musician. Some of Brian’s acting credits include: The Realness (The Kennedy Center) Victory Jones and The Incredible One Woman Band (The Denver Theatre Center) How We Got On (Actor’s Theater of Louisville) Beat Generation (Merrimack Rep) The Solid Sand Below, Hype Hero, and Orange Julius (The Eugene O’Neill’s National Playwright’s Conference) Other credits: (New York) Playwright’s Realm, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Repertorio Espanol, Page 73, Playwrights Horizons, TerraNova, LAByrinth (Chicago) Steppenwolf (TV) Blue Bloods.
April Fools is a brother/sister rap duo fusing poetry & hip-hop. Kristiana & Damon have rocked the mic at Grinnell College, Bottom Lounge, the Silver Room Block Party, the Chicago Westside Music Festival, the Englewood Music Festival & have been heard on Vocalo radio, WHPK, and WIIT. April Fools gets their name from their mother, April, whose birthday is April Fool’s Day. April Fools delight audiences with poetic, buoyant lyrics, vocal interplay, and storytelling.
Kristiana Colón is a poet, playwright, actor, educator, Ensemble member at Teatro Luna, and Cave Canem Fellow. Her play Octagon is the winner of Arizona Theater Company's 2014 National Latino Playwriting Award and was a finalist in Polarity Ensemble Theater's Dionysos Festival of New Work. In February and March 2013, she toured the UK with her collection of poems promised instruments published by Northwestern University Press. In autumn 2012, she opened her one-woman show Cry Wolf in Chicago while her play but i cd only whisper had its world premiere in London at the Arcola Theater. Her poetry was nominated for a 2011 Pushcart Prize and has appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including MTV Publishing’s forthcoming Chorus: A Re(Mixtape) edited by Saul Williams. Kristiana appeared on Season 5 of HBO's Def Poetry Jam.
Damon Williams is a rapper, actor, poet, public speaker and social activist. Damon recently graduated from Grinnell College where he majored in Economics and Sociology. As the son of a comedian, the south side native believes deeply in the powers of laughter, satire and performance. Williams intends for his artistic expression to intersect with his financial background to serve his community's needs. Damon is excited to make his Chicago theatre debut with his big sister.
Ike Holter’s work has been produced at The Steppenwolf Garage, LiveWire Chicago, Theater 7, The Greenhouse Theater, Theater on The Lake and The Inconvenience, where he is a founding member and resident writer. He's received fellowships and commissions from The Goodman Theater, The Kennedy Center and The Playwrights Center. His show Hit The Wall played at Steppenwolf Garage and Off-Broadway at The Barrow Street Theater in New York. This May, Jackalope Theater produced his new play Exit Strategy, which played to sold-out houses and moves to Michigan for the 3oaks Festival in July before another month-long run at the Broadway Armory. His monologues have been published in The New Yorker and several editions of Applause Books.
Kia Corthron was awarded in 2014 a Windham Campbell Prize for Drama and GPTC’s Simon Great Plains Playwright Award as Honored Playwright. She is a contributing writer of SITI Company’s Steel Hammer developed through Actors Theatre of Louisville/Humana 2014. Other plays have been produced in New York by Playwrights Horizons, Ensemble Studio Theatre, NY Theatre Workshop, Atlantic, Manhattan Theatre Club, American Place; in London by the Royal Court and Donmar Warehouse; and regionally by Minneapolis’ Children’s Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, Alabama Shakespeare, Yale Rep, Huntington, NY Stage & Film, Baltimore's Center Stage, Goodman, Hartford Stage and elsewhere. Lee Reynolds Award, Bellagio Residency (Italy), Dora Maar Residency (France), MacDowell Colony, Siena Art Institute Visiting Artist (Italy), McKnight National Residency, Wachtmeister Award, Columbia/Goodman Fellowship, MacLean Foundation Award, Daryl Roth Creative Spirit Award, Fadiman, NEA, Kennedy Center Fund, New Professional Theatre Award, Callaway. Writers Guild and Edgar awards for The Wire. Dramatists Guild Council, New Dramatists alumnus.
Lucas Hnath’s plays include The Christians (2014 Humana Festival), Red Speedo (Studio Theatre, DC), A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney (Soho Rep), nightnight (2013 Humana Festival), Isaac's Eye (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Death Tax (2012 Humana Festival, Royal Court Theatre), and The Courtship of Anna Nicole Smith (Actors Theatre of Louisville).Lucas has been a resident playwright at New Dramatists since 2011 and is also a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre. He won the 2012 Whitfield Cook Award for Isaac’s Eye and the 2013 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award Citation for Death Tax. Lucas is also a recipient of commissions from the EST/Sloan Project, Actors Theatre of Louisville, South Coast Repertory, Playwrights Horizons, Royal Court Theatre, and New York University’s Graduate Acting Program. Lucas received both his BFA and MFA from NYU's Department of Dramatic Writing. His plays are published by Dramatists Play Service.
Paul Downs Colaizzo's first play Really Really sold-out a twice-extended run Off-Broadway at MCC Theater, starring Zosia Mamet and Matt Lauria, directed by David Cromer. The play was awarded the 2013 Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play and an Outer Critics Circle nomination for Best New Play. Paul’s most recent play, Pride in the Falls of Autrey Mill premiered in 2013 at the Signature Theatre, VA starring Christine Lahti. He recently developed a one hour pilot for ABC, Executive Produced by Shonda Rhimes through ABC studios, along with writing a pilot for ABC Family, and is currently writing on the staff of Ryan Murphy’s new drama Open, in development at HBO. In 2013, Entertainment Weekly listed Colaizzo as one of their Next Wave, New Hollywood writers to watch.
Sarah Gubbins’ plays include Fair Use, In Loco Parentis, The Drinking Problem, The Kid Thing (Jeff Award and Edgarton Foundation New American Play Award), fml: how Carson McCullers saved my life, I am Bradley Manning, A Sense of Things and Cocked. Her plays have been produced at the Steppenwolf Theatre, Actor’s Express, Next Theater, About Face Theater and Chicago Dramatists among others. Her plays have been developed at the Public Theater, New York Theater Workshop, The Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theater, The Plawrights’ Center, Center Theatre Group, O’Neill Theatre Center, and Berekely Rep’s Ground Floor among others. She’s has been a Carl J. Djerassi Fellow and Jerome Fellow. She is a member of the CTG 2013-14 Writers’ Workshop, the Playwrights’ Union, and is an Artistic Associate at About Face Theater. She holds an M.F.A. from Northwestern University.
The IGNITION Festival of New Plays was conceived to support the theater’s mission of new plays and diversity. In the spring of 2010, 120 writers of color from around the United States submitted new scripts for the first phase of IGNITION. In its inaugural season, IGNITION developed, premiered and launched both Year Zero and Kristoffer Diaz’ The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity onto the American theater scene; both productions have subsequently been remounted at Second Stage in New York City. Victory Gardens produced We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915 by Jackie Sibblies Drury and Appropriate By Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Other notable IGNITION plays receiving their world premieres include Mala Hierba by VG Ensemble Playwright Tanya Saracho, playing at Second Stage in New York City this summer and Samsara by Lauren Yee, playing at Victory Gardens in the Spring of 2015.
The IGNITION Festival of New Plays receives major support from The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust and Southwest Airlines, Victory Gardens' official travel sponsor. Berghoff Catering Group is the official catering partner of Victory Gardens.
Performances are at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, in the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Admission to all festival readings and events is free, though an RSVP is required. For more information or to RSVP, visit www.victorygardens.org/also-playing/ignition/ or call the Victory Gardens Box Office at 773.871.3000.
About Victory Gardens Theater
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Chay Yew and Managing Director Chris Mannelli, Victory Gardens is dedicated to artistic excellence while creating a vital, contemporary American Theater that is accessible and relevant to all people through productions of challenging new plays and musicals. With Victory Gardens’ first new Artistic Director in 34 years, the company remains committed to the development, production and support of new plays that has been the mission of the theater since its founding, continuing the vision set forth by Dennis Zacek, Marcelle McVay, and the original founders of Victory Gardens Theater.
Victory Gardens Theater is a leader in developing and producing new theatre work and cultivating an inclusive Chicago theater community. Victory Gardens’ core strengths are nurturing and producing dynamic and inspiring new plays, reflecting the diversity of our city’s and nation’s culture through engaging diverse communities, and in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, bringing art and culture to our city’s active student population.
Since its founding in 1974, the company has produced more world premieres than any other Chicago theater, a commitment recognized nationally when Victory Gardens received the 2001 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, Victory Gardens Biograph Theater includes the Zacek-McVay Theater, a state-of-the-art 299-seat mainstage and the 109-seat studio theater on the second floor, named the Richard Christiansen Theater.
In 2012, Victory Gardens Victory Gardens appointed new Ensemble Playwrights Philip Dawkins, Marcus Gardley, Samuel D. Hunter and Tanya Saracho, for seven-year residencies. The Playwrights Ensemble Alumni includes Claudia Allen, Lonnie Carter, Steve Carter, Gloria Bond Clunie, Dean Corrin, Nilo Cruz, Joel Drake Johnson, John Logan, Nicholas Patricca, Douglas Post, James Sherman, Charles Smith, Jeffrey Sweet and Kristine Thatcher.
Click here for more information about Victory Gardens. Follow up on Facebook and Twitter @VictoryGardens.
Victory Gardens Theater receives major funding from Alphawood Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Joyce Foundation,The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Allstate Insurance, Polk Bros. Foundation, Crown Family Philanthropies,The Leo S. Guthman Fund, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The William and Orli Staley Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The REAM Foundation, and the Leo S. Guthman Fund. Additional funding is provided by: Abbot Downing & Wells Fargo, Alliance Bernstein, Berghoff Catering, The Charles H. and Bertha L. Boothroyd Foundation, a City Arts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, The Conant Family FoundationThe Edgerton Foundation, Exelon, John R. Halligan Charitable Fund, Illinois Arts Council (a state agency), Illinois Tool Works, Italian Village Restaurants, James S. Kemper Foundation, Mayer Brown LLP, The McVay Foundation, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg, LLP, The Prince Charitable Trusts, The Seabury Foundation, Charles & M.R. Shapiro Foundation, Southwest Airlines, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable TrustVenturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation,and Wrightwood Neighbors Conservation Association.