SHORT NEW PLAY FESTIVAL 2020
The recording was only available until 7:00 PM EDT on Friday, July 24. See you next year!
Enjoy eight world premieres in one night. This benefit event is the latest installment of our renowned annual new play festival. The evening will bring you works by some of the most exciting up-and-coming writers from across the country, penning classically inspired ten-minute plays alongside two commissioned playwrights. This year's festival will include new plays by Jeremy O. Harris and Theresa Rebeck alongside six of today's up-and-coming playwrights selected through an open submission process: Ben Beckley, Avery Deutsch, Leah Maddrie, Jessica Moss, Matthew Park, and Mallory Jane Weiss. This year’s theme? PRIVATE LIVES, inspired by Noël Coward’s classic comedy
The plays, directed by Mêlisa Annis, Vivienne Benesch and Em Weinstein, will be performed by Ali Ahn, Frankie J. Alvarez, Kathleen Chalfant, Lilli Cooper, Edmund Donovan, William Jackson Harper, Louisa Jacobson, Peter Francis James, and Charlayne Woodard. The festival is produced by Craig Baldwin and Nathan Winkelstein.
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Outside Time Without Extension
by Ben Beckley
Directed by Vivienne Benesch
Ali Ahn | Sarah
William Jackson Harper | David
Love Adjacent, or Balcony Plays
by Leah Maddrie
Directed by Vivienne Benesch
Edmund Donovan | Young Man
Peter Francis James | Troy
Charlayne Woodard | Cressie
Louisa Jacobson | Maid/Young Woman
by Matthew Park
Directed by Em Weinstein
Frankie J. Alvarez | Kit
Lilli Cooper | Mabel
Edmund Donovan | Thomas
Peter Francis James | Flagellant
Medieval London (or thereabouts). A room in a small house of brick and timber.
Something in the Ground
Directed by Mêlisa Annis
Kathleen Chalfant | Sylvia
Louisa Jacobson | Lou
Peter Francis James | Monroe
Charlayne Woodard | Annie
A word from the Noël Coward Foundation
-There will be a 5 minute intermission-
Old Beggar Women
Directed by Em Weinstein
Kathleen Chalfant | Amanda
Charlayne Woodard | Sibyl
Two adjacent balconies. A nursing home. The first warm day.
In the Attic
by Jessica Moss
Directed by Em Weinstein
Lilli Cooper | Winnifred
Edmund Donovan | Clarence
William Jackson Harper | Edmund
Louisa Jacobson | Hagatha
Charlayne Woodard | Josephine
Directed by Vivienne Benesch
Ali Ahn | Penny
Frankie J. Alvarez | William
Fear and Misery of the Master Race (Of the Brecht)
Directed by Em Weinstein
Charlayne Woodard | Narrator
Frankie J Alvarez Chuckling | Young Man/Fiance
Kathleen Chalfant | Matriarch
Lilli Cooper Young | Black Woman
Edmund Donovan | Disgusted Young Man/Son
Louisa Jacobson | White Woman/Daughter
Red Bull Theater’s annual Short New Play Festival has generated over 2,500 new short plays of classic themes and heightened language, presenting over 72 of them in a one-night only Festival performance with some of New York’s finest actors and directors. In its first eight years, the commissioned playwrights have included Marcus Gardley, John Guare, David Ives, Ellen McLaughlin, Dael Orlandersmith, Anne Washburn, Doug Wright and winning entries by writers such as Anchuli Felicia King, Patricia Ione Lloyd, Lynn Rosen, and Jen Silverman. Stage Rights has published a 4-volume collection of the plays from the first 8 years of Red Bull Theater’s annual Short New Play Festival as RED BULL SHORTS.
Red Bull Theater wishes to express its gratitude to the Performers’ Unions: ACTORS’ EQUITY ASSOCIATION, AMERICAN GUILD OF MUSICAL ARTISTS, AMERICAN GUILD OF VARIETY ARTISTS, and SAG-AFTRA through Theatre Authority, Inc. for their cooperation in permitting the Artists to appear in this program.
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHTS
Ben Beckley made his Broadway debut last summer in What The Constitution Means To Me. Other acting credits include premieres with Itamar Moses, Christopher Durang, and Adam Rapp, first national tours of Peter and the Starcatcher and Small Mouth Sounds, and performances with Atlantic, Denver Center, Clubbed Thumb, and Northern Stage. As co-artistic director for The Assembly, he's co-created and co-written seven original projects, including In Corpo, a Kafka-inspired musical premiering 2021 at Theatre Row. Other writing credits include Latter Days at Ars Nova, and KlaxAlterian Sequester, an immersive solo quarantine experience created with Asa Wember.
Avery Deutsch is a Brooklyn based Actor and Playwright. She received a BA from Muhlenberg College, where she studied Theater and English. Most recently, she was a member of the 18/19 Professional Training Company at Actors Theatre of Louisville, where she was an acting apprentice. It was there she started writing more seriously. Upon her return to NYC, she did a reading of The Winterguard Play at New York Theatre Workshop's Next Door Space. She was brought back to Louisville to act in The Wolves this past season, and she is currently a member of Project Y Writers Group.
Jeremy O. Harris’s full-length plays include: Slave Play (Broadway, New York Theatre Workshop, New York Times Critic’s Pick, winner of the 2018 Kennedy Center Rosa Parks Playwriting Award, the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, and The Lotos Foundation Prize in the Arts and Sciences), “DADDY” (Vineyard Theatre/The New Group, Almeida Theatre), Black Exhibition (Bushwick Starr), Xander Xyst, Dragon: 1, and WATER SPORTS; or insignificant white boys (published by 53rd State Press). His work has been presented or developed by Pieterspace, JACK, Ars Nova, The New Group, NYTW, Performance Space New York and Playwrights Horizons. In 2018, Jeremy co-wrote A24’s upcoming film Zola with director Janicza Bravo. He is the 11th recipient of the Vineyard Theatre’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, a 2016 MacDowell Colony Fellow, an Orchard Project Greenhouse artist, a resident playwright with Colt Coeur, and is under commission from Lincoln Center Theater and Playwrights Horizons. Jeremy is a graduate of the Yale MFA Playwriting Program. Jeremy is currently developing a pilot with A24 for HBO.
Leah Maddrie’s plays have received recognition: Margaret (finalist 2019 Red Bull Theater Short New Play Festival); Just About Love, adapted from All’s Well That Ends Well (semi-finalist, American Shakespeare Center 2019 Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries; Harlem Shakespeare Festival’s concert reading series); Dark Energy Stuns Universe (Sloan Foundation award/EST First Light Festival); MiddleMuddle (finalist, DC Source Festival; read at La MaMa E.T.C.); Chasing Heaven (O’Neill semi-finalist, produced at Metropolitan Playhouse and the NY International Fringe Festival). Leah received a BRIO Award for her poetry collection “BronxAerie” from Bronx Council on the Arts. As an actor, Leah has appeared in many U.S. theaters coast-to-coast.
Jessica Moss is a performer, writer, and producer. She is the creator/performer of solo shows Modern Love, and Polly Polly. Her full-length plays include Next to Him, I Will Miss You When You’re Gone, Cam Baby, A Girl Lives Alone and others. Her work has been developed or presented at Great Plains Theatre Conference, Roundabout Theatre, Premiere Stages, Kitchen Dog Theatre, the Toronto International Film Festival, and the Canadian Stage Festival of New Ideas and Creation, among others. As an actor, she has appeared in shows with Necessary Angel/Luminato, Tarragon Theatre, SummerWorks, Sudbury Theatre Centre, the NAC, and many times at the Toronto Fringe. She went to Juilliard.
Matthew Park is a Korean-American playwright. Born in New York and raised in Seoul, South Korea, he received a BFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2016, where he studied under Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Eduardo Machado. His thesis play Hurricane Regan was advised by Lucas Hnath and performed in NYU’s Black Box Theatre. He worked as an assistant to Scott Rudin during the Broadway productions of Three Tall Women and To Kill A Mockingbird.
Theresa Rebeck is a prolific and widely produced playwright, whose work can be seen and read throughout the United States and abroad. Last season, her fourth Broadway play premiered on Broadway, making Rebeck the most Broadway-produced female playwright of our time. Broadway works include Bernhardt/Hamlet, Dead Accounts, Seminar and Mauritius. Other notable NY and regional plays include: Seared (MCC), Downstairs (Primary Stages), The Scene, The Water’s Edge, Loose Knit, The Family of Mann and Spike Heels (Second Stage), Bad Dates, The Butterfly Collection and Our House (Playwrights Horizons), The Understudy (Roundabout), View of the Dome (NYTW), What We’re Up Against (Women’s Project), Omnium Gatherum (Pulitzer Prize finalist). As a director, her work has been seen at The Alley Theatre (Houston), the REP Company (Delaware); Dorset Theatre Festival, the Orchard Project and the Folger Theatre. Major film and television projects include Trouble starring Anjelica Huston, Bill Pullman and David Morse (writer and director), “NYPD Blue,” the NBC series “Smash” (creator), and the upcoming female spy thriller 355 (for Jessica Chastain’s production company). As a novelist, Rebeck’s books include Three Girls and Their Brother and I'm Glad About You. Rebeck is the recipient of the William Inge New Voices Playwriting Award, the PEN/Laura Pels Foundation Award, a Lilly Award and more.
Mallory Jane Weiss is a Manhattan-based playwright whose work primarily spirals around female stories. Productions include Pony Up (Princess Grace Finalist, 2019; The New School, 2019), A&Z’s Escapades in Moonstruck City (Cutting Ball Theatre Variety Pack Finalist, 2019; The New School, 2018), and Underwater (published in “The Dionysian Issue 004”; The New School, 2017). Her play Losing You, Which is Enough has had workshop readings at The Lark and Cherry Lane Theatre. Her play, Howl From Up High, is currently in development with Gingold Theatrical Group. Additionally, Mallory works as a teacher/teaching artist, a writing tutor, a copywriter, and a cycling instructor. BA: Harvard University, MFA: The New School.
A NOTE FROM THE NOËL COWARD FOUNDATION
One hundred years ago, on July 21, 1920, Noël Coward made his West End debut as a playwright at the New Theatre, appearing in his own play, I’ll Leave It to You. In 2006, the New Theatre, by then called the Albery, was renamed the Noël Coward Theatre. Sir Cameron Mackintosh, a Patron of the Noël Coward Foundation, later wrote, “Even though I have been able to name a lovely theatre after him, one of the great regrets in my life has been that I never knew Noël Coward. No one today can match Coward’s unique style as a performer and actor, but the cream of his writing remains unsurprisingly contemporary, brilliantly observed, exceptionally witty and with an underlying depth that consistently surprises anyone who only knows Coward by repute.”
Tonight at 8:30: Noël Coward’s Short-Play Cycle
Noël Coward’s dedication to the short play format is expressed in Tonight at 8:30 (1936), his cycle of nine one-act plays written for himself and Gertrude Lawrence, to play in the West End and on Broadway. Noël felt that the short play had advantages over a long one, in that “it can sustain the mood without technical creaking or over-padding and deserves a better fate. If by careful writing, acting, and producing I can do a little toward reinstating it in its rightful pride, I shall have achieved one of my most sentimental ambitions.” The nine plays, which range from slapstick comedy to high tragedy, provided Coward, Lawrence, and the rest of the cast with a variety of opportunities which were lacking, Noël felt, in long runs devoted to a single play. The plays were noteworthy not only for revealing Coward’s versatility but also for his and Gertrude Lawrence’s brilliant teamwork in their acting, which had already become evident with Private Lives a few years earlier. In fact one of the short plays – Shadow Play – offers an echo of Private Lives. Rather cinematic and adventurous for 1936, Shadow Play took its title from the ancient Asian theater tradition and prompted esteemed critic Kenneth Tynan to identify Coward as a precursor to Harold Pinter. The one-act play of the cycle that received the greatest lasting fame was Still Life, which was later expanded to become the beloved movie Brief Encounter. Red Peppers offers an affectionate but cynical tribute to the regional music halls of old (many of which were relics of grander Victorian times), where Noël and Gertie trod the boards as children. Ways and Means looks backward to Frederick Lonsdale and his 1920s comedies of manners.
The nine plays were presented three an evening, with an occasional three on matinee days, offering an amazing diversity of roles for the actors. Upon reading the plays, Lynn Fontanne wrote to Noël: “It seems dreadfully extravagant to use all these rich plots for one-act plays!”
Sir Noël Peirce Coward (1899-1973) began performing in school and community concerts. He made his first professional appearance age 12, as Prince Mussel in The Goldfish.
The man who came to epitomize British style, wit, and sophistication achieved his first great success as playwright and actor with The Vortex (1924), which featured themes of drugs and adultery. The play was nearly denied a license by the Lord Chamberlain, Britain’s censor. A string of plays followed, including Fallen Angels, Hay Fever, and Bitter Sweet. Noël’s professional partnership with childhood friend Gertrude Lawrence began with Private Lives (1931) and continued with Tonight at 8:30 (1936).
In the 1940s, there were plays such as Blithe Spirit and Present Laughter, films such as In Which We Serve and Brief Encounter, and, during the war years, trips to entertain troops and work as an unofficial spy for the Foreign Office.
The post-war years saw Noël reinventing himself as a cabaret and TV star, particularly in the United States. Always creating, his later works include Sail Away, The Girl Who Came to Supper, A Song at Twilight, and Waiting in the Wings. And all through his career, there were the songs: “Mad About the Boy,” “Mad Dogs and Englishmen,” “If Love Were All,” and many others.
Accomplished in so many arenas, Noël’s friend Lord Louis Mountbatten dubbed him “The Master,” a title he richly deserved.
The Noël Coward Foundation