IN-PERSON & STREAMING
SHORT NEW PLAY FESTIVAL 2023
RECORDED Monday, June 26, 2023
STREAM ON-DEMAND WAS AVAILABLE
thru Sunday, July 2 at 11:59 PM ET
Enjoy eight world premieres in one night. This event is the latest installment of our renowned annual new play festival. The evening will bring you works by some of the most exciting writers from across the country, penning classically inspired ten-minute plays. This year's festival included new, commissioned plays by Craig Lucas (Reckless, Prelude to a Kiss) and by Heather Raffo (9 Parts of Desire) alongside six plays from up-and-coming playwrights selected through an open submission process: Peter Gray, Delaney Kelly, Rachel Leopold, Maggie Lou Rader, Jaqui Shiel, and Frank Winters. The premieres were directed by Nadia Guevara and Ibi Owolabi.
This year’s theme? FORBIDDEN LOVE
This event premiered LIVE on Monday, June 26 at Theater 555.
A recording was available for on-demand access thru Sunday, July 2 at 11:59 PM ET
by Peter Gray
In a slightly dystopian future, two passionate censors fall in love as they collaborate to excise any objectionable content from Romeo & Juliet.
One Moment Please
by Delaney Kelly
Based on the myth of Narcissus and Echo, one man falls in love with his hyper-curated, people-pleasing Amazon Alexa device.
Of Love of God of Love
by Rachel Leopold
Psyche loves Cupid. Psyche does not know Cupid. Cupid asks for 24 hours' notice if you have to cancel or else he has to bill you in full. Based on the myth of Cupid and Psyche from The Metamorphoses, Of Love of God of Love explores the magic and the tragedy of the relationship between therapist and client.
The Western Canon
by Craig Lucas
The Western Canon means to gravely wound the patriarchy. Naturally, it fails. But these things take time. The defeat of fascism would help.
Conferring By the Parlor Fire
by Maggie Lou Rader
Kate the shrew, Bianca, and the Widow sit by the parlor fire while their husbands enjoy the wedding. But what happened around that fire that led to Kate's famous tamed speech? These three ladies are up to something that Shakespeare left out of his famous play.
by Heather Raffo
A woman confronts the legacy of empire, while under anesthesia.
Taboo is the Thing
by Jaqui Shiel
Nurse is tired of nursing everyone- in every classical play where there ever has been a nurse. She is also tired of being dictated to by the god Dionysus who rules with an iron fist and takes exception to anytime she has a forbidden affair with any other character- or anyone really. She finds herself being placed in theatrical purgatory where she meets other characters with their own struggles and convinces them to stand up to the tyrant god.
The Whole Entire Life of Iphigenia
by Frank Winters
The night before her death, Iphigenia reckons with what remains of the rest of her life.
Red Bull Theater’s annual Short New Play Festival has generated over 4,000 new short plays of classic themes and heightened language, presenting nearly 100 of them in a one-night-only Festival performance with some of New York’s finest actors and directors. In its first twelve years, the commissioned playwrights have included Larissa FastHorse, Marcus Gardley, John Guare, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Jeremy O. Harris, David Ives, Dael Orlandersmith, Theresa Rebeck, José Rivera, 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 5-volume collection of the plays from the first 10 years of Red Bull Theater’s annual Short New Play Festival as RED BULL SHORTS.
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHTS
Peter Gray (Forbidding Love) considers himself, as a playwright, an equal cross of Oscar Wilde, Henry David Thoreau, and the entire cast of The Muppets. His work has been recognized by institutions such as the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Yaddo, the Elizabeth George Foundation, and d’arts et de reves. As a MacDowell Fellow, Peter is creating a series of modern day closet dramas designed to be read aloud at home. His play Salem: Post-Mortem was begun in residence at Monson Arts then broadcast virtually with the Muse Collective in October 2020 to raise money for the Audre Lorde Project. Raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Peter’s projects and studies have taken him all over the world. With performer Joana Knezevic, he has created a bubble gum fantasia of body positivity, I Am Not Your Barbie, which premiered in Belgrade last May. He recently completed a Fellow at Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany and is a member of The Orchard Project's Audio Lab this summer.
Delaney Kelly (One Moment Please) is an emerging writer and playwright from Cleveland, OH, currently based in New Haven, CT. Previous works include The Size of a Fist, which premiered at the Oberlin College New Works Festival and was Runner-Up for the 2020 KCACTF National Undergraduate Playwriting Award, and Before the Flood, which received a staged reading at the Kraine Theater in 2022. Their fiction has appeared in Flash Fiction Magazine, Glass Mountain, and Blood & Bourbon, among others. BA: Oberlin College, 2020.
Rachel Leopold (Of Love of God of Love) writes and works in education technology in Brooklyn. Her 10-minute play The Son was selected and read as part of the Red Bull Theater’s 7th Annual Short New Play Festival in 2017. Her full-length plays include Dog People and Shiva, which was selected for the 2014 Great Plains Theatre Conference PlayLabs series. She has a BA in literature from Columbia University.
Craig Lucas (The Western Canon) wrote the plays Blue Window, Change Agent, The Dying Gaul, God’s Heart, I Was Most Alive With You, The Lying Lesson, Missing Persons, Reckless, Prayer for My Enemy, Ode to Joy, Prelude to a Kiss, The Singing Forest, Small Tragedy, Stranger; the books for the musicals Amélie, An American in Paris, The Light in the Piazza, Marry Me A Little, Three Postcards; the screenplays for Blue Window, Longtime Companion, Prelude to a Kiss, Reckless, The Dying Gaul, Secret Lives of Dentists; the opera libretti for Orpheus in Love and Two Boys; and the ballet libretto for Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella. He directed the world premieres of The Light in the Piazza, I Was Most Alive With You, Ode to Joy, Change Agent & This Thing of Darkness (co-authored with David Schulner) as well as Harry Kondoleon’s plays Saved or Destroyed & Play Yourself & the movies "The Dying Gaul" & "Birds of America". He received the Excellence in Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, Drama Desk, Obie, L.A. Drama Critics, Laura Pels/PEN Mid-career, LAMBDA Literary, Hull-Warriner, Sundance Audience, Flora Roberts, Madge Evans-Sidney Kingsley & the Steinberg/ACTA Best Play & the Hermitage Greenfield Prize among many other awards and honors.
Maggie Lou Rader (Conferring by the Parlor Fire) (she/her/hers) is an award-winning playwright, member of the Dramatist’s Guild and AEA Actor. She tells epic stories of epic women. Her work has been published and seen regionally, Off-Broadway, and on Tony Award winning stages. She obtained degrees from William Jewell College in Kansas City and the Birmingham School of Acting in the UK and has called Cincinnati home for nearly 10 years. She has been the winner of The Theater J Patty Abramson Jewish Play Prize and the Notre Dame College New Play festival and was selected for Utah Shakespeare Festival’s Words Cubed Program. She has also been a finalist for the Henley Rose Playwrighting Award for Women, Central Florida Community Arts TYA New Play and Musical Festival, a semi-finalist for the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Garry Marshall Theatre New Works Festival, Dayton Playhouse’s Future Fest, and UP Theater's Renewal Reading Series. She has had the privilege of having her work developed at DePaul University, Inkwell Theatre, Skeleton Rep, and the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Her plays have been seen at Know Theatre of Cincinnati, InBocca Performance, Commonwealth Theatre Center, The Marsh, Eclectic Full Contact Theatre, Idaho Shakespeare, Urban Stages, Theatre Pro Rata, and colleges from coast to coast. She’s also been published with Smith and Kraus and Madwomen in the Attic.
Heather Raffo (The Coronation) is a singular and outstanding voice in the American theater whose work has been championed by the New Yorker as “an example of how art can remake the world”. Having helped forge a new genre of Arab American theater, she’s spent her career writing and embodying stories of Iraq: from the lives and dreams of Iraqi women in her seminal work 9 Parts of Desire (2003), to the suicidal ideation of an Iraq war veteran in the opera Fallujah (2012), to the restless longings of an Iraqi refugee architect, in Noura (2018). A multi award-winning writer and actor, she’s toured nationally and internationally: from The Kennedy Center to The Aspen Ideas Festival and from London’s House of Commons to the U.S. Islamic World Forum. Her newly released anthology (2021), Heather Raffo’s Iraq Plays: The Things That Can’t Be Said, brings together two decades of her most groundbreaking contributions to the American theater and speaks to the bravery required to be at the forefront of a movement. Raffo’s most current work seeks to expand across genres: In March 2023, a film of 9 Parts of Desire is set to be released on PBS to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Iraq War, and her latest, The Migration Play Cycle: A New Theatrical Platform, her most ambitious theatrical imagining in scale and scope, situates themes around migration and the global economy and aims to be the first ever-evolving, multi-locational, theatrical platform. Being raised in the Midwest and the daughter of an Iraqi immigrant, Raffo has committed her artistic practice to working across all kinds of borders: on mainstages and in rural communities; with the military and in the Middle East; in swing states and in refugee facilities, as she helps to shape cultural and national conversations in the decades since 9/11.
Jaqui Shiel (Taboo is the Thing) is an actor, singer and writer. Born and raised in South Africa to Irish parents- she trained as an actor in S.Africa at TUT School of Drama and in the UK at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. After a varied theatre career in London playing roles in, amongst other things, The Libertine, Rainshark, Mary Zimmerman's The Arabian Nights, Playboy of the Western World, and A Month in the Country, Jaqui moved to NYC where she has also been seen in Elektra at the Baryshnikov Arts Centre and in industry readings for new plays including Craig Lucas's play Change Agent as Jackie Kennedy.
Frank Winters (The Whole Entire Life of Iphigenia) (he/them) is a writer, director, and actor based out of New York. He is the co-artistic director of Catastrophe Playlist, LLC and was a founding member of The Strangemen Theatre Company. His plays have been workshopped and produced Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, at The Wild Project, The Flea, 59E59 Theaters, independently at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, and in colleges and high schools across the country. He was recipient of the Clifford Odets New Play Commission and Marquette University's first-ever new play commission; selections from his work have been featured in multiple editions of Lawrence Harbison’s The Best Women’s Stage Monologues. He has served as a guest educator or adjunct professor at New York University, Manhattanville College, Catawba College, and the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Purchase College. His work has been published by Broadway Play Publishing. He received a BFA in Acting from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at SUNY Purchase. He can be found online at frankwinters.net.
ABOUT THE DIRECTORS
Nadia Guevara (she/her) Directing credits include: Fefu and Her Friends (American University Guest Director), N (Keegan Theatre), Palabras de encanto: Tales of Borikén (The Academy for Classical Acting at Shakespeare Theatre and George Washington University), Little Women (Johns Hopkins University Barnstormers), Guadalupe in the Guest Room and Cinderella Eats Rice and Beans: A Salsa Fairy Tale (NVA), El encuentro (Old Globe Arts Engagement). Readings: Madre de Dios (Round House Theatre National Capital New Play Fest), L’HÔTEL (Fulton Theatre Stories in Diversity Playwriting Fest), Azul (San Diego Repertory Theatre Latinx New Play Festival). Associate/Assistant Director: Show Way (Kennedy Center, dir. Schele Williams), Daphne’s Dive (Signature Theatre, dir. Paige Hernandez), Acoustic Rooster’s Barnyard Boogie: Starring Indigo Blume (Kennedy Center, dir. Lili-Anne Brown), Put Your House In Order (La Jolla Playhouse, dir. Lili-Anne Brown). Proud recipient of the 2022-2024 Drama League Stage Directing Fellowship.
Ibi Owolabi (she/her) is an Atlanta-based director. Her work has been seen at 7 Stages, Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre, Theatre Emory, The Weird Sisters Theatre Project, and the DC Black Theatre Festival. Ibi graduated from Georgia Southern with a degree in theatre, and was awarded the SDC Fellowship her sophomore year. Post-graduation, she moved to Actor’s Express for a directing internship, and then went on to become the Kenny Leon Fellow at the Alliance Theatre. Ibi directed several Zoom productions, including Well-Intentioned White People, Good Bad People, White-Ish, Stew, and Faith. Ibi’s recent in-person productions include These Shining Lives at USC, The Bluest Eye at Synchronicity Theatre, and Intimate Apparel at Actor’s Express. She is also a producer for Weird Sisters Theatre Project, a mixed media production company by women, for everyone.
Together with Stage Rights we've published five collections featuring the best of our annual Short New Play Festival. This ongoing series features 10-minute plays of heightened language and classical themes by today’s hottest writers, including commissions by established playwrights such as John Guare, David Ives, Regina Taylor, and Anne Washburn, and winning entries by writers such as Mike Anderson, Sam Lahne, Lynn Rosen, and Jen Silverman–-all chosen from a competition that receives nearly 300 submissions each year. In the hands of great playwrights, the 10-minute play is a highly entertaining dramatic form. This collection offers the most delectable of these delightfully compact works – some downright silly, and others powerfully moving.