|People of the Book
by Renee Calarco
Friday, October 18, 2013 at 2:00 pm
A New Play from the author of The Religion ThingCalarco’s play in development, People of the Book, asks us to consider how far we would go to believe a story that’s too good to be true. Partially inspired by the story of Rabbi Menachem Youlus—the self-dubbed “Jewish Indiana Jones”—the play goes to “some uncomfortable places,” according to Calarco. “We all yearn for survival stories,” she says, “and I’m obsessed with the stories that we collect and re-tell and believe—beyond the point of reason. It’s a theme that I explored a bit in The Religion Thing, too, and I’m so grateful to Theater J for continuing to develop my work.”Renee Calarco is a playwright, teacher and performer. Her plays include The Religion Thing(2013 nominee for the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play), Short Order Stories (2007 recipient of the Charles MacArthur Award), The Mating of Angela Weiss,Keepers of the Western Door, Bleed, First Stop: Niagara Falls, and If You Give a Cat a Cupcake. Her 10-minute play Warriors was published by One Act Play Depot in 2010.
Her plays have been produced, developed, and commissioned by Theater J, Charter Theater, Geva Theatre, Project Y, Adventure Theatre, Doorway Arts Ensemble, Pinky Swear Productions, and the Source Theatre Festival. She teaches playwriting and comedy improv at The Theatre Lab, and playwriting at George Washington University. Renee is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America and a licensed professional tour guide.
Reading: A Grand Design
by DW Gregory
Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:30 pm
Tickets: $10/person- Purchase online or available at the door
Len and Claire sense they are in for some seriously bad karma when his offhand remark at a party inspires the break-up of long-married friends. But when an anonymous sniper appears on the scene, both couples are forced to reconsider the trade-offs they have made in life … and love …
A dark comedy.
The piece in development with Theater J is entitled A Grand Design, a three-actor piece inspired in part by the DC sniper shootings a decade ago. It is a dark comedy that, as Gregory puts it, “wrestles with the tradeoffs we make between security and satisfaction, and how those calculations are thrown into disarray when the shooting starts.” Discussing what drew her to work with Theater J, Gregory explains, “I started writing plays in the late ‘80s in Rochester, NY, and one of my inspirations was a playwright named Ari Roth [Theater J’s current Artistic Director], whose play Oh the Innocents was featured in a festival at GEVA Theatre Center. So it would be about coming full circle, for me.”
DW Gregory writes in a variety of styles and genres, from historical drama to screwball comedy, but a recurring theme is the exploration of political issues through a personal lens. The New York Times called her “a playwright with a talent to enlighten and provoke” for her most produced play, Radium Girls (Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey), about dial painters poisoned on the job in the 1920s. A resident playwright at New Jersey Rep, she received a Pulitzer nomination for the Rep’s production of The Good Daughter.
Other plays include The Good Girl Is Gone (Playwrights Theatre); October 1962 (NJ Rep); andMolumby’s Million (Iron Age Theatre Co.), a comedy about the boxer Jack Dempsey, which was nominated for the 2011 Barrymore Award for Outstanding New Play by the Theatre Alliance of Philadelphia. Ms. Gregory is also a founding member of the Playwrights Gymnasium, a process-oriented workshop based in Washington, DC.
Reading: House Beautiful
by Liz Maestri
Friday, November 22, 2013 at 2pm
Tickets: $5/person- Purchase online or available at the door
In a decaying town, one lone house still stands. Inside, three generations of a family weather the end of an era.
Maestri’s current one-act in development, House Beautiful, demonstrates her clear sense of what interests her as a playwright. “My work is often influenced by a fascination with things supernatural and found in nature.” She was impressed by last year’s Locally Grown festival, remarking “Locally Grown is an important, exciting, and highly visible program…DC is my home, and I’m deeply connected to the city in most ways, so I look forward to becoming a more active player in my artistic home-base.”
Liz Maestri represents the next generation of playwrights that Theater J looks forward to cultivating. Maestri studied playwriting with the “24 With 5” Collective at New Dramatists in NY, and received her B.A. in Theater from the University of Maryland (College Park Scholars in the Arts; Theatre Patrons Award winner).
Liz’s plays include Owl Moon, (world premiere Taffety Punk Theatre Company); Somersaulting (workshop presentation at The Kennedy Center Page-to-Stage and The Artists’ Bloc Downtown Series); Tinderbox (ReActs series/Forum Theatre); Fallbeil (Great Plains Theatre Conference, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Young Artist Program grant); and multi-disciplinary collaborations The Pressure Cooker for the 2012 Source Festival (Creative Communities Fund) and Genesis with E.M.P. Collective.