Photo by A. Vincent Scarano
A new monthly community engagement series: Plays to Progress. Hear from playwrights, local community leaders, and national activists as they explore social issues through art. Each evening will feature a brief performance followed by a conversation about the resonance of a work launched at the O’Neill within our local communities.
watch previous conversations
Leftovers by Josh Wilder
August 12, 2020
Jalil and Kwamaine just want their family to be “Cosby Show happy,” but that kind of life doesn’t seem to be in the cards—until an enormous dandelion sprouts in front of their South Philly home and wishes start falling from the sky. Seizing the possibility of no longer feeling like the city's leftovers, the brothers begin to dream their way out of the cycle of poverty that has governed their lives, and find themselves on an adventure they never could have imagined. Purchase the play
about the panelists
Josh Wilder is a playwright from Philadelphia. His work has been developed; commissioned; and produced at various regional theaters and festivals across the country including The Fire This Time Festival, Classical Theatre of Harlem, New York Theatre Workshop, True Colors Theatre Company, The Kennedy Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, 2015 O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, PlayPenn, Company One, InterAct Theatre Company, and Yale Rep. Past awards include the Holland New Voices Award, The Lorraine Hansberry Award, The Rosa Parks Award, and The ASCAP Cole Porter Prize. Josh is a former Jerome Fellow and the first national recipient of the Jerome Many Voices Fellowship at The Playwrights’ Center. He has been in residence at The Royal Court Theatre; Sundance at UCross; and served as Co-Artistic Director at The Yale Cabaret for its 50th season. Currently, he’s stationed in Los Angeles. MFA: Yale School of Drama. BFA: Carnegie Mellon.
Lockdown by Cori Thomas
September 9, 2020
A writer and an incarcerated man embark on an unexpected journey to the realities of long term incarceration and grief, as they work together to craft a statement for his upcoming parole hearing. Lockdown was commissioned by Rattlestick Playwrights Theater through the Toulmin Foundation, and inspired by Cori Thomas’ experiences getting to know and working alongside a number of men currently serving life sentences at San Quentin State Prison.
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A Campanha estará vigente a partir do dia 05 de julho de 2021 à 31 de agosto de 2021, podendo ser estendida, suspensa ou encerrada a qualquer momento, a exclusivo critério da Voltz.
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How We Got On by Idris Goodwin
October 14, 2020
Hank, Julian, and Luann are three talented, determined suburban teens coming of age in the 1980s. Dreaming of fame and fortune in the new Hip-Hop music scene, they must overcome cultural isolation, familial dysfunction, and ruthless rivalries to make the music that defines their lives. A sultry DJ spins their stories with her own meta-theatrical perspective in this contemporary ode to the roots of rap. Purchase the play
about the panelists
Nomad Motel by Carla Ching
November 11, 2020
Alix lives in a tiny motel room with her mother and two brothers, scrabbling to make weekly rent. Mason lives comfortably in a grand, empty house while his father runs jobs for the Hong Kong Triad. Until the day his father disappears and Mason has to figure out how to come up with grocery money and dodge Child Services and the INS. Mason and Alix develop the most tentative of friendships, struggling to survive, and trying to outrun the mistakes of their parents. Will they make it out or fall through the cracks? A play about Motel Kids and Parachute Kids raising themselves and living at the poverty line in a land of plenty. Read the play on New Play Exchange.
about the panelists
A native Angeleno, Carla Ching called NYC home for 16 years. She started off writing/performing autobiographical work with pan-Asian collective Peeling. Her plays include Nomad Motel (NY Premiere: Atlantic Theater Company; NNPN Rolling World Premiere: City Theatre Company, Horizon Theatre Company, Unicorn Theatre Company), Fast Company (South Coast Rep, Ensemble Studio Theatre), The Two Kids That Blow Shit Up (Artists at Play, Mu Performing Arts), TBA (2g) and The Sugar House at the Edge of the Wilderness (Ma-Yi). Her work’s been developed or produced by Aurora Theatre, Berkeley Rep, CTG Writers’ Workshop, Huntington Theatre Company, The Lark, Lyric Stage, Ma-Yi, The O’Neill and The Women’s Project among others. Former Artistic Director of 2g. She’s writing a play called Revenge Porn as a Toulmin Commission for The Atlantic. Founding member of The Kilroys and proud member of New Dramatists. TV credits: Graceland (USA), Fear the Walking Dead (AMC), I Love Dick (Amazon), The First (Hulu), Preacher (AMC), Home Before Dark. She’s developing a new show with 3AD and AMC Studios at Hulu based on Fast Company.
The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin by Kirsten Childs
December 9, 2020
What’s a black girl from sunny Southern California to do? White people are blowing up black girls in Birmingham churches. Black people are shouting “Black is beautiful” while straightening their hair and coveting light skin. Viveca Stanton’s answer: Slap on a bubbly smile and be as white as you can be! In a humorous and pointed coming-of-age story spanning the sixties through the nineties, Viveca blithely sails through the confusing worlds of racism, sexism and Broadway showbiz until she’s forced to face the devastating effect self-denial has had on her life.
about the panelists
Kirsten Childs The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin Obie, Kleban, Audelco, Richard Rodgers, Gilman Gonzalez-Falla awards; Rockefeller, Meet The Composer and Jonathan Larson Grants; Lortel, NAACP, Drama Desk nominations. Bella: An American Tall Tale Frederick Loewe Award, Edward M. Kennedy Prize Finalist, 4 Audelco Awards. Fly with Rajiv Joseph, Bill Sherman and director Jeffrey Seller. The Edge of Night Playwrights Horizons, Soundstage Podcast Series. Family Chronicles Vineyard Theater commission. Washington Square with Ben Wexler. New Group commission with Gordon Greenberg. Funked Up Fairy Tales. Miracle Brothers. Lucky Boy Penn State Commission. NEA, Larson grants. American Songbook series. New Electric Company. Disney’s Believe and Disney’s Wishes. Guggenheim Museum Works & Process. Songwriter for Dianne Reeves (with Billy Childs).