2013-14 Season 11

2nd Annual Hothouse New Play Reading Series

Apr 2014

Theater Alliance’s annual reading series serves as an incubator for ideas and new voices in playwriting. Drawing on the principles of greenhouse convection, Hothouse aims to cultivate playwrights and create a space for their work to grow.

Reading Series

After our two Bake-offs, our playwrights were asked to choose one of their pieces for a week-long rehearsal and development process.  They each chose pieces created at our second Bake-off, and each of these new pieces will receive a staged reading during the month of April 2014.

I LOVE DC
By: Theater Alliance Ensemble

Theater Alliance will present excerpts from a new devised piece entitled I Love DC, a physical and emotional exploration of what it means to live our lives in DC.  A group of 6 local performers, designers, directors, and writers have gathered to devise a new theatre piece through an exploration of DC’s history and culture. The process includes the rehearsal of movement and music, extensive research about the District’s history, and interviews with a diverse cross-section of DC residents.

April 4th and 5th at 8:00PM
Capitol Hill Arts Workshop|  545 7th Street, SE

SINNER MAN
By: Liz Maestri
Directed by: Clementine Thomas

Meet Dorian.  Beautiful, young, beloved.  He’s perfect.  And highly impressionable.  Consumed by his own vanity and ego, can Dorian live up to the world’s expectations of him, or will he be corrupted?  Rendered in a world of visual artistry, Liz Maestri’s striking adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray offers a modern, female take on the classic story of the darkness of man.

April 14th at 8:00PM
Mead Theatre Lab at Flashpoint | 916 G Street, NW

PECAN PARK
By: Lee August Praley
Directed by: Jessica Jung

Welcome to Pecan Park! See the beautiful, centuries old trees, the captivating wildlife, and the majesty of the mountains watching over the land.  But don’t get comfortable.  In exactly 5 hours, the park will be closed forever to make way for a state-of-the-art tourist destination.  Poignant, absurd, and whimsical, Praley’s Pecan Park sheds new light on the notion of urban development, deforestation, and the simple story of humanity convening with nature.

April 19th at 2:00PM
Anacostia Playhouse | 2020 Shannon Place SE

THE DREAM OF THE DISENFRANCHISED BLACK MAN
By: Psalmayene24
Directed by: Colin Hovde

Did you ever wake up feeling like someone else?  What about dreaming that you were someone else?  Three men experience the trials and tribulations of living life as someone else. But will their experiences alter their perceptions?  Exploring ideas of class and racial perceptions, this surreal play by Psalmayene24 takes a hard look at how we see others and forces us to rethink our assumptions.

April 26th at 2:00PM
Anacostia Playhouse | 2020 Shannon Place SE

Mini Bake-Off Reading
Various Playwrights

Are you curious about our playwrights’ process?  Come join us for a “mini bake-off.”  Playwrights will only have a few hours to put thematic ingredients into a delicious short play!  These pieces will be read for friends and family at our Hothouse Wrap Party.

The Fridge | 516 8th Street SE (Rear alley)

Workshop Series

While our playwrights experimented with their new pieces and In keeping with the theme of new work, we offered three workshops that involve building a piece or an ensemble from the ground up.

Theater of the Oppressed
Lead By: Annalisa Dias-Mandoly

“Theatre is a form of knowledge; it should and can also be a means of transforming society. Theatre can help us build our future, rather than just waiting for it.”- Augusto Boal

Spend a weekend exploring Theater of the Oppressed through Language and Power, Ethics Building, Newspaper Theater, Forum Theater, and more.

April 12th and 13th 11:00AM-3:00PM
The Fridge | 516 8th Street SE (Rear alley)

Building a Physical Ensemble
Lead By: Nathaniel Mendez

An ensemble of artists will explore physical exercises to get out of their heads and into their bodies.  Learn to trust the creative physical impulses within one another and allowing oneself to go further.  Become aware of the power of ensemble storytelling and the pit falls of the over-active actors’ ego.

April 23rd and 24th 7:00PM-10:00PM
Anacostia Playhouse | 2020 Shannon Place SE

Mini Bake-Off
Lead By: Katie Ryan and Kat White

Do you have what it takes to be our next Bake-off playwright?  Are you curious about our playwrights’ process?  Come join us for a “mini bake-off.”  You will only have a few hours to put the ingredients given into a delicious short play!  These pieces will be read for friends and family at our Hot House Wrap-Up Party.

The Fridge | 516 8th Street SE (Rear alley)

About the Playwrights

Psalmayene 24 (a.k.a. Gregory Morrison) is a playwright, actor, director, and master teaching artist. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, he currently resides in Silver Spring, Maryland with his wife, Diana, and cat, Brando. He has received playwriting commissions from The African Continuum Theater Company, Arena Stage and Imagination Stage. His one man play, Free Jujube Brown! is recognized as a seminal work in Hip-Hop Theater and is published in the first Hip-Hop Theater anthology, Plays from the Boom-Box Galaxy: Theater from the Hip-Hop Generation (TCG). He was the co-writer and co-performer of The Hip-Hop Nightmares of Jujube Brown (Helen Hayes nomination, Outstanding Actor in a Resident Musical). His play Journey to the Door of No Return… has received workshops and readings at Arena Stage and PenumbraTheater and was selected to be a part of the Black Women Playwrights’ Group’s Cyber Narrative Project in partnership with M.I.T. and George Mason University. Psalm wrote and directed Zomo the Rabbit: A Hip-Hop Creation Myth (2010 Helen Hayes nomination, Outstanding Production for Young Audiences), the first play in his Hip-Hop Children’s Trilogy that explores the past, present, and future of Hip-Hop culture. Zomo… premiered at Imagination Stage (Bethesda, MD) in 2009 and toured to New York City with the Hip-Hop Theater Festival. Psalm wrote, directed, and acted in the second play in the trilogy, P.Nokio: A Hip-Hop Musical (supported in part by a $25,000 development grant from The National Endowment for the Arts). P.Nokio also premiered at Imagination Stage, toured to The New Jersey Performing Arts Center and was subsequently remounted at Imagination Stage, opening their 2012/13 season. The final installment in the trilogy, Cinderella: The Remix, will premiere at Imagination Stage during their 2013/14 season. Mr. 24 is the recipient of a 2012 Individual Artist Award in Playwriting from the Maryland State Arts Council. He has also received grants from the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, and the Boomerang Fund for Artists Inc., an organization that offers unsolicited grants to artists who demonstrate their talent and commitment to a life in the arts. He has sat on numerous panels and has facilitated hundreds of theater related workshops. He is currently the Master Teaching Artist at Arena Stage in Washington, DC. Be your outlandish dream … Psalmayene 24 Interview with TheaterWashington


Liz Maestri’s full-length plays include HOUSE BEAUTIFUL, FALLBEIL (DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities YAP Award), CONDO CONDO CONDOLAND, SOMERSAULTING, and OWL MOON (Original Works Publishing). Her work has been commissioned, produced, and developed at The Artists’ Bloc, CENTERSTAGE 50Fest, E.M.P. Collective, Capital Fringe Festival, Field Trip Theatre, Forum Theatre, Glass Mind Theatre Company, Great Plains Theatre Conference, One-Minute Play Festival, The Kennedy Center’s Page-to-Stage Festival, Source Festival, Taffety Punk Theatre Company, Theater Alliance, and Theater J. Liz was a founding core member of The Anthropologists, a physical-theater ensemble in NYC, and her extensive production work experience includes projects at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Ensemble Studio Theatre, 78th Street Theater Lab, and The Kennedy Center (Sondheim Festival), among others. Liz studied playwriting with the 24 With 5 Collective at New Dramatists, and is a proud member of The Playwrights’ Center and The Dramatists Guild of America. Liz’s Website


Lee August Praley is an award-winning writer, director and producer. His films include “NOTHING IS FUN ANYMORE”, “HELLO, OLD FRIEND”, “WHAT COLOR IS YOUR TUESDAY?” and the upcoming feature directing debut “THE HITCHING POST” Praley’s work in theatre has been seen across the world in cities including Chicago, Washington, DC, New York and Tbilisi, Georgia. His play “EUPHORIA: SOMETHING BETTER IS COMING” had its world Premiere at the Rustavelli Theatre in Georgia as a co-production with the US State Department. Most recently, his play “THANKSGIVING AT CHEKOV’S” was a finalist in the Eugene O’Neill National Playwright’s Conference. As an actor he has worked with Forum Theatre (bobrauschenbergamerica), No Rules (YOU’RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN), dog & pony DC (COURAGE) and starred in the film “A GIRL NAMED CLYDE”. For the theatre he has directed “BAT BOY,” “IS THERE LIFE AFTER HIGH SCHOOL,” “IT’S A SMALL WORLD,” “RESURRECTION” and “MACBETH.” Praley studied Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Chicago and received his MFA in Dramatic Writing at NYU’S Tisch School of the Arts. Lee’s Profile on the Writopia Lab website

What is a Bake-off?

A brainchild of playwright Paula Vogel, a bake-off is an experimental exercise for writers that challenges them to work rapidly to produce a piece to be presented fewer than 48 hours after the first word appears on the page.

Bake-off Playwrights are given a list of “ingredients” — people, places, things, ideas, etc. — that they must incorporate into their piece. These ingredients are sometimes given weeks in advance to allow the writers to outline and brainstorm, though sometimes playwrights only know their ingredients at the beginning of the 48 hour writing period. With such a short timetable to create their pieces, bake-off  writers are encouraged to allow their instincts guide them through and are forced to ignore the nagging urge to rewrite as they go. After two days, the playwrights print out what they’ve got, in whatever form they’ve got it, and the piece are read.

Our first Theater Alliance Bake-off took place at the end of September 2013, with the second taking place in January 2014. Our playwrights were given their ingredients months in advance and were encouraged to brainstorm about what they wanted to create with them. The big stipulation was that they could not begin writing until the beginning of the 48 hour window.

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