TALKS: Skypin’ with Playwright Harrison Rivers

Today marks Arts in Color’s first video interview! Disclaimer-the main focus of these interviews are the content (heads up-it’s not fancy just yet)! The main goal is to really create a comfortable conversation with each guest. For you as the reader to feel like you’re just hanging out with someone you’d like to know more about. To inform people not only of their work, but their journey, and who they are as a person. We hope any aspiring or current artists will be both informed and inspired by seeing themselves reflected in each guest and listening to what they have to say!

For our first guest we are beyond excited to have the privilege of talking to one of The Public’s Emerging Playwright’s-Harrison Rivers. You may remember our earlier article on the 2013 Emerging Writers Group Spotlight Series in February. It’s not too late to see some wonderful new work by a diverse group of artists (for free)!

Show Info:
SWEET debuts today. Shows are at 3pm and 7pm. Call the Public Theater Box Office at 212.967.7555 to reserve your ticket!

Harrison David Rivers is a Kansas born New York based playwright. Some of his full-length plays include, When Last We Flew (2011 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Off-Off Broadway Play, 2010 FringeNYC Overall Excellence Award Winner, The Advocate’s Top 10 LGBTQ Fringe 2010), “lydie, or (s)he who looks inside, awakes”, the bandaged place, And She Said, He Said, I Said Yes, “we are misquoted texts, made right when you say us,” FELL, Prophet’s Wife,  and Look Upon Our Lowliness. His work has been developed and produced at The American Airlines Theater on Broadway, Lincoln Center, Atlantic Theater, the Lucille Lortel Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, Second Stage, Joe’s Pub, Ars Nova, HERE Arts Center, and the Sundance Theater Lab on Governor’s Island amongst others. Harrison has received a Van Lier fellowship (New Dramtists), an Emerging Artist of Color Fellowship (NYTW) and residencies with Freedom Train, NYTW/Dartmouth and Urban Arts Partnership. He is a member of at play, The Movement Theater Company, the Lincoln Center Directors’ Lab, The Old Vic New Voices Network and a NYTW Usual Suspect. MFA, Charles Mee’s playwriting program at Columbia University.

Leave a comment and let us know what you think of the interview! Have more questions for Harrison? Visit our Contact Page or email info at artsincolor dot com and we’ll try our best to get them answered!

SPOTLIGHT: Cornerstone Theater Company

Cornerstone Theater Company is based in Los Angeles, CA and is dedicated to producing theater with and for the community.  This very concept is what makes Cornerstone so unique.  A typical production at Cornerstone combines professional artists with members of the community. The members of the community all have vary in levels of theater experience, ages, and cultural backgrounds.   Furthermore, the themes of their plays tackle topical issues that the community is currently facing.  Since its inception in 1986, Cornerstone has “commissioned more than 50 playwrights, produced over 80 new works, trained over 2000 students in our methodology, and worked with tens of thousands of people across the country.”

“Any theater that has a result in mind is not having a conversation.”

– Michael John Garcés, Artistic Director

Image Credit: Cornerstone Theater Company

Image Credit: Cornerstone Theater Company

Its vision statement says it all. “We envision a world transformed through the recognition that every individual has the capacity for creativity and each has a story worth telling. We believe that theater can catalyze dialogue around crucial issues and bring together disparate communities. We believe that conversations about the urgent issues of our times must include many voices and diverse perspectives.”

Its current cycle of plays, The Hunger Cycle, consists of new work that addresses the issues of hunger and social justice.  This cycle will span over six years, and nine plays will be produced.  Tonight through April 13, Lunch Lady Courage is playing at the Cocoanut Grove Theatre in Los Angeles.  Check out the trailer for Lunch Lady Courage and get a taste of what Cornerstone is all about (below).

TAKE A LOOK BACK: August Wilson

Playwright August Wilson chronicles the African American experience through his plays and is considered to be one of the most influential playwrights in American Theater.

Photo Credit: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Photo Credit: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Wilson’s biggest accomplishment is his cycle of ten plays– one for every decade in the 20th century.  Nine of these plays made their way to Broadway– the most famous being Fences and Radio Golf.  Many of the plays in the cycle have reoccurring themes and characters and narrate the past struggles of black Americans that still ring true in today’s society.

In an interview with Bill Moyers, August Wilson discusses what it means to be black.   I find this to be an interesting conversation, especially when Wilson declares that the most valuable blacks are the “warrior spirits” in prison.  He continues by dismissing The Cosby Show as an accurate illustration of black American culture since he believes this famous television family has white values. Watch the interview and join our discussion– August Wilson on Blackness.

Also- check out: All of His Plays Obituaries

EVENTS: The Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Spotlight Series

Image Credit: Public Theater

Image Credit: Public Theater

Have you heard of this??

Every year the Public Theater hosts a group of emerging playwrights, and in the spring they present free readings of all their shows.

‘EWG, which targets playwrights at the early stages of their career, is part of the Public Writers Initiative, a long-term program that supports and develops works by writers throughout their careers. The program has produced 50-70 readings and workshops per season in recent years.’

More detailed information on the program can be found in this Playbill article.

Clickhere for a list of the playwrights, dates/times of the readings, and a brief synopsis of the shows.

The Public’s blog also features the writers. Check it out here.

I went last year and thought it was a really solid opportunity to stay current with the theater community. I was exposed to a lot of promising material and the work was great. An added benefit?? Many of the playwrights and directors are artists of color. Matthew and I will be attending some of shows and hope to cover them on here in the future!

ickets for the Emerging Writers Group Spotlight Series are free, but must be reserved in advance by calling the Public Theater Box Office at 212.967.7555.