Brave New Works festival showcases Georgia writers

By Arts at Emory | Emory Report | Jan. 21, 2016

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The 2016 Brave New Works festival includes an adaptation of the poetry collection "Please" by English professor Jericho Brown. Courtesy photo.

The Playwriting Center of Theater Emory presents the 2016 Brave New Works festival, taking place Jan. 25 through Feb. 13 in the Theater Lab of the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. The biennial festival brings professional playwrights, adaptors, composers and directors together with student and professional actors to produce new work at Emory.

This year’s festival shines a spotlight on the wealth of artists producing exciting and challenging work right here in Georgia. “In 2016, we are proud to feature world-class writers who have put down roots in Atlanta,” said Lisa Paulsen, director of the Playwriting Center. “The scripts they are preparing for Brave New Works are as flavorful and fresh as Atlanta itself.”

Presentations include an adaptation of Jericho Brown's award-winning collection of poetry “Please”; a screenplay from David Garrett that places Georg Buchner’s “Woyzeck” in the world of an African-American cop working in present-day Atlanta; and an exciting new piece from playwright Jim Grimsley set in an imagined future when the modern world has collapsed back into slavery and serfdom.

Brown is an associate professor in Emory's English department; Grimsley is professor of practice in the English department.

2016 – 2018 Playwriting Fellowship Series

In addition to Georgia-grown work, Brave New Works 2016 presents selections of plays from Emory’s 2016-2018 Playwriting Fellowship finalists: Bennett Fisher (Jan. 25), Jireh Breon Holder (Jan. 28), Dana Lynn Formby (Feb. 4) and Andrew P. Saito (Feb. 11).

The playwriting fellowship provides the selected promising young playwright with a two-year residency and the opportunity to teach courses at Emory, continue developing new work, and connect with the Atlanta theater community.

“My time at Emory has been absolutely invaluable,” said Emory’s inaugural playwriting fellow, Edith Freni. “I was challenged to expand my ideas about what it means to teach young theater makers and supported in my efforts to engage the broader Atlanta theater community; to become an active participant in that community — one that is vibrant, welcoming and committed to the development of new work.”

Diverse schedule of events

Brave New Works presentations include:

  • Jan. 29, 7 p.m.: “The Younger” is the story of one woman’s desperate quest to bring scholar and philosopher Seneca back to Rome following his expulsion. Written by Ann Hughes (17C) and directed by Jeremy Cohen.
  • Jan. 30, 7 p.m.: "Shaking the Wind: Firebreathing" is the second installment in Minka Wiltz' "Shaking the Wind," the story of a girl raised by an Atlanta street preacher. It explores how Margie became Minka and defied her brainwashing to become her truest self.
  • Jan. 31, 2 p.m.: “Here to Love You Uncomfortable,” the stage adaptation of Jericho Brown’s “Please,” an exploration of the intersections of love and violence, African American male identity and sexuality, adapted by Jericho Brown and Snehal Desai.
  • Feb. 6-7, 7 p.m.: "The Bonobo Project," first conceived for Theater Emory’s Breaking Ground Series, brings together four new plays by Atlanta playwrights all inspired by common source material, “Sex at Dawn: the Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality,” by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha. Performances on Feb. 6 include Edith Freni's "The Mystic" and Michael Winn's "Homo Sapiens is Latin for Man Who Knows." On Feb. 7, "Cul-de-Sac" by Johnny Drago and "The Flower Room" by Daryl Fazio take the stage.
  • Feb. 12, 7 p.m.: “King James,” David Garrett’s screenplay adaptation of Georg’s Buchner’s “Woyzeck,” a story of poverty, morality, madness and violence set in present-day Atlanta.
  • Feb. 13, 7 p.m.: Jim Grimsley’s “The Looking Glass” tells the story of Widow Evangeline Norris, whose history is similar to the infamous 17th century figure Elizabeth Bathory, “The Blood Countess” directed by Joseph Megel.

For more information, visit theater.emory.edu.

All events will take place in the Theater Lab of the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. All presentations are free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended due to limited seating. Reservations can be made by visiting the Brave New Works webpage at theater.emory.edu.