AvantGARDARAMA!

Avant GardARAMA!
an evening of short experimental plays
July 18 – August 16

Like our 2004 edition of Avant GardARAMA! which featured plays by Mac Wellman, Richard Foreman, and Suzan-Lori Parks, our 2008 offering showcases plays that radically experiment with theatrical form. In this case, our three playwrights are American women: Gertrude Stein, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Eugenie Chan. Parks and Chan both acknowledge Stein as an influence and have taken some of her experiments from the twenties and have made them their own.

Accents in Alsace
by Gertrude SteinIncluded in her extraordinary 1922 publication, Geography and Plays, Accents in Alsace is a kind of cubist portrait of World War I. Don’t let the formalism throw you. Stein’s play is as human and touching as any artistic work treating the subject of war.

 

 

Betting on the Dust Commander
by Suzan-Lori ParksOur fourth Suzan-Lori Parks play in as many years, Betting on the Dust Commander depicts a couple on their wedding night and then years later as the husband steals away to the race track. For Cutting Ball audiences who enjoyed the jazz-like language of The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World, this portrait of a marriage offers a musical logic that is all its own.

Bone to Pick
by Eugenie Chan
World PremiereCommissioned by The Cutting Ball Theater and Magic Theatre / Z Space New Works Initiative

Bone to Pick sets the story of Ariadne in a diner at the end of the war-torn world. Here, Ariadne, now reconfigured as Ria the Waitress, has been stranded in a military base diner for three-thousand years. Depleted by millennia of foreign occupation, Ria enters the labyrinth and confronts her part in the murder of her brother, Steer #576. A dizzyingly postmodern and playful look at the costs of love and war.

Cutting Ball Theater’s production of Avant GardARAMA! is made possible in part by grants from Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Mental Insight Foundation, the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation the Zellerbach Family Foundation.
Bone to Pick was commissioned by The Cutting Ball Theater and Magic Theatre / Z Space New Works Initiative and its production is made possible in part by Theatre Bay Area’s New Works Fund and the National Endowment for the Arts.

CUTTING BALL THEATER ANNOUNCES LINE UP FOR

AVANT GARDARAMA!

Evening of experimental plays to feature World Premiere by Eugenie Chan;

works by Suzan-Lori Parks, Gertrude Stein

July 18 – August 16, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO (June XX, 2008) San Francisco’s cutting-edge Cutting Ball Theater continues its 2008 season of critically acclaimed stage-work with Avant GardARAMA! Like Cutting Ball’s 2004 edition of Avant GardARAMA!, this second installation of the series offers an evening of short experimental plays that radically experiment with theatrical form – in this case, plays from three American women: Pulitzer Prize-winner Suzan-Lori Parks, Bay Area playwright Eugenie Chan, and Gertrude Stein. Cutting Ball Artistic Director Rob Melrose helms Avant GardARAMA!, featuring Felicia Benefield, Paige Rogers, and David Westley Skillman, July 18 through August 16 (press opening: July 24) at Exit on Taylor, 277 Taylor Street in San Francisco. For tickets ($15-30) and more information, the public may visit cuttingball.com or call 800-838-3006.

The line up for this year is as follows:

Bone to Pick by Eugenie Chan

This World Premiere, commissioned by Cutting Ball Theater and Magic Theatre/Z Space New Works Initiative, sets the myth of Ariadne in a diner at the end of the war-torn world in a dizzyingly postmodern and playful look at the costs of love and war.

Betting on the Dust Commander by Suzan-Lori Parks

Cutting Ball’s fourth Suzan-Lori Parks play, Betting on the Dust Commander depicts a couple on their wedding night and then years later as the husband steals away to the race track. For those who enjoyed the jazz-like language of Cutting Ball’s production of Parks’ The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World, this portrait of a marriage offers a musical logic that is all its own.

Accents in Alsace by Gertrude Stein

Included in Stein’s extraordinary 1922 publication Geography and Plays, Accents in Alsace is a cubist portrait of World War I. While infused with Stein’s playful experimental style, the play is as human and touching as any artistic work treating the subject of war.

Eugenie Chan’s plays have been produced and workshopped across the country at venues including The Public Theatre, Magic Theatre, Thick Description, Brava! For Women in the Arts, Mixed Blood,

PlayLabs, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and others. Her work for the stage includes Kitchen Table; B'umblebee; Pilgrim; Daphne Does Dim Sum; Rancho Grande; Emil, A Chinese Play, Novell-aah! ; Tour Sino; Conset; and Willy Gee!. Her opera libretto Snakewoman was part of the February 2004 Risk Is This Festival of New Experimental Plays at Cutting Ball Theater. She has written political satire for the Tony Award-winning San Francisco Mme Troupe, is a resident playwright at the Playwrights Foundation, and a member of New Dramatists.

Suzan-Lori Parks is the first African American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Drama (for the Broadway hit Topdog/Underdog). She was named one of TIME magazine’s “100 Innovators for the Next New Wave” and is a MacArthur “Genius” Award recipient. Other works for the stage include In the Blood (2000 Pulitzer Prize finalist); Venus (1996 OBIE Award); The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World; Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom (1990 OBIE Award); and The America Play. In 2007, her project 365 Plays/365 Days was produced in over 700 theaters. Parks will direct the Broadway revival of August Wilson’s Fences in 2009.

A self-styled genius whose Paris home was a salon for leading early 20th century artists and writers, Gertrude Stein became a catalyst in the development of modern art and literature. Her works include Three Lives; The Making of Americans; Tender Buttons; Geography and Plays; Composition as Explanation; How To Write; Operas and Plays; The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas; Lectures in America; Picasso; The World is Round; Ida, A Novel; Wars I Have Seen; and Brewsie and Willie, among others.

Artistic Director and co-founder of Cutting Ball Theater, Rob Melrose has directed several productions for the company, including Suzan Lori-Parks’ The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World; My Head Was a Sledgehammer; Mayakovsky: A Tragedy; Drowning Room; As You Like It; Macbeth; and The Taming of the Shrew, among others. Additional directing credits include David Marshall Grant’s Pen at The Guthrie Theater, Liz Duffy Adams’ The Train Play at Crowded Fire Theater, and assistant directing credits for Tom Stoppard’s Indian Ink, (directed by Carey Perloff at ACT), as well as Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman (directed by Les Waters at Berkeley Rep). Melrose is currently assistant directing Oskar Eustis’s production of Hamlet at the New York Shakespeare Festival and is also shadowing Artistic Director Bill Rauch at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival during the 2008 and 2009 season as a part of the NEA / TCG Career Development Program for Directors; he will direct Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days at the Guthrie in February of 2009. Following Avant GardARAMA!, Cutting Ball Theater presents Victims of Duty by Eugene Ionesco October 24 – November 23, beginning the company’s residence at EXIT on Taylor.

Co-founded in 1999 by husband and wife team Rob Melrose and Paige Rogers, Cutting Ball Theater presents avant-garde works of the past, present, and future by re-envisioning classics, exploring seminal avant-garde texts, and developing new experimental plays. Cutting Ball Theater has partnered with Playwrights Foundation, Magic Theatre, and Z Space New Plays Initiative to commission new experimental works, including Bone to Pick by Eugenie Chan. The company has produced a number of World Premieres and West Coast Premieres, and re-imagined various classics. Cutting Ball Theater earned the Best of SF Award in 2006 for Theater from SF Weekly, and was selected by San Francisco Magazine as Best Classic Theater in 2007.

Cutting Ball Theater’s production of Avant GardARAMA! is made possible in part by grants from Grants for the Arts /San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, Mental Insight Foundation, the Theatre Bay Area New Works Fund, the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, The Zellerbach Family Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

FOR CALENDAR EDITORS:
 

WHAT:

San Francisco’s cutting-edge Cutting Ball Theater continues its 2008 season of critically acclaimed stage-work in the Bay Area with Avant GardARAMA! Like Cutting Ball’s 2004 edition of Avant GardARAMA!, which featured plays by Mac Wellman, Richard Foreman, and Suzan-Lori Parks, the second installation of the series offers an evening of short experimental plays that radically experiment with theatrical form – in this case, plays from three American women: Pulitzer Prize-winner Suzan-Lori Parks, Bay Area playwright Eugenie Chan, and Gertrude Stein.

Directed by Cutting Ball Artistic Director Rob Melrose and featuring Felicia Benefield, Paige Rogers, and David Westley Skillman, the line up for this year includes:

Bone to Pick by Eugenie Chan

This World Premiere, commissioned by Cutting Ball Theater and Magic Theatre/Z Space New Works Initiative, sets the myth of Ariadne in a diner at the end of the war-torn world in a dizzyingly postmodern and playful look at the costs of love and war.

Betting on the Dust Commander by Suzan-Lori Parks

Cutting Ball’s fourth Suzan-Lori Parks play, Betting on the Dust Commander depicts a couple on their wedding night and then years later as the husband steals away to the race track. For those who enjoyed the jazz-like language of Cutting Ball’s production of Parks’ The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World, this portrait of a marriage offers a musical logic that is all its own.