RISK IS THIS…

The Cutting Ball New Experimental Play Festival

January 11- February 9
Fridays & Saturdays at 8PM

RISK IS THIS… The Cutting Ball New Experimental Plays Festival is one of the only play festivals in America solely dedicated to experimental works for the stage. This year’s festival features three new works and two new “Risk Translations” in staged readings that push the boundaries of what theater can be.

Superheroes
Written and directed by Sean San José
January 11-12, 2013

Defiant, passionate, and bursting with poetic energy, SUPERHEROES tells the story of a journalist working to separate fact from fiction as she investigates the sordid history of the crack-cocaine epidemic. Partially inspired by Gary Webb’s groundbreaking investigative journalism into the relationship between the CIA and Nicaraguan drug traffickers, this incendiary new play traces a lyrical labyrinth through churches, courthouses, and street corners in pursuit of a shocking truth.

Featuring: Donald Lacy*, Juan Amador, Ricky Saenz, Myers Clark, Britney Frazier*, and Anna Maria Luera*

*Indicates Member Actors’ Equity Association

RISK IS THIS… Set Design: Tanya Orellana
RISK IS THIS… Sound Design: Alejandro Acosta

Sean San José is a writer, director, performer, and the program director of the Performance Program for Intersection for the Arts and resident company Campo Santo. He has collaborated on works with more than 500 artists in his time at Intersection, overseeing, developing, and helping to create works for artists including, Jimmy Baca, Junot Diaz, Dave Eggers, Chinaka Hodge, Denis Johnson, Dennis Kim, Luis Saguar, Greg Sarris, Vendela Vida, Philip Gotanda, Jessica Hagedorn, Naomi Iizuka, Octavio Solis, Daniel Alarcon, and Luis Alfaro. Additionally, San José was the creator and project director of Alma Delfina Group-Teatro Contra el SIDA (1994-2002) and Pieces of the Quilt, a collection of more than 50 short plays confronting AIDS, including original works by Rhodessa Jones, Danny Hoch, Edward Albee, Lanford Wilson, Irene Fornes, David Hwang, Craig Lucas, and Tony Kushner, among others. Recent awards include a Gerbode Foundation Playwright Collaboration Grants with Richard Montoya and one of the inaugural Irvine Foundation Artist Residencies for the de Young Museum.

Ubu Roi
By Alfred Jarry
In a new translation by Rob Melrose
Directed by Yuri Urnov
January 18-19, 2013

When Alfred Jarry’s UBU ROI premiered in Paris on December 10, 1896, the audience broke into a riot at the utterance of its first word. Jarry’s irreverent parody of Shakespeare’s Macbeth defies theatrical tradition through its scatological language and disregard for audience expectations, replacing Shakespeare’s tragic hero with a greedy, sadistic, obscene ogre who becomes the king of Poland by force and through the debasement of his people. UBU ROI retains its relevance and may bring to mind the fall from grace of many a contemporary political leader corrupted by power from Elliot Spitzer to Dominque Strauss-Kahn.

Featuring: Bill Boynton, Felicia Benefield^, David Sinaiko^, Ponder Goddard^, and Wiley Naman Strasser^.

^Indicates Cutting Ball Associate Artist

RISK IS THIS… Set Design: Michael Locher
RISK IS THIS… Costume Design:

Alfred Jarry (1873 – 1907) was a French writer born in Laval, Mayenne, France. Best known for his groundbreaking play UBU ROI (1896), which combined infantile humor, social satire, puppets, and Shakespearean parody, Jarry is often cited as a forerunner to the surrealist theater movement of the 1920s and 1930s. He wrote plays, novels, poetry, essays and speculative journalism, presenting pioneering work in the field of absurdist literature. In his final years, Jarry, a bit of an eccentric, was a legendary and heroic figure to some of the young writers and artists in Paris, including Guillaume Apollinaire, André Salmon, and Max Jacob. In addition to UBU ROI, works for the stage include Caesar Antichrist (César-Antéchrist), Ubu Cuckolded (Ubu cocu), and Ubu Bound (Ubu enchaíné). Alfred Jarry’s career was brought to an unfortunate and early end when he died in 1907 at the age of 34 (from complications due to tuberculosis aggravated by drug and alcohol abuse), but his legacy lives on in the works of such playwrights as Eugène Ionesco and Samuel Beckett.

Yury Urnov spent the 2011-2012 Season as a Director-in-Residence at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, DC, thanks to the generous support of the Trust for Mutual Understanding. Born in Moscow, Russia, Yury graduated from the Russian Academy of Theater Art (GITIS) in 2000 and has directed over 40 productions in his home country, Europe, and Africa. He was one of the first to discover and direct plays by the first generation of post-Soviet playwrights, such as Maksym Kurochkin, Olga Mukhina, and Yury Klavdiev, who are now internationally recognized as the leaders of the New Russian Drama movement. In Russia, Yury also translated and directed the national premieres of Martin McDonagh’s The Lieutenant of Inishmore and Sarah Ruhl’s Dead Man’s Cell Phone. Since 2002, he has worked closely with the Center for International Theater Development (directed by Philip Arnoult) on a number of international projects, including the 2009-2011 program New Russian Drama: Translation/Production/Conference, which brought over 20 contemporary Russian plays to America.

Insect Play
By Josef and Karl Čapek
In a new version by Bennett Fisher
Directed by Rob Melrose
January 25-26, 2013

In Karel and Josef Čapek’s masterpiece THE INSECT PLAY, a vagrant, disgusted and disillusioned by the hypocrisy and cruelty of men, wanders into the forest to live in isolation. As night falls, he experiences fantastic visions of anthropomorphic insects and embarks on a journey of self-discovery. One of the last plays from renowned Czech dramatist Karel Čapek and his brother Josef, THE INSECT PLAY constructs an impish satire of human relationships, using butterflies, ants, and beetles to explore human vices in a powerful allegory about what it means to be human.

Featuring: Bill Boynton, Felicia Benefield^, Derek Fischer, Ponder Goddard, Wiley Naman Strasser^, and Josh Schell.

^Indicates Cutting Ball Associate Artist

RISK IS THIS… Set Design: Michael Locher
RISK IS THIS… Costume Design:

The brothers Josef (1887 – 1945) and Karel (1890 –1938) Čapek were born in Czechoslovakia; they were widely hailed in their lifetimes as pioneers of satire and science fiction. Though Karel is sometimes credited as the sole author, he worked closely with his brother, a renowned artist and scenic designer, to develop his plays. Josef is credited with coining the term “robot,” first used in their collaboration Rossum’s Universal Robots, more commonly known as R.U.R. (1920), perhaps the brothers’ most recognizable and frequently produced play. The Čapek’s were extremely popular in their native Czechoslovakia, and internationally, during the 1920s and 1930s. Their imaginative writing and social commentary earned them praise from writers like Arthur Miller, and brought them to the attention of the fledgling Nazi party, who considered the brothers among their chief political opponents due to their social sway in the intellectual elite and the prominent anti-fascist themes of their work. Along with R.U.R. and THE INSECT PLAY (1922), other notable plays include The White Plague (1937) and The Mother (1938). Karel is also the author of several collections of essays, short stories, and novels, including the groundbreaking satirical novel War with the Newts (1936); he died of pneumonia in 1938, shortly before the Nazis annexed Czechoslovakia. Josef died in the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp in 1945, where he wrote a collection of poetry. The legacy of their work can be seen in the drama and science fiction works of such authors as Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Kurt Vonnegut, and Vaclav Havel.

Bennett Fisher is a playwright, actor, dramaturg, and director. He has collaborated with Campo Santo (company member), Threshold Theatre (company member), Stanford Summer Theater, AtmosTheatre, Marin Shakespeare Company, Sleepwalkers Theatre, New Conservatory Theatre Center, and Pear Avenue Theater, among others. For Cutting Ball, Fisher has appeared as an actor and dramaturg, and has directed and performed in several Hidden Classics staged readings. His original plays and translations have appeared in the Bay Area One Acts festival, and at the San Francisco Theater Pub and SF Theater Festival, among others. He wrote the screenplay for the feature film S.E.R.P., which will be released later in the year.

Special thanks to Associate Producers Rebecca Kurland and Patrick Mason

Passing
By Dipika Guha
February 1-2, 2013

On an unnamed colonized island, an ill-suited English couple are engaged in a desperate attempt to make their marriage work. But soon after the loss of their baby, a young indigenous island girl enters their home, changing both the course of their lives and history forever. Viewed through the frame of an art exhibition, PASSING examines how we construct historical narratives through our museums, our theaters, and our hearts.
Featuring: Lisa Morse*, Marissa Keltie*, Rami Margron*, Peter Ruocco*, and Jack Powell*

*Indicates Member of Actors’ Equity Association

RISK IS THIS… Set Design: Michael Locher
RISK IS THIS… Costume Design: Emily White

Dipika Guha writes plays that are lyrical, funny and formally inventive. In addition to PASSING, her plays include The Betrothed and The Rules (Superlab workshop Playwrights Horizons/Clubbed Thumb, Old Vic New Voices workshop). Her plays have been developed at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, WordBRIDGE, New Century Theatre Company, and the Flea and Tobacco Theatre (UK), among others. She has been awarded residencies at the Ucross Foundation, Djerassi Residents Artists Program, and SPACE at Ryder Farm. She is a current Dramatists Guild Fellow, a Time Warner Fellow at the Women’s Project Playwrights Lab, a member of Ars Nova Playgroup, and an Affiliated Artist with New Georges. Guha graduated from the MFA Playwriting Program at the Yale School of Drama where she studied with Paula Vogel.

Amy Mueller has directed and produced original theater for over 20 years. She is the Artistic Director of San Francisco’s Playwrights Foundation, where she has transformed the organization into a year-round national center for playwrights and new play development. She directed the development of The Fourth Messenger, a new musical by Tanya Shaffer, with whom she developed and directed the award-winning play Let My Enemy Live Long! at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Additionally, Mueller served as producer/dramaturg on 365 Plays/365 Days Week Three by Suzan-Lori Parks and One Big Lie by Liz Duffy Adams, and was co-creator of The Mandala Olive Project (with Denmo Ibrahim). She previously directed …And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi at Cutting Ball; additional directing credits include productions at Golden Thread Productions, American Conservatory Theater, San Diego Repertory Theatre, and Arizona Theatre Company.

Sidewinders
By Basil Kreimendahl
February 8-9, 2013

SIDEWINDERS owes as much to Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot as it does to SF Pride. In this absurdist-western romp through gender queerness, Dakota and Bailey find themselves lost, possibly upside down, in a strange world with even stranger characters. Their journey to getting right side up provokes questions of sex anatomy, transgenderism, and who we really are from the inside out.
Featuring: El Beh, Siobhan Doherty, Liam Vincent*, and Vince Rodriquez

*Indicates Member Actors’ Equity Association

RISK IS THIS…Set Design: Michael Locher
RISK IS THIS…Costume Design: Sarah Roland

Basil Kreimendahl is a graduate student at the University of Iowa Playwright’s Workshop. Her plays have been developed by New York Theatre Workshop, About Face Theatre, Wordbridge Inkwell, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She is a Core Apprentice at the Minneapolis Playwrights Center 2012-2013. Her play Orange Julius was developed at the O’Neill Playwright’s Conference 2012. She is the recipient of an Arts Meets Activism grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and has taught playwriting to elementary, high school and college students in Florida, Kentucky, New York and Iowa; she ran and organized a playwrights group for queer youth in Louisville called Out On The Edge. Her short plays have twice been finalists for the Heideman Award.

M. Graham Smith is the producer of Aurora Theatre’s Global Age Project, a yearly festival of new work. He has directed at the Walnut Theater in Philadelphia and the HERE American Living Room series in New York City. Bay Area directing credits include productions at Shotgun Theater, Yerba Buena Garden’s Festival, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, EXIT Theatre, Asian American Theater Company, Playground, Brava Theater, Berkeley Playhouse, Golden Thread, SF Opera, and New Conservatory Theater; he directed the West Coast Premiere of Jerry Springer: The Opera at Ray of Light Theatre. Smith teaches acting in Barcelona, Spain, and American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.

The Cutting Ball Theater’s 2013-2014 Season is made possible in part by Grants for the Arts / San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Mental Insight Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, RHE Foundation, The Kenneth Rainin Foundation, The San Francisco Arts Commission, The San Francisco Foundation and The Zellerbach Family Foundation and by our many individual donors.