Aurora Announces the Tenth Annual GAP Prize Winners
Aurora Theatre Company announces the three plays chosen as prize winners by a committee of local directors for the 10th annual Global Age Project (GAP), the company’s new works initiative that promotes the creation of forward-looking theater: Red Flamboyant by Don Nguyen; FTW by Jonathan Spector; and Ironbound by Martyna Majok.
Aurora’s international forward-looking play-writing festival culminates a four-week festival at Aurora Theatre Company, Mondays, February 9-March 2, 7:30pm. The last week's event is a 10th Anniversary celebration honoring the artists who have made the Global Age Project a success. Open seating; doors open at 7pm. Make a $25 donation to the festival and get a reserved seat for one of the readings; please call the box office at 510.843.4822 for details.
Each of the three prize-winners will receive a $1,000 award and travel and accommodation expenses; their work will also be considered for further development and production during Aurora Theatre Company’s regular main stage season. Each GAP reading will be followed by an audience discussion of the contemporary issues raised in the work.
Aurora Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Tom Ross states, “This year is a notable year for the Global Age Project. Not only is it a time to look back and reflect on all of the wonderful work we have been privileged to read and produce, it is a time as well to look forward to the remarkable new plays in this year’s GAP festival, and beyond. We received almost 250 play submissions and are excited to present new works from two playwrights who call the east coast home, Martyna Majok and Don Nguyen, and a playwright who resides in our own backyard, former GAP director and prize-winner Jonathan Spector. Instead of presenting a fourth prize-winning play this year, we will instead celebrate the GAP’s 10th anniversary, and all of its artists and achievements, with a party featuring scenes by the original casts of the GAP plays that have graduated to the Aurora main stage; we are looking forward to filling the Aurora theater with GAP artists past and present and with friends and audience members both old and new.”
2015 GAP Festival Lineup.
(All events are free; open seating; doors open at 7pm. Make a $25 donation to the festival and get a reserved seat to one of the readings; please call the box office at 510.843.4822 for details.)
Red Flamboyant by Don Nguyen
In Red Flamboyant, Mrs. Hue lives in present day Vietnam with a small group of women who all suffer from a mysterious health condition. It affects their minds, their emotions, and their dreams. Forced to seek help from a stubborn government official, Mrs. Hue’s situation seems hopeless, but everything changes when otherworldly forces make their presence known. Unlikely heroes emerge both in this world and the next as the women reach new heights of courage in this fearlessly theatrical story.
Directed by Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe
Reading: Monday, February 9, 2015, 7:30pm
Born in Saigon, Vietnam, Don Nguyen studied theater at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and served as the Artistic Director of the Shelterbelt Theatre in Omaha from 1999-2003. Full-length plays include Red Flamboyant (Ojai Playwrights Conference 2011, finalist O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival), The Man From Saigon, Sound, Three To Beam Up, and The Commencement of William Tan. He is one of 48 playwrights commissioned for The Flea Theater’s production of The Mysteries. Nguyen is a member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, and a member of the inaugural Emerging Writers Group at the Public Theater in New York.
FTW by Jonathan Spector
Colleen is in grad school for Community Development. Allison is doing Teach for America. Simone has just started working for Google. In FTW, moving in together after college might be more complicated than these three friends expect. “For the win!” might be a good mantra, but it doesn't actually solve any problems. Idealism bumps up against reality in this gentrification comedy about female friendship set in one West Oakland apartment.
Directed by Jessica Heidt
Reading: Monday, February 16, 2015, 7:30pm
Jonathan Spector is a director and playwright based in Berkeley. He is the Co-Artistic Director of Just Theater. Original works for the stage include Sandal Weather, Be What You Wish to Seem, and The World To Come; his plays have been developed and produced by Just Theater, PlayGround, and The Source Theater Festival, among others. He is a former Associate Artistic Director of Playwrights Foundation in San Francisco. Spector was a director for Aurora’s GAP in 2011 and a prize-winning playwright in 2013 (In From the Cold).
Ironbound by Martyna Majok
In Ironbound, Darja, a Polish immigrant, keeps finding herself at the same bus stop in a run-down New Jersey town, waiting for a bus that never comes and for a man who treats her with respect. Over the course of three relationships spanning 22 years, Darja negotiates for her future with men who can offer her love or security, but never both.
Directed by M. Graham Smith
Reading: Monday, February 23, 2015, 7:30pm
A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, Martyna Majok was born in Bytom, Poland and grew up in New Jersey and Chicago. In addition to Ironbound, her plays include Mouse in a Jar, the friendship of her thighs, Petty Harbour, Women at the Well, and reWilding. Her work has been seen and developed at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Marin Theatre Company, New York Stage & Film, Yale Cabaret, Red Tape Theatre, The John F. Kennedy Center, LIDA Project, and The Playwright and Director Center of Moscow, among others. She is a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Youngblood and The Women’s Project Theater Lab.
Monday, March 2, 2015, 7:30pm
Aurora celebrates the 10th Anniversary of The Global Age Project by honoring the playwrights, directors, actors, readers, dramaturgs, and producers who have made the GAP possible. As the centerpiece of the evening, the original casts of the three GAP plays that have, to date, received fully-staged World Premieres at Aurora, Joel Drake Johnson’s The First Grade, Allison Moore’s Collapse, and Anthony Clarvoe’s Our Practical Heaven, will reunite and perform a scene from each production.
M. Graham Smith is co-producer of Aurora Theatre Company's Global Age Project. He has directed at HERE in New York City and many venues in SF including A.C.T.’s Masters program, Aurora Theatre Company, The EXIT Theatre, Asian American Theatre Company, PlayGround, Playwright's Foundation, BRAVA, Cutting Ball, Berkeley Playhouse, Golden Thread, SF Opera, Bay Area Children's Theatre and New Conservatory. He directed the West Coast Premiere of Jerry Springer: The Opera in San Francisco as well as Truffaldino Says No at Shotgun Players for which he won a Best Director award from BATCC. He teaches acting in Barcelona, Spain, and at A.C.T. and Waterfront Studio in San Francisco. His next production is She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange, a former GAP finalist, for Crowded Fire opening in late March.
GAP DirectorsHandpicked by Aurora Artistic Director Tom Ross, the GAP Directors’ Council is comprised of esteemed local and nationally recognized directors. This year’s GAP Directors’ Council is: Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe (directing credits include productions at Trinity Repertory Company, Mark Taper Forum, Woolly Mammoth, Magic Theatre, and TheatreWorks, among others), who directs Red Flamboyant by Don Nguyen; Jessica Heidt (previous GAP directing credits include Sick by Zayd Dorn and Collapse by Allison Moore, and productions at Magic Theatre, and Center Repertory Company, among others), who directs FTW by Jonathan Spector; and M. Graham Smith (GAP Producer, founder and Artistic Director of Precarious Theatre; directing credits include productions at Shotgun Players, Cutting Ball Theater, Playground, Brava Theater, Berkeley Playhouse, Golden Thread, and New Conservatory Theatre, among others), who directs Ironbound by Martyna Majok.
Exploring the landscape of the new century
The Global Age Project seeks plays that directly respond to our complicated present and our possible futures. The festival celebrates the diversity of perspectives, voices, and stories that make up the world today. We are particularly interested in plays that might be considered for our mainstage season: plays that work well in an intimate thrust space, that engage the audience on an intellectual as well as a visceral level, and that celebrate the art of storytelling in both nuanced and surprising ways.
This year marks GAP's 10th year inspiring and supporting playwrights to write the stories of our times. On December 9, 2014, Aurora announced the three prizewinners, each of whom will be awarded $1000, travel and accommodation, and a staged reading during our month-long festival in February and March, 2015. Our fourth week will be dedicated to celebrating all of the artists who have contributed to 10 years of new work.
"If every development process was run with the sensitivity and courage that the GAP Festival so effortlessly demonstrated, the American theater would be more vibrant, braver, more surprising, more relevant."
- Jorge Ignacio Cortinas
Playwright and director
"The Global Age Project resurrected a play that needed new blood, new breath, and new brain-power to find its best self. GAP gave me the right people, the right community, and a safe home to bridge this tricky, charged play into a contemporary dramatic and political conversation."
- Lauren Gunderson
Playwright, Steinberg Award Winner and 2011 GAP Winner
Previous GAP prizewinners
Kristoffer Diaz, Jami Brandli, MJ Kaufman, Stephen Brown, Jonathan Spector, Sarah Gubbin, J.C. Lee, Harrison David Rivers, Garret Jon Groenveld, Joel Drake Johnson, Kevin Christopher Snipes, Lauren Yee, Anthony Clarvoe, Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas, Lauren Gunderson, Lachlan Philpott, Bekah Brunstetter, Allison Moore, Wendy MacLeod, Dan Hoyle, Laura Jacqmin, Javier Malpica, Michelle Carter, Zayd Dohrn, Alberto Villarreal Diaz, Jutin Warner, Brian Thorstenson, Laura Jacqmin, Enrique E. Urueta, Craig Lucas, Ron Campbell, Finnian Sullivan, Dominic Orlando, Robert Duxbury, and Amy Freed
Tom Ross - ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
M. Graham Smith - GAP PRODUCER
Josh Costello - LITERARY MANAGER
Producers and participating artists discuss the GAP.