In her surreal new comedy You Never Touched the Dirt, the wealthy Lis have lived detached from the land that nurtures them while also paying exorbitant prices to enjoy its unspoiled splendor in a private lakeside community somewhere outside Shanghai. Zhu Yis play is a bonkers, tilted, and utterly delightful eclogue; naturally, experimental mainstay Ken Rus Schmoll directs this New York premiere that bows at Clubbed Thumbs Summerworks starting June 3.
Michael R. Jacksons new musical A Strange Loop premiers at Playwrights Horizons this June in association with Page 73. Earlier this spring, playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Jackson sat down together for a long talk, covering their time at NYU/Tisch, Jacksons coming into his own with musical theater, and negro-liberalism. What follows is a curated glimpse into that conversation.
When I log onto the New Play Exchange, I read amazing plays and I think, Wait, why isnt this being produced, like, now? On Facebook, I visit Gina Femias Rejection Roundup, which she still continues as she gains success, and I can read threads where I see who else got knocked out of the first round of submissions. And its shocking: great writers and great plays are turned away at a rapid rate.
Pathetic refracts the story of the lovesick queen onto multiple characters ranging from adolescence to adulthood, each negotiating spiritual and bodily appetites as well as the social costs of growing older in a female body. The play explores societys sick need to experience female desire as embarrassment, as Ásta Bennie Hostetter, production designer and founding company member, puts it.