Sundance Institute has always been about supporting the new and emerging talent and this year, they have taken a step towards women empowerment.
Their two-week Theater Program as The Theatre Lab at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) will be supporting three ambitious new works for stage and their four women creators. The Lab runs from November 10 till November 24, features concentrated time and resources that includes daily rehearsals and individual casting from a reputed acting company.
Theatre Program’s Interim Director, Christopher Hibma says, “This year’s cohort represents women at the vanguard of creativity and performance — not only the women who create these works but the entire artistic community of women artists around them. MASS MoCA is an inspiring setting for this creative endeavor, and contemporary art, nature, rigor, and community will define our time together.”
The upcoming and recent productions of works that are and will be supported by the Theatre Lab at MASS MoCA include Under the Radar which is ready to run this January, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me that is currently on a national tour, and Teeth that was staged recently as part of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s Annual Festival of New Musicals.
The projects that have been selected for the Theatre Lab at MASS MoCA include:
Written by Elsa Davis
Music Direction by Elsa Davis
This project utilized song, movement, everyday objects, and electronic sound. It is among the most prestigious projects that Theatre Lab has ever supported and comes with a cause.
The Essentialist examines the specific expectations that surround the black women and the performance expectations that have been long brought by from the history of captivity.
On stage, Elsa Davis along with vocalists Justin and Jade Hicks take figures out from Harlem Renaissance to reanimate them to imagine the art of black presence with a sprinkle of sovereignty.
Elsa Davis wrote the play Bulrusher and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Award. She also wrote and starred in the stage memoir Angela’s Mixtape.
I Hear You Shaking, Grandmother! (working title)
Written by Lina Abyad
It is a story about three sisters who arrive late at night to Beirut and their niece who has been diagnosed with cancer. The three sisters haven’t met for a long time and they have only come together for the weekend.
Since they are only there for a day or two, they decide not to open their apartments and sleep in their parent’s homes instead which apparently has not been opened since their mother died. All the sisters have been brought up in a secular home so they’re all religious except one.
The next day, the eldest sister has planned an event for all three of them where a lady sings all the religious songs to relieve the youngest of them of all her self-destructive thoughts. Once the event begins, the sounds end up sorting out all the discord between them and later at night, three of them leave for their countries having Islam in their heart.
Book, Music, and Libretto by Shaina Taub
Directed by Leigh Silverman
Commissioned by Jill Furman and Rachel Sussman
This stage work explores the challenges women used to face for equal voting rights back in the early twentieth century in the United States.
The writer of this play, Shina Taub is an Emmy Award nominee and an award-winning songwriter and performer. She is also the writer of the upcoming Broadway Musical The Devil Wears Prada.
So, these were the three main work stages for the 2019 Theatre Lab. Sundance Film Festival 2020 is right around the corner so stay tuned with us for more insight.