On July 19th, the Fountain Theatre witnessed it’s inaugural “book club” reading series WEDNESDAY’S @ THE FOUNTAIN and needless to say, it was a treat. WEDNESDAY’S @ THE FOUNTAIN is a new program run by yours truly, Dionna Michelle Daniel. The group meets once a month to read contemporary new plays by a carefully curated selection of diverse playwrights. It’s basically a book club…for plays! As the new Outreach and Educational Coordinator, my goal is to acquaint high school & college students to the new voices of the American Theatre. Most of the works we will be focusing on are the works by women, POC, and LGBTQ playwrights.
Our last session began with a meet and greet of the participants. Pizza, snack and refreshments were served to kick off the night. Then we dug into the Afro-punk meets spaghetti western world of Aleshea Harris’s epic play Is God Is. Laughs were shared and we delved into a lengthy discussion on the plays many biblical references. All in all, we left full and feed by the words of a great playwright that the world is just now becoming acquainted with.
The inspiration to build a program like this has been rooted in a couple different life experiences of mine however, the most defining moment was from my senior year at CalArts. While I was a student at CalArts, I took a class called American Drama Now with Los Angeles Times theater critic, Charles McNulty. We read and discussed contemporary plays that were breaking new barriers in the American theater. That class brought plays to my attention such as The Humans by Stephen Karam and Father Comes Home from The Wars: Parts 1,2, & 3 by Suzan-Lori Parks. Having a class like that was such a valuable experience for me as a young playwright because I needed to know what was happening in the theater world today! Too often the theater world produces the same works over and over. It’s imperative that we lift up all playwrights. We must lift up the ones who have long been part of the canon and the ones contributing today.
WEDNESDAY’S @ THE FOUNTAIN will meet once a month for the remainder of the year. Below is our current list of plays and playwrights we will be reading and discussing.
August –Sugar in Our Wounds by Donja R. Love
Donja R. Love is an Afro-Queer playwright, poet, and filmmaker. He has won countless awards such as: 2017 Princess Grace Playwriting Fellow, a Eugene O’ Neill 2017 National Playwrights Conference finalist, and The Lark’s 2016 Van Lier New Voices Playwriting Fellow. Sugar In Our Wounds premieres at the Manhattan Theatre Club in June.
September– The Inheritance by Matthew Lopez
Matthew Lopez is a queer latino playwright who is best known for works such as The Whipping Man and The Legend of Georgia McBride. His new play The Inheritance, is being heralded as the new Angels In America. The Inheritance premiered at the Young Vic theatre in London during the Spring of 2018.
October– Queens by Martyna Majok
Martyna Majok is a female playwright who is known for her works such as The Cost of Living & Ironbound. Queens was most recently showcased at LCT3/ Lincoln Center. This play follows two generations of immigrant women whose lives collide while living in a basement apartment in Queens. A production of Majok’s The Cost of Living will be having it’s West Coast premiere at the Fountain Theatre in October.
November- BLKS by Aziza Barnes
Aziza Barnes is a black, queer, female playwright & poet. She is most known for her poetry but her production of BLKS at Steppenwolf received great reviews this past winter. BLKS portrays a day in the life of four young black women discovering life’s uncomfortable truths in New York City. ●
December- Mr. San Man by Christina Quintana
Christina Quintana is a New York based playwright with Cuban and Louisiana roots. She is currently a Van Lier New Voices Playwriting Fellow at the Lark. Mr.San Man follows a devoted Latinx sanitation worker grappling with the decision to transition and facing the end of their relationship with their live-in girlfriend. All the while, the “epitome of trans* masculinity” provides comfort and chaos in dream and song. It is an exploration of gender and love, at home and in the workplace.
**If you or someone you know may be interested in joining our monthly meetings, please direct questions to the Fountain Theatre’s Outreach Coordinator, Dionna Michelle Daniel at email@example.com .
***Reading List is subject to change due to rights/availability of scripts.