(BOSTON) – The Huntington Theatre Company holds a Breaking Ground reading today of Marvelous Fruit, a new play by Huntington Playwriting Fellow Masha Obolensky. Obie Award winner Melia Bensussen (The Luck of the Irish and Circle Mirror Transformation at the Huntington) directs a cast that includes Beth Dixon, Edmond Genest, Annette L. Miller, and Nick Westrate. Today’s reading is for an invited audience.
In Marvelous Fruit, Fran, who is quickly approaching 80, wakes up to her own life. With the help of "the interweb," she finds a warehouse party and an underground sensation called a "miracle berry,” miraculous fruit that promises to make Tabasco sauce taste like donut glaze and pickles taste like watermelon. The berries spark a thousand tiny changes in the lives of Fran and her paranoid, shut-in husband George, but how do we know when change is worth the price? A play about aging, friendship, and the power of the mind, Marvelous Fruit asks if sourness can ever taste sweet.
Masha Obolensky’s (Playwright) writing credits include Not Enough Air, produced by The Nora Theatre Company in Cambridge in 2010 and by TimeLine Theatre in Chicago in 2009. It received the Jane Chambers Student Playwriting Award and first prize in Boston Theatre Works Unbound Festival and was nominated for an Equity Joseph Jefferson Award for outstanding new work. It was recently presented in Transport Group’s Dark Night Reading Series. Ms. Obolensky’s original performance pieces have been performed at La Mama E.T.C., New Georges, HERE, and Access Theater. Her 10-minute play Girls Play won the 2010 Kennedy Center National College Theatre Festival and was performed in the Boston Theatre Marathon and in the Source Festival in Washington, DC. It will be published in the International Centre for Women Playwrights upcoming Diversity Scenes Anthology. The full-length version, The Girl Problem, was awarded a 2010 WordBRIDGE fellowship. Ms. Obolensky received the 2010 Pen New England Discovery Award and has an MFA in playwriting from Boston University.
Melia Bensussen’s (Director) Huntington credits include The Luck of the Irish and Circle Mirror Transformation. Her directing credits include work with Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, La Jolla Playhouse, Baltimore Centerstage, Hartford Stage, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, New York Shakespeare Festival, MCC Theater, Primary Stages, Long Wharf Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, People’s Light and Theatre Company (Barrymore Award nomination for best direction), and many others. She has received two directing awards from the Princess Grace Foundation, including their top honor, the Statuette Award for sustained excellence in directing. Her edition of the Langston Hughes translation of Garcia Lorca’s Blood Wedding is in its eighth printing by Theatre Communications Group. She is featured in Women Stage Directors Speak by Rebecca Daniels, and also in Nancy Taylor’s Women Direct Shakespeare. Her essay on The Merchant of Venice will be published this year in Jews, Theatre, Performance in an Intercultural Context. She is the recipient of an Obie Award for outstanding direction. Ms. Bensussen is chair of the performing arts department at Emerson College.
ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON PLAYWRITING FELLOWS PROGRAM
The Huntington Playwriting Fellows (HPF) program creates relationships between a local community of writers and a nationally prominent producing theatre, forges those bonds through authentic conversation and artistic collaboration, and encourages dialogue between local artists.
Since 2003, the HPF program has invited writers to participate in two-year residencies, during which playwrights receive a modest honorarium, join in a biweekly writers’ collective with artistic staff, attend Huntington productions and events, and are eligible for readings and support through the Breaking Ground reading series.
The primary focus of the program is creating relationships with writers at all stages of their careers, from emerging talent to established professionals. The program provides a framework for an in-depth, two-year artistic conversation and a long-term professional relationship. Recently, the Huntington began convening Fellows, past and present, at an annual meeting to solicit ideas on how to improve and expand the program, and the Summer Workshop launches in July 2012.
In 2009, the Huntington instituted an open application process with submissions solicited each spring from any writer primarily based within commuting distance of Boston. The theatre selects two to three writers whose terms overlap with adjacent cohorts.
Huntington productions of plays by Fellows include The Luck of the Irish by Kirsten Greenidge, Before I Leave You by Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro, Stick Fly by Lydia R. Diamond, The Atheist and Brendan by Ronan Noone, Sonia Flew by Melinda Lopez, The Cry of the Reed by Sinan Ünel, Shakespeare’s Actresses in America by Rebecca Maggor, and Psyched and the upcoming “M” by Ryan Landry.
Learn more about the Huntington’s new work initiatives at huntingtontheatre.org/newwork.
ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON THEATRE COMPANY
Since its founding in 1982, the Huntington Theatre Company has developed into Boston’s leading theatre company. Bringing together superb local and national talent, the Huntington produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current. Led by Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso, the Huntington creates award-winning productions, runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development, and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. The Huntington is in residence at Boston University. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.