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Breaking Ground Festival of New Work

Breaking Ground is the Huntington Theatre Company's festival of new work, a vital part of our new play development program. The festival highlights the work of local playwrights and presents national writers in partnership with the Huntington. Since 2004, Breaking Ground plays have gone on to appear at the Huntington as well as theatres in Boston, across the country, and internationally. Unless otherwise noted, admission to all Breaking Ground readings is FREE and open to the public.

Past Events: 2019, 2018, 2016-2017, 2015-2016, 2015, 2014, 2012-2013, 2011-201220102009, 2008, 2007, 2005-2006, 2004



2019 BREAKING GROUND FESTIVAL OF NEW WORK


THE KRITIK

Written by Brenda Withers
Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel
Public reading: Friday, April 12 at 8pm
Location: South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

In an imagined corner of 19th century Russia, a provincial theatre critic struggles to write his first honest review. A send-up and celebration of the theatre, the truth, and all things Chekhovian, The Kritik joyfully examines how candor, corruption, and community affect the creative process.

MR. PARENT

Written by Melinda Lopez and Maurice Emmanuel Parent
Conceived by Megan Sandberg-Zakian, Maurice Emmanuel Parent, and Melinda Lopez
Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian

Public Reading: Saturday, April 13 at 8pm
Location: South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

When an actor turns to teaching for a steady paycheck, he learns that it's less of a job and more of a constant, visceral reminder of one's own success and/or failure. Mr. Parent is a hilarious, joyful, and heartbreakingly honest peek into the kids, adults, and systems of the Boston Public Schools. Based on the real-life adventures of favorite Boston actor Maurice Parent, Mr. Parent asks, "What does it mean to show up for our kids — and ourselves?"

DEAL ME OUT

Written by MJ Halberstadt
Directed by Rebecca Bradshaw
Public reading: Sunday, April 14 at 7pm
Location: South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

Before beginning their longstanding weekly board game night, a group of social outcasts sets out to kick out the friend who has been grating on their nerves. A play about what happens when friendships are at odds with firmly held beliefs, Deal Me Out has the risky conversations people are afraid of hearing.

 

2018 BREAKING GROUND FESTIVAL OF NEW WORK


THE LAST BOOK OF HOMER

by José Rivera
Directed by Melinda Lopez
Public reading: Friday, February 9 at 8pm
Location: Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

Numb Nuts is a screenwriter who gets his ass kidnapped by a drug cartel while shooting a movie in Mexico about the Trojan War. Battling their bad knees, beer bellies, cataracts, bad hearing, and bitter divisions of the past, his four brothers — ex-military guys nicknamed God, Buddha, Weasel, and Joseph Smith — come to Mexico for the rescue.

WE ALL FALL DOWN

by Lila Rose Kaplan
Directed by Melia Bensussen
Public Reading: Saturday, February 10 at 8pm
Location: Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Produced by the Huntington Theatre Company January 2020

Until recently, renowned family therapist Linda Stein was a Marxist and opposed to religion. But when her husband Saul retires unexpectedly, she summons her daughters home for Passover. Why? In this heartfelt comedy by Huntington Playwriting Fellow Lila Rose Kaplan, a surprising Seder veers between delight and disaster. Will this ancient tradition bring the Stein family together or tear them apart?

THE PURISTS

by Dan McCabe
Directed by Billy Porter
Public reading: Sunday, February 11 at 7pm
Location: Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Produced by the Huntington Theatre Company September 2019

A former rapper, a DJ, and a musical theatre fanatic have become unlikely stoop buddies in Sunnyside, Queens. When their friendly riffing about race, sexuality and music in America turns personal – and with the arrival of two up-and-coming female emcees – the trio must confront the changes to their purist ideals and question what it means to be authentic. 

Special thanks to Peter Saraf and Big Beach Production Company.


2016 – 2017 BREAKING GROUND FESTIVAL OF NEW WORK


ALONE ABOVE A RAGING SEA

by Christopher Oscar Peña
Directed by Daniel Goldstein
Public reading: Thursday, December 1 at 7:30pm
Location: Deane Hall, Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

For a family who only sees one another on holidays and special occasions, Christmas promises a comforting togetherness.  When Andy misses his flight, however, he is left to pursue a connection with a total stranger, while his sister Alex must face their parents alone.  A contemplative look at the nature of intimacy, alone above a raging sea contrasts the secrets of a family with the surprising honesty of a one night tryst.

ANNA K.

by Deborah Salem Smith
Directed by Stella Powell-Jones
Public Reading: Friday, December 2 at 8pm
Location: Deane Hall, Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

Anna Karenina is dead, and Dolly and Kitty want to know why. But as they call up flashes of Anna’s beauty and grace, they are drawn toward new revelations of betrayal. How will they live with the secrets they kept, even from each other? Inspired by the three central women of Tolstoy’s novel, this drama gives a contemporary twist to the women’s lives as they interrogate their infatuations, their epic love affairs, and most of all their mesmerizing friendship.

 

FOUR WALL PRISM: AN EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION OF HISTORICAL EVENTS

by Thom Dunn
Directed by Morgan Gould
Public reading: Saturday, December 3 at 8pm
Location: Deane Hall, Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

Marcus’ plan to dash away from his one-night stand with Cori falls apart when the city of Boston goes on lockdown in a hunt for the Marathon Bombers. Trapped together in an apartment along with Cori’s roommate Jayme, they soon realize that the biggest threat isn’t outside after all, in playwright Thom Dunn’s stress-fueled comedy about privacy and privilege under siege.

 

THE TWO KIDS THAT BLOW SHIT UP

by Carla Ching
Directed by M. Bevin O'Gara
Public reading: Sunday, December 4 at 7pm
Location: Deane Hall, Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Produced by Mu Performing Arts (St. Paul) and Artists at Play (Seattle) in 2016, and by Midnight Rice (Seattle) in 2016, and by Midnight Rice (Seattle) and Aurora Theatre Company (Berkeley) in 2018

As kids, Max and Diana meet on their parents' date, then are kicked out of the house so their parents can get it on. They are forced to play together even though they aren't really that fond of each other. Through over two decades of their parents' tumultuous relationship of getting together, breaking up, getting married and then divorced, Max and Diana are perpetually forced together and become the most unlikely of friends. They see each other through their own marriages and divorces, rehabs and spin-outs, career rejiggerings and epic life fails. But when they actually fall into each other, will they lose the only family they've ever known? A play about falling in and out of love with your best friend.

 

2015 – 2016 BREAKING GROUND FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS


THE WOLVES

by Sara DeLappe
Directed by Daniel Goldstein
Public reading: Thursday, April 14 at 7:30pm
Location: South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

Left quad. Right quad. Lunge. In perfect sync, a girls indoor soccer team warms up. Over the course of five games, they debate: tampons or pads? Is Coach hungover or just plain lazy? And what in the world can we do about the Khmer Rouge? A portrait of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for nine American girls who just want to score some goals.

Forever Home

by Nina Louise Morrison
Directed by Portia Krieger
Public Reading: Friday, April 15 at 7:30pm
Location: South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

When Ror comes home to help her father bury his best friend, she discovers he is facing the threat of even bigger losses than she realized. As her father’s world falls into deeper and deeper disarray, Ror must salvage what she can from her past before it’s gone. Forever Home examines how we deal with great change, how we falter, and how to not let what's broken break you.

This Exquisite Corpse

By Mia Chung
Directed by Ken Rus Schmoll
Public reading: Saturday, April 16 at 7:30pm
Location: South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

This Exquisite Corpse pieces together the puzzle of Jungja and her country in the aftermath of the Korean War. She works to rebuild her life and make friends — as well as learn English — but finds herself literally split into pieces. A surreal “chorus” of Jungjas struggle to express themselves through layers of misinterpretation and cultural appropriation.

Blueshift

by John J King
Directed by Elena Heyman
Public reading: Sunday, April 17 at 7:30pm
Location: South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

Damon bought a house, and Martha is moving in with him. But she has trouble finding a room of her own in the new place. Meanwhile the house has spiders, raccoons, sad paint, and a neighbor who seems a bit too excited that a mixed-race couple has moved in. Turns out this may not be the best place for Martha to fight off her past demons. And speaking of demons: what is that coming out of the trunk in the attic?


2015 BREAKING GROUND FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS


Non-Player Character

by Huntington Playwright Fellow Walt McGough
Directed by M. Bevin O'Gara
Public reading: Thursday, April 23 at 7pm
Location: South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

Aspiring video game designer Katja and her longtime friend Trent are an unstoppable team against animated monsters in the virtual underworlds of SpearLight, an online role-playing game. But after a humiliating falling-out, Trent marshals an army of internet trolls to wage real-life war against her. Comic and poignant, Non-Player Character is a timely, boldly theatrical exploration of the games we play and who’s winning.

The Royal Society of Antarctica

by Mat Smart
Directed by Liesl Tommy
Public Reading: Friday, April 24 at 7pm
Location: South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

Dee is the only person ever born at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. Shortly after giving birth, Dee’s mother mysteriously disappeared. Now, 24 years later, Dee returns to the otherworldly brightness at the bottom of the earth to work as a janitor — scrubbing toilets 60 hours a week and discovering something about what it means to disappear.

The Department Party

By Huntington Playwright Fellow Sam Marks
Directed by Stella Powell-Jones
Public reading: Saturday, April 25 at 2pm
Location: South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Produced by Clubbed Thumb Superlab in 2017

As a blizzard hits, a graduate student, Frances, finds her affair with a decade-older professor, Jake, collapsing. When Jake ducks out to a faculty party, Frances is left alone at his apartment — until a surprise visitor shows up. The Department Party takes us through one evening’s delicate, nuanced look at sex, small talk, and how different phases in life drastically change our perspective.

Tiger Style!

By Mike Lew
Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel
Public reading: Sunday, April 25 at 7pm
Location: South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Produced by the Huntington Theatre Company, the Alliance Theatre (Atlanta), and La Jolla Playhouse (San Diego) in 2016; by PAPA (Philadelphia) 2018; and by Olney Theatre Center in 2019.

Albert and Jennifer Chen were at the pinnacle of academic achievement. But now they suck at adult life. Albert's just been passed up for promotion and Jennifer's been dumped by her loser boyfriend. So they do what any reasonable egghead brother and sister would do and go on an Asian Freedom Tour! From California to Shenzen, Tiger Style! examines the successes and failures of tiger parenting from the point of view of a playwright who's actually been through it.


2014 BREAKING GROUND FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS


Merit

By Huntington Playwright Fellow Lenelle Moïse
Directed by Robert O'Hara
Thursday, January 30
Location: South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

Winner of the 2012 Ruby Prize, Merit follows Mona, a precocious and passionate fiction writer who is the only student of color (and Southerner) at her prestigious graduate program in contemporary Vermont. When she befriends distinguished professor Doctor Sive—a demanding divorcee with fatigued sex appeal—the two are called to strike a balance between curiosity and propriety, power and love, desire and professionalism.

Featuring James Boland, Breean Julian*, Lonnie Farmer, Joy Jones*, Crystal Fox*, and Charles Weldon*.

Home of the Brave

By Lila Rose Kaplan
Directed by Sean Daniels
Friday, January 31
Location: South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA 

As she begins her Presidential campaign, Evelyn is depending on her family to come across as wholesome. But when her campaign manager visits at Christmas, her family can’t quite fit into the all-American mold. Inspired by Moliere’s Tartuffe, Lila Rose Kaplan’s new comedy reveals what happens when the slick lies of politics collide with the messy truth of family.

Featuring Erin Brehm, John Gregorio*, Nick Sulfaro*, Paula Plum*, Joel Van Liew*, and Jessica Worthan-Newman*.

Tania in the Getaway Van

By Susan Bernfield
Directed by Sean Daniels
Directed by Portia Krieger
Saturday, February 1 at 2pm
Location: South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA 

Fall 1975: 11-year-old Laura is in the hall closet, pretending to be Patty Hearst. Diane, her mom, heads back to school, gonna get a job, gonna make Laura her companion in liberation, openness, possibility! If, by quirk of history, Laura is supposed to come of age at the same time as her mom...well, she's not gonna play, no way. Flash forward to today: is Laura a model product of the women’s movement, or just of Diane’s expectations?

Featuring Therese Plaehn*, Erica Spyres*, Colleen Werthmann*, and Stephanie Wright-Thompson*.

The Second Girl

By Ronan Noone
Directed by Campbell Scott
Saturday, February 1 at 7:30pm
Location: South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

With Eugene O’Neill’s classic Long Day's Journey Into Night as a backdrop, The Second Girl takes us into the kitchen of the Tyrone family in August 1912. In the interplay between the immigrant Irish servant girls, Bridget and Cathleen, and the chauffeur, Jack Smythe, playwright Ronan Noone evokes the love and despair of the big house while exploring the tragedy and triumph of sacrificing one home for another.

Featuring Liam Craig*, Kathleen McEfresh*, and MacKenzie Meehan*.

Bright Half Life

By Tanya Barfield
Directed by Daniel Goldstein
Sunday, February 2 at 7:30pm
Location: South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

A kaleidoscopic love story, Tanya Barfield’s Bright Half Life collides an ever-shifting present with fragments of the past. Erika and Vicky are hurled through 25 years of love and heartbreak in a collection of the moments that make up a life.

Featuring Laura Heisler* and Sue Jean Kim*.

 

2012 – 2013 BREAKING GROUND FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS


Marvelous Fruit

By Huntington Playwright Fellow Masha Obolensky 
Directed by Melia Bensussen
Monday, October 1, 2012
Location: South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA 

Fran, 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.

(Shoe) Shine Safari

By John Oluwole ADEkoje
Directed by Niegel Smith
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Location: South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA 

Ex-child soldier Shoe Shine wants to escape the violent chaos of his homeland for the comforts of America. But before he can leave, he must face the schemes of imperialist superheroes and naked generals, not to mention the dreams of his scattered family. As the radio remixes news of atrocities with hit singles, (Shoe) Shine Safari pieces together a future from the wreckage of conflict and exploitation.

All Times

by Eleanor Burgess
Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel
Monday, April 29, 2013
Location: South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

An intergenerational drama of lyricism and wit. When Annabel Foley refuses treatment after a stroke, her estranged daughter Helen bribes the beloved granddaughter Madison - a semi-employed musician from Brooklyn – to take on the role of caregiver. But as Annabel inches towards recovery, Madison confronts Helen’s indomitable will and her own millennial ambivalence. Haunted by plaintive sea shanties, playwright Eleanor Burgess’ new play All Times examines three generations of New England women.

 

2011 – 2012 BREAKING GROUND FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS


The Disappearance of the Jews

By Lawrence Goodman
Directed by Melia Bensussen
Monday, November 21, 2011
Location: South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

Still haunted by World War II, Heshie, a senile old man, sets out on a quest to keep the Holocaust from ever happening again. His first mission? Capture the neighbor he belives is Adolf Eichmann's widow. Heshie's son Martin wants to halt his father's antics, but he's also embroiled in a disastrous love affair with a gentile. As the two men struggle over the future of their religion, Lawrence Goodman's outrageous play takes a rollicking ride deep into the Jewish heart of darkness.

Shelter

By Miranda Craigwell
Directed by M. Bevin O'Gara
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Location: Avenue of the Arts / Huntington Avenue Theatre 

A dark Louisiana fugue that stretches from antebellum days to post-Katrina, Shelterchronicles the stories of a handful of souls stranded in the Superdome. What future is possible if we can't make sense of the past? Lies splinter the truth for which these souls search while everywhere, the water keeps rising.

Mambo Beans

By David Valdes Greenwood
Directed by R.J. Tolan
Monday, March 12, 2012
South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA 

Cuban-American brothers Gonzo and Willie have lived in New England their whole lives. But when their mother dies, the two men set off on their first road trip together, carrying the news to their estranged father in Miami's Little Havana. On their journey, this duo of mixed-race "mambo beans" are joined by a ghostly backseat driver and an unexpected passenger. Thirty years of untrustworthy family history collide in playwright David Valdes Greenwood's comedy of clashing expectations.

Becoming Cuba

By Melinda Lopez
Directed by M. Bevin O'Gara
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Location: South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA 

On the eve of the Spanish-American war, widowed Adela runs a pharmacy, indifferent to the mounting conflict around her. But when her brother returns from the devastated countryside looking for medicine, and a charming American reporter stumbles into the shop, the rebellion comes home to Havana, and Adela, a loyal Spaniard, is forced to choose between country and family. By turns funny and impassioned, Becoming Cuba asks, is freedom something we all want? Playwright Melinda Lopez (Sonia Flew) captures the potent contradictions of a fledgling nation on the verge of becoming itself.


2011 BREAKING GROUND FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS


Making Up the Truth

Written and performed by Jack Hitt
Directed by Jessica Bauman
Friday, September 24, 2010 at 7:00pm
Location: South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA — Wimberly Theatre

Jack Hitt tells extravagant, true tales — a yarn about the childhood neighbor who was one of the first men to become a woman, or his apartment super with a deadly secret identity. But, the stories always lead people to ask, did that really happen? The Atlantic Monthly recently called This American Life contributer Jack Hitt "one of America's best storytellers." In his new show, Making Up the Truth, he shares his stories and learns that, of all things, new scientific breakthroughs point to an answer to that question: Do extraordinary things only happen to certain people, or do we all swim unaware in a sea of the uncanny and unbelievable?

Long Season

Book and Lyrics by Chay Yew
Music by Fabian Obispo
Directed by Peter DuBois
Thursday, September 16, 2010 at 12:00pm
Location: Roy Arias Studio — Studio IV 300 West 43rd Street, NY, NY

A musical set against the raw beauty of 1920s Alaska, Chay Yew and Fabian Obispo's Long Season follows a pivotal year in the life of a young pinoy, Allos, one ofthe migrant workers drawn by the promise of a new land. At a factory in Ketchikan, Allos fights to gain the respect of the foreman, the faith of the other workers, and the heart of the foreman's wife. As it captures the fledgling ambition and heart of a group of unionizing workers, Long Season becomes the dangerous, passionate story of a Filipino immigrant in an unforgiving land.

Fire On Earth

by Patrick Gabridge
Directed by Rachel Walshe
Monday, August 23, 2010 at 7:00pm
Location: B.U. Theatre Rehearsal Hall, 254 Huntington Avenue, Boston

1524. England. John Tewkesbury is a savvy trader and smuggler, smart enough to know William Tyndale's illegal translation of the Bible will be a hot commodity. But, to sell the good book, he must elude the spies of Sir Thomas More and escape the fires of the Catholic bishops. Playwright Patrick Gabridge brings an adventurous, theatrical spin to a true story about the struggle between dangerous information and powerful knowledge. One man journeys from merchant to matryr.

The Luck of the Irish

By Kirsten Greenidge
Directed by Melia Bensussen
Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 7:00pm
Location: 254 Huntington Avenue Rehearsal Hall
Produced by the Huntington Theatre Company during the 2011-2012 season

Lucy and Rex Taylor wish to buy a house in an all-white neighborhood of 1950s Boston. The Taylors, upwardly mobile and African American, pay a struggling Irish family, the Donovans, to act as a front. Fifty years later, the elderly Donovans visit Lucy and Rex's grandchildren to ask for "their" house back. As the play moves across the two eras, The Luck of the Irish explores the legacies of integration and the conflict of calling any place your home.

Unknown Soldier

Music and lyrics by Michael Friedman
Book and lyrics by Daniel Goldstein
Directed by Daniel Goldstein
Music Direction & Accompaniment by Julie McBride
Sunday, June 13, 2011 at 5:30pm
Location: Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

This intimate musical centers on the bittersweet tale of two WWII-era lovers separated by time and space. When a modern-era woman discovers their letters, the past becomes present as she enlists the help of a university researcher, and their correspondence begins to mirror that of previous generations. Unknown Soldier is the result of a commission from the Huntington's Stanford Calderwood Fund for New American Plays.

 

2010 BREAKING GROUND FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS


Long Season

Book and Lyrics by Chay Yew
Music by Fabian Obispo
Directed by Peter DuBois
Friday, July 24, 2010 at 4:00pm
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA — Roberts Studio Theatre

A musical set against the raw beauty of 1920s Alaska, Chay Yew and Fabian Obispo's Long Season follows a pivotal year in the life of a young pinoy, Allos, one ofthe migrant workers drawn by the promise of a new land. At a factory in Ketchikan, Allos fights to gain the respect of the foreman, the faith of the other workers, and the heart of the foreman's wife. As it captures the fledgling ambition and heart of a group of unionizing workers, Long Season becomes the dangerous, passionate story of a Filipino immigrant in an unforgiving land.

 

Deported / a dream Play

By Joyce Van Dyke
Directed by Judy Braha
Monday, August 3, 2010 at 7:00pm
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA — Carol Deane Rehearsal Hall

Elmas and Varter save each other's lives during the Armenian genocide. After they come to America, their story leaps across time and space, ending in a dream world of the future where Armenians, Turks, the living, and the dead commingle.

 

Lizzie Stranton

By Lydia R. Diamond
Directed by Summer L. Williams
Tuesday, August 4, 2010 at 7:00pm
Location: Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA — Carol Deane Rehearsal Hall

In Lydia R. Diamond's bawdy reimagining of Aristophanes' even bawdier Lysistrata, a fictional first lady convenes a meeting in 2016 of the most prominent women in the world with a radical scheme to end war.

 

Jeanie Don't Sing No Mo'

By Jacqui Parker
Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian
Wednesday, August 5, 2010 at 7:00pm
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA — Carol Deane Rehearsal Hall

Jeanie, a once-famous blues singer, stopped speaking the day her father died, and she and her Southern family carry the burden of secrets long concealed.

 

2009 BREAKING GROUND FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS

 

Unknown Soldier

Music and lyrics by Michael Friedman
Book and lyrics by Daniel Goldstein
Directed by Will Frears
Thursday, April 3, 2009 at 7:30pm

This intimate musical centers on the bittersweet tale of two WWII-era lovers separated by time and space. When a modern-era woman discovers their letters, the past becomes present as she enlists the help of a university researcher, and their correspondence begins to mirror that of previous generations. Unknown Soldier is the result of a commission from the Huntington's Stanford Calderwood Fund for New American Plays.

 

Sense of an Ending

By Ken Urban
Directed by Evan Cabnet
Friday, April 4, 2009 at 8:00pm

An African-American journalist arrives in Rwanda to uncover dark truths about an act of genocide. The trip becomes something more troubling, however, when he finds he may be part of the story. After he meets a survivor, the journalist struggles to understand the nature of man's inhumanity, and to find the path that returns us to the best versions of ourselves.

 

Thomas Repair

By Mat Smart
Directed by Melia Bensussen
Saturday, April 5, 2009 at 2:00pm

A family crisis ensues when a mysterious girl appears in Jacob Thomas' quirky repair shop. She's blue — literally and figuratively — and as she attempts to "come clean," the relationships around her are thrown into chaos. Things left unsaid begin to fester and rot, and she proves she might be the only one who knows how to fix what's long been broken. Thomas Repair is the result of a commission from the Huntington's Stanford Calderwood Fund for New American Plays.

 

Broke-ology

By Nathan Louis Jackson
Directed by Amanda Charlton
Saturday, April 5, 2009 at 8:00pm

In this family serio-comedy, the sons of an African-American family are torn between familial obligations and the dreams they've established for themselves. With dashed hopes for higher education, an ailing patriarch who sees his dead wife, and the mounting expenses of a new baby, the boys help each other face the major decisions of their lives. Together they just may discover a new definition of what it means to be a family.

 

Caroline in Jersey

By Melinda Lopez
Directed by M. Bevin O'Gara
Sunday, April 6, 2009 at 7:00pm

Things aren't looking so great for Caroline. Her husband has left her for a younger woman, she's about to be thrown out of her sublet in New Jersey, her landlady thinks she's crazy... and the spirit of Arthur Miller's accountant lives in her refrigerator. Thrown into this mystery, Caroline must discover the truth about her haunting (and herself) to help to heal a broken family across two planes of existence. Melinda Lopez is a 2003-2005 Huntington Playwriting Fellow; Caroline in Jersey is the result of a commission from South Coast Repertory Theatre.

 

2008 BREAKING GROUND FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS

 

Alexandros

By Melinda Lopez
Directed by Justin Waldman
Thursday, April 19, 2008 at 7:30pm

Maritza and her daughter Marty have returned to Miami to celebrate Abuela's birthday. But something isn't right; Abuela thinks the party is for her own funeral, Maritza's brother Tio seems awfully close to the gardener, and Alexandros the dog has gone missing. Set against the backdrop of Nixon's resignation, Alexandros is a zany roller coaster ride through the chaos of family obligations, language barriers, and love. From the author of the Huntington's 2004 hit, Sonia FlewAlexandros is the product of a commission from the Laguna Playhouse.

 

Geometry of Fire

By Stephen Belber
Directed by Lucie Tiberghien
Friday, April 20, 2008 at 8:00pm

Lives intersect in a D.C.-area bar, bringing together the lost and "un-homed." Mel, a vet recently returned from the front, is haunted by the ghost of his last victim; his father Bob, suspicious of the military, strives to understand his son; and Tariq, a Saudi-American, discovers the toxicity of his personal life just might be tied to the contamination of the land around him. The personal becomes political in this story of fathers, sons, and the quest for a path back home, from Huntington veteran Stephen Belber.

 

Parallelogram

By Kate Snodgrass
Directed by Susan Feinchell
Saturday, April 21, 2008 at 2:00pm

In the realm of quantum physics, the act of observation decides the fate of the observed, and two universes — containing separate outcomes of the same events — can exist side by side. Eleanor and Michael, scientists working in very different worlds, find themselves nonetheless connected by a common thread. Can the movement of the stars and planets illuminate the darkness between them? From Kate Snodgrass, the artistic director of Boston Playwrights' Theatre.

 

The Cry of the Reed

By Sinan Ünel
Directed by Justin Waldman
Saturday, April 21, 2008 at 8:00pm

It's 2004, and matters of life and death are unfolding at a harrowing pace. A pair of journalists find themselves unexpectedly detained by a band of insurgents, as bombs rain down on an Iraqi landscape. Meanwhile, in Turkey, on the eve of a festival celebrating the great Sufi poet Rumi, an unexpected allegiance is forged in the struggle to secure the journalists' release. History, religion, and the beauty of whirling dervishes collide in this heart-breakingly immediate portrait of a world at war — from the author of the Breaking Ground hit Pathétique, and the award-winning Pera Palas.

 

Searching for God in Suburbia

By Matt Hoverman
Directed by Matt August
Sunday, April 22, 2008 at 2:00pm

In these seven short plays, the standard suburban universe is turned topsy-turvy. As interconnected characters go about their daily lives — tucking in their kids at bedtime, dealing with infidelity, making time for the gym — the unexpected is always just around the corner. Sometimes it's the boogeyman, or an alien invasion, or just the surprise of a true human connection. From the author of In Transit, winner of the FringeNYC Best Playwriting Award.

 

Claire Silva

by John Shea
Directed by Daniel Goldstein
Sunday, April 22, 2008 at 7:00pm

In the Monaghan family, the sins of the past are emerging once again. On the eve of the release of a convicted child molester, the media descends on a tight-knit, blue collar Boston neighborhood in turmoil, where truths, long-buried, may finally be revealed. A lively, wrenching, and frank portrayal of a family and a community searching for hope, from John Shea, a native son with a true Boston voice.

 

2007 BREAKING GROUND FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS

 

Kind Hearts and Coronets

Book by Robert L. Freedman
Music by Steven Lutvak
Lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak
Based upon the film Kind Hearts and Coronets
Written and directed by Robert Hamer
By arrangement with Canal+
Thursday, April 6, 2007 at 7:30pm

Louis Mazzini is seventh in line to the D'Ascoyne family Dukedom, but that's not enough to win him the hand of his beloved Silbella. Determined to rise above his humble beginnings, Louis decides to remove the obstacles standing between him and his title... little does he know murder can get so complicated. Based upon the 1949 movie of the same name starring Alec Guinness, Kind Hearts and Coronets is a hilarious new musical adventure about the dark side of royal ascension. 

 

Persephone

By Noah Haidle
Friday, April 7, 2007 at 8:00pm

Guiseppe is trying to carve an image of the Greek goddess Demeter from an unyielding block of marble – she’s the love of his life. Little does he know, he’s also the love of hers. But relationships are hard, especially when stretched over centuries. Noah Haidle, author of Off Broadway’s Mr. Marmalade, brings his trademark irreverence and eccentricity to this unusual comedy.

 

Voyeurs de Venus

Directed by Emma Griffin
Saturday, April 8, 2007 at 3:00pm

Sara, a black scholar specializing in pop culture, is writing a book about Saartjie Bartmaan, derogatorily known as the Hottentot Venus. Or, she’s trying to. Sara’s own issues of racial identity emerge as she struggles to recount Saartjie’s life to a largely white audience, while Sara navigates a minefield of personal intimacies between her husband and lover. Past and present merge as the women’s stories collide in this piercing drama.

 

Property

By Valerie Martin
Directed by Peter Schneider
Saturday, April 8, 2007 at 8:00pm

The year is 1828. Manon Gaudet, who came as a bride to her husband's sugar plantation north of New Orleans bringing a prized wedding gift - her slave Sarah - to the union, is now trapped in a loveless marriage with a man she despises. Her husband has fathered two children, a deaf son and a baby daughter, by Sarah, and Manon has one wish: to leave her husband and return to her home in New Orleans. Unbeknownst to her, Sarah also nourishes dreams of escape. Whispers of a slave rebellion grow louder, inflaming a domestic nightmare of jealousy, possession, obsession, and fear.

 

The Atheist

Directed by Emma Griffin
Sunday, April 9, 2007 at 2:00pm

Augustine, a crooked journalist with nihilistic intentions, has made an art of clawing his way up the professional ladder. When he unveils the Mayor’s tawdry predilections (involving a hidden camera and reams of videotape), the scandal threatens to undo the one person who thought he was immune – Augustine himself. Noone’s one-man play is a continuation of his focus on the American experience, a project he began with last year’s Breaking Ground play, Smiler Becoming Yank.  

 

Mauritius

Directed by Justin Waldman
Sunday, April 9, 2007 at 7:00pm

 
The world of high-stakes stamp collecting is much seedier and more dangerous than anyone ever suspected. After her mother’s death, Jackie discovers not only a raft of debts, but an album of old stamps, one of which may be her ticket to a life-saving windfall. Now too many philatelists are getting in on the game, and her half-sister’s claims on the album are the least of Jackie’s worries. From the author of Omnium Gatherum and the 2004 Huntington hit, Bad Dates.

 

2005 – 2006 BREAKING GROUND FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS


Smiler Becoming Yank

By Ronan Noone
Thursday, March 3, 2006 at 8:00pm

Escaping a broken heart and exiled by his family, a recent immigrant to Boston is haunted by ghosts of his past. Yearning to belong, he struggles to achieve the hallmarks of an American life, including the girl of his dreams.

 

The Hopper Collection

By Mat Smart
Friday, March 4, 2006 at 8:00pm

Marjorie and Daniel have serious problems. She tries to feed him cyanide, he's stubbornly besotted with her, and their damaged lives revolve around an Edward Hopper painting. Could a pair of unexpected visitors reveal the path to happiness?

 

Two Days at Home, Three Days in Prison

By Rebekah Maggor
Saturday, March 5, 2006 at 3:00pm  

In an Israeli military prison, three young soldiers find themselves subject to the power games of situations beyond their control - the idealism of youth collides with the reality of war, sparking questions of duty, patriotism, and lives deferred.

Two Days at Home, Three Days in Prison is produced in association with Next Stages, and its development was made possible in part by a New Play Commission in Jewish Theatre grant from the National Foundation of Jewish Culture.

 

Pen

By David Marshall Grant
Saturday, March 5, 2006 at 8:00pm

Adam, trapped in a web of family dysfunction, longs for the freedom that college might bring. A pilfered pen may be the catalyst they all need to see the world from each others' perspective.

 

Marvel

By Joshua Scher
Sunday, March 6, 2006 at 3:00pm

A guy in a Spider-Man suit sits high above the Brooklyn Bridge, while miles of snarled traffic sit gridlocked below - it's just another average day in New York. One man's last-stand act of protest pits him against a ridiculous world and the street-wise cop who tries to talk him down. Whose resolve is stronger, and more importantly, can you buy trust with a sandwich?

 

Create Fate

By Etan Frankel
Sunday, March 6, 2006 at 7:30pm

Love can be a brutal game, so when the deck is stacked against him, Nathan does the only thing he can to get the love of his life to notice him: he calls in the professionals. The question is, when is true love fated, and when is it just a set of extremely well-choreographed accidents?

 

2004 BREAKING GROUND FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS

 

Stabbing

By Stephen Belber*
Thursday, March 18, 2004 at 7:30pm

A heat–of–the–moment argument turns violent one early evening‚ down on Fourth Street‚ somewhere in urban America. One man’s mistake starts a chain–reaction that entangles a most–unlikely group of people. Fox‚ Abe‚ Rachel‚ Mac‚ Farrah‚ and Bud seek some kind of cosmic balance in a world that demands more from them than they are necessarily ready to give. Through them‚ Belber deftly explores the conundrum of the human condition in an age where gender‚ race‚ machismo‚ and nationalism threaten to alienate and divide us from each other.

 

The Ice-Breaker

By David Rambo
Friday, March 19, 2004 at 7:30pm

A faltering PhD student seeks out a man once at the top of her chosen field –– formerly a scientific renegade of the great arctic north‚ he is now a recluse‚ ensconced in a desolate desert terrain. An abandoned journal‚ preserved in the tundra‚ has led her here to stake her claim. Like the last two people on earth‚ this mismatched pair find themselves at the mercy of mother nature and human nature‚ looking for the answers they never knew they wanted.

 

Sonia Flew

By Melinda Lopez*
Saturday, March 2004 at 12:00pm

In the early 1960s‚ over 14‚000 unaccompanied Cuban children were sent to the United States by their parents‚ who were fearful of the new government. Lopez’s new play‚ set in 1960 and 2004‚ introduces us to a contemporary family still dealing with the ramifications of this split. How does a parent voluntarily give up a child? What does it mean to sacrifice for a country? These are questions that Sonia‚ mother of two‚ struggles with as she tries to understand her own past in Cuba‚ her relation to her lost parents‚ and her duty to America –– her adopted country.

 

Jasper Lake

By John Kuntz*
Saturday, March 20, 2004 at 4:00pm

If you dream of jasper‚ it means the truth will soon be revealed. In the exclusive community of Jasper Lake‚ something is corrupt. Someone has been betrayed‚ someone has lied‚ someone may lose her life. In the center of it all‚ the lake seethes like a living thing. Dark echoes and mysterious voices ebb and flow with the waves. They are whispering ... listen ...

 

Pathétique

By Sinan Ünel*
Saturday, March 20, 2004 at 8:00pm

In the fall of 1893‚ Tchaikovsky is in Petersburg to conduct his Symphony no.6 (Pathétique)‚ the darkest and most mysterious of his works‚ with a secret meaning the composer never revealed. He’s staying with his brother Modest‚ an unsuccessful playwright‚ and his nephew Bobyk‚ an aspiring poet and the object of his famous uncle’s unrequited affections. Five days after the premiere of the symphony‚ the troubled Tchaikovsky is dead. Ten years later‚ questions still swirl about the mysteries of Pathétique and the circumstances of its composer’s death.

 

Lily

Book by Peter Flynn
Music and Lyrics by Brooks Ashmanskas
Sunday, March 21, 2004 at 3:00pm

This new American musical is an adaptation of Edith Wharton’s classic novel of manners‚ House of Mirth. Based on Wharton’s biting criticism of the monied aristocracy‚ Lily focuses on New York’s high society at the beginning of the 20th century. We follow the fate of the charming Lily Bart‚ her precarious climb up the social ladder‚ and her disastrous downfall.


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