Breaking Ground 2004 - 2005


by Stephen Belber*
Thursday, March 18 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 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 20 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.

Melinda Lopez is the playwright-in-residence at the Huntington Theatre Company. Mala (2018) won the 2017 Elliot Norton Award for Best New Play, and recently ran at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Upcoming projects include a translation of Yerma (Federico García Lorca) for the American Conservatory Theater. Her award-winning play Sonia Flew (2004) (Elliot Norton Award, IRNE Award) had its world premiere as the Huntington’s inaugural production in the Wimberly Theatre, and has since been produced all over the country, including at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Coconut Grove Playhouse, Contemporary American Theater Festival, San Jose Repertory Theatre, and many others. Other plays include Becoming Cuba (2014) (Huntington Theatre Company), Back the Night (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre), Caroline in Jersey (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Orchids to Octopi (Central Square Theater, commissioned by the National Institutes of Health for the Darwin bicentennial), Gary (Steppenwolf First Look Repertory and Boston Playwrights’ Theatre), Alexandros (Laguna Playhouse), Midnight Sandwich/Medianoche (Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, Coconut Grove Playhouse), and multiple short plays. Ms. Lopez is among the first cohort of playwrights to receive a three-year residency grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and she was the first recipient of the Charlotte Woolard Award, given by The Kennedy Center to a “promising new voice in American theatre.” She has served as a panel member for the City of Boston, the National Education Association, and the Cambridge Arts Panel, and she has enjoyed residencies with Sundance, the Lark, New York Theatre Workshop, and Harvard University. Ms. Lopez is also an actress and has appeared in regional theatre (Huntington Theatre Company, SpeakEasy Stage Company, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Guthrie Theater and Portland Stage), film, and radio. She teaches theatre studies at Wellesley College and playwriting at Boston University. Ms. Lopez was mentioned by President Obama in his joint address to the Cuban and American people, and Mayor Marty Walsh declared October 29, 2016 “Melinda Lopez Day” in the City of Boston. She is active in the local Cuban American community and works to provide humanitarian aid to the people of Cuba. For more information, visit and


(As of February 2018)



Jasper Lake

by John Kuntz*
Saturday, March 20 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 ...

John Kuntz is a Boston-based actor, playwright and solo performer.   He is the author of 15 full-length plays, solo pieces and many short plays, including The Hotel Nepenthe (Actors Shakespeare Project & Huntington Theatre Company’s Emerging America Festival, Elliot Norton for "Best New Play" and "Best Ensemble", IRNE Award for “Best New Play” ), The Salt Girl  (Boston Playwrights Theatre, Elliot Norton Award for “Best New Play”),  Jasper Lake (Michael Kanin & Paula Vogel National Playwrighting Awards), Starfuckers (Elliot Norton Award "Outstanding Solo Performance")and Sing Me To Sleep (Coyote Theatre, Elliot Norton Award “Best Production, Small Theatre”).  He is a founding company member of the Actors Shakespeare Project and is on the faculty of The Boston Conservatory.




by Sinan Ünel*
Saturday, March 20 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.

Sinan Ünel's (playwright) Pathetique (2004) has been produced at the Huntington as part of the Breaking Ground festival of new plays, as well as Last Flight Out (2012) in the Emerging America festival and The Cry of the Reed (2007). Mr. Ünel's plays have also been produced at the Long Wharf Theatre, the Arcola Theatre (London), Boston Playwrights' Theatre, the Lark Theatre Company (New York), the Gate Theatre (London), Provincetown Theatre Company, Provincetown Theatreworks, Landes-theater (Germany), Theater Kosmos (Austria), and Theatre at Boston Court (Pasadena, CA). He has been awarded the John Gassner Memorial Award, the Daryl Roth Creative Spirit Award, and was a Huntington Playwriting Fellow. His script Race Point is the winner of the 2001 New Century Writer Award for best screenplay. He divides his time between New York and Cape Cod, and teaches at Lesley University.

(As of June 2014)




Book by Peter Flynn
Music and Lyrics by Brooks Ashmanskas
Sunday, March 21 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.

Brooks Ashmanskas previously appeared in God of Carnage (2012), She Loves Me (2008), Present Laughter (2007) (IRNE Award), and Amphitryon (2001) at the Huntington. He appeared on Broadway in Promises, Promises; Present Laughter; The Ritz; Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me (Tony Award nomination); The Producers; Gypsy; Little Me; Dream; How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying; and On the Twentieth Century. His Off Broadway credits include Wise Guys, Labor Day, Songs for a New World, London Suite, It Changes Every Year, and The Holy Terror. His regional credits include Burn This (Mark Taper Forum), She Stoops to Conquer (McCarter Theatre), Rich and Famous (American Conservatory Theater), Bye Bye Birdie (The Kennedy Center), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Rough Crossing and The Comedy of Errors (Hartford Stage), Animal Crackers (Arena Stage), and On a Clear Day (City Center). His film and television credits include Julie and Julia, Little Children, "The Miraculous Year," and "All My Children." Mr. Ashmanskas received his BA in drama from Bennington College.


* Recipient of the Huntington’s Calderwood Commission for New American Plays.


Past Breaking Ground Readings

Avenue of the Arts / Huntington Avenue Theatre: 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston MA 02115
South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA: 527 Tremont Street, Boston MA 02116
Main: 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston MA 02115 | 617 266 7900 | BOX OFFICE 617 266 0800

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