Announcing the Fifth Play for our Second Issue!

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Augusto Amador

We are excited to announce our fifth play, “The Book of Leonidas,” written by Augusto Federico Amador! Following the publication of his play “Kissing Che” in the first issue of Proscenium, Augusto has crafted yet another extraordinary full-length play! “The Book of Leonidas” is currently a semi-finalist for the 2015 Eugene O’Neill Conference and was recently a part of the Playwright’s Nest Festival at the Los Angeles Theater Center. Augusto was a playwriting fellow with the 2011 Emerging Writers Group at the Public Theater in New York. In addition to the Public Theater’s Spotlight Series, his plays have also been presented at the Lark Play Development Center, Terra Nova Collective’s Groundbreaking Series, Repertorio Espanol, Red Room, Queens Theater in The Park, and INTAR Theater. In Los Angeles, his plays have been presented at the Celebration Theatre, Audrey-Skirball Kenis Theater Projects, Playwrights Arena, the Blank Theater, Ricardo Montalban Theater, Imagined Life Theater, Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum as part of the Seedlings New Play Series, the John Anson Ford Theater, and the Inkubator new play reading series at the Skylight Theater. He has also served a playwright residency at the Arkansas Repertory Theater in Little Rock, Ark. His plays have been finalists or semi-finalists for the Eugene O’Neill Conference (2011, 2015), the Sundance Theater Lab, INTAR Playwright’s Lab, The Metlife National Latino Playwriting Award, Bay Area Playwrights Foundation, The Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation, Kitchen Dog New Play Festival and the Hormel New Play Festival at the Phoenix Theater. Augusto was named  a finalist for the prestigious 2013 Terrance McNally Award and for the 2013 Clifford Odets Ensemble New Play Commission from the Lee Strasberg Theater & Film Institute. Augusto was a member of 2014 Los Angeles Latino Theater Alliance’s Writers Circle. His play “Kissing Che” was listed in HowlRound’s, “101 Plays by The New Americans, or on Latinidad.” Congratulations, Augusto!

Announcing the Fourth Play for our Second Issue!

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James Lantz

We are thrilled to announce the fourth play to be published in our second issue, “The Bus,” by internationally acclaimed playwright and filmmaker James Lantz. “The Bus” was produced Off-Broadway at 59E59 Theaters, and has also had productions all over the world in places such as London, Capetown, and San Francisco. As an award-winning filmmaker, Lantz has produced, written, and directed over 200 commercial films, videos, and live events for clients such as American Express, American Airlines, Amtrak, Alamo Rental Cars, Mobil Oil, and The Brooklyn Museum of Art. As a screenwriter, James has received recognition from numerous film festivals; his screenplay for “Hide Fox” won awards at eight national film festivals. James is currently working on a screenplay, a stage play, and two documentary feature films including “A Defiant Dude,” which was funded by over 2000 backers on Kickstarter.com. Prior to pursuing film and theatre, James taught high school in a small town in rural Virginia, where he was named “Teacher of the Year” by the student body. Congratulations, James!

Announcing the Third Play for our Second Issue!

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Aurin Squire

We are so excited to announce the third play to be published in our second issue, “Boxing the Sun” by Aurin Squire. Squire is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter who currently attends Juilliard. He is a recipient of the 2014 Lecomte du Nouy Prize from Lincoln Center and the Lila Acheson Wallace Playwright Fellowship at The Juilliard School. For the 2014-2015 season he has fellowships at the Dramatists Guild of America, the National Black Theatre, and the Brooklyn Arts Exchange He is the winner of the Act One Writing Contest at Lincoln Center Theatre Squire graduated with honors from Northwestern University and worked as a radio reporter for the college’s national newsfeed. He was also a reporter for publications like ESPN, The Miami Herald, and Chicago Tribune. After graduating from Actors Studio and New School University with an MFA in playwriting he was commissioned as a screenwriter for Moxie Pictures, adapting the novel “Velocity” into a movie. His dark comedy “To Whom It May Concern” won the New York LGBT theatre awards for best play, best playwright, and best actor before being optioned and remounted Off-Broadway to critical acclaim at the ArcLight Theatre. In 2007, Squire received a year-long commission to move to Albuquerque and work with Tectonic Theatre Company. He interviewed Jewish Latinos and worked with an ensemble to create “A Light in My Soul,” a docudrama produced around New Mexico about Jewish families who fled from the Spanish Inquisition and settled in the American southwest. Squire also wrote “Dreams of Freedom,” the multimedia installation video about Jewish immigrants in the 20th century for the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. “Dreams: won 3 national museum awards and is in the permanent exhibit at NMAJH. In 2013 his drama “Freefalling” was produced at Barrington Stage Company and won the 2013 Fiat Lux Award (“Let There Be Light”) from the Catholic Church’s Theatre Conference. In 2014 Squire won the grand prize in the InspiraTO Theatre’s International Play Festival in Toronto (largest theatre festival in Canada) for “Freefalling” and the play was published in Dramatists Play Service’s annual collection of Outstanding Short Plays. “Article 119-1,” his drama about a gay rights activist in Belarus, was produced in Florence, Italy, Norway, Vancouver, and Los Angeles in March 2014. Squire’s comedy “African Americana” received its world premiere at London’s Theatre 503 in June 2014. He has been a guest artist and lecturer at Gettysburg College, Malloy College, and New School University. His plays have been produced at venues like Abingdon Theatre, ArcLight Theatre, Ars Nova, Barrington Stage Company, Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX), Cherry Lane, Lincoln Center Lab, National Hispanic Cultural Center. Congratulations, Aurin!

Announcing our the Winner of our Young Playwrights Competition

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Zoe Kamil

We are thrilled to announce the winning play of our Inaugural Young Playwrights Competition and the second play to be published in our second volume, Nine Hours, written by Zoe Kamil. Kamil is an 18-year-old playwright and theatre artist living and studying in New York City and hailing from San Francisco, California. Her plays have been workshopped and produced at Young Playwrights Inc, The Playwrights Project, The Midtown Theatre Festival’s Short Play Lab, and The Blank Theatre, among others. She is a winner of the 2014 Young Playwrights Inc. National Playwriting Competition, The 2014 Blank Theatre’s National Young Playwrights Competition, and the 2013 California Young Playwrights Contest. She’s also been recognized by Playground Theatre SF and the National Theatre in London. Zoe co-founded and is the Associate Director of Semicolon Theatre Company, an organization dedicated to the development of new work by and for young adults and that is run entirely by theatre artists 21 and younger. She is a Literary Intern at the York Theatre Company in New York City. Congratulations, Zoe!

Announcing First Play for our Second Volume!

Aleks Merilo

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be announcing each of the plays we’re publishing in our Second Volume. We’re delighted to share our first: 

We are thrilled to announce that “Tango Mike,” written by the talented Aleks Merilo, will be the first play published in Proscenium Journal’s Second Volume! Aleks Merilo is an award-winning and critically acclaimed playwright based in Portland, OR. Merilo’s scripts include “Exit 27” (performed at the Landing Theatre in Houston, Texas, and The Sanguine Theatre Company in New York City) “Blur in the Rear View” (winner of the James Rodgers Playwriting Contest, premiered at the University of Kentucky, Lexington) and “Little Moscow” (winner of the Dubuque Playwriting Contest, performed at the Labute New Play Festival). His plays have been performed and developed at Furious Theatre Company at the Pasadena Playhouse, Old Globe Theater, Fertile Ground Festival of New Works in Portland, OR, Pittsburgh New Works Festival, Ross Valley Players, The Moving Arts Theater, The UCLA New Play Festival, and Portland Readers Theater. Originally from Palo Alto, CA, Aleks holds a BA in Theater and an MFA in playwriting from The UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television. Merilo’s play “The Widow of Tom’s Hill” has recently been slated for a 2015 Off-Broadway production at 59E59 Theaters in New York. Congratulations, Aleks!

Fall Issue to be Published on September 8th!

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Proscenium Journal Cover Page

We are thrilled to announce that Proscenium Journal will be releasing its Fall Issue on Monday, September 8th! The complete issue will be available for free on this website and will include these five plays:

  • Looking for the Pony (NEA Outstanding New American Play Award Finalist) by Andrea Lepcio
  • Black Coffee Green Tea (Public Theatre Emerging Writer) by Damon Chua
  • Kissing Che (Terrence McNally Award Finalist) by Augusto Federico Amador
  • Ski Lift (Grand Prize, Theatre Oxford 10-Minute Play Competition) by Chris Holbrook
  • Mai Dang Lao (2013 Portland JAW Festival) by David Jacobi

We hope you enjoy!

Exclusive Interview with David Jacobi, writer of “Mai Dang Lao”

David Jacobi, photo by Patrick Weishampel

David Jacobi, photo by Patrick Weishampel

David Jacobi discusses his play, Mai Dang Lao, which will be published in the fall issue of Proscenium Journal in early September.

What was your inspiration for the play?

I hope this doesn’t spoil the ending.

The play was born from two separate ideas. The incident that occurs in the play is based on true events that occurred in 2004 at a Kentucky McDonalds. A young employee was detained, strip searched, and raped by people who were given instructions by a man over the phone who claimed to be a police officer.

From 2009 to 2012, I lived in China, working in theatre. During my time there, I learned about a persistent issue. Every city in China has a law enforcement division called “Chengguan.” They’re kind of like traffic cops; enforcing picayune code rather than tackle crime. Some of these officers are extremely violent, hospitalizing and occasionally beating to death migrant workers for petty infractions. One day, their employee manual was leaked online. It’s some scary, troubling stuff; tips on how to beat someone without leaving marks, philosophical statements that cement an “us vs. them” mentality. I noticed that when translated into English, it doesn’t seem like it’s a government manual from halfway around the world. It could easily be ours.

What do you want the audience to come away with?

I definitely want the audience to leave feeling less safe than they did before. It’s easy to dismiss the real life event by saying, “Well, of course something like this happened in Kentucky,” or “It makes sense because they were minimum wage fast food workers” as if abuse and subjugation have geographical or socio-economic boundaries.

What was the most challenging part of writing this play?

Adapting the real life event while not letting it dictate where the play could go. In many drafts, this play came across like a grotesque post-mortem. That’s the last thing I wanted. This event is far from dead; these events are still occurring, and in far more subtle and insidious ways.

I tend to lean towards comedic work. While it seems wrong to allow opportunities for an audience to laugh following a horrific scene, I think it was important to keep the absurdity of the world chugging along. After seeing a reading of this play, Constance Congdon referred to it as “Kevin Smith meets Kafka.”

What playwrights have inspired you?

Ionesco, Brecht, Shepard, Thomas Bradshaw, Sarah Kane, Naomi Iizuka, Richard Maxwell, Megan Gogerty, Nick Jones, Gina Gionfriddo, Kathleen Tolan.

Why did you start writing plays?

I think I was always writing plays, as early as the 4th grade. But I was very confused, and thought I was writing short stories or poems or love letters. Once mentors started taking me to shows, I realized what I’ve been trying to do.

What projects are you working on now?

This play is actually the first installment of plays about labor politics in the US and in China. I’m currently working on the third and final play, which is about retirement. I’ve just finished my latest draft of Widower, a pro-wrestling play inspired by David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest.

I’m entering my final year at UC San Diego. My biggest project right now is to find an artistic home once I graduate.

What kind of theatre excites you?

I like the plays that unravel in your head hours after you’ve seen them. The plays that make more sense to you in the first few minutes after waking up, when you’re still shaking out the cobwebs. Polarizing plays. Plays that are either under two hours or over six hours long. I long to see a play that has to end abruptly because a riot broke out in the audience.

What advice do you have for playwrights starting out?

Read. Follow your tastes (especially non-theatre related), and it’ll eventually take you somewhere you want to be. If you’re never fully satisfied, you’re on the right track. Be your strongest advocate. As Naomi Iizuka says, find your tribe.