Seattle Rep’s new playwrights’ commission asks 20 playwrights to imagine our environment at a pivotal time. You can see works by some of those playwrights on local stages, from Seattle to Olympia, right now.
Recently, Seattle Rep undertook a big initiative that’s exciting for those of us who love bold projects and new plays. In late 2020, the Rep announced 20×30: Reimagining the Anthropocene, a playwrights pipeline project promising commissions by 20 playwrights by the year 2030. This week, they announced three more of those playwrights, totaling eight now announced of the 20.
So what is “Anthropocene,” and what’s the project around it? According to the Rep:
Anthropocene is a term that suggests we have entered a new geological age where human activity is the dominant force shaping our environment. This commissioning project’s goal is to engage a diverse group of theater artists around the idea of the Anthropocene during what promises to be a pivotal and transformational decade for our nation and our world. What does this moment in time mean for each of us, and how is our experience differentiated by — or united across — race, culture, country, class, or generation?
Right now, Seattle-area audiences have a few chances to get acquainted with those playwrights’ work, as three of them currently have plays up on local stages. Head over to see Benjamin Benne’s play Alma, which opened this weekend at ArtsWest in West Seattle (through 5/22); Mary Kathryn Nagle’s Sovereignty, which also opened this weekend, at Harlequin Productions in Olympia (through 5/28); and Sylvia Khoury’s Selling Kabul, into its run at Seattle Rep (through 5/22).
A bit later, catch the second half of ArtsWest’s double-feature of 20×30 playwrights, as Julia Izumi’s miku, and the gods. will immediately follow Benne’s, in a co-production with Pork Filled Productions that opens in mid-June. And local audiences may already be familiar with Larissa FastHorse’s work, as The Thanksgiving Play had audiences at Seattle Public Theater doubled-over with thought-provoking comedy back in 2019. (See NWT’s review here.)
In addition, Nathan Alan Davis, Amy Freed, and Zora Howard are 20×30-commissioned playwrights who may be new to Seattle audiences. (Freed did have a long-ago production at Seattle Rep.)
Read about each ’20×30′ playwrights as they’re announced, here.
View performance times and dates for current productions from these playwrights and others, here.
More new works in the works at Seattle Rep
With its new works programming booming right now, Seattle Rep is a regional leader in developing new plays and connecting audiences to the process. Here are some of its other upcoming and in-progress programs:
(Beginning 5/16) -SCRiB LAB, a two-part series exploring the craft, business, and critique of playwriting, held in conjunction with performances of Selling Kabul and Bruce; register here.
(On 5/21) Kilroys Club, a play-reading and discussion group (akin to a book club for unpublished scripts) reads Wally World, by Isaac Gómez; register here.
Seattle Rep has commissioned three playwrights through an Elizabeth George Foundation grant, beginning this year; read more here.
Public Works is developing a new production, called The Emerald City; read more here.
Chase D. Anderson is Editor & Producer of NWTheatre.org.