AT Podcast Art

Episode 9: Playwrights Roundtable

Join us for an Artists Roundtable Discussion that took place as part of our Virtual Kendeda Week in April. Moderated by Rachel Karpf, former Artistic Producer, WP Theater, NYC, and featuring all four Alliance/Kendeda Competition finalists- Logan Faust, Cary Simowitz, Ava Geyer, and Inna Tsyrlin; Alliance/Kendeda Winner, Steph Del Rosso, as well as Atlanta playwrights Will Power, Steve Coulter, Kimberly Belflower, Mary Lynn Owen, and Mark Kendall.


Roundtable Artist Bios:

2019/2020 Kendeda Winner:
Steph Del Rosso, 53% Of

Steph Del Rosso is a writer based in New York. Her plays include: 53% Of (Alliance/ Kendeda winner), The Gradient (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, 2021), Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill (The Flea), Machinalia (JACK), Are You There? (UC-San Diego), You’re Crazy (a play with karaoke) (IAMA New Works Festival), and Life Savers. Her work has been developed at The Kennedy Center, The Lark, Ojai Playwrights’ Conference, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, Colt Coeur, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, the Los Angeles Theatre Center, New York Stage and Film, SPACE on Ryder Farm, and others. She is the 19/20 Shank Playwright in Residence at The Public Theater and is an alum of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab and Clubbed Thumb’s Emerging Writers’ Group. She is commissioned by Studio Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse and teaches Playwriting at NYU.

Kendeda Finalists:
Ava Geyer, Monster

Ava Geyer received her BA from Princeton University in 2015 and MFA in playwriting from UC San Diego in 2019. Geyer is currently the Shank Resident Playwright at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, a member of EST/Youngblood, and under commission by La Jolla Playhouse. She is a recipient of Theater Masters' 2020 Visionary Award. Her play Monster was a finalist for the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition. She was a finalist for the 2019/2020 Jerome Fellowship and semi-finalist for the Ingram New Works Lab. Her play Fruit Snacks appeared at the Hopeful Decade event in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in January 2020. Her play B-Storm appeared at Theatre Row in May 2019 as part of Theater Masters' Take Ten program honoring the best short plays by MFA playwrights across the country. Past plays include SERE (Wagner New Play Festival 2018) and Baby Teeth (WNPF '17).  

Logan Faust, Unkindness

Logan Faust is a Louisiana-born, New York-based playwright, television writer, and actor who holds his Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing from NYU Tisch. Before moving to New York, he lived in New Orleans, where he received his BA in Theatre Arts from Loyola University New Orleans. He currently works as Showrunner's Assistant for Filthy Rich, airing on Fox this Spring. A lifelong Southerner, Faust's work grapples with questions of religion, absurdity, and the End of the World; and are inspired by Samuel Beckett, Flannery O'Connor, Martin McDonagh, and, of course, Tennessee Williams. 

Inna Tsyrlin, Stitched With a Sickle and a Hammer

Inna Tsyrlin was born in the Soviet Union and immigrated to Australia during the collapse of the socialist state. Her work responds to ideas of political freedom through the lens of historical and current events, identity in a diaspora, and society’s responsibility to the natural environment. She received the Trisolini Graduate Fellowship (Ohio University) for her play Stitched with a Sickle and Hammer, and the play was the 2019 Renaissance Theaterworks New Play Festival finalist (Milwaukee, WI) and 2020 Alliance/Kendeda Playwriting Competition finalist (Atlanta, GA). Her work has been presented in New York City at The Rising Sun Performance Company, Emerging Artists Theater, HB Playwrights Theatre, and Manhattan Repertory Theater. She holds an MFA in Playwriting from Ohio University. More about Inna: 

Cary Simowitz, Djarum Vanilla

Cary Simowitz recently graduated from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film, and Television with his Master of Fine Arts in Playwriting. He is the author of five full-length plays, three one acts, and several ten- minute pieces, in addition to multiple works of poetry and short fiction. He received his Juris Doctor from Washington University School of Law in 2016 and is licensed to practice law in Missouri and New York. Cary’s plays have collectively garnered him modest recognition in over two-dozen competitions across the country. He twice participated in the A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Festival in 2014 and 2015 with his plays, Ekphasia and The Divine Buoyancy of Being, respectively. His play, Djarum Vanilla, was developed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC as part of their MFA New Play Festival, in association with the National New Play Network and the National Center for New Plays at Stanford University. Moreover, this play received the Kennedy Center’s 2019 Rosa Parks Award for “Distinguished Achievement,” the 2017 Tim Robbins Award in Playwriting, the 2016 Leota Diesel Ashton Prize in Playwriting, the 2016 Dramatics Club of St. Louis Award, semifinalist status in the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s 2017 National Playwrights Conference, and finalist status in Panndora Productions’s 10th Annual New Works Festival. His play, A Wolf’s Mother, was produced at UCLA as part of its 2019 MFA New Play Festival and was subsequently given a workshop production at the Garage Theater in Long Beach, California, as a winner of Panndora Production’s 12th Annual New Works Festival. His most recent project, All the Oxytocin at Your Fingertips was a finalist in the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s 2020 National Playwrights Conference and is still under adjudication for the finals.  

Atlanta Playwrights:
Mary Lynn Owen

Mary Lynn Owen is an Atlanta-based theater artist with a career spanning over forty years. Her first full-length script, KNEAD, a one-person play in which she also performed, received its world premiere at The Alliance Theatre in November 2018.  KNEAD, the recipient of the 2019 Gene Gabriel Moore Playwriting Award and The Alliance Theatre’s Reiser Lab Award, was also a semi-finalist for the 2017 O’Neill National Playwright’s Conference.  Mary Lynn’s second full-length play, LADY PARTS, was a semi-finalist for the 2019 O’Neill National Playwright’s Conference, a selection for the 2019 Working Title Playwrights First Light Series, and a selection for Theatrical Outfit’s 2020 Unexpected Play Festival.  Mary Lynn’s commissions include a ten-minute play, TRAILERS, for the 2019 MoJo Festival and the recent ’22 Homes Project’ by the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Her writing residencies include Cottages at Hedgebrook in Langley, WA and The Hambidge Center in Rabun Gap, GA. As an actor, Mary Lynn is a two-time Suzi Award winner for both Outstanding Performer in a Leading Role (WIT - Aurora Theatre) and Outstanding Performer in a Supporting Role (THE LITTLE FOXES - Theatre in the Square) and an eight-time Suzi nominee. Recently, she assumed the traditionally male role of The Stage Manager in the historic repertory of OUR TOWN and THE LARAMIE PROJECT at Theatrical Outfit.  She is a faculty member of Emory University’s Theater Studies Department where she teaches Introduction to Acting and yearly workshops in Teaching as Performance. Also at Emory, she has curated for the Brave New Works Festival and developed an ongoing collaboration with the Spanish and Portuguese Department in the production of both new and classical Spanish/Latinx Theater.  She co-created the popular course, ‘Taller de Teatro en Español - a Theater Workshop in Spanish,’ a class designed to improve Spanish language proficiency through the use of Theater techniques.  

Will Power

Will Power is an internationally renowned playwright, performer, lyricist and educator. His plays and performances have been seen in hundreds of theaters and concert halls throughout the world including Lincoln Center (New York), The Public Theater (New York), The Battersea Arts Centre (U.K.), The Sydney Opera House, as well as numerous venues in Asia, Africa, Europe and throughout North America.  Called “The best verse playwright in America” by New York Magazine, Mr. Power is an innovator and dramatic explorer of new theatrical forms. He is known as one of the pioneers and co-creators of hip hop theater, a late 20th Century art form that led the way for future iconic works such as Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, as well as dozens of hip hop education programs being established throughout the country. Power is also a master craftsman of traditionally based plays and musicals. His straight play, Fetch Clay, Make Man, has been produced in various LORT theaters and regional companies including the McCarter Theater, New York Theater Workshop, the Round House Theater, True Colors Theater Company, The Ensemble Theater, and Marin Theater Company to name a few. Other plays include Stagger Lee (Dallas Theater Company), Five Fingers of Funk (Children’s Theater Company), The Seven (La Jolla Playhouse, New York Theater Workshop, Ten Thousand Things Theater Company), Seize the King (La Jolla Playhouse, The Alliance Theater), and Detroit Red (Arts Emerson). Power’s collaboration with Anne Bogart’s SITI Company and composer Julia Wolfe resulted in the performance piece Steel Hammer (Humana Festival, UCLA Live, Brooklyn Academy of Music, plus World tour). Power has received numerous awards for his work as a writer and performer in the field including The Doris Duke Artist Award, an Andrew W. Mellon Playwright in Residence Grant, a Lucille Lortel Award, a United States Artist Prudential Fellowship, an NEA/TCG Residency Grant, TCG Peter Zeisler Memorial Award, a NYFA Award, and a Joyce Foundation Award. Power is also a passionate teacher of writing and performance. He has held fellowships, residencies or faculty positions at the City College of New York, Princeton University, Wayne State University, The University of Michigan at Flint, Southern Methodist University, the University of Massachusetts (Amherst). Currently, Will Power is the Distinguished Visiting Professor of theater at Spelman College, Atlanta.

Kimberly Belflower

Kimberly Belflower is a playwright and educator originally from a small town in Appalachian Georgia. Her play, Lost Girl, is published by Samuel French and won the 2018 Kennedy Center Darrell Ayers National Playwriting Award. Her other plays include John Proctor is the Villain (2019 Kilroys List), GondalThe Use of Wildflowers, and The Sky Game, which have been commissioned, produced, and developed by Ojai Playwrights Conference, South Coast Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, The Farm Theatre, We the Women Collective, Peppercorn Theatre, Less Than Rent Theatre, Cohen New Works Festival, as well as many colleges and universities across the country. Kimberly is currently a Playwriting Fellow at Emory University, and has also worked as a writer and narrative lead for Meow Wolf, Santa Fe's celebrated immersive arts collective. She proudly holds an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin.

Mark Kendall

Mark Kendall is an Atlanta-based comedian. He is an ensemble member at Dad's Garage Theatre. His one man show, "The Magic Negro and Other Blackness" was produced by the Alliance Theatre and he continues to tour the show around the country. Mark studied film at Northwestern University. He worked at Comedy Central through the Chris Rock Summer School Program for up and coming comedy writers of color. During his time at Comedy Central, he got to pitch jokes to the writing staffs of "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report." Mark was the Readers Pick for Best Comedian in Creative Loafing Atlanta in 2019.

Steve Coulter

Steve Coulter is an Atlanta-based actor and writer. He was the headwriter for both of Tyler Perry’s television series, House of Payne and Meet the Browns, where he supervised over 100 episodes and won two consecutive NAACP IMAGE Awards for Best Comedy Series. He wrote Alice Betweenfor the Alliance Theatre and directed the award-winning short film, The Etiquette Man, selected by the Sundance Channel and the National Gallery of Art in Washington. His screenplay, Keesha’s House, won the $100,000 Southeastern Media Award.  As an actor, he has had recurring roles in House of CardsThe Walking Dead, Brockmire, and Yellowstone. Most recently, he appeared in HBO’s Watchmen and the just released The Hunt.

Rachel Karpf

Rachel Karpf is a cultural producer and was most recently the BOLD Artistic Producer of WP Theater in New York City, overseeing projects including the Off-Broadway world premieres of Our Dear Dead Drug Lord and Where We Stand. She previously served as Senior Producer for the international creative collective Guerilla Science, where she produced the multidisciplinary Works on Water Festival and created science-inspired cultural programming in music festivals, public parks, nightclubs, and more. Rachel has also produced and developed new theater with New Georges, the Public Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, Page 73, and Beth Morrison Projects. As an independent producer, she has collaborated with artists including Martyna Majok, Jackson Gay, Kate Benson, Lee Sunday Evans, Obehi Janice, and Caitlin Sullivan. Rachel is a graduate of Dartmouth College and a former Time Warner Foundation Fellow. 


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