Past Reiser Lab Recipients

Round 1

Moxie

Artists: Brian Kurlander*, Elisa Carlson, Lane Carlock

Project Description: An American marine in Afghanistan connects with his son across the world by crafting a handmade book. As the unfinished Book of Moxie journeys on to a chic Parisian apartment, the slums of India, and, finally, an inner-city American school, all who touch it are sparked to add their personal stories, contributing to its enchanting and mystical force. This globetrotting adventure tale acts as a reminder of the power of storytelling, the potency of words and the courage we all must summon to thrive and connect in modern times.
 

The Project’s Project

Artists: Ellen McQueen*, James Knowles, Oliver Turner

Project Description: The Projects Project grew out of true stories from the "war zone" of the Atlanta housing projects. Both funny and heartbreaking, it's a perspective changer. Spoken word, visual images, music and dance are all part of telling the tale. Like our national search for a solution to the problem of affordable public housing, this “project” is still in development.
 

Uprising

Artists: Gabrielle Fulton*, Theodis Ealey, Dorothy O’Connor, Thomas W. Jones II, Laley Lippard

Project Description: When Sal discovers a hypnotic revolutionary hiding in the brush, her world is turned upside down by his strong affection and the trouble on his tracks. Set in a free Black community in the aftermath of John Brown’s Raid, UPRISING is a historical drama that challenges our notion of freedom. A blend of fact and fiction, this poetic and music-rich play explores a little known corner of American history.
 

Round 2

The Magic Negro and Other Blackness

Artists: Mark Kendall*, Linnea Frye, and Megan Leahy

Project Description: This hilarious one-man show by Dad’s Garage’s Mark Kendall—also a leader in Atlanta’s growing African-American comedy network—shows a performer at war with himself. Dissecting common themes in representations of the African-American experience, Mark makes us laugh and ask ourselves why we are laughing. From race cards to white flight, Aunt Jemima, and even Black Jesus—you will laugh until you cry and cry until you laugh. This subversive show is the reason Atlanta artists are defining African-American comedy today. The Magic Negro and Other Blackity Blackness was developed by the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab and is the first project from the Lab to receive a full production on the Hertz Stage.
 

The Red Room: An Underworld Cabaret

Artists: Haddon Kime*, Rick Lombardo, Katie Givens Kime, Phillip Justman

Project Description: Renowned psychologist Carl Jung descends into his underworld to confront his desires, fears, demons and gods. In this new rock musical, inspired by C. G. Jung’s mysterious and recently revealed The Red Book: Lieber Novus, the unconscious mind is rendered as a post-modern cabaret, where the figures and ideas of his mind lurk in The Red Room.

The audience enters the dark, shifting space: a crumbling, destroyed church.  Among smashed statues, a cracked crucifix, and broken stained glass windows, a strange cabaret space has been fashioned. Shadows moving here and there. Whispered voices randomly emerge from shadowy corners. A giggle, a stretching body, sounds of love-making, someone’s agony, dusting, the space is being prepared for something. Hustle and bustle, yet done in a quiet, unassuming way. A musical phrase is heard, and another quiet chord. Lights flicker, switches are pushed, and power begins to flow. A buzzing. We hear a scream in the dark. Then the drums begin...
 

Third Council Of Lyon

Artists: Nichole Palmietto*, Neeley Gossett, Addae Moon, Annie Harrison

Project Description: Three separate stories with a central theme of “disappearances” to be developed by three playwrights and a director, culminating in a final script that is curatorial in nature.
 

Round 3

Acapella: A musical about finding your own voice

Artists: Vynnie Melie, Justin Anderson, and Naima Carter Russell

Project Description: A romantic musical comedy for all ages. A mostly African American cast of 10. And no band! Acappella is musical about finding your own voice. Two popular art forms meld together, Musical Theatre and A Capella, to create a fresh theatrical experience. In this romantic musical comedy featuring the music of the Acappella Company the songs, underscoring, transitions and percussion are totally a capella - all of it. High energy beat boxing and soaring harmonies weave through an uplifting show for all ages. After an emotional upheaval, a gospel singer leaves his small southern town to go from the 'music of praise' to the ‘music that pays’. Jeremiah’s handler rushes him away from an arena full of screaming fans down a side street to where a forgotten and ignored old man is singing on the corner. The man is belting out some beautiful blues just because it feeds his soul. The genuine passion and purity of this music, in stark contrast to the manufactured and over- produced pop playlist of his boyband., moves Jeremiah. He suddenly sees he’s been chasing someone else’s dream. When Simon unexpectedly invites him back home to perform at the Centennial Celebration, Jeremiah is relieved, but reluctant. He’s anxious to go back to family, to friends, to the woman he left behind, but can he? Is it love or just nostalgia? Unexpected consequences of Jeremiah’s leaving are exposed as Simon’s motives for bringing him home are revealed. Jeremiah returns to the place where everything is familiar, and finds that nothing really is. Aunt Leona and her feisty friends resent that they’ve been passed over to perform at the Centennial. They take advantage of some unexpected fireworks between Jeremiah and his friends to reclaim the platform they need to rekindle their own fire. Jeremiah is lost. He doesn’t think he can recover from mistakes he’s made along the way, but Leona knows the path we take in life is rarely clearly marked. “You’re going to take some wrong turns,” she tells her nephew. “But, that’s how you get where you’re going”. Jeremiah and his old friends take a humorous, yet emotionally rich journey to find, or to reclaim, their authentic selves.
 

Ida Admin, America and a Bar of soap

Artists: Patricia Henritze*, Derrick Kayongo, and Matt Huff

Project Description: What do Idi Amin, America and a bar of soap have in common? They’re all part of 2011 CNN Hero Derreck Kayongo’s incredible life story and one-man show. In this solo piece, Derreck Kayongo will tell the true story of his life, while putting a face to the refugee and immigrant experience. Born in Uganda under Idi Amin’s brutal regime, Derreck fled to Kenya as a boy and eventually immigrated to America where he founded the Global Soap project. This non-profit, international aid organization recycles discarded soap from hotels and distributes newly processed soap to fight hygiene-related disease, which is the #1 killer of children in vulnerable populations around the world. Derreck has an amazing story to tell. But don’t think of this as a documentary or motivational speech. We are not just telling the story of a good man doing good works. Like all of us, Derreck made mistakes and lost his way-and he’s willing to share both his failures and triumphs with the audience. His life story has something for everyone: death-defying escapes, spies, car chases, firing squads, betrayal, love, Hope and redemption. The play will be a theatrical, intimate look at an imperfect man trying to do good in the world. Derreck’s performance will combine storytelling, varied African characters, theatrical language and visual elements. With Derreck’s diverse background and experiences, his story crosses Cultural and socio-economic strata while speaking to the survivor and dreamer in all of us.
 

Knead

Artists: Mary Lynn Owen*, David DeVries, and Kendall Simpson

Project Description: In the wee hours, a woman bakes bread, determined that her mother’s incomprehensible recipe will finally work. But something is different about this night. The ingredients of time and memory keep interfering, and the bread-baking process – the kneading, rising, shaping, and baking, all in real time – becomes a journey into the unpredictability of, well, just about everything. What can you do when life doesn’t go according to the recipe? Knead is written and performed by Atlanta favorite and Suzi Bass Award-winner, Mary Lynn Owen. Owen, the granddaughter of Cuban immigrants on her Mother’s side, mixes the ingredients of her life – love, loss, and Cuban food – into a night that rises and falls with loaves that somehow end up in the oven. Just like life – who knows how it will turn out? Originally developed as a project from the 3rd Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab and a semi-finalist for the 2017 O’Neill National Playwright’s Conference.
 

Round 4

Calming the Man

Artists: Anthony Lamarr White*, Rodney Lamar Williams and Keith Franklin 

Project DescriptionIn a small Southern town in the 1970s, a black father born into segregation pushes one of his two sons to succeed and cripples the other with anger and hatred.   
 

Confessions of a Hit Man

Artists: Hank Kimmel*, Eric J. Little, Tisha Whitaker, Daphne Mintz, and Kathi Frankel 

Project Description: Confessions of Hit Man is a 90-minute drama that explores the nature of duty, forgiveness, and redemption.  It is the story of a how two former professional football players try to free themselves from a web that has left them inextricably and destructively linked.  The goal of this project is to develop Confessions into a riveting, entertaining, and life-affirming drama that will have an appeal beyond a traditional theatre audience. 
 

The Modern Prometheus

Artists: Lee Osorio*, Melissa Foulger and Angela Farr Schiller 

Project Description: Reg is tired of losing. After years of trying and failing to hold back the tide of corruption, corporatization, and gentrification in her beloved city, she's ready for a win...at any cost. But will her current solution become a monster that builds up Atlanta or burns it to the ground?
 

Round 5

Kudzu: We Cover the South

Artists: Topher Payne*, Richard Eldredge, Gina Rickicki

Project Description: A live performance tackling about six touchstones about the culture in the South through storytelling and music (there are still more opportunities of what can be used to to convey the touchstones). The performance will analyze customs of the South like why it is and should it continue. It's a set up for a podcast to come after the performance.
 

Liminal

Artists: Okorie Johnson, Radcliffe Bailey, Fahamu Pecou

Project Description: Liminal is a one man play in which cellist, composer, and looper, Oak, is thrust by the power of his music into a place of priesthood and ambassadorship. Through his identities as teacher, writer, and performer, Oak takes the audience on a journey towards this place, between this world and the other, where the layered, looped music he creates spawns voices that fully emerge as personalities, who conspire to propel him to a destiny that he has long avoided but will ultimately embrace with zeal – only after accepting the loss and the evolution of certainty, self, and sanity.
 

Safety Net

Artists: Daryl Lisa Fazio*, Carolyn Cook, Karen Robinson, Rhyn McLemore Saver, Rebekah Suellau

Project Description: Chris Dove is a female fire captain in an Alabama town at war with opioids, and she’s facing it head-on, heart-out and under scrutiny. Meanwhile, her arthritic spitfire-of-a-mother, Xenia, now living with Chris after a bad fall, tries to conjure stability with a bundt cake and a Bible verse. When Val, a recovering addict and Chris's childhood friend, crashes into their lives, they find themselves at a tipping point between what’s safe and what saves.
 

Round 6

Honors US History

Artists: Jake Krakovsky*, Jane Foley, Ibi Owolabi

Project Description: A middle school teacher is caught between U.S history and U.S mythology in this piece of political, multimedia solo theater.
 

A Most American Town

Artists: Lee Osorio*, Angela Farr-Schiller, Rachel Parish

Project Description: Searching for his next story, The Writer gets called back to his hometown of Lumpkin, Georgia. And then the haunting begins. As he explores what the town is, what it has been, and what it might become, he’s forced to reckon with his own past, present, and future and how it has been shaped by this most American town.
 

The Yellow Wallpaper

Artists: Hannah Church*, Nichole Palmietto, Sarah Newby Halicks

Project Description: Energized for a new generation, The Yellow Wallpaper is a musical adaptation of a rising writer and new mother afflicted with postpartum depression at the turn of the 19th century. She's forced to give up writing, and isolated to a chilling room papered floor-to-ceiling in a ghastly shade of yellow. The young woman's descent into madness unspools before our eyes as she's enchanted by a mysterious, frightening realm behind the yellow wallpaper.
 

Get To Know Our Round 6 Reiser Lab Lead Artists
 

Round 7

The New Black Fest’s Hands Up: 7 Playwrights, 7 Testaments

Artists: Alexis Woodard*, Keri Garrett, Lorenzo Moore, with directorial support from Keith Arthur Bolden

Project Description: Across seven monologues written by seven Black playwrights, HANDS UP depicts the realities of Black America from the perspective of varying genders, sexual orientations, skin tones, and socioeconomic backgrounds. HANDS UP was selected for development in the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab and is the third project from the Lab to receive a full production on the Hertz Stage.
 

PERIL

Artists: Skye Passmore*, Michelle Pokopac, Amee Vyas

Project Description: A play that looks at the life of Sessue Hayakawa, a Japanese silent-film actor who was Hollywood's first sex symbol, as he navigates his place between the cultural tensions of Japanese nationalism and an America between world wars.
 

Unexpected Encores

Artists: Denise Arribas*, Michael Joseph Haverty, Jeffrey Zwartjes

Project Description: Inspired by all the life that is left after a dementia diagnosis, Unexpected Encores is an immersive performance for people living with dementia and their caregivers. People living with dementia are surrounded by the everyday multi-dimensional feeling of loss. They are progressively losing their physical and mental abilities, the familiarity they had around them, their autonomy, their sense of purpose, and their sense of self. Our show focuses on creating tailored-made experiences that spark connections with people living with dementia. We do this by meeting them where they are, joining them in their world (instead of expecting them to join us in ours), and restoring their purpose by seeking their help and advice. The show is primarily nonverbal, filled with music from their formative years, and it incorporates dance, physical comedy, and puppeteering. It celebrates all the things that are a common thread with people living with dementia and honors the significant moments of their lifetime.
 

Get To Know Our Round 7 Reiser Lab Lead Artists
 

Round 8

Daughter House 5

Artists: Jeff Mather*, Marquetta Johnson, John Doyle, Jr.

Project Description: This multi-media performance follows one man’s journey, and that of his family members, through time as he examines the trauma and joy that has formed his personal and collective history. Using layers of quilts — both actual textiles and video mapping projections — and percussion-based storytelling, this performance will take audiences on a sensory journey through time and space. With a nod to its namesake, Slaughterhouse-Five, Daughter House 5 explores the way that trauma can influence our grasp on time, allowing us to speed it up, slow it down, or even travel through it.

Grace to Accra

Artists: Dwight Andrews*, Louis Massiah, Ben Polite

Project Description: Grace to Accra is a musical theater work inspired by the life and work of Dr. William Edward Du Bois. It focuses on the intellectual titan’s final years in Ghana as he reflects on his long life and strives to finish one of his most ambitious projects: the Encyclopedia Africana.

Malicious Compliance

Artists: Frankie Mulinix*, Humlao Evans, and Jordyn King

Project Description: Malicious Compliance is a primal scream, an elegy, a challenge, a dismantled classic, a call to action that asks if and how in this world of economic uncertainty, institutional collapse, and increasing violence, the most vulnerable can write their own story.

Get To Know Our Round 8 Reiser Lab Lead Artists
 

Round 9

ROME & JUICE

Artists: *Justen Ross aka Domino Juicy Balenciaga, N'yomi Stewart aka Omi Juicy Balenciaga, Jade Maia Lambert

Project Description: Romeo & Juliet gets an electrifying hip hop twist set in the heart of Atlanta's ballroom scene! The Iconic Houses of Montague and Capulet have been at odds for over a decade and their endless quarrel has now put the scene in jeopardy of being non-existent. It takes a pair of star-crossed lovers to hark back on their history and demand justice for their love and the Atlanta ballroom scene as a whole. This is Rome & Juice. 

HOLD ON TO YOUR NAMES — AN ARTISTIC EXPLORATION OF IMMIGRANT WOMEN'S STORIES

Artists: *Ipek Eginli, Sara Ghazi Asadollahi, Juana Farfán

Project Description: This multidisciplinary art project—featuring artists from Turkey, Iran, and Colombia—empowers immigrant women to embrace their names and share their stories of living in a foreign country, ultimately promoting greater understanding and appreciation of their unique challenges and cultural identities.

SWEET CLAY LANDS

Artists: *Anterior Leverett, Damian Lockhart, Jasmine Waters

Project Description: After her father’s death, Josie returns home to Brunswick, GA where she learns her father Senior has left her the family farm Sweet Clay Land. Reluctantly, Josie returns home as she and her brother, Jamie, fight a predatory system to maintain their family’s former glory. 

Get to Know Our Round 9 Reiser Lab Lead Artists


*Designates the Lead Artist on a project

 

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