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2010 Great Plains Theatre Conference

Featured Artists

Connie Congdon

CONSTANCE CONGDON has been called "one of the best playwrights our country and our language has ever produced" by playwright Tony Kushner in Kushner's introduction to her collection Tales of the Lost Formicans and Other Plays. In addition to Tales of the Lost Formicans, which has had more than 200 productions, world-wide. Congdon's plays include: Casanova, Dog Opera, both produced at the Public Theatre, No Mercy (Humana Festival),Losing Father’s Body (Portland Stage (Maine), Lips, (Primary Stages), Native American, (Portland Stage (Maine), (Lyric Hammersmith Studio). Her latest play, Paradise Street, was most recently workshopped at the JAW Festival at Portland Stage in Oregon. Three commissions from the American Conservatory Theater: A Mother, starring Olympia Dukakis, a new verse version of The Misanthrope, and a new adaptation of The Imaginary Invalid, were all produced by ACT and have gone on to other productions. Also at ACT: Moontel Six, a commission by the A.C.T. Young Conservatory and subsequently performed at London's National Theatre, followed by another production of the two-act version at San Francisco’s Zeum and directed by Young Conservatory Director, Craig Slaight. The Automata Pietà, another YC commission, received its world premiere at San Francisco's Magic Theatre in 2002; Nightingales went to the Theatre Royale Bath’s Youth Theatre. Congdon’s No Mercy, and its companion piece, One Day Earlier; were part of the 2000 season devoted to Congdon at the Profile Theatre. She has also written a number of opera libretti and seven plays for the Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis. The Children of the Elvi, Congdon's epic and NOT suitable for children, finally received its premiere at the Key City Public Theater in 2007. Congdon’s plays have been produced throughout the world, including Cairo and Berlin. Her plays are published, mainly, by Broadway Plays Publishing. Samuel French published Dog Opera. A collection of four of her plays has been published by TCG, Inc. Her new verse version of Tartuffe will be included in the next Norton Anthology of Drama, and is out in a single-volume Norton Critical edition. She’s been writing a long time and can thank the NEA, the Rockefeller Foundation, the W. Alton Jones Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Arnold Weisberger Award, the Berilla Kerr Award, and, most recently, The Helen Merrill Award for making this more possible. She’s an alum of New Dramatists, member of The Dramatists Guild and of PEN. Congdon has taught playwriting at the Yale School of Drama, but her home is as playwright-in-residence at Amherst College where she’s been teaching for a couple of decades.

 

ERIK EHN'S works includes The Saint Plays, Heavenly Shades of Night Are Falling, No Time Like the Present, Wolf at the Door, Tailings, Beginner, Ideas of Good and Evil, Maria Kizito, and an adaptation of Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. He is an artistic associate at San Francisco’s Theatre of Yugen, for whom he recently wrote and directed a cycle of six new noh plays, performed once, over the course of a day. His works have been produced in San Francisco (Intersection, Thick Description, Yugen), Seattle (Annex, Empty Space), Austin (Frontera), New York (BACA, Whitney Museum), San Diego (Sledgehammer), Chicago (Red Moon), Atlanta (7 Stages), Los Angeles (Cal Rep, Museum of Jurassic Technology), Belgrade (Dah); elsewhere. He has taught at the U of Iowa, Naropa, UC San Diego, UT Dallas, and Cal Arts (graduate); U San Francisco, SF State, Santa Clara, and Skidmore (undergrad); he just completed a writing workshop with the Belarus Free Theater in Minsk. He conducts annual trips to Rwanda/Uganda, taking students and professionals in the field to study the history of these countries, and to explore the ways art is participating in recovery from violence. He produces the Arts in the One World conference yearly, which engages themes of art and social change. Graduate of New Dramatists. Former Dean of the CalArts School of Theater. Current Head of Playwriting, Brown University.

 
 
     
Marshall Mason

MARSHALL W. MASON was the founding artistic director of the legendary Circle Repertory Company, acclaimed by the New York Times as "the chief provider of new American plays." His 40-year collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lanford Wilson was certified by Playbill as the longest collaboration between a writer and director in the history of the American theater.

Mason directed 12 plays on Broadway that earned him five Tony nominations for Best Director: Knock Knock by Jules Feiffer, Talley´s Folly (New York Drama Critics´ Circle Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize), Fifth of July and Angels Fall by Lanford Wilson and As Is by William M. Hoffman (Drama Desk Award for Best Play). Four productions received Tony Awards, and there were 24 nominations. His other productions on Broadway include Burn This, Redwood Curtain, The Seagull and Gemini.

Off-Broadway, Mason has been honored with five OBIE Awards for Outstanding Director (The Hot L Baltimore, Battle of Angels, The Mound Builders, Serenading Louie and Knock Knock), as well as a sixth OBIE for Sustained Achievement. Among his many memorable productions are Edward J. Moore´s The Sea Horse (Vernon Rice Award for Best Play), William Mastrosimone´s Sunshine, Romulus Linney´s Childe Byron, Larry Kramer´s The Destiny of Me (Lortel Award for Best Play), Robert Patrick´s The Haunted Host, David Storey´s The Farm, Lanford Wilson´s first full-length play Balm in Gilead and Wilson´s most recent Book of Days (American Critics´ Association Award for Best Play).

His work has been seen nationwide with productions such as O´Neill´s Long Day´s Journey into Night; Pinter´s Old Times; Tennessee Williams´ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Summer and Smoke and A Streetcar Named Desire; Ibsen´s Ghosts; Edward Albee´s The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? and Martin McDonagh´s The Cripple of Inishmann at theaters like Washington´s Arena Stage, the Guthrie in Minneapolis, the Ahmanson and the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, the Repertory Theater of St. Louis, the Milwaukee Rep, the Pittsburgh Public, the Hartford Stage and the Arizona Theater Company.

Internationally, Mason has directed Edward Albee´s Who´s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in Tokyo at the National Theater of Japan and Lanford Wilson´s Home Free! and The Madness of Lady Bright in London.

He has been honored with the Theater World Award for his discovery and nourishment of new talent such as William Hurt, Kathy Bates, Christopher Reeve, Jeff Daniels and many others. He received the Margo Jones Award for his cultivation of new writers and both the Inge Festival Award and the Last Frontier Award for lifetime achievement. He has won the Irwin Piscator Award, three DramaLogue Awards and four AriZoni Awards. In 1999, he was awarded a special millennium "Mr. Abbott" Award as one of the most innovative and influential directors of the 20th century.

Mason is the author of Creating Life on Stage: A Director´s Approach to Working with Actors (Heinemann Press, 2006). Professor Emeritus of Arizona State University, he now divides his time between Mazatlán, México, and New York City.