Greg Allen, Alice Austen, Ike Holter and Christopher Oscar Pena named 2012/2013 Playwrights Unit Members

Residency Program and Partnership with Chicago Dramatists enters its Third Season


 Chicago, IL – Goodman Theatre announces four Chicago-based writers for its third season of the Playwrights Unit—a year-long residency program designed to support and develop new works. The appointed playwrights include Greg Allen, founding director of The Neo-Futurists and the creator of Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind (30 Plays in 60 Minutes); Alice Austen, resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists and a member of Shanghai Low Theatricals; Ike Holter, founding member and resident writer of The Inconvenience and author of Hit the Wall; and Christopher Oscar Peña, whose play however long the night premiered at London’s Old Vic. A partnership with Chicago Dramatists, the Playwrights Unit meets twice per month with members of the Goodman’s artistic team to discuss their plays-in-progress and provide feedback for one another. The program includes readings of the playwrights’ works-in-progress at Chicago Dramatists in early 2013, and culminates in June 2013 staged readings of their completed works at the Goodman. Playwrights Unit alumni include Philip Dawkins, Nambi E. Kelley, Elaine Romero and Martín Zimmerman (2011/2012 Season), and Seth Bockley, Lisa Dillman, Laura Jacqmin and Rohina Malik (2010/2011 Season).

“We welcome this new group of smart, talented writers to the Goodman–each one entirely unique, bringing their own voice and vision to the group,” said the Goodman’s Director of New Play Development Tanya Palmer. “Since its inception in 2010, the Playwrights Unit has become an important part of our mission to support new American plays from living playwrights. We look forward to establishing lasting relationships with each of these talented Chicago-based artists.”

New work development at the Goodman was instituted by the Lester and Hope Abelson Fund for Artistic Development. Time Warner Foundation is a Major Supporter of New Play Development; the Glasser and Rosenthal Family and the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust are Foundation Supporters. The Davee Foundation is a Major Contributor to Research and Development for New Work; The Joyce Foundation is the Principal Supporter of Artistic Development and Diversity Initiatives. Shawn M. Donnelley is the Grand Benefactor of the New Works Endowment Fund and Prince Charitable Trusts is the leading foundation contributor of this important initiative.

2012/2013 Playwrights Unit Members:

 GREG ALLEN is the founding director of The Neo-Futurists and the creator of Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind (30 Plays in 60 Minutes), which has been running continuously in Chicago since 1988 and in New York City since 2005. His plays include The Last Two Minutes of the Complete Works of Henrik Ibsen; H20; Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious (a comedy to end all comedy); A Child’s History of Bombing; and K., his award–winning adaptation of Kafka’s The Trial. His production of Eugene O’Neill’s Strange Interlude was staged at the Goodman’s 2009 international exploration, “Century,” and his collaboration with Theater Oobleck—The Complete Lost Works of Samuel Beckett As Found In An Envelope (partially burned) In A Dustbin In Paris Labeled “Never to be performed. Never. Ever. EVER! Or I’ll Sue! I’LL SUE FROM THE GRAVE!!!”—has had 12 international productions. Last spring he penned his 28th production for The Neo-Futurists: The Strange and Terrible True Tale of Pinocchio (The Wooden Boy) As Told by Frankenstein’s Monster (The Wretched Creature). Mr. Allen teaches playwriting and performance at the University of Chicago, The Theatre School at DePaul University, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The National Theater Institute and in residencies all over North America.

ALICE AUSTEN is a 2012 Hangar Theatre resident, a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists and a member of Shanghai Low Theatricals. She is a past recipient of a residency from the Royal Court Theatre inLondon and a 2007 Jeff Award nominee (Best New Work) for Water. Her plays have been seen at theaters across the country and in Europe, including Victory Gardens Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago Dramatists, Famous Door Theatre Company, Theatre503 (London), Route 66 Theatre Company, Salomee Speelt, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, The Irish Theatre Company (Brussels), Stage Left Theatre, and The New Plays Festival. Her 2012 theatrical credits include a new translation and adaptation of La Musica by Marguerite Duras and Route 66 Theatre Company’s collaborative musical Next Stop. Ms. Austen has recently written two novels, The Geometry of Chance and 41. She was the first American to receive a fellowship to the European Court of Human Rights at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, and lived for a number of years in France, Brussels and the Czech Republic, where she helped effectuate Václav Havel’s transformation of the Czech Republic. Ms. Austen teaches playwriting at Chicago Dramatists and has been a guest artist/lecturer at Lawrence University, the Newberry Library (Chicago) and the University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee). She is a member of the Dramatists Guild.

IKE HOLTER’s plays have been workshopped at The Kennedy Center, The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and The Playwrights’ Center. His work has been produced at the Steppenwolf Garage, LiveWire Chicago Theatre, Nothing Without a Company (where he is the associate artistic director), Collaboraction’s Sketchbook Festival, Route 66 Theatre Company and The Inconvenience, where he is a founding member and resident writer. His next show, Loom, opens November 2 at The Foxhole.

CHRISTOPHER OSCAR PEÑA is a playwright from California currently splitting his time between New York City and Chicago. He received a BA in dramatic arts from the University of California Santa Barbara, where he studied with Naomi Iizuka, and an MFA in dramatic writing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. His plays include maelstrom; l(y)re; however long the night; i wonder if it’s possible to have a love affair that lasts forever? or things i found on craigslist; icarus burns; the suicide tapes; alone above a raging sea and a cautionary tail. His work has been developed or seen at The Public Theater, Two River Theater Company, Ars Nova, INTAR Theatre, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, The Flea Theater, Ontological Hysteric Theater, Rising Circle, Pavement Group, Son of Semele Ensemble and New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW). Mr. Peña is an alumni of INTAR’s Hispanic Playwrights Lab, was an emerging artist fellow at NYTW, a writing fellow with the Playwrights Realm and the recipient of both the Corwin Award for Playwriting and the Latino Playwrights Award from The Kennedy Center. In 2011, Peña traveled to London as part of the T.S. Eliot US/UK Exchange with the Old Vic New Voices where his play however long the night premiered. He is currently developing new pieces for company, American Theater Company and Pine Box Theater. He is the Lark Play Development Center’s 2012 Van Lier Fellow.