MTC Announces 2019/20 Season of New Plays

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday March 1, 2019

MARIN THEATRE COMPANY ANNOUNCES
2019/20 MAIN STAGE SEASON

MILL VALLEY, CA—Marin Theatre Company’s artistic director Jasson Minadakis and managing director Keri Kellerman are thrilled to announce its 2019/20 season of sharp, courageous, compellingly human new plays. Featuring six sensational works for its intimate 231-seat main stage Boyer Theatre, the season includes:

  • Sovereignty by Mary Kathryn Nagle | West Coast Premiere
  • Mother of the Maid by Jane Anderson | West Coast Premiere
  • Noura by Heather Raffo | West Coast Premiere | In Association with Golden Thread Productions
  • Love by Kate Cortesi | World Premiere
  • Botticelli in the Fire by Jordan Tannahill | West Coast Premiere
  • Mlima’s Tale by Lynn Nottage | West Coast Premiere

In MTC’s upcoming season, all evening performances will begin at 7:30pm. Subscription renewal sales will go live early-March; single tickets expected to go on sale August 1st.

Sentiments from MTC’s Fearless Leaders

“The playwrights in the 2019/20 season did not come to play. They are truth tellers, revealing the world in all its complexity and challenging us to move toward justice and equality. The future they imagine is in our hands. What will we choose to do with it?”

—Keri Kellerman | Managing Director

I cannot be more proud of the urgent, ambitious roster of plays we have lined up for the 2019/20 season. Five remarkable, unique American playwrights—all fiercely talented women—are joined by one fabulous Canadian to span the globe and the ages through their work; exploring where we are today as Americans, and global citizens. It's an epic season of challenging, entertaining art that I hope will transform the way we see and participate in our world.”

—Jasson Minadakis | Artistic Director

Sovereignty by Mary Kathryn Nagle | West Coast Premiere

MTC launches it’s 2019/20 season with the West Coast Premiere of Mary Kathryn Nagle’s evocative, gripping new play, Sovereignty—first premiering in 2018 at the Women’s Voices Theatre Festival in D.C. Sovereignty follows Sarah Ridge Polson, a young Cherokee lawyer fighting to restore her Nation’s jurisdiction as she confronts the ever-present ghosts of her grandfathers. With shadows stretching from 1830s Cherokee Nation (now present-day Georgia) through Andrew Jackson’s Oval Office, along the fateful Trail of Tears, to the Cherokee Nation in present-day Oklahoma—Sovereignty travels the powerful intersections of personal and political truths; bridging our country’s distant past and imminent future.

"At a time when the current President of the United States thinks that the Trail of Tears is nothing more than a joke he can use as a political weapon, it is critical that Americans learn about the attempt, and failure, of President Andrew Jackson to completely eradicate my Nation and all Cherokee Nation citizens on the Trail of Tears. We are still here today, and I am so thankful that Marin Theatre Company is giving me the chance to share a story that most Americans have never heard." —Mary Kathryn Nagle

Mary Kathryn Nagle is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program. She is also a partner at Pipestem Law, P.C., where she works to protect tribal sovereignty and the inherent right of Indian Nations to protect their women and children from domestic violence and sexual assault. Nagle has authored numerous briefs in federal appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court. Nagle studied theater and social justice at Georgetown University as an undergraduate student, and received her J.D. from Tulane Law School where she graduated summa cum laude and received the John Minor Wisdom Award. She is a frequent speaker at law schools and symposia across the country. Her articles have been published in law review journals including the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, Yale Law Journal (online forum), Tulsa Law Review, and Tulane Law Review, among others. Nagle is an alumni of the 2012 PUBLIC THEATER Emerging Writers Group, where she developed her play Manahatta in PUBLIC STUDIO (May 2014). Productions include Miss Lead (Amerinda, 59E59, January 2014), and Fairly Traceable (Native Voices at the Autry, March 2017), Sovereignty (Arena Stage), Manahatta (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), and Return to Niobrara (Rose Theater). In 2019, Portland Center Stage will produce the world premiere of Crossing Mnisose. Nagle has received commissions from Arena Stage (Sovereignty), the Rose Theater (Return to Niobrara, Omaha, Nebraska), Portland Center Stage (Mnisose), Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Yale Repertory Theatre (A Pipe for February), and Round House Theater.

Mother of the Maid by Jane Anderson | West Coast Premiere

MTC jumps into the holiday season with Jane Anderson’s fresh take on a classic story, Mother of the Maid, direct from it’s successful off-Broadway run at The Public Theater. Mother of the Maid delves into the life of Isabelle Arc—a sensible, hard-working, God-fearing woman. Her headstrong daughter, on the other hand, communes with Saint Catherine, dons men’s clothing and prepares to lead the French army into battle. Motherhood in the fifteenth century is not easy. Jane Anderson’s Mother of the Maid reimagines Joan of Arc’s epic tale through the eyes of her mother. Isabelle follows the baffling journey of her odd and extraordinary daughter with a mother’s loving persistence—facing her own upended fears and faith along the way. History may remember Joan of Arc as a patron saint, armed heroine, and deft political thinker—but her mother remembers things quite differently.

"Marin is where my heart is, it’s where I go to soothe my soul. I’m so glad that this very raw and personal piece of me is getting a home on the MTC stage.”—Jane Anderson

Jane Anderson is an Emmy award-winning writer and director for theatre, film and television. Plays include: The Baby Dance, Defying Gravity, Looking for Normal, The Quality of Life, The Escort, Lynette at 3AM, Food & Shelter and The Last Time We Saw Her. Her plays have been produced Off-Broadway and in theatres around the country, including ACT, Arena Stage, Actors Theat of Louisville, Williamstown, Shakespeare & Company, The McCarter Theatre, Long Wharf, Geffen Playhouse, and the Pasadena Playhouse. Her latest play, Mother of the Maid, premiered at the Public Theater in 2018 and starred Glenn Close. Screenwriting credits: The Wife, starring Glenn Close, How to Make An American Quilt, It Could Happen to You and The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio, starring Julianne Moore & Woody Harrelson, which she also directed. Documentary film: Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson, featured on HBO. Television writing credits: HBO’s Olive Kitteridge, starring Frances McDormand for which she received an Emmy Award for best teleplay and limited series, a Writers Guild Award for best teleplay and nominated for the Golden Globe for best limited series. She wrote HBO’s The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader Murdering Mom, for which she received an Emmy, Penn Award and Writers Guild Award for best teleplay. She wrote and directed The Baby Dance for Showtime which she adapted from her play and received the Peabody Award as well as Golden Globe and Emmy nominations. She wrote and directed Normal for HBO (starring Jessica Lang & Tom Wilkinson) adapted from her play Looking for Normal which received Emmy, Golden Globe and Directors’ Guild and Writers’ Guild nominations for best writing and directing. She wrote and directed When Billie Beat Bobby starring Holly Hunter and Ron Silver. And wrote and directed the first segment of HBO’s If These Walls Could Talk II which starred Vanessa Redgrave for which she received an Emmy nomination for best teleplay.

Noura by Heather Raffo | West Coast Premiere
In Association with Golden Thread Productions

MTC is thrilled to be partnering with San Francisco’s Golden Thread Productions to bring Heather Raffo’s intimate family drama, Noura, to the Bay Area. Eight years after fleeing their home in Iraq, Noura and her family celebrate Christmas, and their new life, in New York City. But when the arrival of a visitor stirs up long-buried memories, Noura and her husband are forced to confront the cost of their choices, and retrace the past they left behind. Inspired by the stories and lives of Arab-American women and created in response to Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, Heather Raffo’s compassionate play charts the intricate pathways of motherhood and marriage—and the fragile architecture of what we call home.

“I am most excited to be in conversations with Marin audiences about their views of belonging, individual identity and the architecture of what they call home. As the characters of Noura attempt to balance their individual pursuits with a search for community, I believe it is quite possibly a balance with which many of us struggle.—Heather Raffo

Heather Raffo is an award-winning playwright and actress whose work has been seen off Broadway, off West End in regional theatre and in film. She is the author and solo performer of the play 9 Parts of Desire (Lucielle Lortel award, Susan Smith Blackburn commendation, Drama League, OCC, Helen Hayes nominations), which The New Yorker called “an example of how art can remake the world.”  9 Parts of Desire was inspired by Raffo’s trip to the modern art museum in Baghdad in August 1993 and tells the story of nine Iraqi women that span the decade between the first and second Gulf Wars and occupation. The play was first produced at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh in 2003. It later moved to the Bush Theatre in London’s Off-West End where critics hailed it as one of the five best plays in London. Its off-Broadway premiere was at the Manhattan Ensemble Theatre, where the show ran for nine sold out months and was a critic’s pick (of the New York Times, Time Out and Village Voice) for over twenty-four weeks in a row. Since 2005, 9 Parts of Desire has been produced all across the U.S. and was one of the top five most produced plays of the 2007-2008 American theatre season. It has had international productions in Brazil, Greece, Sweden, Malta, Hungary, Egypt, Turkey, India, Iraq, Scotland, England and Canada. Most recently, Raffo’s libretto for the opera Fallujah, was heard as part of Kennedy Center’s International Theater Festival, it then received its world premiere at Long Beach Opera in March of 2016 and opened at New York City Opera later that year. The opera details the life of a U.S. Marine who served in Fallujah in 2004 and relates the haunting experience of war for veterans and their families as well as Iraqis. A film was made of both the opera as well as a documentary titled Fallujah: Art, Healing and PTSD.

Heather’s newest play, Noura, just won Williamstown’s prestigious Weissberger Award. Noura came out of three years of workshops with Arab American women living in New York City where Heather explored the themes of identity and belonging through her personal narrative initiative titled Places of Pilgrimage. In response to the participants’ many harrowing stories of leaving home, Heather shared with them Ibsen's A Doll's House. Provoked by the play’s iconic character, Raffo’s workshop provided a rare opportunity for these women to instead discuss contemporary challenges facing modern woman who must bridge family and culture, America and the Middle East. Noura was then developed at Georgetown University’s LAB for Global Performance and Politics with refugee and Middle East policy experts. Further workshops were supported by The McCarter Theatre, Epic Theatre Ensemble and our nation’s first Arab American Museum in Dearborn, MI. Noura will receive its world premiere at the Shakespeare Theatre in D.C. in February 2018 before it travels to the Middle East for production in Abu Dhabi. Noura was presented at Playwrights Horizons in December 2018.

Raffo is the recipient of multiple grants from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to use theatre as a means of bridge building between her Eastern and Western cultures. She continues to grow her storytelling workshop, Places of Pilgrimage, taking it to universities and community centers both in America and the Middle East. Clips of participants work from her New York workshop have been supported online, through the organizations Bridges of Understanding and Refugees Deeply, as a means to connect the stories of young Middle Eastern women with their peers globally. Raffo continues her focus on cross-cultural work by speaking at universities across America and internationally. Her work has taken her from classrooms in Tampa to the U.S. Islamic World Forum in Qatar, and from the Mercantile Library in Cincinnati to the Rumi Festival in Oslo. She is a proud member of Epic Theatre Ensemble’s Artistic Advisory Council and to her decade long collaboration with Georgetown’s LAB for Global Performance and Politics.   

Golden Thread Productions: Founded in 1996 by Iranian American playwright Torange Yeghiazarian, Golden Thread Productions is the first American theatre company devoted to plays from or about the Middle East, defined broadly and inclusively. We produce passionate and provocative plays that celebrate the multiplicity of Middle Eastern perspectives and identities. We are a developmental catalyst and vibrant artistic home to artists at various stages of their career. We bring the Middle East to the American stage, creating treasured cultural experiences for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. We believe that immersing yourself in someone else's experience is the best way to appreciate their point of view. Therefore, every play serves as an invitation to discover unexpected connections and engage in deeply moving conversations that last well beyond the life of the play. goldenthread.org

Love by Kate Cortesi | World Premiere

In March, MTC catapults into the thorny, surprising territory of the human heart with the World Premiere of Kate Cortesi’s fiery, witty new work—Love. When Penelope is approached by an old coworker about joining a group of women making harassment allegations against her former boss, she finds herself at an uncomfortable crossroads—the man accused was a passionate love affair of her youth and remains a dear friend. As these women’s stories force Penelope to re-examine her own, she is soon questioning what happened to her, what she enabled, and her very identity. Jumping between past and present at whiplash speed, Kate Cortesi’s surprising new play examines what accountability looks like when an abuser of power is one of our favorite men, and poses a radical question: Can we place love at the center of these reckonings?

"I wrote this play because there is a conversation around sex and power that I believe people want to have that we're not having, not in public anyway. Do we want dark truth to come to light? Yes. Do we want justice for abuses? Yes. Do we want to acknowledge and correct the exploits of patriarchy? Absolutely. AND we also want to delve into the relationships where this reckoning is complicated, murky, and colored by, among other things, love. I believe love belongs at the center of these reckonings, right next to justice and truth."—Kate Cortesi

Kate Cortesi is a Brooklyn and Boston-based playwright from Washington, D.C. Her plays include One More Less (2017 Relentless Award Finalist, 2017 O'Neill Conference Finalist, 2016 NYFA award-winning submission, Playwrights Horizons New Works Lab directed by Robert O'Hara), A Patron of the Arts (2018 Cherry Lane Theatre Mentor Project, directed by Mike Donahue; South Coast Rep 2016 New SCRipts Series; 2018 BAPF finalist), Great Kills (2014-2015 Princess Grace Award-winning submission, 2016 Kilroy's List, Premiere Stages 2015 New Play Festival), Is Edward Snowden Single? (2018 Dorset Theatre Festival, 2017 Colt Coeur Play Hotel), and Love (Parity Play Fest 2019, Marin Theatre Company, 2020). Her work has been developed or produced at Playwrights Horizons, Cherry Lane Theatre, South Coast Rep, WP Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Colt Coeur, Primary Stages, the Dorset Theatre Festival, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Jackelope Theatre, terraNOVA Collective, The Lark, New Dramatists, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and KIT Italia in Rome. Kate is a proud resident of New Dramatists. She is writing a commission for South Coast Rep and another one for young people at Keen Theater Company. A short film she wrote and directed, Lazarus, screened at film festivals around the country. She teaches writing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Riker’s Island, and lots of places in between. katecortesi.com

Botticelli in the Fire by Jordan Tannahill | West Coast Premiere

MTC’s 53rd season continues with the explosive West Coast Premiere of Botticelli in the Fire by Jordan Tannahill—two-time winner of Canada’s prestigious Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama. Fifteenth-century painter Sandro Botticelli is devoted to beauty, sensuality, and pleasure. While painting The Birth of Venus, however, the limits of his devotion are tested by the arrival of a conservative priest in Florence, leading a populist revolution. When Botticelli’s full-throttle, decadent ways catch up to him, will the famed artist sacrifice his work...or the life of his young apprentice, Leonardo Da Vinci? From award-winning Canadian playwright, Jordan Tannahill, comes a searing and ambitious story that sets our present political moment ablaze.

“I'm thrilled Botticelli in the Fire is going to be part of such an exciting season at MTC, and hope it ignites hearts and loins in the Bay Area.”—Jordan Tannahill

Jordan Tannahill (b.1988) is one of Canada’s most distinguished theatre artists. His plays have been translated into multiple languages and widely honored in Canada and abroad. He is the youngest two-time winner of a Governor General's Literary Award, Canada's highest literary honour. His books include Theatre of the Unimpressed and the novel, Liminal. Jordan's work in film has been presented in festivals and galleries the world over. His virtual reality performance, Draw Me Close, produced by the National Theatre (UK) and the National Film Board of Canada, was presented at both the Tribeca Film Festival and Venice Biennale in 2017, and more recently ran at London's Young Vic Theatre in January 2019. In 2018, Jordan wrote the text for dancer Akram Khan's celebrated final solo Xenos, currently touring internationally. From 2012 - 2016, in collaboration with William Ellis, Jordan ran the alternative art space Videofag out of their home in Toronto’s Kensington Market neighbourhood. Over the four years of its operation, Videofag became an influential hub for queer and avant-garde work in Canada. Jordan currently lives between Budapest and London. 

Mlima’s Tale by Lynn Nottage | West Coast Premiere

Closing out MTC’s 2019/20 season will be the West Coast Premiere of Mlima’s Tale; a mystical, lyrical ballad from two-time Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, Lynn Nottage (Sweat, Ruined). Our journey begins when Mlima, one of the last great tusker elephants in Kenya, is killed by poachers. Caught in the clandestine international ivory market, Mlima travels across the world, following a trail of greed and desire as old as the trade itself; trapped between memory and fear, history and tradition, want and need. Transcendent and haunting, Mlima’s Tale gives voice to the objects we consume, and reminds us that they often come at a deadly price.

"We often forget that we co-exist on this planet with other creatures who have beautiful stories that go largely untold. Mlima’s Tale is an attempt to give voice to a magnificent Elephant, one of the last great tuskers in Kenya, whose life is cut short by poachers.  I am very excited that Marin Theatre Company is sharing this mystical tale that drives home the consequences of poaching and the exploitation of wildlife on our planet."—Lynn Nottage

Lynn Nottage is a playwright and a screenwriter, and the first woman in history to win two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama. Her plays include Sweat (Pulitzer Prize, Obie Award), which moved to Broadway after a sold out run at The Public Theater, Mlima's Tale (Outer Critics Circle Nomination), By the Way, Meet Vera Stark (Lilly Award, Drama Desk Nomination), Ruined (Pulitzer Prize, Obie Award), Intimate Apparel (American Theatre Critics and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Play), Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine (OBIE Award), Crumbs from the Table of Joy, Las Meninas, Mud, River, Stone, Por’knockers and POOF!. In addition, she is working with composer Ricky Ian Gordon on adapting her play Intimate Apparel into an opera at Lincoln Center. She has also developed This is Reading, a performance installation at the Franklin Street, Reading Railroad Station in Reading, PA. She was writer/producer on the first season of Netflix series She's Gotta Have It directed by Spike Lee. Nottage is a member of the Dramatists Guild, an Associate Professor at Columbia University School of the Arts, and the recipient of a MacArthur "Genius Grant" Fellowship, Steinberg "Mimi" Distinguished Playwright Award, Doris Duke Artists Award and PEN/Laura Pels Master Playwright Award, among others.

CALENDAR

Sovereignty | West Coast Premiere
By Mary Kathryn Nagle
Directed by Jasson Minadakis
September 26th - October 20th, 2019
Opening Night: Tuesday, October 1st at 7:30 pm

Mother of the Maid | West Coast Premiere
By Jane Anderson
Directed by Jasson Minadakis
November 14th - December 8th, 2019
Opening Night: Tuesday, November 19th at 7:30pm

Noura | West Coast Premiere
By Heather Raffo
In association with Golden Thread Productions
January 9th – February 2nd, 2019
Opening Night: Tuesday, January 14th, at 7:30 pm

Love | World Premiere
By Kate Cortesi
March 5th – March 29th, 2019
Opening Night: Tuesday, March 10, at 7:30 pm

Botticelli in the Fire | West Coast Premiere
By Jordan Tannahill
April 23rd - May 17th, 2019
Opening Night: Tuesday, April 28th, at 7:30 pm

Mlima’s Tale | West Coast Premiere
By Lynn Nottage
June 18th - July 12th, 2019
Opening Night: Tuesday, June 23rd, at 7:30 pm

All main stage productions performed in MTC’s Boyer Theatre, located at Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley.

Programming and scheduling are subject to change.

ABOUT MTC
Marin Theatre Company is the Bay Area’s premier mid-sized theatre and the leading professional theatre in the North Bay. We produce a six-show season focused on new American plays. We are committed to the development and production of new plays, with a comprehensive New Play Program that includes productions of world premieres, two nationally recognized annual playwriting awards and readings and workshops by the nation’s best emerging and established playwrights. Our numerous education programs serve more than 4,500 students from over 40 Bay Area schools each year. MTC strives to create intimate, powerful and emotional experiences that engage audiences to discuss new ideas and adopt a broader point of view. We believe in taking risks and inspiring people to participate in live theatre, regardless of personal means. MTC celebrates the intellectual curiosity of our community, and we believe that theatre is an important tool to help build empathy. MTC was founded in 1966 and is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

PRESS CONTACT
Kate Robinson, Director of Ticketing and Communications Associate
(415) 322-6029 | kater@marintheatre.org

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