The 2017 Boston Project
The Boston Project is a new works initiative supporting the creation and development of new plays set in Boston that explore what it means to be in this city at this moment, and tap into the full breadth of experiences and identities that make up life in The Hub.
SpeakEasy’s Boston Project is back for a second, expanded season, featuring two brand new locally-set plays: OLE WHITE SUGAH DADDY by Obehi Janice, and KNOCK DOWN, DRAG OUT by Rick Park.
We are also excited to welcome back Bill Doncaster, a participant in the 2016 Boston Project, who will continue to develop his new play WARD NINE with us throughout the season.
The two new playwrights will each receive a stipend of $2,500, and spend nine months writing and developing their proposed plays with input and support from SpeakEasy Producing Artistic Director Paul Daigneault and SpeakEasy Artistic Associate Walt McGough. The company will provide research assistance and dramaturgical feedback, as well as facilitate check-ins and table reads as the plays take shape. The project will culminate in a two-week developmental workshop and invited staged reading of each play in March, 2017.
The SpeakEasy Boston Project is made possible through generous funding from the Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.
Read more about all three plays and playwrights below, and thank you to everyone who submitted. The overwhelming response to our call for proposals demonstrates that there are many stories to be told about Boston, and our hope is that this project will put even more of them into the theatrical ecosystem.
OLE WHITE SUGAH DADDY
OLE WHITE SUGAH DADDY tells the story of Lynn, a rising star in the startup industries of Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts. When she courts a new Angel Investor for her latest venture, race, class and color collide in her private life, her public persona, and her cyber footprint. OLE WHITE SUGAH DADDY is a play about love, identity, and the tension between striving and thriving.
OBEHI JANICE is an award-winning actress, writer and comedian. She is the TCG Fox Foundation Resident Actor at Company One Theatre in Boston, Massachusetts. A graduate of Georgetown University, Obehi was named “Boston’s Best Actress” by The Improper Bostonian in 2014. Recent acting credits include LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST(Commonwealth Shakespeare Company), WE’RE GONNA DIE(Company One Theatre/American Repertory Theater), AN OCTOROON(Company One Theatre/ArtsEmerson), MR g(Underground Railway Theater), and her solo show FUFU & OREOS(Bridge Repertory Theater). Her potent writing has been featured in Kinfolks: a journal of Black expression. Her plays have been developed or produced by Company One Theatre (C1 PlayLab Alum), Boston Center for the Arts, Bridge Repertory Theater of Boston, Sleeping Weazel, Interim Writers, Our Voices Festival, Boston One-Minute Play Festival, Boston Theater Marathon, Berkshire Fringe Festival, MPAACT, ImprovBoston, GAN-e-meed Theatre Project, and 119 Gallery. She has garnered esteem and recognition from Bustle, WBUR, DigBoston, For Harriet, and The Boston Globe. Her comedic short, BLACK GIRL YOGA, was the winner of the Reel 13/AfroPunk Film Competition (WNET/New York Public Media). She is a leader in the millennial renaissance of socio-political arts and culture, working extensively on stage, film, and TV and as a voice actress in video games, radio, and commercials. Obehi is a proud native of Lowell, Massachusetts. www.obehijanice.com
KNOCK DOWN, DRAG OUT
KNOCK DOWN, DRAG OUT begins when a South End drag club is threatened with demolition to make room for luxury condos. In response, one queen decides enough is enough and makes a dramatic stand to save the only place she has ever truly felt at home. When she starts having visions of her long-departed drag mother who disappeared ten years earlier, she realizes that the fight is not just for the club, but for the neighborhood, the gay community and the city itself.
RICK PARK is a Boston-based writer and actor. His full-length play GAY GUY, FAT GIRL won the Mark Twain Pruze for Comic Playwritng at the Kennedy Center in 2013. Other full length plays include SCENE 8, THE WARMTH OF THE SUN and THE SUPERHEROINE MONOLOGUES (co-written with John Kuntz), which enjoyed successful runs in Boston and Orange County, CA, and was nominated as Best New Play by the Independent Reviewers of New England. His ten minute plays have been performed across the US and UK.
WARD NINE centers on Chuckie McGreal, an adult with a cognitive disability who has been happily holding signs, dropping flyers, and stuffing envelopes for local politicians around Ward Nine for as long as he can remember. But now he’s coping with a dying father, knows he can’t live by himself, and doesn’t want to move in with his sister 50 miles away in Derry, NH. It is fortunately election season again, with a hotly contested race for the Ward’s Council seat in a city with constantly changing faces. But no more is Chuckie gleefully holding signs and serving as any candidate’s “good luck charm.” He desperately wants to stay in the neighborhood, and he’s about to demand payback from those in power for years of helping them get into office. He’s worked hard. They said they’d “take care of” him at every election cycle and every victory party. He’s about to find out what that means.
BILL DONCASTER is a playwright, producer, and director and co-founder of Stickball Productions. His play TWO BOYS LOST was a 2015 Elliot Norton Award nominee for Outstanding New Script and Outstanding Production by a Fringe Company, and a 2015 Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) nominee for Best New Play, with four actor nominations. His adaptation of George V. Higgins’ THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE played to sold out performances first at OBERON, and then again as part of the Emerging America Festival by invitation of the American Repertory Theater in 2012. His short plays have been produced in Boston, New York, Chicago, Louisiana, and Florida, and his short play A MENDED MEMORY was a 2014 Kennedy Center American Theater Festival Region I Finalist. He made his directorial debut in 2012 with BOUNCERS by John Godber at the “historic” Cantab Lounge. He earned a BFA at Emerson College, MFA at Lesley University, has nothing but good things to say about two years at North Adams State College, and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in English Literature at UMass Boston. He’s the Outreach Coordinator for UMass Boston’s Performing Arts Department, and teaches English at Middlesex Community College.