Now Comes the Night (1 production - world premiere!)
Playwright EM Lewis and Director Alex Levy: Now Comes the Night
world premiere at 1st Stage in Tysons, VA.
Samantha Macher with DC Metro Theater Arts said in her review, "Visceral, haunting, and beautifully executed, Now Comes the Night at 1st Stage is an excruciating and suspenseful look at lives of three journalists whose lives were ripped apart while covering the Iraq War. This world premiere play penned by Primus Prize winner EM Lewis, as a sequel to her award-winning work “Heads,”stands alone as an explosive examination of an endless and seemingly “bloodless” war and the role of the media in its portrayal. The show is a part of the incredible efforts of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival which seeks to highlight the scope of new plays being written by women, and the range of professional theater being produced in the nation’s capital."
She continues, "...at its heart, this is a play about the power of friendship. In every scene, the expressions of these character’s affections for one another is palpable. Each tries to get the other to overcome their demons, speak their truths, and finally feel safe after being in unspeakable peril. Through the piece, the characters are forced to grow, to change, and to be honest about the choices and shortcomings that brought them to the place they were today-- in the aftermath of a truly explosive television interview. 1st Stage Theater, and Director Alex Levy, maintained Lewis’ masterful levels of suspense through a winning combination of deft design and stunning performances.
|Now Comes the Night - world premiere at 1st Stage in Tysons, VA: |
Jaysen Wright, Dylan Morrison Myers, Alex Levy, Sun King Davis, and EM Lewis.
The Gun Show (3 productions)The year started with Moving Arts' production of The Gun Show in Los Angeles extending its fall production (directed by Darin Anthony; starring Chuma Gault) into the new year. Deborah Klugman, with the LA Weekly, said "The drama’s life-changing moments evoke a here-and-now immediacy, not easily forgotten." They took that production to Glendale College for a special performance -- thank you to producer Cece Tio, and Glendale College host Jeanette Farr-Harkins! Chuma was nominated for an Ovation Award for Best Solo Performer.
| Trent Blanton stars in The Gun Show by EM Lewis |
at Passage Theater in Trenton, NJ.
Josh Campbell included an excerpt from The Gun Show in a Protect MN Benefit in Minneapolis. Cherry & Spoon reviewed the event: "EM Lewis is one of those people who is in the middle - she grew up with guns in rural Oregon... but recognizes that there needs to be some changes in the way we think about, legislate, and handle guns. The play is funny, honest, and thought-provoking."
Peter Townley in The Gun Show
by EM Lewis at Impact Theater in Berkeley, CA.
Artistic Director Melissa Hillman helmed the fall production of The Gun Show at Impact Theater in Berkeley. Sam Hurwitt, with the Mercury News, said, "Peter Townley gives a gripping performance as the voice of the author, beautifully capturing the gravity and humor, the sweetness and horror of the story... Less than an hour long, it's a show that can't help but push some buttons and get people talking about things they disagree with or aspects they hadn't considered. That's the power of a narrative so emotionally intense and so personal: It helps put you in the shoes of people you might not have thought you'd identify with at all."
The year is ending with another production of The Gun Show (the show's fifth in less than two years), in the Tucson Solo Theater Festival, which my friend and colleague Monica Bauer is producing. Maria Franco Caprile directs, and Clark Andreas Ray performs.
I'm in discussions regarding three more potential productions of The Gun Show across the country -- so stay tuned for the continuing adventures of this very small and very personal piece of my heart.
Heads (2 productions)
Heads had two productions this year. Both in New York City! In January, Lewis Gould directed a beautiful production at Theater for the New City. It featured my friend Robert Jordan, Carol Jacobanis, Gabriel Gutierrez, and Seamus Maynard.
|Heads at the Beckett Theater on Theater Row in New York City 2015. |
Playwright EM Lewis and director Laura Savia!
True Story (1 production)Kevin Christopher Fox directed a production of my play True Story at the Theater School at DePaul University this fall. I so wish I could have seen it! I love this noir-ish, twisty little thriller. This was the play's second production.
Infinite Black Suitcase (4 productions)
Infinite Black Suitcase was one of my very first full-length plays. With a cast of fifteen (!!!), you would think that NOBODY would ever do it! But after its initial productions at Moving Arts and TheSpyAnts in Los Angeles, it was published by Samuel French and has been finding a happy home at colleges and high schools across the country ever since. It's kind of a rural Oregon Our Town, in a way -- about several families dealing with love and loss over the course of a single day.
|The cast and crew of Infinite Black Suitcase |
at Glendale College with playwright EM Lewis in 2015.
I was delighted when my friend and colleague Jeanette Farr-Harkins brought me to Glendale College for their production of the play. It was a joy to meet director Ed Douglas and his cast and crew. I had the most wonderful conversation with the students and audience after the show.
The play also had productions this year at St. Louis Park High School in Minnesota, Marcus High School in Texas, and Lone Star College in Texas.
Song of Extinction (1 production)
Song of Extinction had a production at Totah Theater in Farmington, New Mexico this year. I wasn't able to see it, but read a delightful article in the local newspaper about how the producers found the actor who portrayed my character Khim Phan. I am so glad that this play is continuing to find good homes!
Song of Extinction also had a reading with Theatre 33 at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. Willamette is where I earned my Bachelors Degree, and my old theater professor Christopher Harris directed my reading. What a joy! Coming home again.
In February, I finished a draft of my epic Antarctica play Magellanica. After six years of research and writing! A big thank you to everyone and every theater company who has supported my work on this grand adventure of a play. I worked on it during my Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University, and my Inge Residency in Kansas. I've had readings of various pieces of it at Moving Arts in Los Angeles, Playwrights Theater of New Jersey, Project Y and the Lark in New York City. But it is Chicago director Kevin Christopher Fox who I have to thank for helping me get to the finish line. He fell in love with the play when he read it, came down to Kansas to help me work on part 3, directed a workshop of parts 1-4 at TimeLine in December of last year, and then organized a writing retreat for him and I in February, where we holed up in blizzard conditions, drank a good bit of bourbon, and I brought these eight beloved characters of mine home at last. (Thank you to Diane Ruzevich for the retreat house!)
In theater, the end is just the beginning; now, the real work begins as I try to find a good home for this behemoth of mine. But it feels quite wonderful to have birthed it, and to now enjoy the process of encouraging it up into its final form on a stage somewhere. One bit of surprising support for the play has come already! It received Honorable Mention on this year's Kilroy List, of the plays by women that theater folk most want to see produced.
Earth Duet in the Climate Change Theater Action
|Earth Duet by EM Lewis - a short film produced by Pomona College|
for the 2015 Climate Change Theater Action.
COPout Event at Arts House in Melbourne
Nature Acts! by Little Theater Group
DenmarkCelebration of the Solstice by Teater Viva in Hjortshøj
Vihaan International Festival of the Arts in Bhopal
United States of America
- University of Connecticut in Connecticut
- Faith and Climate Change Roundtable at Stony Brook University in New York
- Notes from This Fragile Blue Place We Call Home by The Peoplehood in Los Angeles, California
- Arizona State University in Arizona
- Green Shorts: Films (Re) Imagining our Troubled World at Pomona College in California
- BigFoot Theater Company in Albaquerque, New Mexico
- DramaDogs in Santa Barbara, California
- Western Washington University in Washington
- Carnegie Mellon School of Drama in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia
- Santa Cruz Climate Change Theater Action at Mountain Community Theater
- Natural Acts in Lexington, Kentucky
Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Fallen Giant (opera libretto)
|Composer Evan Meier, librettist EM Lewis, and mentor Mark Campbell, workshopping Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Fallen Giant with American Lyric Theater.|
The Crossing (opera libretto)
I met composer Clarice Assad in American Lyric Theater's Composer Librettist Development Program. Over the summer, she and I worked on an opera piece inspired by real historical events for Arizona Opera Company's "Arizona Bold!" program. We were semi-finalists with The Crossing, which dramatized the building of the Roosevelt Dam through letters between a local developer and President Theodore Roosevelt.
ASSORTED OTHER COOL STUFF
Acquired an agent! -- So glad to be represented by Samara Harris Anderson at Robert A. Freedman Dramatic Agency!
|Ashland New Plays Festival 2015 - JP, EM, and Artistic Director Kyle Haden.|
|ANPF 2015 - winning playwrights!|
Responded to plays in the KCACTF Region 7 Festival and taught a workshop -- This was my second time responding to plays for one of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival's regional events. This one was held in Ellensburg, Washington. I gave young playwrights feedback on their full-length, one-act, and ten-minute plays, and taught a workshop on "Writing History" to a room full of eager young writers. Great fun!
Guest taught a playwriting class at University of Oregon
|Innovation in Five Acts.|
Articles and interviews!
Desa Philadelphia wrote a profile of me for the USC News Magazine. Thanks, Desa!
Donna Hoke interviewed me for her "PLONY" series -- all about playwrights living outside New York. Thanks, Donna!
Got reading glasses. Started writing a new play. Saw Hamilton at the Public before it transferred! Started adapting one of my plays into a screenplay for an independent film production. Had a fling/felt ridiculously heartbroken when it ended. Picked myself up again. Picked grapes. Visited friends. Planted and tended and cooked from a fantastic garden. Spent time with my family here on the farm. A little bit, anyway.
It's been a roller coaster of a year. I've worked harder than ever. I wrote a ton. I had a dozen productions of my full-length plays, including a world premiere. I wrote my first opera libretto. I taught a bit. I travelled almost constantly, and slept in a bunch of people's guest rooms as I made theater across the country.
I am lucky, people. Who gets to do this??? It's a wonderful life, indeed.