Soho Rep.’s 2018–2019 season will feature two premieres that explore power structures and interrogate the consequences of U.S. and global imperialism: Kate Tarker’s Thunderbodies and Christopher Chen’s Passage. The upcoming season will also feature presentations from Soho Rep.’s Writer/Director Lab, as well as works in progress from Carmelita Tropicana and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Becca Blackwell and Charlotte Brathwaite, and Narcissister.
Kicking off the season will be the world premiere of Tarker’s Thunderbodies, directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz (October 16-November 18). The play is described as a “grotesquely hilarious depiction of an America through the looking glass.”
“Thunderbodies is my angriest and most confident play, but I was getting worried that no one was going to do it and that I was going to be condemned to a life with my hands chained at my desk, writing boring, polite plays, even though we live in the most impolite of times,” says Tarker. “People are animals, they are lusty, power-hungry beasts, at least as much driven by instinct as they are by reason but probably more. I just want us to be real about that. Here’s to exorcising our collective demons through laughter.”
Blain-Cruz directs a cast made up of Deirdre O’Connell (Terminus, Fulfillment Center) as Grotilde, Juan Carlos Hernandez (Wait Until Dark, Tell Hector I Miss Him) as General Michail Itterod, Mia Katigbak (NAATCO’s Henry VI, Scenes From a Marriage) as President, Monique St. Cyr (The Public’s Julius Caesar, ms. estrada) as girl, and Matthew Jeffers (Light Shining In Buckinghamshire, The Mysteries) as boy.
Tarker is the recipient of the 2017 Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, a finalist for the Princess Grace Award, and a semi-finalist for the Relentless Award.
Next spring, Soho Rep. will present the New York premiere of Chen’s Passage, directed by Saheem Ali (April 23–May 26, 2019). The play follows people living and working in Country X, a land that has been colonized by Country Y. As Chen explores the dynamics of these two imaginary countries, he removes all typical identity signifiers from his characters (including gender, ethnicity, and names).
“Thunderbodies and Passage are wildly distinctive works but share a resonance in that they are both an irreverent explosion of ‘nationalism,’” says Artistic Director Sarah Benson. “I am so thrilled to bring them to vivid production in the hands of Lileana Blain-Cruz and Saheem Ali.
Chen is an Obie Award-winning playwright whose plays include Caught, The Hundred Flowers Project, Into The Numbers, The Late Wedding, Mutt, and You Mean To Do Me Harm. He is the recipient of the Lanford Wilson Award, the Sundance Institute/Time Warner Fellowship, and the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award; he is also the inaugural recipient of the Ollie Award.
In January, the 2017–2019 Soho Rep. Writer/Director Lab will culminate in public presentations of new works that have been created and developed by artistic collaborators Shayok Misha Chowdhury and Virginia Grise, Ann Marie Dorr and Paul Ketchum, Jen Goma and Kristine Haruna Lee, Raja Feather Kelly and Daaimah Mubashshir, and Julia Mounsey and Peter Mills Weiss under the mentorship of co-chairs William Burke and Jackie Sibblies Drury.
Rounding out the season will be works in progress by Blackwell, Brathwaite, Tropicana, Jacobs-Jenkins, and Narcissister running January through May 2019. The works are part of Soho Rep.’s Studio program, which encompasses the commissioning, development, and production of at least nine new plays between 2018 and 2022.
For more information visit Sohorep.org.