To the Core: InterAct’s residency program culminates in four free readings

Erin Washburn (left) shares a laugh with Core Playwrights L M Feldman, Jarrett McCreary, Haygen-Brice Walker, and David Jacobi.

For the last two years, local playwrights David Jacobi, L M Feldman, Jarrett McCreary and Haygen-Brice Walker have been a part of InterAct Theatre Company’s Core Playwrights Program, a residency program offering artistic and professional development support to regional writers. Their residency culminates in the 7th Annual Core Playwrights Weekend, December 13-15, 2019 with a series of free readings showcasing their work.

“Coming to the close of this class of Core Playwrights, I’m moved by their incredible versatility, generosity and integrity,” says InterAct’s literary manager Erin Washburn, who runs the program. “Each writer has dug deeply into their process, pushing themselves to interrogate their goals as playwrights while enriching each other’s work as well. They join a group of artists whose work has enriched Philadelphia’s theater community and deepened the new play conversation in American theater.”

The works presented in the 7th Annual Core Playwrights Weekend include an absurd comedy about the struggle to find meaning; a shimmering play for young audiences exploring borders and family separation; a kinetic collision of game shows, science fiction and intimate human connection; and a sticky, searing deconstruction of toxic masculinity in queer communities.

The weekend launches with French Pig by David Jacobi on Friday, December 13 at 5pm. In Medieval Europe, criminal trials weren’t just for humans: animals were also put before a judge and jury. Sartre meets Lecoq meets My Cousin Vinny in this absurd dark comedy about a peasant farmer fighting to exonerate her only means of income: the pig that killed her sister. Jack Tamburri directs.

A play for young audiences adapted from Margarita Engle’s Tropical Secrets, Daniel & Paloma by L M Feldman takes the stage next on Saturday, December 14 at 1pm. HIt’s 1940 and Daniel, a (nearly) 12-year-old boy trying to find his family, has just stepped off the boat onto the Cuban shore—the only country that allowed him and other German-Jewish Holocaust refugees to land. There he meets Paloma, an (almost) 11-year-old girl trying to keep her family together. David Winitsky directs.

Jarrett McCreary

Reading enthusiasts can continue the new play love on Saturday, December 14 with a 5 PM reading of Apocalypse Dating Play by Jarrett McCreary. Against a backdrop of war and environmental collapse, a mysterious and chaotic figure promises four strangers they can win a spot in utopia if they play a simple game: fall in love or die trying. Apocalypse Dating Play explores our indomitable desire to find hope amid hopelessness. Katrina Shobe directs.

Core Playwrights Weekend concludes  Sunday, December 15 at 5pm with throuple, throuple, throuple; or the threesome play by Haygen-Brice Walker. Every year, Rod, Beaux and Devyn leave their wives, girlfriends and day jobs behind to go on a hunting trip to talk trash, pound beer, clean their guns and most importantly: eat each other out. But this year the sex goes wrong; a deer crashes the party; and a half-naked and bloody Mo shows up and wants to show the guys her superpower. Elaina Di Monaco directs.

All readings will be in the Louis Bluver Theatre at the Drake and are free and open to the public. Over the weekend, InterAct will also announce the incoming class of four playwrights who will make up the 2020-22 Class. “As Philadelphia’s new play scene has exploded, it’s been inspiring to see the new talented being fostered, whether they cut their teeth in Philly or are new to the city,” says Washburn. “It’s bittersweet to send this cohort out into the world, but I can’t wait to bring in this new group of artists and help them advance on their artistic journey.”

Since its inception in 2012, many of InterAct’s Core Playwrights have gone on to receive prestigious awards and productions locally and across the country. In the last four seasons, three of the four playwrights to receive the Barrymore Award for Outstanding New Play had their work developed through Core Playwrights—including 2018’s Barrymore Award-winning The Gap by Emma Goidel, which was showcased as part of Core Playwrights Weekend in 2015.

[Louis Bluver Theatre at The Drake, 302 S. Hicks Street] December 13-15, 2019; interattheatre.org

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About the author

Christopher Munden

Your faithful correspondent and publisher Christopher Munden has written and edited for many publications, websites, and cultural institutions. He was an editor/publisher of the Philly Fiction book series, collections of short stories written by local writers and set in Philadelphia. He's also a soccer coach and a pretty good skier.