Folks, it’s been an exciting couple of months scurrying around behind the scenes to finalize the Crowded Fire 2013 season, but well worth it. We’re thrilled to announce this line-up of works by some of the most promising and influential playwrights of today! First up in our inaugural season as a Resident Company at the Thick House is our annual Matchbox Reading Series….

Matchbox Reading Series presenting staged readings of works still in development:

by Christopher
A Matchbox Reading presented Monday, January 28 at 7pm
Directed by Marissa Wolf

From award-winning playwright Christopher Chen, THE INVISIBLE PLAY uses the novels of Italo Calvino as a jumping-off point to explore themes of intimacy and distance, while subtly disrupting the relationship between the audience and the fiction of the play. Poetic and mutable, this is an exciting piece in its earliest stages from a very up-and-coming writer.

Click here to reserve your seat at the Matchbox Reading of THE INVISIBLE PLAY.

Christopher Chen’s plays include INTO THE NUMBERS, THE WINDOW AGE, AULIS: AN ACT OF NIHILISM IN ONE LONG ACT, and THE HUNDRED FLOWERS PROJECT, which recently concluded a successful run with Crowded Fire/Playwrights Foundation. His work has also been produced and developed at American Conservatory Theater, Asian American Theater Company, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Bay One Acts, Beijing Fringe Festival, Central Works, Cutting Ball Theater, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Fluid Motion, hotINK Festival, Just Theatre, Lark Play Development Center, Magic Theatre, Silk Road Theatre Project, and Theatre Mu. Honors include the 2012 Rella Lossy Playwriting Award (for THE HUNDRED FLOWERS PROJECT), 2nd Place in the Belarus Free Theater International Competition of Modern Dramaturgy, a Ford Foundation Emerging Writer of Color Grant, and finalist status for the Jerome Fellowship. Chen is a resident playwright at the Playwrights Foundation, a graduate of U.C. Berkeley, and holds an M.F.A. in playwriting from S.F. State. 

Lauren 299X299THE TAMING
by Lauren Gunderson
A Matchbox Reading presented Tuesday, January 29 at 7pm
Directed by Marissa Wolf

Another installation in nationally-produced writer Lauren Gunderson’s “Revenge Comedies,” THE TAMING mashes up America’s solipsistic election-year rhetoric and the sexy, electrifying badinage of Shakespeare’s TAMING OF THE SHREW to ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country—with the help of some choice pharmaceuticals and a light-up beauty queen outfit. Hey, y’all, can we talk?

Click here to reserve your seat at the Matchbox Reading of THE TAMING.

Lauren Gunderson is an award-winning playwright living in San Francisco. She studied at Emory University and NYU’s Tisch School of Performing Arts, where she was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship. Her work has been produced and developed at companies across the U.S., including South Coast Rep (EMILIE, SILENT SKY), The Kennedy Center (THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF DR. WONDERFUL AND HER DOG!), Playwrights Foundation, The Lark, and The O’Neill (FIRE WORK). EMILIE: LA MARQUISE DU CHATELET DEFENDS HER LIFE TONIGHT is published with Sam French. The first play in her Shakespeare Series, EXIT, PURSUED BY A BEAR is published with Playscripts. Her second in the Shakes Series, TOIL AND TROUBLE, premiered last year at Impact. BY AND BY will premiere at Shotgun Players this May. She is currently under commission with SF Playhouse, Crowded Fire, and South Coast Rep and is working on a musical with Harry Connick Jr. She has spoken nationally and internationally on the intersection of science and theater. She is a Playwright in Residence at The Playwrights Foundation, and a proud Dramatists Guild member. More on Lauren here:

by Geetha Reddy
A Matchbox Reading presented Monday, February 4 at 7pm
Directed by Jessica Heidt

Accomplished local playwright Reddy brings to The Matchbox a lavish, allegorical, experimental play still in development. In this fascinating, hyper-real exploration, four siblings of various ethnicities grapple with love, death, fate and each other in a complex interweaving of American family dynamics, Hindu mythology, and space travel.

Click here to reserve your seat at the Matchbox Reading of BLUE GOD COUNTDOWN.

Geetha Reddy’s plays include SAFE HOUSE (SFPlayhouse Sandbox 2010), BLASTOSPHERE (with Aaron Loeb, CentralWorks 2009), GIRL IN A BOX, ME GIVEN YOU, and BOOK CLUB! THE MUSICAL. She received the June Anne Baker Prize, five “Emerging Playwright” awards and multiple alumni commissions from PlayGround. Her plays have been included in the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, the Playwrights’ Revolution Festival, the Playwrights Foundation’s ‘Rough Reading’ series, and the Just Theatre PlayLab. Her short plays have been featured in the Best of PlayGround Festival, the Santa Rosa Quickies Festival and the SF Fringe Festival where she won Best of Fringe. Her play OBIT is currently being produced as a short film. She is a Playwrights Foundation Resident Playwright and member of the Dramatists Guild.

lachlan  SQ
by Lachlan Philpott
A Matchbox Reading presented Tuesday, February 5 at 7pm
Directed by Marilee Talkington

This gut-punch of a play by Australian playwright Lachlan Philpott uses starkly beautiful and rhythmic language and a haunting, interleaved structure to tell the story of two high school girls in an impoverished suburb, unflinchingly laying bare their fantasies, aggressions, anxieties, and cruelly shifting alliances. When the two best friends skip school one day, what begins as a dare quickly exposes the fragility of everything they thought they knew.

Click here to reserve your seat at the Matchbox Reading of TRUCK STOP.

Lachlan Philpott is a Sydney-based writer, dramaturg, teacher, and director. As a recipient of an Australia Council Literature Residency, he spent much of 2012 working with theater companies in California, hosted by The Playwrights Foundation in San Francisco. Lachlan writes for theater, television, and film. His first play BISON has had sell-out seasons in Adelaide, Belfast, London, Melbourne and Sydney. His other plays include BUSTOWN [shortlisted for 2009 Australian Writers Guild Best Play Award], CATAPULT, COLDER [Winner R.E Ross Trust Award 2007], DUE MONDAY, SILENT DISCO [Winner Griffin Award for Outstanding New Australian play 2009, Winner GAP Competition Aurora Theatre Co. USA, 2010, winner best play Australian Writers Guild Awards 2012, shortlisted Best New Australian work The Helpmann Awards, The NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, and best New Australian work Sydney Theatre Critics’ Circle Awards] TRUCK STOP and THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY. He was writer in Residence at Red Stitch Theatre, Melbourne in 2006, and Griffin Theatre Company Sydney in 2010, and he was selected as the only Australian writer for ‘The Traverse Fifty’ in Edinburgh during 2013. Lachlan has had six plays published to date. He is currently employed as a dramaturg and assessor of scripts by PlayWriting Australia, Australian Theatre for Young People and Hothouse Theatre, Albury.

On The Mainstage

_MG_4040.CR2West Coast Premiere of THE BEREAVED
by Thomas Bradshaw
Directed by Marissa Wolf

Wife and breadwinner Carol realizes she is on borrowed time. Before she goes, you can be damn sure she will put her affairs in order. After all, what is more important than being certain her family maintains their upper-class-private-school-Manhattan-lifestyle? Ferocious,  startling, and unsettling, THE BEREAVED is a dark, gleaming comedy exposing the blithe entitlement of affluent America alongside the feral appetites and violent prejudices roiling just beneath the surface.

Presented April 4-27  (Press Opening April 8)

Thomas Bradshaw’s play BURNING was produced off-Broadway by the New Group in the Fall of 2011. His play JOB was produced by The Flea Theater in Fall 2012. As a result of that sold-out run the play returns to New York in January 2013. He is also the author of MARY, which premiered at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre in 2010; THE ASHES; THE BEREAVED, which was named one of the Best Plays of 2009 by Time Out New York and was a New York Times Critics’ Pick; and SOUTHERN PROMISES and DAWN, both listed among the Best Performances of Stage and Screen for 2008 in The New Yorker. Bradshaw has been featured as one of Time Out New York’s ten playwrights to watch, and as Best Provocative Playwright in the Village Voice. He is the recipient of a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship, the 2010 Prince Charitable Trust Prize, The Lark’s NVNY Fellowship for 2011, and the 2012 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Award. He is creating a television series for HBO and Harpo Films. Bradshaw is also a Professor at Northwestern University.

Frances 299X299World Premiere of 410[GONE]
by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig
Directed by Evren Odcikin

Journey into a frenetic landscape ruled by the Goddess of Mercy and the Monkey King, where time is suspended, and Dance Dance Revolution holds the key to Transmigration.  Filled with richly poetic language, 410[GONE]looks at the bonds of love between siblings when a sister searches for her lost brother in the Land of the Dead.


Presented June 6-29 (Press Opening June 10)

Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s play LIDLESS received the Yale Drama Series Award, an Edinburgh Fringe First Award, the Keene Prize for Literature, and the David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize. In 2011 she was awarded the Wasserstein Prize by the Educational Foundation of America for her most recent work, THE WORLD OF EXTREME HAPPINESS. Her plays have been produced by the Goodman Theatre, Trafalagar Studios 2 on the West End, Page 73 Productions in New York, Interact Theatre in Philadelphia, Borderlands Theatre in Tucson, and the Contemporary American Theatre Festival in West Virginia. She has received commissions from South Coast Rep and Seattle Rep. Frances received an MFA in Writing from the James A. Michener Center for Writers at UT Austin, a BA in Sociology from Brown University, and a certificate in Ensemble Created Physical Theatre from the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre. Her work has been published by Yale University Press, Glimmer Train, Methuen Drama, Samuel French, and Dramatists Play Service. Frances was born in Philadelphia, and raised in Northern Virginia, Okinawa, Taipei and Beijing.

World Premeire of THE TAMING
by Lauren Gunderson
Directed By Marissa Wolf
Presented October 3-26 (Press Opening October 7)

Closing out the mainstage season this fall is Lauren Gunderson’s THE TAMING, a Crowded Fire commission also featured in this year’s Matchbox Reading Series (check out the description  and Lauren’s bio above if you missed it!). Crowded Fire fans will likely remember Lauren’s 2011 hit EXIT, PURSUED BY A BEAR. We’re thrilled to have her and her sassy Southern dialects back on our stage. Rawr!

Programming in Crowded Fire’s 2013 Season is funded by generous support from The Dramatists Guild (THE BEREAVED), The National Endowment for the Arts (THE TAMING), the San Francisco Foundation (The Matchbox), The Tournesol Foundation (THE TAMING), and Venturous Theater Fund (THE BEREAVED). Crowded Fire gratefully acknowledges general operations funding from Grants for the Arts/SF Hotel Tax Fund and The Kenneth Rainin Foundation.

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