Crowded Fire Theater (CFT) kicked off the 2013 Season with the Matchbox Reading Series (MBRS) playing to capacity houses January 28 - February 5, at CFT's new home the Thick House, a theater in San Francisco. MBRS featured new works by three extraordinary local playwrights, Christopher Chen, Lauren Gunderson, and Geetha Reddy, and by the internationally acclaimed Australian playwright, Lachlan Philpott. Committed to diversifying the canon of contemporary plays, Crowded Fire champions playwrights whose work offers a vital contribution to the American theater landscape.
"We believe art is always political," states Crowded Fire Artistic Director Marissa Wolf, " in order to move toward a more just society, theaters must offer a wider range of aesthetics and voices on our stages." The 2013 Season productions reflect the social, the personal, and the political. Crowded Fire Theater's Mainstage season launches in April with the West Coast Premiere of THE BEREAVED a wickedly funny take on Sex, Drugs, and the American Dream by Thomas Bradshaw (April 4-27 Opening April 8) staged by Marissa Wolf. The summer begins with the world premiere of 410[GONE] a frenetic and richly poetic look at the bonds of love between siblings in a landscape ruled by the Goddess of Mercy and Monkey King by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig (June 6-29, Opening June 10) directed by Evren Odcikin. The season concludes in October with the The World Premiere of Lauren Gunderson's THE TAMING (October 3-26 Opening October 7) a Crowded Fire commission directed by Marissa Wolf, The Taming is a mashup of America's cracked political rhetoric and the sexy power play of Shakespeare's Shrew. "Southern Fried Politics."
All three playwrights in this 2013 Season have participated in CFT's Matchbox Readings Series, with these productions receiving development support through Crowded Fire. The Matchbox: Commissioning and Developing New Plays grew out of CFT's commitment to the playwrights' revision processes, to strengthen the scripts before rehearsals for the professional productions began. The Matchbox programming includes three different initiatives, including Commissions, in-house Workshops, and slots in the annual Matchbox Readings Series - public staged readings of plays in development.
Lauren Gunderson whose THE TAMING was commissioned and developed through The Matchbox, says of The Matchbox,"I have worked in many new play development settings across the country, but the support, standards, and deep commitment to using San Francisco as a launching pad for work that ignites the country's new play sphere is real and it's at Crowded Fire. They aren't just doing readings to satisfy they are truly developing and committing to new plays, many by women and by local Bay Area writers. I don't need to tell you how important this is, but I can tell you that when I travel and speak with theatre colleagues nationwide, everyone knows Crowded Fire."
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.