The theatre of Ellen McLaughlin of Angels in America and Rinde Eckert, known for his Kennedy Center performances and little men with big ideas characters, juxtaposed with the poetry of Victoria Chang and Allison Joseph, carries the viewer into a spin of story floating between the poetic and the theatrical.
Ellen McLaughlin's plays have received numerous national and international productions. They include Days and Nights Within, A Narrow Bed, Infinity’s House, Iphigenia and Other Daughters, among others. Producers include: the Public Theater, The National Actors’ Theater and New York Theater Workshop in NYC, Actors’ Theater of Louisville, and many more. Grants and awards include: Great American Play Contest, Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the NEA, the Writer’s Award from the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund, the Berilla Kerr Award for playwrighting. T.C.G./Fox Residency Grant—for Ajax in Iraq, written for the A.R.T. Institute. She has taught playwriting at Barnard College since 1995. Other teaching posts include Breadloaf School of English, Yale Drama School and Princeton University, among others. Ms. McLaughlin is also an actor. She is most well known for having originated the part of the Angel in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, appearing in every U.S. production from its earliest workshops through its Broadway run.
Rinde Eckert is a writer, composer, librettist, musician, performer and director. His Opera / New Music Theatre productions have toured throughout America and to major theater festivals in Europe and Asia. With a virtuosic command of gesture, language and song, this total theatre artist moves beyond the boundaries of what a ‘play,’ a ‘dance piece,’ an ‘opera’ or ‘musical’ might be, in the service of grappling with complex issues. Eckert describes many of his characters as “little men with big ideas whose consequences of their hubris are often disastrous.” Sometimes tragic and austere, sometimes broadly comedic, entirely grounded by presence, his work is alchemical: moving from rumination and distillation to hard-won illumination, or its lack.
Allison Joseph is an American poet, editor and professor. She is author of six poetry collections, most recently, My Father’s Kites: Poems (Steel Toe Books, 2010). Born in London to parents of Jamaican heritage, Allison Joseph grew up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and the Bronx. She teaches at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and is Director of the Young Writers Workshop at SIUC, which she founded in 1999. In 1995, she was one of the founding editors of Crab Orchard Review as the magazine’s poetry editor and has also worked as editor-in-chief since August 2001. She lives in Carbondale, Illinois.
Victoria Chang’s fourth book of poems, Barbie Chang, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2017. The Boss (McSweeney’s) won a PEN Center USA Literary Award and a California Book Award. Other books are Salvinia Molesta and Circle. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Sustainable Arts Foundation Fellowship in 2017. In 2018, she was awarded the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award for her manuscript-in-progress, OBIT. She lives in Los Angeles and teaches within Antioch’s MFA Program and serves on the National Book Critics Circle Board. You can find her at www.victoriachangpoet.com.