New Plays Festival 2023

New Plays Festival 2023

April 10 – May 21, 2023

Columbia University School of the Arts presents an expanded festival of new plays written by Columbia MFA Playwriting Students. The esteemed faculty who have nurtured these students, including Tony©, Pulitzer, and Obie Award winners such as Leslie AyvazianDavid Henry HwangLynn NottageCharles Mee, and Rogelio Martinez, invite you to experience these innovative new playwrights.

Organized by Leslie Ayvazian, Theatre. 

The Group by DeAndre Short, The Trouble With Paradise by Luz Lorenzana Twigg, ROOT ROT by Moorka, A Soviet Film on Negro Life in America as Told by Langston Hughes and Others by Alle Mims, Breath of Life by Goldie E. Patrick, White Bitches in Delhi by Ellis Abigail Stump, His is a Cage by Blake Bonilla, The Arrangement by Sam Kressner, Vile Isle by Justin Halle, and Cockroaches by Emma Schillage.

Schedule of Events

The Group
by DeAndre Short
April 13, 15, 16

The Group follows six men in a childhood sexual abuse survivor support group. Over the course of eight weeks, they embark on the healing process with unconventional exercises, puzzles, and LEGO bricks. Digging into their past to mend themselves isn’t easy, but each is held together by the community they create.

The Trouble With Paradise
by Luz Lorenzana Twigg
April 14 & 15

Employees in a small-town coffee shop are overjoyed when they win their majority to unionize. However, their plans are thwarted as a historic wildfire sweeps up the California coast and threatens to burn down everything they care about most. Set in idyllic Santa Barbara, the play takes a tender, charismatic look at the complex stratification of service work and interrogates the myth of the service industry “family”.

by Moorka
April 21 & 23

Root Rot is about a first-generation fool in search of truth in the rubble of Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

A Soviet Film on Negro Life in America as Told by Langston Hughes and Others
by Alle Mims
April 22 & 23

In 1932, a 31-year-old Langston Hughes traveled with a group of Harlem Renaissance artists from New York to Moscow in order to make a communist propaganda film. We follow Langston Hughes on the trip he thought would change the world as he struggles to smooth tension between his group of Black intellectuals and their ignorant but determined allies, the Soviets. As other character’s narratives take over, Hughes finds himself under the scrutiny of both his race and his Party in a clash of propaganda and authenticity in a new age of popular culture.

White Bitches in Delhi
by Ellis Abigail Stump
April 28, 29, 30

While studying abroad at Delhi University, two obliviously privileged, proudly queer NYC college kids discover, a matchmaking app like Tinder, but run by the parents. To "help" their Indian-American bestie find true love—and pay off their loans with the dowry money—they decide to arrange a traditional marriage, taking "chosen family" one step too far. A farce with heart, sending up both Hollywood and Bollywood rom-com tropes, White Bitches in Delhi explores the savior complex, class and identity, internally and externally imposed stereotypes, and when it's time to BeReal.

Breath of Life
by Goldie E. Patrick
April 29 & 30

How did we survive...2020? The answer for Drew and Toni is love. This passionate choreoplay about Black love is set in start of the summer of 2020. Toni and Drew, former community activists, are dealing with the dual pandemic of COVID-19 and racial reckoning. While sheltering in place with their new baby, the decision to protest or stay at home becomes more than a political choice.

His is a Cage
by Blake Bonilla
May 4, 6, 7

When Paul returns home from 10 years of incarceration, he returns to his family’s home to find them fighting over their parents' property. Only wanting to turn over a new leaf and marry his high school sweetheart, Paul must now confront the family's pent-up conflicts since arriving in the States in this tale of the pitfalls of the American dream from a new perspective.

The Arrangement
by Sam Kressner
May 5 & 6

Longtime sweethearts Jonathan and Emily have made arrangements. Now in their thirties, they plan on buying a house in the suburbs and starting a family. Then why does Jonathan’s boss suspect him for a cheat? An indictment of the lies we tell ourselves; The Arrangement is an evisceration of suburban upper middle-class morality and the compromises we make in order to keep up with the arrangements of others.

by Emma Schillage          
May 11, 13, 14

Cockroaches, is a Southern Gothic dark comedy. It tells the story of three sisters as they deal with the fallout of their mother’s most recent suicide attempt. Momma has been acting strange since returning home from the hospital, causing oldest daughter, Jenny, to come home from college, middle child Charlie, to act out, and youngest child, Sissy, to follow in her mother’s footsteps. As Momma becomes less and less human, the sisters must learn how to care for themselves and each other before it is too late. Cockroaches explores how we create monsters, deal with them, punish them, and learn from them in the wake of disaster.

Vile Isle
by Justin Halle
May 12 & 13

A group of friends who call themselves 'queer family' is on the verge of spiritual breakdown or breakthrough, depending on who you ask. A dead-of-winter trip to Fire Island is threatened by an Old Testament-style flood. And Gnocchi the Cat is being Bat Mitzvah’d, God willing. Vile Isle is a passionate and provocative dark comedy about the ways we fail and forgive one another, and what faith is worth when our limits are existentially tested.