On Every Link at the Lark!

The historic courthouse in Thebes, Ill.

 

It’s been a busy few weeks—which included a long overdue return to THEBES, ILLINOIS—so I’m behind the curve on sharing all this here, but if you haven’t heard, On Every Link a Heart Does Dangle; or, Owed will be workshopped at the Lark as part of their BareBones program this April/May! In addition to being the culmination of Apothetae/Lark Fellowship, this will also mark my first time getting to work with director and fellow UCSD alum Meredith McDonough, and I’m pretty excited to share the work we’re going to be doing in New York this spring.

We’ll be announcing the full cast soon. In the meantime, here’s the press release:

NEW YORK, NY – The Lark is thrilled to announce its BareBones® program will return this season with a workshop production of On Every Link a Heart Does Dangle; or Owedby Tim J. Lord, directed by Meredith McDonough. The play, a radical reimagining of the Oedipus myth, will run at The Lark’s BareBones® Studio from May 10–19, 2019, at 311 West 43rd Street, 5th Floor, in New York City.

BareBones® productions are simply staged, public presentations of plays in the later stages of development, and are The Lark’s most intensive development workshops, with plays receiving three weeks of rehearsal and up to eight public performances. In On Every Link a Heart Does Dangle; or Owed, the town of Thebes, once the jewel of Southern Illinois, has fallen to ruin. The river has turned poisonous, the crops are failing, and pregnant women and their unborn babies are dying mysterious deaths, all while the town’s leader has locked himself away.

“This play began as an Oedipus adaptation set in Southern Illinois, but I soon found I wasn’t interested in creating another adaptation of a story about a man who creates a problem, refuses to listen to those trying to help him, then bewails the fate that was thrust upon him,” said Lord. “So I pushed Oedipus offstage. Instead, I wanted to focus on the most vulnerable people in this world. Those left to deal with his inability to see what’s killing Thebes. The new central character is a young woman born in poverty and shunned because she was born with a disability.”

Lord has been developing the play through his residency with The Lark in The Apothetae and Lark Playwriting Fellowship, which is granted in partnership with The Apothetae(Artistic Director, Gregg Mozgala), and provides a two-year cycle of support to a Disabled writer for the generation of a new play to essay and challenge perceptions of the “Disabled Experience.” Tim became the inaugural recipient of the Fellowship last season, receiving a $40,000 prize and a $5,000 opportunity and resource fund, as well as outreach and scouting toward the commissioning and development of the new play, and a $10,000 production enhancement fund.

“But Every Link isn’t a play about disability,” said Lord. “Like the play that inspired it, it’s about power—who has it and how they hold onto it. It’s about understanding that true power comes from being entrusted with it. And it’s about learning to own one’s power. I’ve had the great gift of unwavering support from The Apothetae and Lark Playwriting Fellowship over the past year and a half. It’s allowed me to tell this really big, ambitious story from a perspective that is often overlooked, so Every Link is also a play about enabling people to tell their own stories.”

On Every Link a Heart Does Dangle; or Owed is a theatrical event expected to run approximately three and half hours, and is a work-in-progress, subject to change throughout the run in order to support the development of this epic story. The play has also received development through The Lark’s Project on Tyranny, Winter Writers’ Retreat, and Roundtable programs, as well as at the University of Minnesota, The Playwrights’ Center, and at the Kennedy Center.

“Tim’s play is adventurous and incredible,” said Lloyd Suh, Director of Artistic Programs at The Lark. “It uses classic myths of history and explodes myths of disability; a heroine’s journey told with wild theatrical imagination.”

“And there’s a journey into a monster’s lair called the Panther’s Den,” said Lord.

Public performances begin May 10 and run through May 19. Seating is limited, tickets are free, and you can make your reservation here.

 

Hope to see you at the Lark this May!

The Lark’s Project on Tyranny, Part 1: Rajiv Joseph

A few weeks ago I had the great honor of being asked to participate in a thrilling conversation at The Lark about how we as artists respond to the world around us. If you couldn’t join us in person, the first part of it is now available to watch online, and you can hear all about how Rajiv Joseph‘s play Guards at the Taj nearly incited a riot in a Russian theater.

And if you’re reading about this here, you’re probably asking, “Cool, cool, but Tim, when do I get to hear you?” Well, I was #5 in the line-up, so, you’re going to have to wait a bit. But seriously, you should watch the entire thing. Lloyd Suh was bloody brilliant in leading this conversation and it was so fascinating and inspiring to hear all these artists talk about their work.

 

Looking Ahead (and a little bit behind)

In 2018, I finally got around to writing On Every Link a Heart Does Dangle; or, Owed—my Oedipus adaptation that completely pushes Oedipus offstage, giving the story to the women of Thebes. Thanks to the Playwrights Center and the Lark, I wrote about 150 pages over the course of just 3 weeks.

And then I got to workshop that play TWICE at the Kennedy Center. The first time via the National New Play Network‘s MFA Playwrights Workshop—of which I’m an alumni—and the second time courtesy of the amazing Gregg Henry, artistic director of the KC’s American College Theater Festival.

Most exciting of all is that I’ll be workshopping Every Link at the Lark this spring via their BareBones program. This includes public performances, so be sure to stay turned for details as we put together our team.

Coming up on January 31, I’ll be participating in the Project on Tyranny. Along with Franky D. Gonzalez, C.A. Johnson, Rajiv Joseph, Mona Mansour, Liza Jessie Peterson, and moderator, Lloyd Suh, we’ll be discussing the ways in which art and activism come to intersect in these challenging times.

Cheers, y’all.

Last Workshop of my Jerome Fellowship

EC602122-8550-46F9-9291-8E76EE2829B2“The way forward is the Great River’s mouth…”

Once, the town of Thebes on the banks of the Mississippi River was the jewel of southern Illinois, but that was before the rains stopped falling and the crops didn’t come in and the babies started dying. Seeking an answer from the gods, suspicion falls on Mellie, a young woman, seriously disabled since birth, long suspected as being unfavored by them who dwell on the Mountaintops. Mellie has her own suspicions though and sets out to prove them before the hammer can fall on her.

This is On every link a heart does dangle; or, Owed, my second play exploring three generations of debts and deceptions in a mythological version of Thebes, Illinois. It’s receiving its first full read in a workshop at the Playwrights Center today, the first step on what should be an exciting, yearlong journey.

New short plays in 2018

Current-MoodArt.jpgHi friends, 2018 is off to an exciting start with 2 new short plays in production.

First up, “This Land Is MY Land” premieres at the 52nd St. Street Project as part of Current Mood: The Relatable Plays. This is one of the Project’s 2-on-2 shows where 2 kids act in a play written for them by an adult and directed by an adult. My play features two of my favorite kids at the Project, one of whom is Emmanuel, my Smart Partner. It’s a political satire set in 2049 at a moment when the country’s public lands are about to be privatized and two regular joes are fighting to make sure they get their constitutionally-guaranteed acre—but maybe they can overcome their differences by overthrowing the corrupt government instead?

And then—a grand start to life here in Minneapolis—my first collaboration with a local company here. The first play of Pillsbury House + Theater’s 2018 season is The Great Divide II: Plays on the Politics of Truth. The show consists of 5 plays by 5 playwrights local to Minneapolis and they’re 5 of my favorite people that I’ve met since moving here: Christina Ham, Jessica Huang, Stacey Rose, and Andrew Rosendorf. The show will be directed by Noël Raymond and features a cast of the Twin Cities’ best: Tracey Maloney, Audrey Park,  Mikell Sapp, & Ricardo Vazquez.

In NYC Working at the Lark

As part of my Apothetae-Lark Fellowship, I’m working on 2 plays at the Lark in NYC this week.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017:
We’ll read through the new, existing draft of Fault & Fold. Nicole A. Watson, directing.

After her tour of duty was ended by an act of violence, Sarah finds herself back home trying to figure out how to put her life back together. Back in Afghanistan, Khalid, the brother of the woman Sarah killed, is trying to do the same. Together they look for the ways to bridge the distances between one another, a journey that will cross continents and cultures and delve deep into the earth.

Monday, December 4, 2017:
I’ll be revisiting an older play, G-Men! with director Avery Wigglesworth, who helmed the production of Peloponnesus with her company The Cutout Theater.

Dateline: 1956, The Big City! Spcl. Asst. Deputy Director Norman and his crackerjack agents are on the trail of a mad, dress-wearing bomber who’s blowing up ladies’ clothing stores. Led by no less than J. Edgar himself, our heroes brave a world full of liberals and commies and foreigners-Oh my! They banter, they quip, they defy time & space and rewrite history. They are…G-Men!