FGP PlayGround began as an end-of-the-year play reading marathon in December 2009, presenting eight new plays in two days. Since then, PlayGround has evolved into a habitat for emerging theater creators to develop more fully realized experiments.
The PlayGround PlayGroup is a year-long, collaborative workshop culminating in the PlayGround Festival, enforcing Fresh Ground Pepper’s mission to bring artists together and present work mid-process to supportive audiences. It is a place where writers of all mediums convene to convert their pages, projects, and ideas into fresh new works. The group will meet monthly to give supportive feedback on each other’s work, as well as collaborate with one another at various FGP Challenges, throughout the season. Writers are given 1-2 workshop opportunities with paired directors and artists, with an aim to continue collaborative working relationships for our end of year showcase at the PlayGround Reading Festival.
2015 FGP PLAYGROUND PLAYGROUP
JAMIE EFFROS is a performer, writer, and director in NYC. He currently is wearing all of those hats on THE MESSENGERS, a new web series he created, in production now. He is a founding member and Producing Director of Superwolf, an NYC theater company specializing in short-format, site-specific new writing. He has been performing on the small stage and screen in New York for the past 10 years and is also a voice-over actor for television and radio. More info at www.JamieEffros.com
MATTHEW JELLISON is the 2012/13 Kenan Playwriting Fellow at the Kennedy Center. His play Who Killed Cupid? was a 2014 semi-finalist for the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, where Matthew was a Playwriting Fellow two summers in a row. He is a 2014 finalist for the Soho Rep Writer/Director’s Lab and has twice been in residence at SPACE on Ryder Farm. His work has been produced by the Kennedy Center, the Claque, Signature Theatre in Virginia, No Rules Theatre Company, Taksu Theatre Company, and Ugly Rhino. He has spent three years in Karen Hartman’s playwriting workshop Swim the River, now helmed by Francine Volpe. As an actor, Matthew has been seen at Ensemble Studio Theatre and New York Theatre Workshop, among others. Matthew works with kids frequently at the 52nd Street Project, and is a teaching artist with Marquis Studios, the Kaufman Cultural Center, and Manhattan Theatre Club. He is a graduate of the acting school at the North Carolina School of the Arts. A native New Yorker, Matthew lives in Brooklyn.
CLAIRE KIECHEL is a playwright and theater maker living in New York. Her plays include: Lulu Is Hungry (Cincinnati Playhouse workshop); The Forgetters (Crashbox Theater Company reading; currently being developed at the Millay Colony); Umma Lappa Soon (Colt Coeur’s 2013 Play Hotel series; Naked Angels reading; nominated for The Kilroy’s THE LIST); Some Dark Places of the Earth (produced at New School for Drama; semi-finalist for the O’Neill); Well, What Do You Want (to See)? (performed and written with Diane Exavier at Bowery Poetry Club); Play/Date (co-written, produced by 3LD); Wolf Play (winner of the 2012 Samuel French Off Off Festival Short Play Festival, published by Samuel French); Norway (developed at the 2012 Orchard Project); Be Careful of Words (devised with Helikon Rep); Whale Song Or: Learning to Live with Mobyphobia (FringeNYC 2011). She is member of the 2015 Pipeline PlayLab class for whom she is writing Anti-Cruise, a play about war, female adolescence, and cruise ships. BA: Amherst College. MFA: New School for Drama. www.clairekiechel.com
JAMES HARRISON MONACO is a writer, storyteller, performer, and musician based in New York. His own work is a high-speed blend of live-music, literature, and theater. His recent show written and performed with composer Jerome Ellis, AARON/MARIE (co-directed by Rachel Chavkin and Annie Tippe), was presented by The Public Theater’s Under The Radar Festival in August 2013 and then again in January 2015, and played earlier in PRELUDE Festival (Oct. 2013) and Ars Nova’s ANT Fest (Jun. 2013). His solo-show RECEPTION (dir. Rachel Chavkin) ran at HERE Arts, soloNOVA, and The University of Toronto’s Graduate Center for Drama. He and Jerome Ellis co-scored and performed in LOVE MACHINE (dir. Andrew Scoville) at Incubator Arts in May 2013. He was dramaturg on Dave Malloy’s GHOST QUARTET (dir. Annie Tippe), currently running at the McKittrick Hotel and previously at The Bushwick Starr. He has performed excerpts of his work at many NYC variety nights, including Catch, AUNTS, Little Theatre at Dixon Place, Rick Burkhardt’s Doctor and Mister’s Loaded Capsule at JACK, and many Fresh Ground Pepper events.
MOLLY BEACH MURPHY is a writer and director originally from South Texas. She is a three-time artistic resident at the OBIE Award-winning Incubator Arts Project for which she created Molly Murphy & Neil deGrasse Tyson On Our Last Day On Earth, Indigo Dai: Immortal Men, and Morbid Poetry. Other writings include H20 Pool Bar at the San Luis Hotel (New Light Theater Project), A Big Life (The Habitat), and Big Bend in the Red Dirt Desert. Her non-fiction has been published by The Hairpin and The Inner Condition. She has worked at venues that include Signature Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, the Public Theater, The Juilliard School, A.R.T., Philadelphia Theatre Company, The Apollo Theater, Arena Stage, Harlem Stage, The Dallas Theater Center and The Invisible Dog among many others. Recipient of the Garland Wright Award for Achievement in Directing. BFA, Southern Methodist University.
In collaboration with…
JULIA IZUMI is an NYC-based playwright and performer. Her plays have been performed and developed at the New Ohio Theater, the Martin E. Segal Center, 4th Street Theatre with The Habitat, the Chain Theatre with Variations Theatre Group, Ingenue Theatre, The Barrow Group, Primary Stages, and Tufts University, where she earned her B.A. in Drama. She is a Featured Artist for The Brewing Department’s Cycle 3 and was recently granted a 2015 First Floor Studio Residency at HB Studio. As a performer, her credits include Stan and HamletGhosts (Dixon Place), both of which she devised with The Brewing Dept. Molly Murphy And Neil DeGrasse Tyson On Our Last Day On Earth (Incubator Arts Project), and Dracula, or The Un-Dead (Williamstown Theatre Festival), among others.
LINDSEY HOPE PEARLMAN is a director, writer, performer, and puppeteer. In 2014, she created LUCY, a play with movement and puppetry, with the support of the Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science & Technology Project and The League of Independent Theatres. Her satirical musical cabaret Winning the Future, created with Up & Down Theatre Co., has been performed in New York City and across the Southwest. As a member of the Mohawk Arts Collective, she recently directed Elizabeth May’s new play with music Old Souls at Cloud City in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Other favorite projects include: Drunk Shakespeare (Lady Macbeth), Devotedly, Sincerely Yours: The Story of the USO (Director, The Broadway Theatre of Pitman), Leap of Faith (SDC Observer), Ships of Sand (Edinburgh Fringe), Jawbreaker (Assistant Director) and Rainbow Funk Squad. She currently co-manages PUPPETSBURG, offering hipster puppet shows for infants and toddlers. She is a proud graduate of the London International School of the Performing Arts (LISPA) and received her B.A with honors from Hamilton College. www.lindseyhopepearlman.com
ANDREW SCOVILLE is a Brooklyn based theater director and a co-director of Fresh Ground Pepper. He joined his first writers group in third grade with a few kids who would meet at Mrs. Schultz’s house to write short stories and poems on the weekends. He hasn’t been in one since. He grew up in the suburbs, likes to create theater that utilizes science, and enjoys creating work that takes place in alternate realities. So, naturally, he is writing a novel about a kid in the suburbs of a planet called Echo, humankind’s first interstellar colony. He thinks it wants to be a young adult novel, if he can find his way around the swearing and drug references. www.andrewjscoville.com
CHARLY E. SIMPSON is a playwright and performer. Her plays include or what she will (2012 FringeNYC), The Women in Me (2013 FringeArts), Fish Out of Water (coming to The Brick in June 2015), who we let in and more. Her work has been seen, heard, and/or developed at Ensemble Studio Theatre, Plays & Players Theatre, Working Theater, Philly Improv Theater, Fresh Ground Pepper, and more. She was a 2013-2014 Philadelphia Dramatists Center Playwright-in-Residence at Plays & Players Theatre and is a member of the Obie Award-winning group Youngblood at Ensemble Studio Theatre. She received her A.B. with honors in Theatre Arts and Literary Arts from Brown University and she holds a master’s in Women’s Studies from University of Oxford, New College. For more about her, feel free to visit: www.charlyevonsimpson.com.
CHRIS TYLER is an artist, actor, and (occasional) drag queen examining the intersections of popular culture and contemporary identity. A graduate of Brown University, he has shown original performance at Under the Radar, Prelude, La MaMa’s Squirts, Dixon Place’s HOT! Festival, and gay bars all over Brooklyn. Follow him: @NOTCHRISTYLER.
JOE CASTLE BAKER Joe Castle Baker is a performer and writer from Los Angeles. He has presented work at the New Ohio, La MaMa, Ars Nova, Dixon Place, HERE Arts Center, the PIT, UCB, and other venues. Joe was selected as a new voice in queer performance for the annual SQUIRTS performance series curated by Dan Fishback at La Mama in 2015. Joe hosts the monthly comedy show, THANK GODDESS, in Bushwick. Follow him on twitter and instagram at @joecastlebaker
Previous PlayGroup Members
Down The Toilet by Aaron Schroeder
The Dark Reality of Horace and Millie by Brooke Bundy
The Infinite Bigness of the Universe by Chris Chan
Masters of the Universe by Jais Brohinsky
Prep by Lorelei Ignas
Alligator Summer by Dylan Lamb
Lust Trust by Alexandra Bassett
The Friedman-Vargases by Andrew Farmer and Emma Koenig
What It’s Like When Two Geeks Love Each Other by Jaclyn Backhaus
Treeplay by Alyssa Yackley
Sheeple by Mara Wilson
Hobbes by Matthew Robert Gehring
There Is No Isabelle by Dylan Lamb
Companion Piece by Kevin Armento
Companions by Ali Mendes
Puppetonia by Sarah Todes
Fat Fat Fatty by Alex Kveton
SER by Dylan Lamb
Folk Wandering by Jaclyn Backhaus, Mike Brun,
Blake Allen, and Joel Esher
PlayGround PlayGroup 2012
Preston Martin and Jaclyn Backhaus
Max Freedman and Hugh Trimble
PlayGround PlayGroup 2014
Amy Virginia Buchanan
Ellie and Drew Vanderburg