Through a year-long series of monthly meetings, the Pipeline PlayLab serves as a workshop for playwrights to build new plays with constructive feedback from other playwrights, directors, and the artistic staff of Pipeline, culminating in staged readings of the developed plays.
Class of 2017: J. Julian Christopher, A.J. Ditty, Taylor Edelhart, Aeneas Sagar Hemphill, Francesca Pazniokas, Charly Evon Simpson
Class of 2017
J. Julian Christopher (a.k.a Christopher Julian Jiménez) received an MFA in acting from The Actors Studio Drama School at the New School (now called The New School for Drama). There he studied acting and appeared in various productions including TBA, Holiday Movies (directed by Liz Swados), and The Karaoke Show (directed by Diane Paulus). Awards include The 2009 Public Theater Emerging Writers Group Fellowship, a 2015 Queens Arts Council Grant, and The 2014 Best New Work Motif Award. Julian is an internationally produced playwright with productions in NYC, Chicago, Montréal, and Melbourne. He has workshopped his plays at LAByrinth Theater, TerraNova Collective, Fuse Theatre, Horse & Cart Theatre, and The Working Theatre. Julian’s short plays, Metro Psalm and SCHWARZ! (Hansel und Gretel) were selected as finalists in the Off-Off Broadway Samuel French Short Play Festival two years in a row (2009 & 2010). In November of 2015 his play, Animals Commit Suicide, received its world premiere at First Floor Theater in Chicago. His latest play, Locusts Have No King, had its world premiere in March at INTAR Theater. Some of his other plays include, Alligator Mouth, Man Boobs, Nico was a Fashion Model, and ¡OSO FABULOSO! & The Bear Backs (music by Steve Sclafani). He is also the co-producer and co-writer of the hit web series, Bulk- The Series and half of the electronic rock duo RUBBER.
Project: Bruise & Thorn
Bruise & Thorn is about a gender fluid teen and their gay brother surviving life in Jamaica, Queens. Estranged from their parents, they work in a laundromat to survive, but when finances become strained, they get caught up in an illegal cockfighting ring. The play will dance between realism, Fabulism, and fantasy, with a second act comprised of the cast in act one becoming animals in a Halal Live Food store, where the cocks for the cockfighting ring are obtained.
A.J. Ditty is an actor/writer/slash-mark enthusiast currently living in Queens. His first full-length play, How the Great Grapefruit Danced in the Moonlight, was staged in a workshop production at the Lee Strasberg Institute of Theatre and Film in spring 2010 and again in the fall of 2010, making it the only original student work to be revived in the history of the Institute. His other plays include Eloise Parker Goes to the Moon; The Minotaur: A New York Apartment Play; Deaf, Dumb, and Blind; Magellanica (Access Theater); A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dragon (#serials@theflea); “RIP” (The Secret Theater); The Chicken-Man; or, A Supposedly Fun Thing I Did for Six Months (Undiscovered Countries Festival); Heartbreak; or Why Sara Bareilles’ ‘King of Anything’ is the Greatest Song In The History of Goddamn Time (Undiscovered Countries Festival); Arthur Miller is Trapped in a Tiny Box; Bad Company (Brandspankin’ Festival, NYU); and UTurn which received a reading at the La Jolla Playhouse in 2009.
Project: Heart of Duckness
Heart of Duckness tells the story of greed, corruption, and political détente that took place during the Berlin Conference of 1884, where the nations of Europe carved up Africa for their own colonialist interests and not only changed the very geography of Africa, but set the stage for the inevitable World War to come.
But every character is a duck.
Mr. Duck, an American duck with unrelenting optimism and a heart of gold, is thrown headlong into the fray and finds himself swimming in waters teeming with political sharks (political duck-sharks?): King Leopold II, a genocidal lunatic out for blood and rubber tree plants, O Pato, a delegate from Portugal who might not be as pure as he appears, and Otto von Bisquack, a morally conscious mallard seeking peace among increasingly tumultuous nations. As alliances change and nations battle beak and nail for more land, Mr. Duck must make a choice to either compromise his values or see the world as he knows it collapse to ruin. Will the conference lead to an amicable treaty? Or will the arguments only lead to more feather-shed? As morality becomes malleable and the feathers start to fly, only one thing remains certain: we’re all corkscrewed.
Taylor makes new theatre. Their work deals with the sinister, the power of objects & the intersection between theatre & games. They’ve worked with The Flea, Ars Nova, Clubbed Thumb, Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Public and Playwrights Horizons, and have shown their work at The Brick, Dixon Place, and Playwrights Horizons Theatre School. A genderqueer person, Taylor uses ‘they/them’ pronouns & is an advocate for queer rights in artistic workspaces. Recently, they wrote an open letter to Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis that was co-signed by over 300 people and covered by Flux Weekly, Huffington Post, and American Theatre Magazine. tayloredelhart.com.
Project: The Holdefolk
In Icelandic folklore, there’s a race of elves known as the Huldufolk – dirty, dangerous, magical creatures thought to live inside the massive boulders scattered throughout the Icelandic countryside. To this day, building projects in Iceland will make sure to build around Huldufolk boulders, so as not to disturb them. This play is about the Huldufolk today. It’s also about ball houses, halfway houses, Skid Row, Native American reservations, trans found families, homeless communities, prison communities, immigrant communities, witch hunts, the cold shoulder, The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Gulliver’s Travels, and any community that mainstream society has gone out of its way to define and then to ignore. How much do we not know about people we never see?
Aeneas Sagar Hemphill is a New York-based writer and performer earning his MFA in Playwriting at Columbia University. He makes work that is contemporary, political, and mythic. His most recent play, Black Hollow, about the aftermath and recovery of a town after a mass shooting, was read at IRT with Dreamscape Theatre. He is currently developing his thesis play under the mentorship of Naomi Wallace.
Project: The Troll King Rules
The Troll King Rules will focus on the effects of social media on our lives. It will examine the way we build parallel personalities in real life and online, and how technology can simplify and complicate communication and identity.
Francesca Pazniokas is a writer and musician whose work has been produced and developed in NYC, Chicago, Washington DC, London, and Melbourne. Recently produced works include Keep (Owl and Cat Theatre, Wide-Eyed Productions and Mastodon Theatre) Red Snow (devised with Insomnium Theatre Company), Everlast (Source Festival) and Goodnight (Actors Theatre of Louisville). She holds a BA in Art History from Georgetown University and an MA in Playwriting from Royal Holloway, University of London.
In Wunderkammer, a lonely taxidermist has a surprise visitor. A mysterious child, with no name or history, wanders in from the desert and into his shop. ‘Kid’ soon becomes part pet, part protégé to the taxidermist–until his thirst for increasingly bizarre curios threatens the fragile peace between them. Will Kid become the taxidermist’s prize possession in his cabinet of wonders, or his downfall? Wunderkammer explores our obsession with the line between human and animal, and life and death.
Charly Evon Simpson is a playwright and performer. Her plays include Hottentotted, or what she will, Fish Out of Water, who we let in, While We Wait and more. Her work has been developed, seen, and/or heard at Ensemble Studio Theatre, Ars Nova, The Flea, The Tank, Crashbox Theater Company, SPACE on Ryder Farm, and HERE. Charly is an alum of Youngblood at Ensemble Studio Theatre and a former Playwright-in-Residence with Philadelphia Dramatists Center. Charly received her B.A. from Brown, a master’s in Women’s Studies from Oxford, and is currently pursuing her MFA in Playwriting at Hunter College.
This currently untitled project is about Aurora, her mother, a lost dog, and what happens when someone goes home again. It is about ghosts and memory and a pair of rocking chairs on a porch.
Class of 2016
Princess Clara of Loisaida by Matt Barbot
Hags, Mopes, and the End of All Existence by Jen Browne
The Mermaid Parade by Gina Femia
The Puppet Show by Reina Hardy
Cracks by Jacob Marx Rice
Girl Becomes Bone by Callan Stout
Eleven Shades of Blue by Amy E. Witting
Class of 2015
Let Me Be Frank by Salty Brine
Untitled Time Dilation Play by Colby Day
The Convent of Pleasure by Sarah Einspanier
The Serpent in Quicksilver by Adam Fried
Pilgrims by Claire Kiechel
Nostalgia is a Mild Form of Grief by Jerry Lieblich
Hiding in Sanity: A Tragicomedy by Rachel Music
Proximity by Jeremy Wine
Class of 2014
Optimism, Or by A.P. Andrews
The Great Molly by Colby Day
Tom’s Nightmare by Andrew Farmer
Show of Hands by Jessica Fleitman
Mystery of Fucking by Scott McCarrey
The Carrion Man by Alex Malcolm Mills
I’s Twinkle by Nate Weida