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Young Jean Lee and Thomas Bradshaw in Conversation

Sat, Apr 20, 2013, 1–3 pm

Moderated by James Palmer

Two of today’s most exciting young playwrights, Young Jean Lee and Thomas Bradshaw are best known in Chicago for brawling debuts: THE SHIPMENT, performed by Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company at MCA Stage in 2010; and Mary, Bradshaw’s 2011 commission for The Goodman Theatre. Coming of age in the aftermath of the blockbuster film Jaws, the first Iran/Iraq war, and the debut of Good Times on CBS, their plays tackle our pockmarked national sense of strength and unity flowing out of the culture wars, the gas crisis, and a hazy fear of the “other.” Lee and Bradshaw inspire many—and repel others—for taking aim with hyper real precision at how people perceive and are perceived by others in a world that is fighting, organizing, and voting for change. In this talk, moderated by Red Tape Theatre’s Artistic Director James Palmer, they discuss their work, and explore how each other’s plays relate to both changing attitudes and other perspectives that remain the same.

This talk occurs in conjunction with Young Jean Lee’s Theatre Company performance of UNTITLED FEMINIST SHOW.

Young Jean Lee is an OBIE award-winning playwright and director who has written and directed nine shows in New York with Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company and toured her work to more than 20 cities around the world. Her plays have been published by Theatre Communications Group (Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven and Other Plays, THE SHIPMENT, and Lear) and by Samuel French (Three Plays by Young Jean Lee). She is currently under commission from Plan B/Paramount Pictures, Lincoln Center Theater, Playwrights Horizons, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She is a member of New Dramatists and 13P and has an MFA from Mac Wellman’s playwriting program at Brooklyn College. She has received grants from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Creative Capital, NYFA, NEA, NYSCA, the Jerome Foundation, the Greenwall Foundation, and the Rockefeller MAP Foundation. She is also the recipient of two OBIE awards, the Festival Prize of the Zuercher Theater Spektakel, a 2010 Prize in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2012 Doris Duke Artist Award.

Thomas Bradshaw‘s plays have been produced in New York, and in regional theaters across the US, as well as in Europe. His play Job was produced by The Flea Theater in Fall 2012 and revived in Winter 2013. In 2011, his play Burning ran to rave reviews off-Broadway, and the Goodman Theater produced his play Mary, which they had previously commissioned. His play The Bereaved, produced by Partial Comfort, was named one of the Best Plays of 2009 in Time Out New York and was a New York Times Critic’s Pick. Other plays include Southern Promises, Dawn (both listed among the Best Performances of Stage and Screen in The New Yorker), Purity, Prophet, Strom Thurmond is not a Racist, and Cleansed. Bradshaw received his MFA from Mac Wellman’s playwriting program at Brooklyn College and is Professor of Playwriting at Northwestern University. He has been featured as one of Time Out New York’s 10 playwrights to watch, one of Paper Magazine’s Beautiful People, and Best Provocative Playwright by the Village Voice. He has received Fellowships from The Lark Play Development Center, Soho Rep. (Streslin Fellow), and New York Theater Workshop. He is the recipient of a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship, the 2010 Prince Charitable Trust Prize, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts award for 2012. In 2009 he was Playwright in Residence at The Soho Theatre in London, where he wrote The Ashes.

James Palmer in his fifth season as Red Tape Theatre Company’s Artistic Director and is directing Young Jean Lee’s Lear this spring for Red Tape. Recent directing credits include Lee’s Church/Pullman, WA (2011); as well as George Brant’s Elephant’s Graveyard (2012 Jeff Recommended); Mark Schultz’ The Gingerbread House (2012); Timberlake Wertenbaker’s The Love of the Nightingale (2010 Jeff Award for Best Direction, Nominations for Best Production, Best Choreography, Best Sound, Best Fight Choreography); and Robert L. Oakes’s adaptation of Ibsen’s Enemy of the People (2009). For Red Tape he has produced Brand (2011); Tragedy: a tragedy (2011); Obscura: a voyeuristic love story (2010); and Mouse in a Jar (2009 Jeff Award for Best Sound Design). Palmer has participated in selected readings and workshops with Goodman Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, American Theatre Company, and TUTA Theatre.