Phoenix Theatre's Bryan Fonseca was chosen to be a director for the Playwrights’ Workshop in D.C.


It’s always satisfying when you see someone chocked full of talent recognized for their wisdom.

Our own 2001 CVA winner, Bryan Fonseca, has been chosen to be part of a team of six directors in the 10th Annual MFA Playwrights’ Workshop in Washington, D.C.

What that really means is he is about to change one young playwright’s life.

The week (July 25 to August 2) will include 50 playwrights, directors, and dramaturgs all collaborating to make six scripts into something marketable. The six young playwrights will be Matthew Capodicasa, Lindsey Ferrentino, Dominic Finocchiaro, Sylvia Khoury, Will Snider, and Aurin Squire. Fonseca will be working with Sylvia Khoury. The week is an association with the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, National New Play Network, and the National Center for New Plays at Stanford University.

“They give the playwright this amazing team of artists on each play,” said Fonseca. “I have a team of people that are working with me on the development of this play with the playwright. This is an amazing program for a playwright.”

It’s basically a development bootcamp for budding theater writers. A week of workshopping their script will, ideally, leave them with a smoothed out version that is ready to send out around the country in the hopes that it will be produced.

“It’s all about the development of the piece,” said Fonseca regarding the products of the week.

Fonseca also noted that it doesn't hurt to have the seal of approval from some of the “mentors” working on each script. If he is contacted about a script that he worked on intensely for a week, he can attest to its quality and production value.

This will be Fonseca’s second round in D.C. He previously went in 2010 where he worked with Sam Hunter, now a nationally recognized playwright currently based in Chicago. After Fonseca workshopped Hunter’s script, he felt so strongly about it that the play came to life in Indianapolis at the Phoenix in the production of Norway. At first the play was named Atlasing Sodom. They changed that in the workshop.

Fonseca noted that the title of a script can make or break it. In fact, the Phoenix can receive up to 500 scripts a year for consideration. The title is step one of sorting through those.

The play that Khoury will be workshopping is titled Against the Hillside. According to Fonseca, “this is a political piece in its own way.”

The play was described in a press release as “an American drone pilot has a mysterious connection to the Pakistani housewife he is watching from thousands of miles away.” Really, it echoes the struggle of a soldier who feels the disconnect between himself and the people in his crosshairs. Fonseca feels very passionately about the topic, and sees a lot of promise.

Because much of the week is about mentorship and development, I asked Fonseca what single piece of advice he would give young playwrights.

“Trust their own voice. You know sometimes other artists will meddle with things. … what I want to get at is ‘what is the story you want to tell?’ That’s what I have to concentrate on. I have to divorce myself from you know me trying to put my blueprint on a work. That’s not what this is all about.”


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