INTAR (Eduardo Machado, Artistic Director/John McCormack, Executive Director) will join New York University's Department of English and its Program in Dramatic Literature to celebrate the 80th birthday of playwright, director and teacher Maria Irene Fornés. To honor this seminal figure in American theater, NYU faculty members Gwendolyn Alker (Department of Drama) and Eduardo Machado (Department of Dramatic Writing) will present a festival of Fornés plays at a number of Off-Broadway theaters, including INTAR, New World Stages, Cherry Lane, and Theater for the New City.
Running from March 25th to April 5th, The 2010 New York Fornés Festival will present her landmark play Fefu and Her Friends as well as more rarely revived works (Dr. Kheal, Tango Palace, The Successful Life of 3, The Summer in Gossensass, and What of the Night?), as well as a screening of the film, "The Rest I Make Up": Documenting Irene.
Maria Irene Fornés was born in Havana, Cuba on May 14th, 1930. Following her father's sudden death she emigrated with her mother and a sister to the US, arriving in Manhattan in 1945. Her first play, Tango Palace (1964) was written in English, like the majority of her work. It premiered at the Actors Workshop in San Francisco, directed by Herbert Blau. By this time, she was already established within the small but influential avant-garde Greenwich Village arts community. After Tango Palace, Fornés has gone on to write over forty plays. She was among the Off-Off Broadway artists which included Lanford Wilson and Terrence McNally, who gathered at the Judson Poet's Theatre, La MaMa, and the Café Cino. She wrote The Successful Life of 3 (1965), Dr. Kheal and Molly's Dream (1968) among other plays of the ‘60s. These were busy years in which she wrote ten works, including a brush with Broadway - The Office (1966) while Promenade (1965), with music by Al Carmines, an inspirational minister at the Judson Church, was an early commercial success. In 1972 Fornés worked with Ed Bullins, Rosalyn Drexler, Adrienne Kennedy, Sam Shepard and Megan Terry to create New York Theatre Strategy, a space where playwrights could try out their ideas and have control over their work. In 1977 Fefu and Her Friends was produced under her direction at New York Theatre Strategy. Fefu has come to be recognized as an innovative and important American play and continues to be one of Fornés' most produced works. At this time, Fornés began her long collaboration with INTAR, where she began her search for a 'Hispanic sensibility.' In her highly influential workshops there, she taught many aspiring writers. In the 1980s and ‘90s Fornes wrote and directed Evelyn Brown (1980), The Danube (1981), Mud (1983), Sarita (1984), The Conduct of Life (1985), Abingdon Square (1987), Enter The Night (1993), and her last play, Letters From Cuba (2000). Fornés as been awarded many prestigious prizes and honors, including nine Obie Awards.
The 2010 New York Fornés Festival provides a rare opportunity to encounter the full range of Fornés' plays in a short span of time and to contextualize them through talkbacks with Fornés artists and scholars. Health permitting, Fornés herself will attend some events. INTAR, one of the United States' longest running Latino theatres producing in English, works to:
-Nurture the professional development of Latino theater artists.
-Produce bold, innovative, artistically significant plays that reflect diverse perspectives.
-Make accessible the diversity inherent in America's cultural heritage.
Through an integrated program of workshops, productions of works in progress, and mainstage productions, INTAR continues to raise standards of the theater arts. INTAR brings to the public vital and energetic voices of both promising and accomplished Latino theater professionals, replacing stereotypes while giving expression to the diversity and depth of today's Latino-American community.
The 2010 New York Fornés Festival is made possible by the generous support of INTAR, Theatre for a New City, Cherry Lane Theatre, The Department of English and its Program in Dramatic Literature at New York University, The Humanities Initiative at New York University, and PAJ Publications.
For reservations for all events except Promenade, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.intartheatre.org for more information.