THE ADMISSION by Motti Lerner, translated by the author and Johanna Gruenhut (Israel): Set in Haifa in 1988 during the first Intifada, The Admission is a play about memory and denial in the context of what Israelis call their "War of Independence" and the Palestinians call their "Nakba." It portrays one Jewish and one Palestinian family. Some of the families' members are trying to reveal the events that took place during the 1948 war between Jews and Palestinians, hoping that an open and truthful discourse will heal their wounds-but some are trying to deny the events and bury their memories deep in the ground, hoping that peaceful co-existence without exposition of painful memories will heal those same wounds.
SNIPER ALLEY by Sonia Ristic, translated by Whitney Eggers (France/Serbia/Croatia): Ristic's play tells the story of a Bosnian family during the siege of Sarajevo that lasted more than three years. Several generations are living in the same apartment, dealing with the everyday consequences of war, and have not only decided to survive, but are also determined not to let what they are going through rob them of the simple joys of life-as they are watched, always, by the Sniper.
OUTSIDE IN by Claudine Toutoungi (U.K.): Outside In is a darkly comic play about Elena, a teacher in her late twenties about to undergo surgery to receive a cosmetic eye, and the relationship that grows between her and her prosthetics specialist, George. Flattered by her interest in him, George embarks on a relationship with Elena, in part as a distraction from his own chaotic inner life. But once he allows himself to have feelings for Elena, he starts to question her often erratic behavior, and rather than helping her to achieve her goal, George instead becomes Elena's greatest obstacle.
BELA KIZ by Hellie Turner (Australia): This play, based on real events that took place in Hungary, is set in 1914, prior to and at the on-set of World War I, in a town where people live in a routine state of hum-drum; bored with the status quo of monotony, but nonetheless stuck in their ways. Then Bela Kiz comes to town and life changes in wonderful ways for both the men and the women. His charisma leads to his becoming the town obsession, relegated to the rank of hero and savior. When the war breaks out in Europe he is called to the army, and his absence is a devastating blow to the community, until the sinister secrets of Bela Kiz are revealed to all.
POISON by Lot Vekemans, translated by Rina Vergano (The Netherlands): Six years after their divorce, a man and a woman meet each other again for the first time, at the place where their only child is buried. A letter, announcing that their child is going to be reburied because poison has been found in the soil, brings them back together. But while she is looking for someone with whom she can re-live the past, he wants someone who can look to the future. Both are torn apart by grief, but it is not until they let themselves become vulnerable enough to return to the past, to their child's deathbed, that they seem to reconnect.
Marion Aubert is a writer and performer born in Aurillac, France, who co-created the Tire pas la Nappe Theatre Company, along with Capucine Ducastelle and Marion Guerrero. She has both performed at the Théâtre du Rond Point in Paris, and written plays that have been staged there, including Pride, Pursuit and Decapitation. Her other plays include The Sacrosanct Crozat Family, Push-pins, Saga of the Folk of the Moldavian Vale, The Rabble-rousers, The Histrions, Scenes of Family Horror, The Orphan Girls, Advice to a Young Bride-a Collective (bilingual), Preparation for Married Life and The Belling of the Deer. She has taken part in the International Writers in Residence program at The Royal Court Theatre in London, as well as a residency at the Comédie de Saint-Etienne. She is also a founder of the Writers' Coop (www.lacooperativedecriture.com), along with 12 other playwrights. Her plays have been translated into Catalan, Czech, English, German and Italian.
Nicolas Billon's first two plays, The Elephant Song and The Measure of Love, premiered at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 2004 and 2005. Nicolas was also the first playwright to attend the Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre Training. The Elephant Song was subsequently mounted in French at the Théâtre d'Aujourd'hui in Montréal, and was selected for the 2008 hotINK Festival. From 2006 to 2008, Nicolas was a member of the inaugural Soulpepper Academy, during which time he adapted Chekhov's Three Sisters and co-created BLiNK for the Luminato Festival. For the 2009 Toronto Fringe Festival, Nicolas adapted Molière's The Sicilian, which became a hit with both critics and audiences. He followed up with a new play at SummerWorks, Greenland, which garnered both the NOW Audience Choice Award and the award for SummerWorks Outstanding Production. Greenland was mounted at the 2011 NY Fringe and received an Overall Excellence Award for Playwriting. In 2010, Nicolas's adaptation of Iphigenia at Aulis was presented at the 2010 SummerWorks Festival, where it made every major critic's "must-see" list. Two years later, Iceland was presented at SummerWorks, where it won the NOW Audience Choice Award and the award for Best New Play.
Motti Lerner is a playwright and screenwriter, born in Israel, who teaches playwriting at the Kibbutz College in Tel Aviv. Most of his plays and films deal with political issues. Among his plays are Kastner, Pangs of the Messiah, Paula and Pollard, all produced by the Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv. Exile in Jerusalem and Passing The Love of Women were produced at the Habima National Theatre. Autumnat was done at the Beit Lessin Theatre in Tel Aviv, and Hard Love, at the Municipal Theatre in Haifa. His play, The Murder of Isaac, about the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, was produced at the Heilbron Theatre in Germany (1999) and had its American premiere at Centerstage Theatre in Baltimore (2006). His play, In the Dark, had its world premiere with the Chingari Theatre Group in Delhi (2011). He has written screenplays for the films Loves in Betania, The Kastner Trial, Bus Number 300 and Egoz. He has also written for numerous television series, including "The Institute," "A Battle in Jerusalem," "The Silence of the Sirens," "Altalena" and "Spring 1941," which featured Joseph Fiennes and Claire Higgins in the leading roles. He is a recipient of the Best Play award (1985), and the Israeli Motion Picture Academy Award for the Best TV Drama in 1995 and in 2004. In 1994 he won the Prime Minister of Israel Award for his creative work. His plays have been produced in Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, India, Italy, South Africa, Switzerland, and the U.S. His book, According to Chekov, was published in 2011. His play, Hastening the Messiah, will open in Jerusalem in February 2013, and his play, Paulus, will open in Chicago in November 2013. He has taught playwriting and screenwriting at Duke University, North Carolina, Knox College, Illinois and Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.
Sonia Ristic was born in Belgrade and grew up between the former Yugoslavia and Africa. She has lived in Paris since 1991. After studying Literature and Theatre, she became an actress and assistant director. She has worked with several prominent NGOs (Non-governmental Organizations) that specifically deal with human rights issues and actions surrounding the wars in the former Yugoslavia. With the collective Théâtre du Verre, she directed many of her own plays, as well as collective pieces. In 2004, she created her own company, Seulement pour les fous, and staged her plays Le temps qu'il fera demain (What Tomorrow Holds) and Quatorze minutes de danse (14-Minute Dance). She regularly holds writing and acting seminars in France and abroad. The majority of her plays have been published, performed, or read on air. She is the recipient of grants from the Centre National du Livre (2005 and 2008), the Minister of Culture (2006), the Centre National du Théâtre (2007), the Fondation Beaumarchais/Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques (2008) and the Région Île de France (2010 and 2011). She has won numerous awards for her writing.
Claudine Toutoungi studied at Oxford University and trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. As a producer for BBC Radio Drama, she has directed many radio plays, including the award-winning Exiled from Paradise. In 2010 the UK Arvon/Jerwood Foundation selected her as an emerging playwright for mentoring by Colin Teevan, and her play Jewels, written during the same period, was shortlisted for London's PapaTango Award. Her other plays include Life Skills (Shared Experience at The Hampstead Theatre), Risk Assessment (Theatre 503) and Dumb (Corpus Playroom, Cambridge). An excerpt from Jewels was published in the Arvon New Writers' Anthology 2010. She is also a published poet, with work included in magazines such as "Alba" and "Erbacce," and in the Bloodaxe's anthology, We Have Come Through. She was a 2012 prize-winner in the Café Writers International Poetry Competition.
Hellie Turner is a prolific, veteran playwright with numerous awards and production credits to her name. She has written for all sectors of theatre including community, youth, independent and professional. In addition to her freelance and commissioned work she was resident playwright for kompany M, professional WA theatre ensemble 2005-2010. She trained and worked as an actor with avant-garde troupe CAST, and works as an independent theatre director, freelance dramaturg and script assessor. She also runs playwriting workshops for new writers. Her work has attracted a number of tours, and has been acknowledged by numerous grants and awards.
Lot Vekemans studied Social Geography at the University of Utrecht, after which she attended the Writerschool 't Colofon in Amsterdam and graduated in 1993 as a playwright. Since 1995 she has written numerous plays for children as well as for adults. She wrote, among other things, Geen gewoon meisje (Not an ordinary girl) for Artemis, Hé payofor Het lab van de Berenkuil, Truckstop for the MUZ theater (2001), Het Toneel Speelt (2010), Vreemde vogels (Strange birds) for Kwatta, Licht!(Light!) for Barra, the monologues "Zus van" (Sister of) and "Judas" for her own company, MAM, Ledacourt for Het Zuidelijk Toneel, Mind Your Step 2 for the Panta Theatre in France and Gif (Poison) for NTGent. In 2005, she received the award Van der Vies (three year award for the best play) for Truckstop and "Zus van." In 2010, she received the prestigious award, the Taalunie Toneelschrijfprijs 2010 (award for the best Dutch play staged in 2009/2010), for her play Gif (Poison). In April 2012, her first novel was published by Publisher House Cossee in Amsterdam, and has been nominated for the Anton Wachter Award, for the Best Debut Novel in the Netherlands and Flanders. Her plays have been staged in Austria, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Luxemburg, Mexico, Namibia, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Spain and the United Kingdom. Currently she is working on a new play for NTGent, and is writing for a new Dutch television series.