2018 JAW Festival Playwrights and Plays

Posted 04 May 2018

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Introducing the lineup for JAW 2018! This year's festival proudly presents new works from four incredible playwrights and celebrates 20 years of championing new plays. The festival begins with artists in residence starting July 16; the Big Weekend of staged readings and other fun events open to the public will occur July 27-29. As always, JAW is free and open to the public!


The Tasters
By Meghan Brown

With a rebel army poisoning government leaders left and right, the women known as Tasters have an important political role: Every day, they eat delicious gourmet meals and wait to see if it kills them. When the rebellious Elyse starts a hunger strike, she kicks off a series of events that could change the course of history — but not before she puts all of the Tasters' lives in jeopardy. Meghan Brown’s new play about power and complicity (and pleasure and fear and food!) is outrageously funny and undeniably timely.

About Meghan Brown

Meghan Brown is an Ovation Award-winning playwright based in Los Angeles. Her full-length plays include The Pliant GirlsThe Kill-or-Dies and Shine Darkly, Illyria. She is a founding member of The Temblors. Meghan wrote the book and lyrics for a new musical adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma with composer Sarah Taylor Ellis. Emma has been workshopped throughout the U.S. and in London, and was the pilot musical for Apples and Oranges Studios’ THEater ACCELERATOR. Meghan wrote the lyrics for the song cycle Untuned Ears Hear Nothing but Discord, which premiered at Lincoln Center as part of In Need of Music: The Songs of Ben Toth. Current projects include the original musical These Girls Have Demons (music by Sarah Taylor Ellis, workshopped as part of Pittsburgh CLO's SPARK festival) and Cowboy Elektra (with Rogue Artists Ensemble, music by The Dustbowl Revival's Zach Lupetin). meghanbrown.net

The Birds of Empathy
By Clarence Coo

Nathan is alone. His ex-boyfriend has gotten engaged, his mom has retired to Costa Rica, and his social life has devolved into a parade of unsatisfying encounters. But Nathan loves birds — watching them, discovering them, identifying with them. So when an unexpected visit from an estranged neighbor threatens to destroy his routine, Nathan has to confront a crucial question: Does he even need people when he’s got jays, sparrows and warblers?

About Clarence Coo


Clarence Coo is the recipient of a 2017 Whiting Award and the winner of the 2012 Yale Drama Series competition. His plays include Beautiful Province (Belle Province), People Sitting in Darkness and The God of Wine. His work has been developed at Atlantic Theater Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, New York Theatre Workshop and Bay Area Playwrights Festival. He has received fellowships from The Dramatists Guild of America, Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop at The Lark, New York Foundation for the Arts and Playwrights Realm. He received his M.F.A. in playwriting at Columbia University. Currently he is a resident playwright at New Dramatists, a member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab and the manager of academic administration for Columbia University’s M.F.A. Writing Program.  

Pick a Color
By Emily Feldman

Pick a Color follows four women taking refuge in a local nail salon to momentarily escape the stresses, heartbreak — and joys — of the busy winter holiday season. Playwright Emily Feldman uses her consciously theatrical storytelling style to present intimate portraits of women digging within themselves for the strength to fight off an army of reasons to despair. Shot through with humor and arresting imagery, the play celebrates the resilient emotional lives of women of middle age living in the American present.

About Emily Feldman


Emily Feldman’s work has been developed by The Playwrights’ Center, Colt Coeur, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Magic Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Roundabout Theatre Company and Playwrights Realm. She has been an Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition finalist, an Ashland New Play Festival winner and a member of The Working Farm at SPACE on Ryder Farm. She’s currently a member of Interstate 73 at Page73 and The Orchard Project NYC Greenhouse. Emily is a recent Jerome Fellow at the Playwrights’ Center and is the 2017-2018 Shank Playwright in Residence at Playwrights Horizons. This summer, she’ll be working on a new play at The New Harmony Project and Wild Wind Performance Lab. She holds an M.F.A. in playwriting from University of California San Diego and a B.A. from Middlebury College. 

three girls never learnt the way home 
By Matthew Paul Olmos

Matthew Paul Olmos’ play focuses on the friendship of three minority girls, who find themselves straddling two different worlds after being bussed to a newly integrated school. Using elements of magical realism and visceral theatricality, three girls never learnt the way home explores the question of what happens to children caught in the middle of complicated adult fears.

About Matthew Paul Olmos


Matthew Paul Olmos is a three-time recipient of a Sundance Institute fellowship/residency; a resident playwright for New Dramatists, Center Theatre Group and Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Black Swan Lab; and has received a Princess Grace Award and La MaMa's Ellen Stewart Emerging Playwright Award, as selected by Sam Shepard. Mentored for two years by Ruth Maleczech (Mabou Mines/SUITE), he is a New York Theatre Workshop fellow, Baryshnikov Arts Center resident, Echo Theater resident, Ensemble Studio Theater lifetime member, and proud Kilroys nominator. His work has been presented nationally and internationally, taught in university, and published by Samuel French and NoPassport Press. Current works include American Nationalism Project (New York Theatre Workshop’s Adelphi Residency); a play with music, We Walk Along the Christmas Bridge (Center Theatre Group’s L.A. Writers’ Workshop); a three-play cycle about questionable presidents; and his completed three-part cycle So Go the Ghosts of Mexico, Part Three (world premiere at Undermain Theatre in 2019). matthewpaulolmos.com

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