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"Bike America" by Mike Lew won the Alliance/Kendeda competition in 2013. The Alliance gave his play "Tiger Style!" its world premiere in 2015. Many Kendeda alumni now write for stage, TV and film. (Photo by Greg Mooney)

One week, 4 days, 4 new plays: Alliance’s 17th “Kendeda Week” begins Tuesday

The Alliance Theatre this week continues to spotlight some of the best emerging playwrights in the country with Zoom readings of plays by the four finalists of  the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition. The readings are free, talkbacks follow each one and registration is required. The 2021 winner, the thriller DATA by Brooklyn-based Matthew Libby, opened May 6 and runs through Sunday.

kendeda week may 2021Here’s the lineup for what’s commonly called “Kendeda Week,” which, in non-COVID days, proved a popular ticket with metro theatergoers who’d overfill one of the company’s rehearsal halls. The readings are typically cast with some of Atlanta’s best actors. The scripts are read blindly, with no name or city attached. The competition, the only one of its kind in the nation, is in its 17th year.

Mother of Exiles. 4 p.m. Tuesday. By Jessica Huang, a New York-based playwright and Juilliard graduate. Mother of Exiles is a multigenerational tale of sacrifice, love and survival that spans 150 years in 90 minutes. It begins in 1898 California, where a pregnant Eddie Loi faces deportation. In 1998 Miami, her grandson Braulio accidentally summons her spirit while patrolling the border. In 2063, somewhere on the ocean, their descendants try to survive the climate crisis. Pirronne Yousefzadeh of Geva Theatre in Rochester, New York, directs.

The Singularity Play. 4 p.m. Wednesday. By Jay Stull, a New York-based playwright and Columbia University graduate. The Singularity Play is set in an unused room at Google’s Manhattan offices, where a theater troupe has gathered to rehearse a new play written by an advanced AI named “Denise.” In an art that relies so substantially upon our humanness, it asks, what does it mean to cede the stage to artificial intelligence and who are we when reflected by the intelligence we’ve created? Keenan Tyler Oliphant , a New York-based theater artist, directs.

Harpers Ferry 2019. 4 p.m. Thursday. By Kaela Mei-Shing Garvin, an Indiana University graduate. At the Harpers Ferry National Park in West Virginia, park rangers gather to prepare for the 160th anniversary of John Brown’s infamous raid. When race and politics enter the equation, history repeats itself in a surprising and violent way. Atlanta theater artist Ibi Owolabi directs.

2020: a going away party play. 4 p.m. Friday. By Keyanna Khatiblou, a Chicago-based playwright and Northwestern University graduate. 2020: a going away party play celebrates multicultural identities and explores what it means to leave or lose your home country. It follows first-generation Iranian American Mina, who’s throwing a party for her closest friends and you, the audience. Using games, flashbacks and storytelling, the ensemble reflects on the modern American identity and tells the story of how Mina’s parents fell in love and stayed in love during the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Jamil Jude, artistic director of True Colors Theatre Company, directs.

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