July 14-18, 2018 in Goodman's Select Theatre

Playwrights Unit

2017/2018 Playwrights Unit

The process of creating a play, from inception to fully realized production, is often long and arduous, and writers typically revise their work through a series of workshops and readings. Among the many ways the Goodman currently supports and develops new plays is the Playwrights Unit, a program in which local writers meet twice per month to discuss their plays-in-process. Each writer possesses a unique voice, and each approaches writing differently; it is precisely this diversity that leads to fruitful discussions. After 10 months of meetings, the five plays written during the season are showcased in summer staged readings–this year, they are July 14-18. Playwrights Unit plays are strongly considered for production in the Goodman’s New Stages Festival and/or mainstage programming. In recent years, audiences have seen Playwrights Unit works in the Owen Theatre such as Andrew Hinderaker’s The Magic Play, Seth Bockley’s Ask Aunt Susan, Kristiana Rae Colón’s florissant & canfield and Martín Zimmerman’s The Solid Sand Below.

Please plan on arriving early to the readings. Doors will open 20 minutes prior to start time.
Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Seating is not guaranteed.

Playwrights Unit Plays

  • July 14

    Gomez Wade


    By Isaac Gomez 
    Directed by Marti Lyons
    Saturday, July 14 | 2pm

    As Hurricane Harvey wreaks havoc, six Houstonians find themselves trapped in the downtown convention center where 10,000 displaced people wait out the storm of the year. In the midst of cabin fever, head injuries, secret rescues and weathered barriers, Wade is a cry for a revival at a time and place when survival is no longer enough. RESERVE TICKETS >>


  • The Woyzeck Experiment

    By Nigel O’Hearn
    Directed by Elly Green
    Sunday, July 15 | 2pm

    To properly train criminally divisive subjects and safely re-assimilate them back into society, State Training and Re-Assimilation Program 1017 – codenamed “The Woyzeck Experiment” – has developed a new methodology for inscribing empathy into its subjects; a new methodology that goes beyond the standard, state-proscribed linguistic prohibitions and punishments. Drawing on Georg Büchner’s unfinished 1836 play Woyzeck, The Woyzeck Experiment explores the means of identity formation, the pains of identification, and the violence intrinsic to language and actor training. A comedy. RESERVE TICKETS >>


  • A Hundred Circling Camps

    By Sam Collier
    Directed by Nina Morrison
    Monday, July 16 | 7:30pm

    During the summer of 1932, over 20,000 people hopped trains to Washington D.C. and camped out to demand fair pay for veterans of the World War. The legacy of the Bonus Army is written into our laws and culture, but the march has been largely forgotten. As America protests and forgets and protests and forgets, what is carried forward? Touching on the Poor People’s Campaign, Occupy Wall Street and Standing Rock protests, A Hundred Circling Camps explores what it means to live in public as an act of resistance. RESERVE TICKETS >>


  • July 17

    Gamboa The Wizards

    The Wizards

    By Ricardo Gamboa
    Directed by Azar Kazemi
    Tuesday, July 17 | 7:30pm

    Amado and Sam, a brown and black genderqueer couple, move back to Amado’s hometown of Chicago after surviving a hate crime in New York the day after the 2016 presidential election. In their new apartment in the city’s gentrifying Pilsen neighborhood, they find a Ouija board that puts them in touch with The Wizards, a Mexican-American Motown cover band on the Southside during the 70s. The Wizards is a supernatural thriller about the histories and people that haunt us. RESERVE TICKETS >>

  • Three Antarcticas

    By Kristin Idaszak
    Directed by Susan E. Bowen
    Wednesday, July 18 | 7:00pm

    Robert Falcon Scott’s explorers perform a play to stave off polar madness during the four months of Antarctic night. A female glaciologist fights for her place in cutting-edge climate change research in 1979. A present-day couple travels to the ends of the earth to get married. Is it possible to go to the edge of the world and return unchanged? RESERVE TICKETS >>


Sam Collier is a playwright, poet, and theater artist. Her play Daisy Violet the Bitch Beast King was a finalist for the O’Neill Theater Center’s 2017 National Playwright Conference. Other plays include Silo Tree; thing with feathers and Quiet, Witches. Her work has also been developed by the Last Frontier Theatre Conference, the Chicago Theatre Marathon, PTP/NYC, The Make Ready, Horse & Cart, Theater Nyx, New Ground Theatre and the UNESCO Cities’ Play Festival. Her poems have appeared in The Puritan, Sixfold, Iron Horse Literary Review, Mortar Magazine, Guernica and elsewhere. She has taught writing with Front Street Writers, Cornell College, Young Playwrights’ Theater, Imagination Stage, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Combined Efforts Theater and The University of Iowa. She has held fellowships and residencies with the National Writers Series, the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the National Theatre Institute and the Folger Shakespeare Library. She holds an MFA in playwriting from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop.

Ricardo Gamboa is an award-winning artist, activist and academic creating radically politicized work in their native Chicago and New York City. In Chicago, Gamboa is a member of Free Street Theater and founding adult founder of the controversial, politically-charged ensemble The Young Fugitives. In New York City, they are a fellow of the EmergeNYC program at Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics and member of the New York Neo-Futurists. They are finishing their doctorate degree at New York University’s renowned American studies program and received their MA in arts politics (2013) from the Tisch School of the Arts. Gamboa has won several awards including a Joyce Award and an International Connections Award from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. They have worked with over 5,000 young people in the hemisphere. Their current projects include the underground live and live-streamed news show The Hoodoisie, the audience and critically-engaged, community-based theater piece Meet Juan(ito) Doe and BRUJOS, the genre-bending web series about four gay Latino doctoral students who are also witches.

Isaac Gomez is a Chicago-based playwright originally from El Paso, Texas/Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. His play La Ruta will be receiving its world premiere at Steppenwolf Theater Company this fall. He is currently under commission from South Coast Repertory, Goodman Theatre, The Theatre School at DePaul University (Cunningham Commission for Youth Theater), Steep Theatre and StepUp Chicago Playwrights. His plays have been supported by Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Primary Stages, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, Northlight Theatre, Albany Park Theater Project, WaterTower Theatre, Haven Theatre, Teatro Vista, Greenhouse Theater Center, Jackalope Theatre Company, Pivot Arts, Definition Theatre Company, Broken Nose Theatre, Stage Left, The VORTEX, and Something Marvelous. He is the recipient of the 2017 Jeffry Melnick New Playwright Award at Primary Stages, an inaugural 3Arts “Make A Wave” grantee, co-creative director at the Alliance of Latinx Theatre, a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists, an artistic associate with Victory Gardens Theater, ensemble member with Teatro Vista, artistic associate with Pivot Arts, artistic curator for Theater on the Lake 2018/2019, a steering committee member of the Latinx Theatre Commons (LTC) and a core producer with the Jubilee. He is a professional lecturer at The Theatre School at DePaul University, and is represented by The Gersh Agency and Circle of Confusion.  

Kristin Idaszak is a Chicago-based playwright, dramaturg and performance maker, and the artistic director of Cloudgate Theatre. Her play Second Skin received the Kennedy Center’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award and the Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award. Her play Another Jungle (Relentless Award honorable mention) received its world premiere with Cloudgate Theatre and The Syndicate in April 2018. Her work has also been developed through residencies at the city of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs, Stage Left Theatre and the Qualcomm Institute at Calit2 in San Diego. Idaszak has co-created collaborative original work that has been seen at the WoW Festival at La Jolla Playhouse and the Blurred Borders Festival, an international showcase of contemporary dance theatre. She has been nominated for a Jeff Award for Best New Work and has received two honorable mentions on the Kilroys’ List. She was the 2015 Kennedy Center Fellow at the Sundance Theatre Lab. She has received two Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellowships. Currently, Idaszak is working on a commission for EST/the Sloan Foundation. She is the Shank Playwright-in-Residence at the Goodman Theatre where she dramaturged The Wolves. She is also a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists. Previously, she served as associate artistic director/literary manager of Caffeine Theatre and associate artistic director of Collaboraction. She received her MFA from University of California, San Diego and BFA from The Theatre School at DePaul University.

Nigel O’Hearn O’Hearn’s plays have been produced in Edinburgh and New York as part of the International Fringe Festivals there, Chicago, and at various theaters in his hometown of Austin, Texas. From 2009-2012, he served as the artistic director and resident playwright of Palindrome Theatre in Austin, which produced his adaptation of Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Best Comedy nomination, 2012-2013 Austin Critics Table), his adaptation/translation A Hedda Gabler (finalist, 2012 International Ibsen Festival, National Theatre of Norway) and the Equity workshop premiere of his play The Attic Space. In early 2014, O’Hearn moved to Chicago, where his productions include: “they”: a lamentation (Chicago Fringe Festival); Circle Machine – an adaptation of Chuck Mee’s Full Circle, co-written with Emma Stanton and Thom Pasculli (Oracle Productions); An Alliance of Brats, an adaptation of Ibsen’s The League of Youth (Illinois State University and Heartland Theatre Company, Normal, IL); and A Hedda Gabler (Red Tape Theatre), which saw its fifth production at Wichita State University this past November. He received an MA from the University of Chicago, where he was an Arts, Sciences, and Culture Graduate Collaborative Grant recipient for co-developing a scientific study that gauged the cognitive impact of reading poetry on Alzheimer’s patients and their primary caregivers. His most recent play, Song We Forgot to Sing: a play in several scenes and poems, is a verse dramatization of that study process, which received an Equity reading at the Logan Center in 2017.

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