Independent Lens: Playwright: From Page to Stage

Independent Lens: Playwright: From Page to Stage

Monday, December 16 at 10:00 p.m.

An intimate glimpse into the dynamic process of creating and launching new plays,

"Playwright: From Page to Stage" follows two outstanding young playwrights through the writing, development, staging, rehearsal and public performance of their plays.

Over the course of three years, the dramatic parallel journeys of Rajiv Joseph and Tarell Alvin McCraney unfold, from the time their work receives development funding until the riveting climax, when one of the productions makes it to Broadway with Robin Williams in a leading role.

When the film begins, McCraney and Joseph are fresh talents bursting onto the scene, both having written probing new plays depicting society in turmoil. Young, black, gay, and from Miami’s inner city, McCraney has an unusual background for mainstream American theater. His Brother/Sister Plays, a sprawling coming-of-age trilogy set in a fictional black Louisiana community, reflect not only his own life experiences, but also the social and cultural realities of America’s underclass.

Joseph is a quiet but charismatic young Indian-American from Cleveland who traveled to Africa for a three-year stint in the Peace Corps after graduating from college. His Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo is a phantasmagorical exploration of war-torn Iraq.

Intercutting between the two plays, the film goes backstage to reveal the drama and conflict leading up to their opening nights.

Photo: Robin Williams as the tiger in "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo."