Skylight Theatre Company Launches Rolling World Premiere of Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea on Feb 21

Feb 17, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC - Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea by Nathan Alan Davis will begin its National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere at Skylight Theatre (Los Angeles, CA) in a co-production with Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble (Los Angeles, CA).  The play - as per the guidelines of NNPN’s Continued Life of New Plays Fund, which supports its member theaters’ production of new works - will receive four entirely separate productions within a twelve month period with the playwright continuing the development of the script as it moves across the country.

The LA production is directed by Gregory Wallace and will run from February 21 - March 29, 2015. The playwright has been with the production during rehearsals in Los Angeles, and will be in attendance at Skylight Theatre for the Opening.  He will also travel to the other theaters as he continues refine the play.

The play’s NNPN Rolling World Premiere will continue with productions at NNPN Core Members Phoenix Theatre (Indianapolis, IN) and Cleveland Public Theatre (OH), and Associate Members Theatre Alliance (Washington, DC) and Oregon Contemporary Theatre (Eugene). These productions will run April 9 – 26 in Indianapolis, May 6 – 31 in DC, May 21 – June 6 in Cleveland, and May 15 – June 6, 2015 in Oregon.

Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea is the 44th play to receive support through National New Play Network's Continued Life of New Plays Fund.  A partnership of three of more member theaters receives NNPN staff support for collaborative endeavors while preparing for and producing Rolling World Premiere productions.  NNPN also provides the partnership with funds to support production expenses, such as the playwright's travel and residency during the rehearsal process at each funded theater.

Eighteen-year-old Dontrell Jones the Third decides that it is his duty and destiny to venture into the Atlantic Ocean in search of an ancestor lost during the Middle Passage. But his family is not at all ready to abandon its prized son to the waters of a mysterious and haunting past.  Blending poetry, humor, wordplay and ritual, Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea explores the lengths and depths we must go in order to free ourselves from history’s wrongs.

Nathan Alan Davis is a playwright from the Midwest whose chosen influences include Hip Hop, classical tragedy and Sufi poetry. Plays include Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea (NNPN Rolling World Premiere, 2015), The Art of Bowing (L. Arnold Weissberger Award nominee) and The Wind and the Breeze (Lorraine Hansberry Award winner). These works and others have been produced, presented or developed at Baltimore CENTERSTAGE, San Diego REP, Source Festival, Chicago Dramatists, the Kennedy Center/NNPN MFA Playwrights Workshop, and Indiana University. In 2014/15 he joins the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at Juilliard. Other honors include: Jerome Fellowship finalist, Heideman Award finalist and Bay Area Playwrights Festival finalist. Nathan received his MFA from Indiana University in 2014 and holds a BFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Cleveland Public Theatre’s mission is to nurture compassion and raise consciousness through ground-breaking performance and life-changing education programs. CPT produces 10+ adventurous shows a year, mostly world premieres, with a strong emphasis on bold aesthetics and extraordinary approaches to theater and is a proud NNPN Core Member theatre. CPT celebrates equity with a diverse season, typically with 50% or more plays by women. CPT is known for devising works with professional ensembles and is a member of the network of ensemble theaters. CPT engages communities in creating original work through Teatro Publico de Cleveland and its education programs that serve residents of public housing, low-income youth and homeless adults in transition.

The Phoenix Theatre is Indiana’s only professional contemporary theatre, and has presented productions to challenge and entertain the Indianapolis community for 31 years. An Equity house, the Phoenix presents the Midwest and Indiana premieres of many popular Broadway and Off-Broadway plays, and has presented more than 91 world premieres since its inception. The Phoenix Theatre is a core member of the National New Play Network and is supported by the Indiana Arts Commission, the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as local corporate and foundation funders and more than 400 individual donors.

Oregon Contemporary Theatre’s mission is to create bold entertainment that challenges expectation, inspires curiosity, encourages dialogue and supports positive change. OCT produces 7 to 8 engaging productions a year, featuring the best new plays and reimagined classics performed in an enticingly intimate theatre in Eugene, Oregon. Since its founding in 1992 OCT has produced over 130 productions, including numerous world premieres. OCT is committed to providing a supportive and nurturing environment for emerging theatre artists and arts administrators to grow their craft. OCT is proud of its leadership in the economic revitalization of Downtown Eugene where we opened our permanent new home in 2013 with the generous support of local and state government, regional foundations and more than 300 individual donors. OCT is an NNPN Associate Member.

Skylight Theatre Company is about discovering, developing and producing new, exhilarating theater while nurturing and educating the artists who create it. We are a vibrant and expanding family of artists giving voice to original perspectives of today's world. In 2013, LA Weekly named Skylight's productions of Years to the Day, Open House and Sexting to their list of the Top Ten Plays of the Year. In 2011, our first year as a company dedicated to developing new plays, our production of Hermeticaly Sealed made the LA Times annual list of Top Ten Plays and Mad Women moved from Los Angeles to New York! Since then plays developed by Skylight have played Chicago, New York, and Paris, as well other local venues. Since 2011 Skylight Theatre Company has presented works from more than 170 writers as part of 92 staged readings, 19 World Premiere productions and 29 workshop presentations, and in 2014 Skylight joined NNPN as an Associate Member.

Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble (NNPN Associate Member) is fervently working to curate future seasons of classic, contemporary and original material from some of the world’s finest playwrights. We are excited to bring our audience a play list that is as wide as it is varied. From re-imagined adaptations of Greek drama, Irish comedy and Russian realism to modern examinations of American racial history, Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble is committed to offering our audience thought provoking, challenging and humorous looks at the human spirit.  We bring to our productions a commitment to excellence, talent, craft and years of theatre experience. Our aim is to explore the truth and reality that lies beneath the lower depth of our existence.

Theater Alliance's mission is to develop, produce, and present socially conscious, thought-provoking work that fully engages our community in active dialogue. A catalyst for innovation and diversity, Theater Alliance is among DC’s pre-eminent theater companies, one that consistently produces thought provoking and socially pertinent work, successfully uniting audiences of all backgrounds through the power of creative presentation and participation. Theater Alliance was founded in 1993 with the distinct goal of producing work that would illuminate the experiences, philosophies and interests of DC’s diverse populations. That goal was furthered when Theater Alliance moved from its home at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop to become the sole theater-in-residence at the H Street Playhouse and an NNPN Associate Member.