Creative Writing's L M Feldman’s Thrive, or What You Will is the winner of Cycle 3 of the Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries project.
An epic tale about the first woman to circumnavigate the globe, Thrive is a funny, gripping, and inventive theatrical journey that sparks a cross-centuries conversation with Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.
From the announcement about the award:
"Feldman will receive the $25,000 award and see her play produced alongside its Shakespeare partner as part of American Shakespeare Center’s 2020-21 National Tour. The pair of plays will be seen around the country from September to April, before returning to Staunton for a Blackfriars premiere in spring 2021.
"'I was immediately captivated by this engaging, moving, and timely play,' says Artistic Director Ethan McSweeny. 'This dramatization of the life of Jeanne Baret sheds light on the implications of, and possibilities in, disguising oneself as a man to travel to foreign lands. L has created a rich theatrical experience deeply resonant with the themes of Twelfth Night, and we are thrilled to add it to our growing number of Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries productions.'
"Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries is ASC’s ambitious undertaking to discover, develop, and produce new works that are inspired by or in conversation with each of the plays in Shakespeare’s canon. The company saw a record number of applications for the third cycle of this project.
"Feldman’s play was selected through an anonymous, multi-tiered evaluation process that saw submissions of responses to six Shakespeare titles from a record number of playwrights. Feldman is a queer, feminist playwright whose theatrically adventurous plays include Another Kind of Silence (Colorado New Play Summit); Amanuensis, or The Miltons (Georgetown University, Northwoods Ramah Theatre commission); The Egg-Layers (Jane Chambers Honorable Mention, New Georges/Barnard College co-commission); and more.
"'Both [Thrive and Twelfth Night] draw on a similar performative style, a buoyancy, a comedy, and tropes around love and gender and seafaring and ‘cross-dressing,’ says Feldman. 'But where Twelfth Night stops, Thrive hopefully continues, subverts, and interrogates in terms of gender, feminism, misogyny, transmisogyny, queerness, sexuality, identity, mis-gendering, mis-categorizing, and what the very real historical costs of these are. So though it’s not an adaptation of Twelfth Night, it’s dancing with it. It’s vaulting from it.'"
L M Feldman is a queer, feminist playwright (and circus artist) who pens plays that are wildly theatrical but deeply intimate. Formally ambitious plays that move, take up space. Plays that are questing, wrestling, asking. Plays without answers. Plays about women and queers, about outsiders and searchers. Plays grappling with voice and agency, opportunity and access, history and its wake. Plays about the human connection. Plays that seek to be a greater, communal, rare theatrical event in which something transcendent transpires—for those both onstage and off. Feldman teaches playwriting at Bryn Mawr.