POTATOES OF AUGUST
April 11-27, 2014
by Sibyl Kempson
Four recent retirees encounter a sack of sentient potatoes, and find their outworn belief systems forcibly confronted by the challenges of a highly integrated, enlightened metaphysics. These potatoes have brains, have read their Swedenborg, and don't always play fair.
Parts kitchen sink drama, musical comedy, intimate biographical portraiture, museum educational presentation, opera,
Renaissance fair, science fiction, science fair, and phenomenological debate, POTATOES OF AUGUST is a fugue in both the musical and psychiatric sense.
If you are one of those folks who likes to prepare before you see a show - here's a suggested reading list from the playwright. Or perhaps you like to look at related texts after you see the show - that's cool, too. Or maybe you don't like to do either. No pressure.
Copernicus, Nicolaus. On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1952.
Hofstadter, Douglas R. Gödel, Escher, Bach: The Eternal Golden Braid. New York: Vintage Books, 1979.
Jones, Gwyn and Thomas, translators. The Mabinogion. London: Everyman, 2002.
Kazimiroff, Theodore. The Last Algonquin. New York: Walker and Company, 1982.
Kepler, Johannes. The Harmonies of the World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1952.
Levin, Janna. How the Universe Got Its Spots: Diary of Finite Time in a Finite Space. Princeton University Press, 2002.
Otto, Rudolph. The Idea of the Holy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1958.
Rokem, Freddie. Strindberg's Secret Codes. Norwich: Norvik Press, 2004.
Strindberg, August. Inferno. Mary Sandbach, trans. New York: Penguin Books, 1984.
Swedenborg, Emanuel. Life on Other Planets. London: Swedenborg Society, 2006.
Design & Production
Sibyl Kempson lives and makes theater plays in NYC and the Pocono Mountains. Her plays have been presented at Dixon Place, Soho Rep, Performance Space 122, The Chocolate Factory, New York Live Arts, the Fusebox Festival in Austin, TX, the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis, the Great Plains Theater Conference in Omaha, and Theater Bonn in Germany, and have been developed in workshops in the CATCH! Performance Series, Little Theater, and at New Dramatists. She is a 2010 MacDowell Colony Fellow, a member of New Dramatists class of ‘17, a 2013-14 McKnight National Resident and Commissionee, 2013-14 recipient of the Virginia B. Toulmin commission through New York Theatre Workshop, and a four-time recipient of Dixon Place’s Mondo Cane! Commission (2002, '07, '09, '11). She is a founding member of the Joyce Cho Initiative, an affinity of playwrights dedicated to the staging of problem plays, and of Machiqq Women's Auxiliary playwriting group. She earned an MFA in Playwriting from Brooklyn College, 2007, where she studied under the instigation of Mac Wellman. Her plays are published by the 53rd State Press (Crime or Emergency, in Joyce Cho Plays, Zeit af der KürbisGeistNachten, and a double volume with Ich KürbisGeist & The Secret Death of Puppets); PLAY Journal of Plays (Potatoes of August); and PAJ (Restless Eye, a collaboration with David Neumann and Advanced Beginner Group).
Current, recent, and upcoming projects include: Big Dance Theater’s production of her play Ich KürbisGeist at New York Live Arts and the Chocolate Factory and also by Red Eye Theater in Minneapolis (Fall 2013); a commission for a new work in collaboration with Elevator Repair Service called Fondly, Collette Richland to premier in NYC in Fall 2015; a New Dramatists/Full Stage USA commission for a new work in collaboration with Austin, TX groups Rude Mechs and Salvage Vanguard called From the Pig Pile: The Requisite Gesture(s) of Narrow Approach to premiere at the Fusebox Festival in April 2014; The Securely Conferred, Vouchsafed Keepsakes of Maery S., for the McKnight National Residency and Commission, and an adaptation of Ibsen's The Wild Duck called Kyckling and Screaming to be developed in collaboration with Sarah Benson at New York Theatre Workshop.
This production is made possible through the generous support of Carolyn Foundation, Kaemmer Fund of HRK Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, Target, Red Eye’s individual & small business donors, and by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.