Project: Primer for a Failed Superpower

Primer for a Failed Superpower is a theatrical concert event inspired by the 1980s hardcore punk scene. It will feature a new band of 30-somethings (the TEAM), a teenage ensemble (ages 13-18, sourced wherever the work tours), multimedia and narrative  elements—all in pursuit of the following questions: Is America a failing superpower? How does a teenager, and a teenage nation, grow up? The defining geopolitical moment of the artists’ childhoods was the fall of the Berlin Wall. For the next generation, who many of the TEAM teach, their formative moment was September 11th.Primer is about preparing our minds for a shifting national identity, through conversations with the next generation, and a love letter to our future children about growing up in the 1980s.

Awardee: Jessica Almasy

Performing Arts, 2013

Jessica Almasy is a jungle cat slash otter, now writing: PLAYS: XIXprone; BOOKS: This is My Young Adult Novel and The Philosopher’s ChildrenXIXpremieres dir by Will Detlefsen, NYU, at current. Recently named, like an animal at creation, a Top Voice of 2010 by AudioFile magazine avec Audible and Recorded Books, with whom she received two Audie Awards, (made of glass), respectively. 2011 Audie Nomination, receipt pending. BFA NYU, where she now teaches (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays), second year, acting. Among other things, in theatre, television, audiobooks, and film she can be seen in paroxysms of mad American presidential sainthood, falling out of planes, swimming in fire magnolias and burning. Marriage: I at HERE with Nick Vaughn and Jake Margolin was very lovely. Merci th’eternal beaucoups to Rachel Chavkin, le TEAM, Christine and Donald Almasy, NYU, Richard Foreman, Wallace Stevens, Paris, Fritz Ertl, Sartre, and Hamlet. Lately, it has been Anne Sexton, so. Roar.

Awardee: Rachel Chavkin

Performing Arts, 2013

Rachel Chavkin is two-time Obie Award-winning and Drama Desk nominated director, educator and the founding Artistic Director of the TEAM, for whom she has directed/co-authored eight works, including Mission Drift, a musical composed by downtown artist Heather Christian that travels through 400 year of history in pursuit of the soul of American capitalism, co-produced by New York’s PS122, Lisbon’s Culturgest, and London’s Almeida Theatre (Winner 2011 Edinburgh International Festival Fringe Prize, Scotsman Fringe First, Herald Angel, Best of 2011 The Guardian), Architecting (co-produced by the National Theatre of Scotland, Winner 2008 Scotsman Fringe First, Top Ten 2009 Portugal’s Publico), and Particularly in the Heartland. Founded in 2004, the TEAM’s work has been seen all over New York (including the Public Theater and PS122), nationally (including the Walker Art Center and the A.R.T.), internationally (including the Barbican Centre, Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre, international festivals in Perth and Hong Kong, and the Salzburg Festival’s Young Directors Program). Mission Drift toured to London’s National Theatre in June 2013.


Awardee: Matt Hubbs

Performing Arts, 2013

Matt Hubbs is the resident designer with the TEAM. He also recently designed 100 Saints You Should Know at Playwrights Horizons. As an associate designer and engineer, he has toured with the SITI Company and the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, and designed for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. As an associate designer, he has recently worked at Playwrights Horizons, The Public Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, Manhattan Theatre Club, The Century Center, and the Humana Festival of New American Plays. He has also engineered the rachel’s band “systems/layers” tour, and worked with multi-platinum producers Static, Veit Renn and Brett Stuart. He received his BA in Philosophy as a University Scholar at Xavier University.

Awardee: Libby King

Performing Arts, 2013

Libby King recently won Best Female Performance at the Dublin Fringe Festival 2007 for the role of Sarah Springer in the TEAM’s Particularly in the Heartland, which she created. In 2008, she created the role of Carrie Campbell in Architecting, produced by the National Theatre of Scotland at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. Favorite roles include Astrov in Uncle Vanya (CSC, director Rachel Chavkin), Sarah Springer in Particularly in the Heartland (Dublin Fringe, Galway; UK TOUR; Harbour Front Center in Toronto; PS122; BAC in London; and the Traverse Theatre). Other credits include The BlindLEARegardlessSpringtime, Tennessee Williams in Quarter TimeTwo Gentleman of VeronaDeath of a Salesman and The Tavern. Libby played Dottie in Killer Joe as her thesis role at Louisiana State University where she received her MFA in Acting.

Collab: The TEAM

The TEAM is a Brooklyn-based ensemble dedicated to creating new work about the experience of living in America today. Once described by The Guardian as “theatrical excavators of American culture, American dreams and the American psyche,” the company's work crashes characters from our nation's history and mythology into modern stories. The TEAM makes all of its work collaborativey, through a uniquely democratic writing process that fuses research, physical and verbal improvisation, and consensus-driven editing; in a final production it is nearly impossible to trace any one line of dialogue or image back to a single author’s hand. 

Founded in 2004, The TEAM has created and toured 10 original works to date. Their work has been seen in New York at the Public Theater, PS122, Vineyard Theatre, Ohio Theatre, and The Bushwick Starr; nationally at ArtsEmerson, A.R.T., Walker Art Center, Playmakers Repertory Theatre, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Virginia Tech, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; and internationally at the National Theatre, Royal Court Theatre, Barbican, Almeida Theatre, and Battersea Arts Centre in London; Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre; Culturgest in Lisbon; the Salzburg Festival; Galway Festival; Perth International Arts Festival; and Hong Kong Arts Festival.