Over 40 Playwrights, Including David Henry Hwang and Billy Porter, Write World Premiere of The Mysteries for The Flea
By Michael Gioia
The Flea Theater will present the world premiere of The Mysteries, a radical retelling of the Bible written by 48 playwrights, including David Henry Hwang and Billy Porter, beginning April 3, prior to an official opening April 20.Conceived and directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, who was Drama Desk-nominated for The Flea's These Seven Sicknesses and Restoration Comedy, performances will continue through May 25."I turned to the neglected canon we now know as 'mystery plays' — the literary bridge between the Greeks and Shakespeare — which to my knowledge has never been professionally produced in the U.S.," said Iskandar in a statement. "It's an ideal frame to capture the zeitgeist on Faith in contemporary America through stories that depict the passion, pleasure and pain of the entire human condition: the stuff of the greatest drama. And I look forward to creating a one-of-a-kind theatrical event in full celebration of the spirit of festival and community at The Flea, my creative home of the past three years."Playwrights commissioned by Jim Simpson and Carol Ostrow include Porter, Hwang, Craig Lucas, José Rivera, Jeff Whitty, Mallery Avidon, Trista Baldwin, Erin Courtney, Yussef El Guindi, Amy Freed, Sean Graney, Nick Jones, Qui Nguyen, Jenny Schwartz, Marc Acito, Johnna Adams, Liz Duffy Adams, Bill Cain, CollaborationTown, Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas, Eisa Davis, Gabriel Jason Dean, Chris Dimond, Madeleine George, Kate Gersten, Peter Gil-Sheridan, Sevan K. Greene, Kirsten Greenidge, Lillian Groag, Jordan Harrison, Lucas Hnath, Ann Marie Healy, Meghan Kennedy, Kimber Lee, Kenneth Lin, Laura Marks, Ellen McLaughlin, Michael Mitnick, Don Nguyen, Dael Orlandersmith, A. Rey Pamatmat, Max Posner, Kate Moira Ryan, Najla Said, Matthew Stephen Smith, Lloyd Suh, Jason Williamson and Bess Wohl.AdvertisementAccording to The Flea, the playwrights "join together to tell the entire History of Man's Salvation in 50 episodes from The Fall of Lucifer through and including Judgment Day."Joining Iskandar as collaborators are dramaturg Jill Rafson, who — together with The Flea — selected the 48 commissioned writers, and CollaborationTown (Geoffrey Decas O'Donnell, Boo Killebrew, Jordan Seavey, TJ Witham and Lee Sunday Evans), who provide additional creative support and interstitial text.Other members of the creative team include David Dabbon (music direction and original music), Chase Brock (choreography), Michael Wieser (fight direction), Amy Jo Jackson (voice and speech direction), Jason Sherwood (scenic design), Seth Reiser (lighting design), Loren Shaw (costume design), Jeremy S. Bloom (sound design) and Renny Cullen (props design).The Mysteries will feature The Bats, the resident acting company of The Flea Theater.The Flea Theater is located at 41 White Street (between Church and Broadway, three blocks south of Canal). For more information and tickets, call (212) 352-3101 or visit TheFlea.org.