Kira Obolensky’s new plays include Modern House (finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize) and Lune, pronouncedloony, commissioned and produced by the B Street Theatre, with thanks to the NEA and Irvine Foundation. Her story, “Snow Man,” commissioned by Open Eye Figure Theatre will be adapted by the theatre into a puppet play for adults and children. A new play, Cabinet of Wonders; an impossible history, has received funding from the Pew Theatre Initiative for a production at Gas and Electric Arts in Philadelphia (fall of 2009). Her adaptation of Crime and Punishment, called Raskol, won a national playwriting commission from Ten Thousand Things Theatre. It will premiere in an area prison April of 2009. And an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, a co-production of the Guthrie Theatre and The Acting Company, will open at the Guthrie in January 2010.
Kira has worked collaboratively with choreographers and visual artists and is co-founder of The Gymnasium, a consortium of nationally known artists and scientists and innovators involved in the incubation of new work and ideas. Force/Matter, created by The Gymnasium, was recently produced by Shawn McConneloug and her Orchestra at Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. She’s collaborated with University of Minnesota students and theatre professionals Shawn McConneloug, Luverne Seifert, Michael Sommers and Eric Jensen on a site-specific University of Minnesota presentation and adaptation of The Master and Margarita. (One of City Pages’ top 10 productions of the year.) She is currently working on a national initiative regarding online identity.
Her short puppet and film piece, poor little poor girl, premieried at Flat Works, produced by Open Eye Figure Theatre in fall of 2004. And her play Quick Silver, which premiered as a play for puppets and actors in Minneapolis, was produced by 3Legged Race and The Playwrights’ Center. Named by Twin Cities Critics as the “most outstanding experimental theatre event of 2003,” it was presented in Prague, June 2006, where it was lauded for its script and visual landscape, and was subsequently produced by Gas and Electric Arts in Philadelphia. Other plays include Lobster Alice (Kesselring Prize, finalist for Susan Smith Blackburn, published in Best Plays by American Women 2000, and produced in Atlanta, California, Texas, Minneapolis, Off Broadway, and Los Angeles, with Noah Wylie as Salvador Dali); The Adventures of Herculina, (Honorable Mention Kesselring Prize, Edith Oliver Award, produced in Chicago and in Minneapolis). Other plays include Pleasure Cruise, commissioned by the Guthrie Theatre and published in Best 10 Minute Plays of 2002-03; Collective Nightmare, commissioned by the McCarter Theatre and A New House, or 21 Lies for Four Characters. She is a recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including a Bush Foundation fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Jim Henson Foundation grants, a Jerome Fellowship and a McKnight Advancement Grant.
Kira is a graduate of Williams College and the Juilliard School’s Playwriting Fellowship Program and recently received her MFA in Fiction Writing from Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers. She is also a published author (The Not-So-Big House,co-author; Garage: Reinventing the Place we Park; and Good House/Cheap House.) Writers. She teaches at Goddard’s MFA Interdisciplinary Arts Program and at the University of Minnesota.