New play 'Hurt Village' by Memphis-born playwright Katori Hall opens Off-Broadway

Katori-2.jpg The new play "Hurt Village" by Katori Hall, the Memphis-born playwright whose Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. play "The Mountaintop" picked up a host of awards on the way from its premiere in London to a celebrity-studded production on Broadway, premiered this week Off-Broadway in New York. Here's the synopsis:

Here's how Signature bills Hurt Village, which received a 2011 Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award from TCG: "It's the end of a long summer in Hurt Village, a housing project in Memphis, Tennessee. A government Hope Grant means relocation for many of the project's residents, including Cookie, a 13-year-old aspiring rapper, along with her mother Crank and great-grandmother Big Mama. As the family prepares to move, Cookie's father Buggy unexpectedly returns from a tour of duty in Iraq. Ravaged by the war, Buggy struggles to find a position in his disintegrating community, along with a place in his daughter's wounded heart."

Hall created the play as part of a program called Residency Five, sponsored by the Signature Theatre Company. She attended the Signature's fundraising gala a couple of weeks ago, and The Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy was there:

Hall said being part of the "Residency Five" at Signature Theatre - a program which grants playwrights three world-premiere productions of new plays over a five-year residency - is a dream come true. She said when she moved to New York after acting school, the Signature was her favorite theater. "I just felt like my particular experience was being put on stage, and it was being crafted with care and with this nuanced detail," she said. But at the time, Signature seemed to work only with established playwrights, so Hall told herself to give the dream up. "But fast forward almost five years later, and it's like no, they're opening their arms and embracing new work, and I can be a part of that new work."

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