ReDiscovery Reading Series

Building the next generation of classics. 

The ReDiscovery Series introduces audiences to new adaptations and great but lesser-known classic plays under consideration for STC’s mainstage seasons. Written by notable playwrights and performed by some of D.C.’s most talented actors, these one-night-only readings are often the first step in bringing a new adaptation or an under-produced classic back into the spotlight worldwide. Every ReDiscovery reading concludes with a post-show panel featuring artists, scholars and esteemed community members.

Now in its 26th season, the ReDiscovery Series is more committed than ever to introducing our audience to new voices through classic works.


The 2018–2019 ReDiscovery Series

by Jiehae Park
Monday, October 22 at 7:30 p.m.

Directed by Seema Sueko, Deputy Artistic Director, Arena Stage

In a modern take on Macbeth, two Asian-American twins have worked their whole life to get into The College, only to be rejected in favor of their classmate. So they decide to kill him.

Taking inspiration from Shakespeare’s tragedy of murderous ambition, the play examines the pressures placed on 21st-century teenagers in a culture of cutthroat competition. Dark and frothy, graphic and absurd, Peerless is a John Hughes movie with Shakespearean scope.


by Suzan-Lori Parks
Monday, January 7 at 7:30 p.m.

This dramatic retelling of the true story of the Sarah “Saartjie” Baartmann, the late 18th-century “Venus Hottentot,” just might be Pulitzer Prize-winner Suzan-Lori Parks’s masterpiece—and a modern classic. In Venus, an African woman is enticed to Europe with promises of fame and fortune, but ends up trapped between serving as a carnival freak show and a subject in a medical amphitheater, an exhibition in both life and death.

Grounding her virtuosic command of language in a recognizable time and place, Parks creates a period piece rich with implications for our contemporary culture. In an era when stories about race, gender, sexuality and political liberty dominate the conversation, Parks illuminates them in all their intersectionality.

Reservations open for Subscribers and Donors Tuesday, November 27.
For general public, Tuesday, December 4.


by Octavio Solis
Monday, March 18 at 7:30 p.m.

When a young Mexican woman and her brother cross the Rio Grande to find their father, they instead encounter a young man who has grown up alone, imprisoned on an island. Soon, all are thrust into a world where dream and reality are inseparable. Inspired by Calderón’s Life is a Dream, the bones of the Spanish Golden Age classic remain, but the Rio Grande looms large both as myth and metaphor but in Solis’s modern retelling.

Written for Dallas Theater Center during the George W. Bush era, Dreamlandia’s observations about Mexican-American relations, immigration and capitalism have only become more prescient. With aspects of magic realism that connect to Latinx culture and history, Solis’s piece dives into the borderlands between seductive illusion and crushing reality.

Reservations open for Subscribers and Donors Tuesday, February 5.
For general public, Tuesday, February 12.


Monday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m.
The reading for Monday, April 1 will be announced later this season.


by Adam P. Kennedy and Adrienne Kennedy
Monday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m.

In Arlington, Virginia during the 1990s, a highly educated black man was viciously beaten by police after being pulled over for a broken taillight, and the disturbing incident led Adrienne Kennedy and her son to collaborate on an autobiographical drama. Sleep Deprivation Chamber reads now like a premonition of today’s pervasive climate of violence, masterfully interweaving a suspenseful docudrama with the black experience of 20th-century America.

Sleep Deprivation Chamber was originally directed by Michael Kahn in 1996 for Signature Theatre in New York. A sequel of sorts to Kennedy’s Funnyhouse of a Negro (also directed by Michael Kahn, and one of the founding texts of the Off-Broadway movement), Kennedy’s play allows us to measure how far we’ve come and how much has remained the same.

Reservations open for Subscribers and Donors Tuesday, April 2.
For general public, Tuesday, April 9.


by Mae West
Monday, June 17 at 7:30 p.m.

For Pride Month, the 2018–2019 ReDiscovery Series closes with an important artifact from the history of the Gay Rights Movement: a 1926 melodrama about the murder of a closeted gay man who is married to the daughter of a famous gay conversion therapist. Written by the notorious starlet Mae West, the play is complete with a raucous drag ball featuring West herself as a guest.

Coming to light last year with the publication of three plays by West, The Drag is one of the earliest depictions of homosexuality in dramatic literature—banned in its time—and a true rediscovery.

Reservations open for Subscribers and Donors Tuesday, May 14.
For general public, Tuesday, May 21.

Thanks to the members who support ReDiscovery and New Works through the Artistic Leadership Fund.