Sibyl Kempson

Undergraduate Discipline

Theatre

Graduate Program

MFA Theatre Program

MFA, Brooklyn College. Kempson’s plays have been presented in the United States, Germany, and Norway. As a performer she toured internationally from 2000-2011 with Nature Theater of Oklahoma, New York City Players, and Elevator Repair Service. Her own work has received support from the Jerome Foundation, the Greenwall Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and Dixon Place. She was given four Mondo Cane! commissions from 2002-2011 for The Wytche of Problymm Plantation, Crime or Emergency, Potatoes of August, and The Secret Death of Puppets). She received an MAP Fund grant for her collaboration with Elevator Repair Service (Fondly, Collette Richland) at New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW), a 2018 PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award for American Playwright at Mid-Career (specifically honoring "her fine craft, intertextual approach, and her body of work including Crime or Emergency and Let Us Now Praise Susan Sontag), and a 2014 USA Artists Rockefeller fellowship with NYTW and director Sarah Benson. She received a 2013 Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation commission for Kyckling and Screaming (a translation/adaptation of Ibsen’s The Wild Duck), a 2013-14 McKnight National residency and commission for a new play (The Securely Conferred, Vouchsafed Keepsakes of Maery S.), a New Dramatists/Full Stage USA commission for a devised piece (From the Pig Pile: The Requisite Gesture(s) of Narrow Approach), and a National Presenters Network Creation Fund Award for the same project. Her second collaboration with David Neumann/Advanced Beginner Group, I Understand Everything Better, received a Bessie Award for Outstanding Production in 2015; the first was Restless Eye at New York Live Arts in 2012. Current and upcoming projects include a new opera with David Lang for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston for 2018, Sasquatch Rituals at The Kitchen in April 2018, and The Securely Conferred, Vouchsafed Keepsakes of Maery S. Kempson is a MacDowell Colony fellow; a member of New Dramatists; a USA Artists Rockefeller fellow; an artist-in-residence at the Abrons Arts Center; a 2014 nominee for the Doris Duke Impact Award, the Laurents Hatcher Award, and the Herb Alpert Award; and a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect. Her plays are published by 53rd State Press, PLAY: Journal of Plays, and Performance & Art Journal (PAJ). In addition to Sarah Lawrence College, she teaches and has taught experimental performance writing at Brooklyn College and the Eugene Lang College at the New School in New York City. Kempson launched the 7 Daughters of Eve Theater & Performance Co. in April 2015 at the Martin E. Segal Center at the City University of New York. The company’s inaugural production, Let Us Now Praise Susan Sontag, premiered at Abrons Arts Center in New York City. A new piece, Public People's Enemy, was presented in October 2018 at the Ibsen Awards and Conference in Ibsen’s hometown of Skien, Norway. 12 Shouts to the Ten Forgotten Heavens, a three-year cycle of rituals for the Whitney Museum of American Art in the Meatpacking District of New York City, began on the vernal equinox in March 2016 to recur on each solstice and equinox through December 2018. SLC, 2016-

Undergraduate Courses 2018-2019

Theatre

Creative Impulse: The Process of Writing for the Stage

Advanced , Component—Year

This class meets once a week for three hours. Two sections of this class.

In this course, the vectors of pure creative impulse hold sway over the process of writing for the stage—and we write ourselves into unknown territory. Students are encouraged to set aside received and preconceived notions of what it means to write plays or to be a writer, along with ideas of what a play is “supposed to” or “should” look like, in order to locate their own authentic ways of seeing and making. In other words, disarming the rational, the judgmental thinking that is rooted in a concept of a final product and empowering the chaotic, spatial, associative processes that put us in immediate formal contact with our direct experience, impressions, and perceptions of reality. Emphasis on detail, texture, and contiguity will be favored over the more widely accepted, reliable, yet sometimes limiting Aristotelian virtues of structure and continuity in the making of meaningful live performance. Readings will be tailored to fit the thinking of the class. We will likely look at theoretical and creative writings of Gertrude Stein, George Steiner, Mac Wellman, Maria Irene Fornes, Adrienne Kennedy, Mircea Eliade, Kristen Kosmas, Richard Maxwell, and Roland Barthes, as well as work that crosses into visual-art realms and radical scientific thought from physicists David Bohm and F. David Peat. The course will be conducted in workshop fashion, with strong emphasis on the tracking and documenting of process.

Faculty

Graduate Courses

Theatre 2018-2019

Creative Impulse: The Process of Writing for the Stage

Component—Year

This class meets once a week for three hours. Two sections of this class.

In this course, the vectors of pure creative impulse hold sway over the process of writing for the stage—and we write ourselves into unknown territory. Students are encouraged to set aside received and preconceived notions of what it means to write plays or to be a writer—along with ideas of what a play is “supposed to” or “should” look like—in order to locate their own authentic ways of seeing and making; in other words, disarming the rational, the judgmental thinking that is rooted in a concept of a final product, and empowering the chaotic, spatial, associative processes that put us in immediate formal contact with our direct experience, impressions, and perceptions of reality. Emphasis on detail, texture, and contiguity will be favored over the more widely accepted, reliable, yet sometimes limiting Aristotelian virtues of structure and continuity in the making of meaningful live performance. Readings will be tailored to fit the thinking of the class. We will likely look at theoretical and creative writings of Gertrude Stein, George Steiner, Mac Wellman, Maria Irene Fornes, Adrienne Kennedy, Mircea Eliade, Kristen Kosmas, RichardMaxwell, and Roland Barthes, as well as work that crosses into visual art realms and radical scientific thought from physicists David Bohm and F. David Peat. The course will be conducted in workshop fashion, with strong emphasis on the tracking and documenting of process.

Faculty

Graduate Lab

Component—Year

Required for all 1st- and 2nd-year theatre graduate students. This class meets once a week.

Taught by a rotating series of Sarah Lawrence faculty and guest artists, this course focuses on developing the skills needed for a wide variety of techniques for the creation and development of new work in theatre. Ensemble acting, movement, design and fabrication, playwriting, devised work, and music performance are all explored. The class is a forum for workshops, master classes, and open rehearsals, with a focus on the development of critical skills. In addition, students in Grad Lab are expected to generate a new piece of theatre to be performed each month for the Sarah Lawrence community. These performances may include graduate and undergraduate students alike.

Faculty