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Alumni artists

Debórah Eliezer, Vidhu Singh, Noor Adabachi, and Cynthia Ling Lee | Burning Wild


How does climate disaster affect our sense of belonging? Burning Wild, created by Debórah Eliezer in collaboration with Vidhu Singh, Noor Adabachi, and Cynthia Ling Lee, is a devised performance, incorporating physical theatre and dance, created in response to the California wildfires of 2020. It began as a community-gathering circle to support Northern Californians affected by the wildfires. Recent 2020 fire survivors themselves, Debórah and Noor draw from their lived experience using personal stories of their relationship to home and placemaking from the Middle East to the Bay Area told through devised text, song, movement, documentary video, and puppetry to tell a collaged docu-myth about the land, displacement, trauma, and renewal, offering artists and audiences an opportunity for resilience, hope, and community healing in a time when a prolonged megafire season is an annual occurrence.


Bennett Fisher | Cry Havoc


Cry Havoc is a dark comedy inspired by the attempted kidnapping of Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer. A hybrid of live and digital performance, the play unfolds across a series of platforms—Zoom meetings, phone calls, texts, chat boards, social media posts, video, and more—following a group of conspirators in far over their heads. With unexpected humor and biting satire, Cry Havoc explores the allure of conspiracy theories, the rise of far-right extremist groups, and the sense of desperation created by the pandemic.


Denmo Ibrahim and Kate Bergstrom | Beyond the Ocean’s Edge


May Ziadeh, an influential feminist of the 1920s, was a prolific writer, translator, and critic of Palestinian-Lebanese descent. Fluent in nine languages, her work paved the way for the Arab Renaissance. But May suffered a deep sense of isolation during her life. An advocate for women’s rights and a leading intellectual of her time, she was often undermined by her peers, being praised for her beauty alone. In love, she had many suitors but rejected them all for a man she never met. Her greatest love was with the Lebanese poet, Khalil Gibran—a relationship in letters maintained over 19 years and until his death.


Josh Kornbluth | The Bottomless Bowl


The Zen Hospice Project of San Francisco was a remarkable institution—providing expert, loving comfort to people at death’s door. For several years Josh Kornbluth—haunted by his father's death—spent countless hours at the hospice, first as an artist-in-residence and later as a volunteer. His experiences with numerous “residents” (as they were called), nurses, and volunteers transformed his attitudes toward both death and life.


Jeffrey Lo | Delano Love Song


Set against the backdrop of the 1960’s Delano grape strike and the formation of the United Farm Workers, Delano Love Song is a sweeping romance about Lester, a migrant farmworker and one of the early Filipino-American immigrants, and Kathy, the daughter of one of the farm owners pushing back against the mounting protests led by Dolores Huerta, César Chávez, and Larry Itliong.


Leigh M. Marshall | The Rosaline Play


Rosaline Velasco, an A&R executive at a major music label, strikes platinum when she discovers a pair of young trap hitmakers who spin yarns about self-destruction—but when she uncovers true danger underlying the lyrics, she battles against a system that profits off of martyrdom to save her artists from themselves.


Ashley Smiley, Margo Hall, Sean San José, and Joan Osato | Dirty White Teslas Make Me Sad


Dirty White Teslas Make Me Sad is a statement and a deep-dive emotional state for the Black and Brown San Franciscans watching their home be overrun by silent harbingers of doom and sleek reflections of otherness.


Ari’el Stachel and Tony Taccone | Untitled


Untitled is a semi-autobiographical solo show about Ari’el’s pursuit to understand his lifelong battle with anxiety after winning a Tony Award. It examines his identity and the years he spent hiding his Yemenite Israeli American Jewish heritage in the aftermath of 9/11.


Madison Wetzell and Ciera Eis | Untitled Faust on 4Chan


A loose adaptation of Faust, in which jokes are very serious, things get out of hand, and the internet is a demonic Greek chorus. A young man in his Nietzsche phase makes an anonymous online joke that accidentally spawns a conspiracy theory. A YouTuber of questionable politics offers him fame, fortune, and endless entertainment to keep the conspiracy going—as a joke, of course. When his girlfriend’s graduate school roommate threatens to expose him, he sends his bloodthirsty following after them.


Dawn L. Troupe, Jeff Liu, and Adrienne Shamszad | Riding the Light


Riding the Light is a musical about a brilliant young Afro-German prodigy whose love of astronomy and astrophysics offers her a deep spiritual connection to her ancestors, the universe, and ultimately her greatest self.


Erika Chong Shuch, Ryan Tacata, and Rowena Richie | The Welcoming


The Welcoming is devised in collaboration with 12 elders and performed live for small audiences at sites throughout San Francisco specific to each elder. A shared theme of “returning” runs through each performance and recurring motif: for example, one character’s “welcoming gestures” are performed as neo-folk dances. The Welcoming serves as a theatricalized greeting ceremony that places those most vulnerable at the center of our creative embrace.


Chris Steele, Sean Owens, NJ Bice, and Nic Candito | Gaslit: A Trans Drag Parody


Gaslit: A Trans Drag Parody is an intentionally queer, trans, and feminist takedown of an accidentally impactful theatre classic: Angel Street. This immersive solo performance is told through the eyes of the unwitting ghost of Bella Manlyhands, formerly Bella D’Balle. It’s a full-length solo adventure that features drag lip sync, storytelling parlour games, murderous intrigue, and edible soap.


Molly Van Der Molen | Never Sink River


Never Sink River captures the relentless, tragic, and fervently loving story of Molly Van Der Molen’s grandparents through a series of “episodes” that culminate in an epic using non-linear narrative, American folk music, and mixed media.

The Bengsons | Ohio


Ohio is the third and final installment in the Bengsons’ trilogy which began with Hundred Days and The Lucky Ones. It is a concert musical about faith, doubt, and fatherhood, chronicling several generations in Shaun Bengson’s family, a line of music-loving pastors affected by congenital hearing loss. Through story, song, and sermon we ask how we transform trauma into transcendence.


Agnes Borinsky and Ezra Furman | Untitled Project for the New Jerusalem Tavern


We gather every week for a night of music and poetry at the New Jerusalem Tavern. A rare space for those with transangelicism. A transangelic person is a human being like any other, with one exception: they have grown, or are in the process of growing, wings. The world is increasingly threatening. We hunker down; eventually we’ll probably have to surrender the bar. When that happens, where will we go? A concert for our last seven nights at the New Jerusalem Tavern.


Mathilde Dratwa | A Play about David Mamet Writing a Play about Harvey Weinstein


Francesca, a playwright, has several Reasons to be Pretty Angry. Among them: David Mamet has actually, in real life, written a play about Harvey Weinstein. Francesca thinks that’s bonkers. So this is her play about David Mamet. He’s in it, and so are a bunch of other dudes named David who definitely shouldn’t even think about writing a play about Harvey Weinstein. This is a play about women. About Francesca. About Francine, who can do it all (parent, act, sing, fly, castrate, kill)…until she can’t. About Zoe, who shows up to audition and can’t stop talking. Turns out there’s a lot to say.


Jessica Fechtor | Book of Hours


Hunting. Taxidermy. Illness and intimacy. Magical thinking. Different kinds of guns in different kinds of hands. Book of Hours is a play about empathy, its power and limitations, and our varying responses to our own mortality.


Emily Feldman | Untitled romantic comedy for a new world


A contemporary American comedy in conversation with an ancient Greek tragedy. Topics to be investigated include: oracles, prophecies, free will, family, and love in a time of many different kinds of plagues.


Vanessa Garcia | 1000 Miles


In 1000 Miles, Solis, the play’s protagonist, has just arrived in The City from 1000 Miles Across the Sea. She’s searching for family, for a way to carve out a new life. But The City is changing, and the very skills Solis brings with her can either save or destroy this new place she’s beginning to call home. 1000 Miles is a play about what it means to migrate to a new place, try to find refuge. It’s a play about survival, surveillance, nationalism, and the nature of opportunity. About the walls that block our path and the new doors we try to open to save ourselves and those we love.


Dave Harris | Watch Me


How can I get over slavery if I can’t even get over my ex? Watch Me takes place in the subconscious void of an interracial couple from their first date, to their first time, to a reckoning with heritage, ancestry, and Black Jesus.


Jessica Huang | The Kim Loo Sisters Musical


The Kim Loo Sisters shared top billing with Frank Sinatra, Jackie Gleason, and Ann Miller, but today their names — Alice, Maggie, Jenée, and Bubbles — are all but forgotten. This new original musical depicts the true story of this hapa girl group from Minneapolis who toured their four-part harmonies around the world. Blending styles of the 1930s and 40s with contemporary sounds, the musical juxtaposes Hollywood glamour with the darker realities for artists of color during the era of Chinese Exclusion, internment camps, and anti-miscegenation laws. Through song, dance, and sisterhood, we imagine what could have been if these talented musicians were given an equal shot.


Julia Izumi | Akira Kurosawa Explains His Movies and Yogurt (With Live & Active Cultures!)


Tonight we welcome Akira Kurosawa, the acclaimed filmmaker, who will give us an exclusive peek into his brilliant mind and the thrilling world of his movies. But, you know, it’s so weird, every time he talks about his work, it kinda sounds like he’s talking about yogurt? Akira Kurosawa Explains His Movies and Yogurt (With Live & Active Cultures!) is a fantastical lecture/performance hybrid about identity, cultural imperialism, and “healthy” consuming.


Victor Malana Maog | tot: The Untold, Yet Spectacular Story Of (a filipino) Hulk Hogan


tot follows an immigrant boy who travels from the Ferdinand Marcos-ruled Philippines to the San Francisco Bay Area to meet his long lost parents. He journeys from a country full of strife and military rule only to find himself in his lonely American bedroom conjuring a pro wrestling fantasy to escape his new life.


Itamar Moses | The Ally


Asaf teaches creative writing at a prestigious university in a troubled city. When a student asks him to sign a document condemning an act of police violence he fully intends to do so…until some things in the document trigger a response in Asaf that he did not expect. A new play about the tribalisms that lurk in all of us and what happens when two of them are in conflict.


Sam Pinkleton and nicHi douglas with Pig Iron Theatre Company | House of Victory


House of Victory is a large-scale American Entertainment loosely inspired by Aaron Copland and Martha Graham’s wartime collaboration Appalachian Spring. A sweeping and epic dance-theatre ballet that aims to look and feel like (actual) America, where humans of all ages, experiences, and abilities crash into each other and find unexpected unison in a dizzy and joyful attempt to answer impossible questions like what we all share (or don’t share), what democracy looks like, what the hell “American Dancing” is, and what happens when words don’t quite do the trick.


Mason Rosenthal | Toys Are Us (working title)


Mason Rosenthal will lead fellow Lightning Rod Special Co-directors Scott R. Sheppard and Alice Yorke in workshopping a new piece of ensemble devised theatre in collaboration with theatre artist/puppeteer Morgan FitzPatrick Andrews and playwright/videographer Paul Kruse. Through historical research, contemporary interviews, and performative experiments with toys (plastic and digital), Toys Are Us (working title) will chart shifts in American identity through an exploration of the toys we’ve trashed and treasured. What can our toys tell us about where the culture’s been, the conflicts of the present, and what’s in store for the future?


Asha Sundararaman | India/Indiana


India/Indiana is a new musical that weaves together the stories of two women on opposite sides of the globe to explore identity, migration, and coming of age.


Caldwell Tidicue | Harriet Tubman: Live In Concert


Imagine if Hamilton was written by John Cameron Mitchell. The life, times, and impact of Harriet Tubman told through hip hop and storytelling.


Sanaz Toossi | Your Broken Racket


In Your Broken Racket, two friendships — one set in the present, one set in the past — unfold on a tennis court in Iran, where life is changing either too quickly or not quickly enough depending on who you ask. How do friendships survive as the schism widens between those who think things are getting better and those who do not?


Tom Toro | Yes, The Planet Got Destroyed


Yes, The Planet Got Destroyed is a theatrical adaptation of Tom Toro’s forthcoming graphic memoir by the same title. It tells the story of a young cartoonist who breaks into The New Yorker while battling depression. During a turbulent period in his mid-twenties, the cartoonist suffers a nervous breakdown, attempts suicide, then lands back in his childhood home in the San Francisco Bay Area where he must painstakingly rebuild his personal and professional life. Equal parts haunting and humorous, portrait and parody, the drama unfolds with a surprising, nonlinear structure like that of a cartoon brainstorm session. It depicts millennial malaise, a family’s hidden legacy of mental illness, an artist’s struggle to cultivate mirth within melancholy, and the redemptive power of the human imagination.


Ikechukwu Ufomadu | Ike’s Wonderful World of Leisure


Ike’s Wonderful World of Leisure is an evening-length, solo comedic performance structured as a Master Class on Leisure. Facilitated by a Master Practitioner of Leisure, the class will explore such topics as Hobbies, Leisure Sciences, the Politics of Leisure, Leisure’s Future, and more. The class will also feature live demonstrations of Leisure and tips on how to incorporate Leisure more fully into one’s daily life.

Avi Amon and Julia Gytri | Salonika


Christina Anderson | the ripple, the wave that carried me home


Andy Bayiates, Bilal Dardai, Genevra Gallo-Bayiates, Sharon Greene, Chloë Johnston, and Khanisha Foster | 45 Plays for America’s First Ladies


Eliza Bent | Indeed, Friend!


Andy Bragen | Summit


Marisa Carr | Punk Rock Mixtape Play


Carla Ching | Revenge Porn


Alexandra Collier, Heather Christian, and Mia Rovegno | Together


Erin Courtney | Ann, Fran, and Mary Ann


Shelley Doty | We 3


Ryan J. Haddad | Good Time Charlie


Naomi Iizuka and Paul Hodge | Okuni


Candrice Jones | Flex


Min Kahng | Calafia: A Reimagining


Kimber Lee | Untitled f*ck m*ss s**gon project


Leonard Madrid | Las Arañas


Baruch Porras-Hernandez | Love in the Time of Piñatas


Sarah Ruhl | Lock her up! (Becky Nurse)


Tina Satter | Untitled Reality Winner project: verbatim transcription


Zarina Shea | Just up the Road, Slightly


Joe Waechter | Breakaway


Arisa White | Post Pardon: The Opera

Christina Anderson | Untitled


Glen Berger | The New Frontier


Eugenie Chan | The Chan Family Picnic, A Nouvelle Vaudeville


Dustin Chinn | Colonialism is Terrible, But Pho is Delicious


Sarah DeLappe | Richard in 9 Poses


Donnetta Lavinia Grays | Laid to Rest. A Full Length Multi-Media Play.


Daniel Handler | Imaginary Comforts, or The Story of the Ghost of the Dead Rabbit


Martyna Majok | Untitled


Tony Meneses | Between Here and the City of Mexico


James Harrison Monaco and Jerome Ellis | Museum


Sylvan Oswald | TRAINERS, or The Brutal Unpleasant Atmosphere of This Most Disagreeable Season


Lisa Peterson and Todd Almond | The Idea of Order


Max Posner | Giddiness


Kemp Powers | The Two Reds


Kate E. Ryan | Untitled


Diana Lynn Small | House Play


Jonathan Spector | This Much I Know


Mfoniso Udofia | Adia and Clora Snatch Joy

Lileana Blain-Cruz and Susan Soon He Stanton | Intimacy


Mia Chung | Bloken Engrish


Megan Cohen | Truest


Eisa Davis | Flowers Are Sleeping


Erin Edens | The Meaning of Ants in My Kitchen


Dipika Guha | The Art of Gaman


Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble | Iron Shoes


Josh Kornbluth | The Bottomless Bowl


Aaron Landsman | Squares


Josh Lefkowitz | Poetry Project


James Magruder | Keep Your Forks


Lisa Peterson and Todd Almond | The Idea of Order


Tori Sampson | Cottoned Like Candy


Jen Silverman | My Father the Speeding Bullet: Nincest


Amy Staats | Eddie and Dave: A Fictionalized Tale of Van Halen


UNIVERSES | August Wilson Poetry Project


Joe Waechter | Untitled hockey project


Lauren Yee | Untitled Cambodia pop play

César Alvarez and Lucas Hnath | Castro


Christopher Chen and Mei Ann Teo | Passage


Julia Cho | Aubergine


Jackie Sibblies Drury | Untitled


Anne Galjour | The Alligator Ball (working title)


Rinne Groff | Fire in Dreamland


Eric Hoff, Will Davis, and SK Kerastas | Color Guard (working title)


Jamie Hook | Rules to Follow in Cloud Engineering


Naomi Iizuka and Ripe Time | Sleep


Hansol Jung | Wolf Play


Sean Christopher Lewis and Jennifer Fawcett | Ghost Story


Anaïs Mitchell | Hadestown


Peter Sinn Nachtrieb and Danny Scheie | A House Tour of the Infamous Porter Family Mansion with Tour Guide Weston Ludlow Londonderry


Annie Smart | The Summer Play

Kara Lee Corthron | Welcome to Fear City


PearlDamour | Milton


Sarah Gubbins | AB1266


Joan Holden, Bruce Barthol, Daniel Savio, and Marge Betley | FSM


Aditi Brennan Kapil, Manu Narayan, and Radovan Jovićević | Untitled Balkan/South Asian musical


The Kilbanes | Eddie the Marvelous, Who Will Save the World


John Leguizamo | Untitled


Dave Malloy | Ghost Quartet


David Myers | The Culture Industry or How Yogurt Conquered America


Dominic Orlando and Brian Carpenter | The Barbary Coast


Jiehae Park and Tristan Jeffers | Here We Are Here


Abigail Rezneck and Barbara Babcock | The Lady Lawyer


KJ Sanchez and Jenny Mercein | X’S and O’S (A Football Love Story)


Anna Deavere Smith | The Pipeline Project


Stein | Holum Projects | Movers + Shakers


Hadi Tabbal | Untitled Oum Kalthoum–Abu Ghraib project

Lucy Alibar | Carl the Raping Goat Saves Christmas


Janet Allard and Nikos Tsakalakos | Alexander Supertramp


César Alvarez | The Universe is a Small Hat


Jeff Augustin | Krik? Krak! or The Last Tiger in Haiti


Sarah Burgess | Camdenside


The Debate Society | Untitled ski play


Jackie Sibblies Drury | The Theory of Rational Choice


Larissa FastHorse | What Would Crazy Horse Do?


Idris Goodwin and Adam Mansbach | Rage is Back


Lauren Gunderson | The Heath


David Hanbury and Andrew Rasmussen | Mrs. Smith & Carlyle: To Mars and Back Again


Victor Lesniewski | Kardal


Mona Mansour and Tala Manassah | The Wife


A. Rey Pamatmat | Untitled project about the abuse of power and magical narratives


Nicholas C. Pappas | Fatty: There’s No Place for the Fattest Man to Hide


Lisa Peterson | The Idea of Order

20 writers | The Food Project


Christina Anderson | Adam Bock | Julia Cho | David Edgar | Amy Freed | Jessica Goldberg | Rinne Groff | Lauren Gunderson | Danny Hoch | Naomi Iizuka | Kwame Kwei-Armah | Ellen McLaughlin | Richard Montoya | Itamar Moses | Janine Nabers | Peter Sinn Nachtrieb | Lynn Nottage | Keith Reddin | Erika Chong Shuch | Octavio Solis


Marcus Gardley | The House that will not Stand


Madeleine George | The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence


Kathryn Keats | The Hummingbird


Carson Kreitzer and Erin Kamler | Runway 69


Dan LeFranc | Troublemaker, or The Freakin Kick-A Adventures of Bradley Boatright


Michael Mitnick | Little Boy Blue


Dominic Orlando | The Barbary Coast


Greg Pierotti | Apology


Amelia Roper | She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange


The Erika Chong Shuch Performance Project | After All


Heidi Stillman | The North China Lover


Meiyin Wang | motherland / foreign relations (we all here why you never call?)

Special thanks

The Ground Floor is supported by Frances Hellman & Warren Breslau, with additional funding provided by Bank of America, First Republic Foundation, The Maurer Family Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.


What artists say about the Summer Residency Lab

I did not know how much I needed those two weeks to focus on my project, but I really did. I made great breakthroughs and got closer to the core of what I was investigating. The steps I made forward felt monumental. So thank you for the TIME and SPACE!!! AND! Thank you for being so flexible and for giving me the opportunity to perform last minute! I am usually met with panic and doubt when I make such requests but you were so chill! It took a load of pressure off to be making work in a situation where the end really could be whatever the piece needed for the moment, which also made more space for creativity to flow.

Julia Izumi, Summer Lab 2019

Ground Floor has given me so much more than I could have imagined. I have been exhilarated and energized for the past two weeks because you created such a warm and liberating space for art to happen.

Candrice Jones, Summer Lab 2018

The reason artists find their story here is because you allow for that. You can have resources and not know what the story is yet. The resource is part of finding what the story is. In my experience, that’s how we (as playwrights) want to do it. But we don’t get allowed to do that very often.

César Alvarez, Summer Lab 2013 & 2015

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