The Sledgehammer Series, a book project hosted by Tripwire Harlot Press, was created during the pandemic by playwrights Sheila Callaghan, Jacqueline Goldfinger and Sarah Ruhl to address the limited opportunities for dramatic publishing in American theater, and specifically to address a lack of published visibility. for BIPOC playwrights. The first two titles in the Sledgehammer series, Rarities & Wonders: Plays by Phillip Howze and Doodles from the Margins: Three Plays by Hansol Jung, will be released on June 27, 2022. The next two volumes, Recent Alien Abductions by Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas and Plays by Christina Anderson, will be published in the fall of 2022. All books will be available online at Amazon and at the Drama Book Shop. The authors of the Sledgehammer series will hold a book signing in September 2022 at the Drama Book Shop in New York City as well as throughout the year at other locations to be announced. For updates and to pre-order books, please visit: www.tripwireharlot.com/books
The Sledgehammer series is made up of a collective of playwrights publishing works under an agile consensus model. These pieces are wild, language-driven, groundbreaking works of art that beg to explode all over the page. They use the print format in unusual ways, with the aim of enabling artist-led conversations to fuel how plays are seen as literary documents around the world. All work published in The Sledgehammer Series is entirely artist-driven, including the design of covers and all print. The volumes feature introductions and afterwords that frame the plays in a larger conversation, particularly a critical conversation around the work of a playwright that has hitherto been insufficiently canonized due to strategies and concerns stemming from the white Anglo-Saxon traditions. The Sledgehammer Series aims to make some of the most exciting works in American theater accessible across the country to those who want to read, teach, and perform these incredible titles, creating a vibrant and growing circle of published dramatic works. We seek to anthologize the work of individual playwrights so that plays can be read in dialogue with each other, and to celebrate and create more visibility around these groundbreaking writers. All playwrights retain all rights to their work.
“This Sledgehammer initiative is a great opportunity for playwrights to publish their work on their terms,” says Christina Anderson. “The book itself is the playwright’s canvas. And sharing these works with students, teachers, theatergoers and the curious reader is a delightful undertaking.”
“I selfishly just want these beautiful pieces in my hands! And it’s irritated me immensely over the years that I teach these brilliant pieces all the time but can’t provide my students with physical copies of them,” says Sarah Ruhl. “It has been a joy to be part of an artist-centric publishing process that builds a community around theater on the page. I swoon over the covers these writers have designed, and more, the pieces that are inside are truly extraordinary. You’ll want to read them again and again, and you’ll want to produce them immediately,”
The four books in the Sledgehammer series released this year are:
Rarities and Wonders: Pieces by Phillip Howze. “The works collected in my book, Rarities & Wonders, represent an array of action, revelation, wonder and meandering. In a word: plays. I am delighted to share them here, for the first time, published together in a singular assembly,” says Howze. “An assembly is defined as a group of objects or people brought together for a common purpose. Like the works collected in my book, this special group of four playwrights – invited here to inaugurate Tripwire Harlot’s brand new “Sledgehammer Series” – is a rare and impressive assemblage. While each individual collection is beautifully unique, we all share a common goal: to dismantle certain dogmas, revitalize the landscape, and nurture the collective garden of American coins. »
Doodles from the Margins: Three Plays by Hansol Jung includes the plays Wolf Play, No More Sad Things and Wild Goose Dreams. Most recently, Wolf Play wrapped up a sold-out, extended run at Soho Rep in New York. All pieces will have Jung’s doodles and thoughts in the margins about his process and the piece itself. “I’m scared of the published pieces. I never feel like they’re finished, and yet the ink is so firm and visible in the audience that it demands that I put the pencil down. So when Sarah, Jackie and Sheila phoned me about this brilliant project, the Puck in me thought slyly, maybe I could shake off this permanence of public ink I’ll scribble and scribble the heaviness of some printed text in something more malleable and forgiving. It might end up being a boring mess. But you know, it’s my mess and if I’m going to mess personally in the public square, I’m glad it’s in Sledgehammer’s hands.” Jung said.
Christina Anderson’s pieces include How to Catch Creation, Good Goods and Hollow Roots. “I am delighted to not only invite readers to read some of my plays, but also to offer insight into my process as a playwright and creator. The three works I include each capture an important moment in my a theatrical journey that continues to evolve. And I designed the cover of the book, using my photography to create a collage that symbolizes my approach when creating my acting worlds,” says Anderson.
Recent Alien Abductions by Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas. Cortiñas’ piece uses the alien abduction metaphor to explore two types of asymmetrical relationships: the experience of growing up queer in a straight family, and the geopolitical relationship Puerto Rico has with the United States. “A good measure of the strength and resilience of any art form is the number of opportunities that exist for artists that are directed by artists, designed by them, and accountable to them. This is important because when artists are in charge, theater becomes bolder, more idiosyncratic — — it dreams further. Sledgehammer is a must-have experience for putting playwriting in the hands of playwrights,” says Cortiñas.
“The limited publication of plays, especially works by BIPOC artists, results in a butterfly effect of access issues for producers, scholars, historians and others,” says Jacqueline Goldfinger. “Additionally, the formatting requirements of traditional publishers force text into a monolithic mold that may not serve the artist’s intent. Sledgehammer supports playwrights so they can create an experience for the reader on the page, just as they create one for the audience on stage; making the experience of the text uniquely performative for each reader.”
Hansol Jung is a South Korean playwright and director. Productions include Wolf Play (Artist Rep, Company One, Soho Rep), Wild Goose Dreams (Public Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse), Cardboard Piano (Humana Festival), Among the Dead (Ma-Yi) and No More Sad Things (Sideshow , Boise Contemporary). Commissioned by Public Theater (NY), Kennedy Center, Playwrights Horizons, La Jolla Playhouse. She has received residencies and fellowships from Princeton’s Hodder Fellowship, Royal Court, New York Theater Workshop’s 2050 Fellowship, Berkeley Repertory, MacDowell, Hedgebrook, Sundance Theater Lab and Page 73. Awards include the Steinberg Award, Whiting Award, DGF Award and the Helen Merrill Award. She has written for the TV series Tales of the City (Netflix), Pachinko (Apple+) and is currently developing various on-screen projects with Bad Robot, Amazon Studios and the team at Kindred Spirit/Ink Factory/Endeavor Content. Hansol is a proud member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, NYTW’s Usual Suspects, and the Kilroys. MFA: Yale School of Drama.
Christina Anderson is currently nominated for a Tony Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical for Paradise Square. She is a playwright, screenwriter, educator and creative. His plays have performed at the Goodman Theater, OSF, Public Theater, Yale Repertory Theater, Kansas City Rep, and other theaters in the United States and Canada. Awards and honors include: 2021 Prince Award, 2020 American Artist Fellow, MacDowell Fellowship, Harper Lee Lily Awards, Herb Alpert Award Nomination, Barrymore Nomination, and New Playwrights Residency. She has taught playwriting at Wesleyan University, Rutgers University, SUNY Purchase College, and served as acting director of playwriting at Brown University.
Phillip Howze is a writer and theater maker whose works include Self Portraits (BRIC-Arts Media) and Frontieres Sans Frontieres (Bushwick Starr). His plays have been developed or produced at the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Clubbed Thumb, Cutting Ball, New York Theater Workshop, PRELUDE Festival, Public Theatre/NYSF, San Francisco Playhouse, Signature Theatre, Theater Masters and Yale Cabaret. He is a Fellow of the Sundance Theater Lab, Lucas Artist Fellow at Montalvo Arts Center, Jerome Hill Artist Fellow 2021, MAP Fund Fellow, and Writer-in-Residence at Lincoln Center Theater/LCT3. His commissions include the American Repertory Theatre, Manhattan Theater Club/Sloan Initiative and Lincoln Center Theatre/LCT3. He was recently named the first Associate Lecturer in Playwriting at Harvard University’s new Theatre, Dance and Media program. https://tripwireharlot.com/howze_secret.html
Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas’ most recent pieces include Bird in the Hand (Fulcrum, New York Times Critics Pick) and Blind Mouth Singing (NAATCO, New York Times Critics Pick). His many awards include grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts (three years), and the Helen Merrill Award, among others. He is a New Dramatists alumnus and a usual NYTW suspect.
Tripwire Harlot is a small, artist-run press that started in late 2019 as an imprint of Savage Candy Productions. It was originally founded by playwright Sheila Callaghan as a thought experiment, and quickly became a platform to amplify underrepresented voices in American theater and beyond. Tripwire H. is dedicated to bringing to light the adventurous work that might otherwise be overlooked by risk-averse institutions. He seeks to give voice to unique and insightful perspectives through questioning and creative research. He strives to serve the field by playfully pushing the limits of the impossible. And finally, it challenges our presumed limitations around printed dramatic works.