Callie Kimball

Callie Kimball

Callie Kimball earned her MFA under Tina Howe at Hunter College, where she won the Rita & Burton Goldberg Playwriting Award two years in a row. Her plays have been produced and developed in New York, Chicago, LA, and DC, at the Kennedy Center, Portland Stage Company, Lark Play Development Center, Halcyon Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, Stoneham Theatre, Echo Theatre, The Brick Theater, Project Y Theatre,...
Callie Kimball earned her MFA under Tina Howe at Hunter College, where she won the Rita & Burton Goldberg Playwriting Award two years in a row. Her plays have been produced and developed in New York, Chicago, LA, and DC, at the Kennedy Center, Portland Stage Company, Lark Play Development Center, Halcyon Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, Stoneham Theatre, Echo Theatre, The Brick Theater, Project Y Theatre, Team Awesome Robot, Washington Shakespeare Company, Everyman Repertory Theatre, Absolute Theatre, Mad Horse Theatre, The Drama League, and many colleges and festivals across the country. She's an Affiliate Writer at the Playwrights' Center, and a former MacDowell Fellow. She won a Ludwig Vogelstein grant to research her play "Sofonisba," which won the Clauder Gold Prize, was a finalist for the O'Neill, a semifinalist for the Princess Grace Award, and was included on The Kilroys' 2016 List. The play has had readings at the National Museum of Women in the Arts and at the Farnsworth Museum. Her first teaching job was teaching Shakespeare in a juvenile detention facility, and she has taught playwriting to over 1,000 students through various nonprofit arts organizations and colleges. Academic articles about her plays have appeared in Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation, and in Comedia Performance: A Journal of the Association for Hispanic Classical Theater (forthcoming). Her themes range from historical dramas and classical adaptations to socio-political comedies and futuristic dystopias. Many of her plays explore emotional violence and parasitic relationships, with characters who live at the intersection of language and power, and struggle to break free from the constraints of class, race, gender, and systemic abuse. Some have described her plays as feminist, which is lovely, but really she just writes plays where the main characters have jobs and goals and happen to be women.

Plays

  • Sofonisba
    Italian Renaissance painter Sofonisba Anguissola traveled to Spain to be court painter for Philip II for twenty years. The play opens with Sofonisba on the ship to Spain, and closes with her on the ship returning home to Italy. It explores her 20 years in the Spanish court as King Philip's prized portrait painter and confidant of 14-year-old Queen Isabel. This play explores and imagines the negotiations...
    Italian Renaissance painter Sofonisba Anguissola traveled to Spain to be court painter for Philip II for twenty years. The play opens with Sofonisba on the ship to Spain, and closes with her on the ship returning home to Italy. It explores her 20 years in the Spanish court as King Philip's prized portrait painter and confidant of 14-year-old Queen Isabel. This play explores and imagines the negotiations and sacrifices she might have made in the service of her art, and how she navigated the tricky waters of court politics as an unmarried woman. A play about the hunger for creation--of birth and of art--and what it costs. Three actors (one actor plays multiple roles). Unproduced. The Kilroys' List, 2016 Clauder Gold Prize, 2016 Finalist, O'Neill Playwrights' Conference, 2016 Semifinalist, Princess Grace Award, 2016 Nominee, The Kilroys' List, 2015 Semifinalist, Shakespeare's Sister Award, 2014 Semifinalist, Lark Playwrights' Week, 2010 CHARACTERS SOFONISBA ANGUISSOLA. Italian. 27 when the play starts. 47 when it ends. Court painter to King Philip II of Spain. QUEEN ISABEL. French. 14 when the play starts. Queen of Spain, Philip’s second wife. BISHOP/KING PHILIP/DON FRANCISCO/THE FOOL/ORAZIO. Played by the same actor. SETTING The Spanish Court of King Philip II, 1560-1571. And two ships.
  • Alligator Road
    ALLIGATOR ROAD is set in central Florida’s oldest hardware store where Kathy, a recent widow, has yarn-bombed all the hammers, saws, and paint cans. It's a gesture of whimsy before she hands the store over to Lavinia as an act of reparations. But her daughter Candace will do anything to stop Kathy from throwing away the family store. ALLIGATOR ROAD is a sly comedy that unravels ideas about entitlement...
    ALLIGATOR ROAD is set in central Florida’s oldest hardware store where Kathy, a recent widow, has yarn-bombed all the hammers, saws, and paint cans. It's a gesture of whimsy before she hands the store over to Lavinia as an act of reparations. But her daughter Candace will do anything to stop Kathy from throwing away the family store. ALLIGATOR ROAD is a sly comedy that unravels ideas about entitlement and the price of freedom. Broadway World Critic's Choice: Best of Maine 2015 "Alligator Road addresses big issues – white privilege and guilt, racism of the past and the present, the problematic concept of reparations – in an interestingly oblique, non-didactic way. Kimball’s punchy, irreverent script delivers turns that feel at once surprising and inevitable, her dialogue is refreshingly free of Big Issue exposition...What’s perhaps most interesting about Kimball’s script is its ambiguousness; the script asks questions rather than answers them." Megan Grumbling, The Portland Phoenix "An incisive and insightful drama about family relationships, race, and the meaning of personal freedom...Kimball, whose other works include Jenny1538 and Rush, has written a taut, tension filled script and scathing, acerbic, often mordantly funny dialogue for four wonderfully flawed and human characters, with whom the audience easily empathizes...Kimball vividly paints her characters in colorful strokes and emotionally laden confrontations; she knows how to build tension to a white-hot temperature and diffuse it in a brief moment of sharp humor...Hers is a play that deserves a wider audience, and one can only hope that Alligator Road will find many more venues and audiences with which to share its message." Carla Maria Verdino-Sullwold, Broadway World Setting Labor Day 2014. A hardware store in central Florida. Characters KATHY. White. 45. Sweet, coarse, and slightly hot. CANDACE. White. 21. She is a dagger. It costs her nothing to say anything. LAVINIA. Black. 20s. A peacemaker with starch. SCOTT. White. 30s. Not as much of a dick as he could be. If the women are having multiple conversations at once, knitting the words of the play, Scott is a pair of scissors.
  • Things That Are Round
    Tetherly, a dentist specializing in existential terror, and Nina, an opera singer who just might be the worst babysitter ever, square off in this strange ballet of truth or dare. But is this a game anyone can even win? CHARACTERS TETHERLY, 40s but appears to be in her 30s. WASPy white. Dentist. Finishing a PhD in theoretical calculus. She believes everything she does is benign. NINA, 24 going on 24....
    Tetherly, a dentist specializing in existential terror, and Nina, an opera singer who just might be the worst babysitter ever, square off in this strange ballet of truth or dare. But is this a game anyone can even win? CHARACTERS TETHERLY, 40s but appears to be in her 30s. WASPy white. Dentist. Finishing a PhD in theoretical calculus. She believes everything she does is benign. NINA, 24 going on 24. Latina. Former paralegal. Aspiring opera singer. When she talks it’s arrows. SETTING The present. A living room. At once the most polite and secret room in the house.
  • Rush
    It’s 1899. Frank and Belinda stand at the threshold of a new life in the Yukon Gold Rush. But are they really brother and sister? And what horror did they leave behind? Even if the law catches up with them, will it matter in this wild frontier? Told in a dark, poetic, and fractured way, RUSH asks whether escaping your past only makes it haunt you all the more. "Kimball exercises a poet’s finely-honed...
    It’s 1899. Frank and Belinda stand at the threshold of a new life in the Yukon Gold Rush. But are they really brother and sister? And what horror did they leave behind? Even if the law catches up with them, will it matter in this wild frontier? Told in a dark, poetic, and fractured way, RUSH asks whether escaping your past only makes it haunt you all the more. "Kimball exercises a poet’s finely-honed restraint, shifting and slowly stripping the talisman-like lines...Kimball’s grace with lyric and leaps is often arresting. At its best, I love how vertiginously Kimball’s script leaps and leaves us in the air: the end of a scene cuts off someone’s second thought at “Ma’am – ”; the internal memory phrases are increasingly sloughed of context. Most harrowingly, the story’s resolution is achieved with disarming simplicity, striking in its swiftness and restraint. And the show’s final memory words, stripped to verbal bone – not to mention its final gasp – caught my own breath." Megan Grumbling, Dig Portland. Setting Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, and the Yukon Territory. 1899-1900. Characters BELINDA, any race, early 20s. Odd. Careful. Knows too much and too little about the wrong things. FRANK, same race as Belinda, mid- to late 20s. Quick to anger. Wasn’t always like this. ROSIE, Tlingit, early 20s. Practical and suspicious for every good reason. Mostly honest. ALICE, white, mid- to late 20s. Savvy entrepreneur with a secret or three. From Ohio. JEB, any age, any race, preferably black. Rough but harmless and well-meaning prospector. GARRISON, man, white, any age. The implacable face of the law. DOCTOR, woman, Scottish, any age. Has seen too much. NEIGHBOR, woman, any race, any age. Has not seen nearly enough. The play can be done with six actors by doubling Doctor/Rosie (or Alice) and Neighbor/Alice (or Rosie), or seven actors if the Doctor and Neighbor are doubled.
  • Dreams of the Penny Gods
    Bug's just your average 13-year-old girl whose family is hiding out in a storage facility. So naturally, she's transformed herself into a high priestess who's trying to raise the dead. On this particular summer day, her incantations seem to work, setting off an acceleration of events ending in a rough Armageddon that launches her into the world. Nominee, The Kilroys' List, 2014 and 2015...
    Bug's just your average 13-year-old girl whose family is hiding out in a storage facility. So naturally, she's transformed herself into a high priestess who's trying to raise the dead. On this particular summer day, her incantations seem to work, setting off an acceleration of events ending in a rough Armageddon that launches her into the world. Nominee, The Kilroys' List, 2014 and 2015 Lark Playwrights' Week, 2013 Rita and Burton Goldberg Playwriting Award, 2012 Finalist, Clubbed Thumb Biennial Commission, 2011 (under the title "Grendel") Setting August 2011. A makeshift living area in a storage facility near Biddeford, Maine. Characters BUG, WHITE, 13 GOING ON 8. Isolated. Obedient, eager, and straightforward. A little slow. KITTY, WHITE, 45-50-ISH, STORAGE FACILITY MANAGER. Never smiles. The drug addiction of her youth has been replaced by a ferocious devotion to Jehovah. Looks like she eats cigarettes. GLORIA, BLACK, 30S-40S, YOUNGER, PRETTIER, AND KINDER THAN KITTY. Though she is Kitty's first and most faithful convert, she has outgrown the friendship. Often tries to protect Bug. Often fails. BOBBY, WHITE, 30. Prison was probably the best thing that ever happened to Bobby. Seems hapless and free of subtext, but this is simply a persona he's cultivated to survive his home life and prison life. The reality is much darker. TRUCK, NOT WHITE, LATE 20s-30s or 40s-50s. ENTREPRENEUR AND BOBBY'S FRIEND. Handsome in a way. Smooth. Nothing but subtext. Has either avoided or been to prison but is now sober and into health food. Takes great pride in his accomplishments. Understands first-hand that doing the right thing often comes at a cost.
  • MAY 39th
    A voyeuristic peek at dating 1,000 years from now. Louisa's your average, brainy, slightly mousy single gal in the city. Sure, she's got twelve clones and a decent job at the Center for Proteonomics, but she's also got a genetic trait of not feeling pain that makes her, well...different. Louisa's predictable world is turned upside down when she meets romantic renegade Sam online at the Ninja...
    A voyeuristic peek at dating 1,000 years from now. Louisa's your average, brainy, slightly mousy single gal in the city. Sure, she's got twelve clones and a decent job at the Center for Proteonomics, but she's also got a genetic trait of not feeling pain that makes her, well...different. Louisa's predictable world is turned upside down when she meets romantic renegade Sam online at the Ninja Diner. Sam offers Louisa everything she wants, and a few things she hadn't bargained for. (Male and female couple, or two women.) "Dating in general often ends up to be a maze of social and personal issues all with the goal of hopefully finding someone you can spend your life with. With this play we see that nothing has changed 1000 years from now – society has it’s rules, and we still have our issues. This is science fiction done right – using the genre to explore ourselves and the world around us. What obstacles do we put in our own way? What are put in our way by society? This story explores that in a very thoughtful way." Erik Engman, certified reviewer for Hollywood Fringe. SETTING May 39, 3006. A bedroom. CHARACTERS Louisa, female. Sam, male or female.
  • Jenny1538
    Nine-year-old Jenny1538 is a perfectionist. She’s going for her sixth attempt to earn her Discovery badge. It’s the only badge she doesn’t have, and her presentation is a sure-fire win—she’s found 11 lost days from the 18th century. A play about identity, loss, and what it means when your outsides don’t match your insides. "Kimball’s script is often deliciously disarming, filled with veers and leaps,...
    Nine-year-old Jenny1538 is a perfectionist. She’s going for her sixth attempt to earn her Discovery badge. It’s the only badge she doesn’t have, and her presentation is a sure-fire win—she’s found 11 lost days from the 18th century. A play about identity, loss, and what it means when your outsides don’t match your insides. "Kimball’s script is often deliciously disarming, filled with veers and leaps, and as in her other work, she has a particular skill with fragmented, lyrical riffs into the absurd, as when Dominic rattles off a weird litany of “because” (including, memorably, “Because Gwyneth Paltrow cries baby organic tiger tears”)." Megan Grumbling, The Portland Phoenix Characters JENNY. 9. Played by a grown man. Wears a Brownie uniform. Classic overachieving perfectionist. DOMINIC FRANCONIA. 40s. Sweatpants, tee shirt, sneakers—it’s the best he’s got. He does not have reliable shelter. Setting Here and now. Since Jenny is giving a presentation to her scout troop, the space could be a church hall, a community center, a basement, or…a theater.