Rachel Bonds’ "Curve of Departure" Receives 2017 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award

Beth Fhaner
 | Aug 24, 2017
Rachel Bonds

Curve of Departure playwright Rachel Bonds.

Five Mile Lake

Brian Slaten, Rebecca Mozo and Corey Brill in the 2014 world premiere of Five Mile Lake by Rachel Bonds. Photo by Debora Robinson/SCR.

Five Mile Lake

​​Corey Brill, Nicole Shalhoub and Nate Mooney in ​the 2014 world premiere of Five Mile Lake by Rachel Bonds. Photo by Debora Robinson.

Playwright Rachel Bonds returns to SCR this fall with the world premiere of Curve of Departure, her second production here after our 2014 world premiere of Five Mile Lake. Shortly before Five Mile Lake opened, Bonds was commissioned by SCR to write a new play and Curve of Departure is the result of that commission. As a recipient of a 2017 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award, we explore what this grant means for Bonds and her new work.

“Like her previous plays, this one is marked by nuanced characters, beautifully crafted dialogue undergirded by rich subtext, and an attention to ordinary lives that—like all ordinary lives—meet with challenges that can only be overcome by a kind of everyday heroism,” says dramaturg and Associate Artistic Director John Glore. “At a time when our country has never been more divided over its core values, Curve of Departure quietly argues for compassion, tolerance and the essential humanness of the helping hand—while also acknowledging that the heart is complex and sometimes at odds with itself, even over something as basic as love,” he explains.

Directed by Brad and Louise Edgerton, the Edgerton Foundation New Plays Program was launched nationally in 2007 and so far has supported 348 plays at more than 50 different theatres across the country. In addition to raising awareness of new works, the awards allow productions extra time for development and rehearsal with the entire creative team. Part of the award’s mission is to also enable productions to extend productions following their world premieres. Many of the Edgerton Awards recipients have gone on to Broadway productions, including the Tony Award-winning Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen and Oslo.

Since its inception, the Edgerton Foundation has awarded more than $10 million to nearly 350 new-play productions. Twenty-five of those plays have made it to Broadway and 15 have been nominated for Tony Awards, with All the Way, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, and Oslo winning the best play or musical awards. Nine plays were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama, with wins for Hamilton (2016), The Flick (2014), Water by the Spoonful (2012), and Next to Normal (2010).

“Every year, we count on the Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards to introduce the field to important new plays,” says Teresa Eyring, executive director of Theatre Communications Group. “With the goal of giving these plays the best odds for productions beyond their premieres, Edgerton Foundation grants are helping deepen and expand the theatrical canon for the U.S. and beyond.”

SCR has received additional good news regarding the Edgerton Awards: Little Black Shadows (April 8-29) by Kemp Powers was also named a 2017 Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards recipient earlier this year, and most recently, Cambodian Rock Band (March 4-25, 2018) by Lauren Yee was awarded with an Edgerton grant to support both an extra week of rehearsal and a week of pre-rehearsal in November. This is the first time SCR has received three grants in one season, and we’re one of the few theatres in the country that can make that claim. Kudos to our playwrights on receiving this recognition!