Paula Cizmar is an award-winning playwright and librettist whose work lives at the intersection of poetry and politics. Her plays have been produced at theatres all around the U.S. including Portland Stage, San Diego Rep, The Women’s Project, Cal Rep, and Playwrights Arena. She is one of the writers of the documentary play, Seven, which has been produced in 30+ countries and translated into 22 languages.
Among her full-length plays are Antigone X, set in a refugee camp along an unknown border, published by NoPassport Press; Along the River, Almost Winter, a play with a talking bear, set during the California Gold Rush; and Last Nights of Scheherazade, winner of the Israel Baran Award for New Plays. She has written several plays on environmental issues including The Chisera (performed at the Mach 33 Science Play Festival) and short eco-plays, including Appealing for Climate Change Theatre Action 2019; she was commissioned to be a part of CCTA 2021.
Honors include two NEA grants; a residency at the Rockefeller Study Center in Bellagio, Italy; and a TCG/Mellon Foundation On the Road grant.
Cizmar wrote the libretto for The Night Flight of Minerva’s Owl, music by Guang Yang, which was the winner of the Music That Matters/Fight for the Right new opera program at Pittsburgh Festival Opera. Cizmar & Yang’s short opera Invisible premiered in LA Opera’s Eurydice Found Festival in January 2020 and is part of Snapshot 2021, presented by West Edge Opera and Earplay. Their piece, Firecrackers, premieres at White Snake Opera in Boston in 2021.
Cizmar is part of the creative team of the Institute for Theatre and Social Change at the University of Southern California where she is an associate professor of theatre practice at USC’s School of Dramatic Arts. Info: www.paulacizmar.net.
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MORE ABOUT ME
I imagine telling stories in these times by simply recognizing that without stories, we live in darkness. If we don't write our way out of the darkness, then we are stuck with what has been handed to us by some nameless faceless "fate"--and I can't accept that. I could never accept that. If I accepted what was supposed to be or what was pre-ordained for me, I'd be living under the thumb of the meaningless limits that someone who doesn't care about me decided to impose. I have to ignore that sort of thing and just keep going. Besides, writers know that by writing our way out of the darkness, we also create a portal to the light that others can use as well. That's my tiny little contribution: Come with me, friends, to a different world. It's what writers do. Whether the times are good, bad, joyous, disastrous, our job is the same: We write. We imagine. We make something new. And with any luck, there is change.
WHAT I'M WORKING ON
A libretto for a dystopian opera and a new play that, I hope, will be funny. (Trying to feel funny for a change!)
Political, Nature, Animals, Equality, Climate, Environmental, Adaptations, Immersive/Site-specific, Documentary, Mythic, Food, Spirituality
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