Theater Emory to Premiere Four New Plays by Atlanta Playwrights as Part of "Breaking Ground"

June 23, 2015

Breaking Ground, Theater Emory¿s annual residency of new work development, concludes Saturday, July 11 with ¿4:48,¿ a playwriting ¿bake-off¿ that will result in four brand new plays by Atlanta-based playwrights Johnny Drago, Daryl Fazio, Michael Winn and Emory University Playwriting Fellow Edith Freni.  The work is being commissioned by Lisa Paulsen and The Playwriting Center at Theater Emory.

The process behind ¿4:48¿ is inspired by the playwriting ¿bake-offs¿ that Pulitzer-winning Playwright Paula Vogel developed as part of her workshops for MFA students at Brown and Yale Universities.

¿I¿d been looking for a way to get some Atlanta-based playwrights over to Emory during my fellowship and this process sounded like a perfect opportunity to make that happen. I brought the idea to Lisa and we ran with it,¿ says Freni, whose plays have been developed in Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland, New York, Miami and here in Atlanta at Actor¿s Express and Theater Emory.

Bake-offs begin with a piece of source material that all of the playwrights read, respond to and use as a starting point for their plays. For 4:48, Freni selected the book Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan and Calcida Jetha, which questions whether monogamy comes naturally to human beings. Atlanta-based scribes Johnny Drago, Daryl Fazio and Michael Winn join Freni in this endeavor. "I usually walk around with an idea in my head for months, even years, before it turns itself into a play. I'm equally excited and terrified by the thought that there's a play somewhere inside me I haven't even considered yet,¿ says Drago, whose plays have been produced and developed nationally at Actor¿s Theatre of Louisville and the Barter Theatre; and in Atlanta at Actor¿s Express, 7Stages, The Weird Sisters Theatre Project, DramaTech and The Process Theatre.

Fazio, who is currently working on a commission for Horizon Theatre Company and developing a new musical called lift, said of the process, ¿I feel sheer terror, which is actually the intense best friend of creativity. And often, time can be creation's worst enemy.¿

Theater Emory presents ¿4:48¿ as  part of Breaking Ground, on Saturday, July 11 in the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts.  All four plays will be presented consecutively beginning at 12 p.m.. The readings are free and open to the public. For more information about 4:48, visit The exact reading schedule will be posted there by Thursday, July 9. For complete listings and information about Breaking Ground, visit Theater Emory on Facebook.


Theater Emory
Theater Emory, the professional company in residence at Emory University, produces a wide range of drama, from classics to new works. Liberal arts undergraduates work with professional directors, actors, designers, playwrights, dramaturgs, choreographers, composers, music directors and stage managers.

The Playwriting Center of Theater Emory
For nearly thirty years, Theater Emory has dedicated itself to the development of new work for the stage, based upon the belief that this work can enrich not only the scripts themselves but also those of us who choose to engage with them.