Marquee Dinner Spotlight on Jacqueline Goldfinger | Theatre Philadelphia
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Marquee Dinner Spotlight on Jacqueline Goldfinger

Jan 30, 2018

On February 5th, we will host the Marquee Dinner, honoring the Independence Foundation and celebrating new plays and playwrights in Philadelphia. This spotlight shares some background on key the artists that make our region a hotbed for new theatrical work. 

My name is Jacqueline Goldfinger and we moved to Philadelphia in 2008 so that my husband could head a new lab at Temple University School of Medicine.  My partner and I had no idea what a vibrant artistic city it was - and were thrilled to be welcomed by such a warm and generous community upon our arrival. 

The Independence Foundation has been an instrumental part of my development as both a playwright and arts educator. They supported my work with multiple grants to individual theaters, awarded me a Fellowship in the Arts, and also support the playwright lab I founded, The Foundry @ PlayPenn, so that we can continue to nurture the next great generation of Philadelphia playwrights.  Theater is a hands-on apprenticeship and there is no better instructor than experience.

The Independence Fellowship allowed me to travel nationally and internationally to learn about directing your own work from experts in the field. Thanks to the Fellowship, I not only strengthened my art but also wrote a play that went on to win the Smith Prize, the national prize for a new political work by an emerging artist.

Initially, we came to Philly for my husband’s job. But we’ve decided to stay because we love the rich community. Both the scientific and artistic communities share our values of exploration, honestly, generosity and making as a way of life. My husband also plays with a local band, West Philadelphia Orchestra, and my kids are zealous fans of Johnny Shortcake. We love being a part of the live music scene as well. We are so happy to be raising our family and growing our passions in this community.

 “Click” is my newest complete play. Here is a short description: One click can change your life. Would you walk the streets as your online avatar? As George Clooney? This fast, bright, darkly humorous play follows a group of college students involved in a frat rape that goes viral. As we spin forward in time over a decade, the characters create virtual reality identities that blur time and space; designing new technologies to erase a past that's impossible to forget, and grappling with the consequences of real life that can't be shifted, no matter how fast you code. It's a uniquely theatrical Sherlock-ian thriller that explores questions of consent, technology and the shifting moral boundaries between the two. The idea for “Click” sprang from the phenomena of posting videos of violent acts on college campuses, and the subsequent rise in questions surrounding consent and what consent means when sharing information online. The initial support for research for this piece came from PTC’s McNally Award and The Producer’s Fund. An early draft had a reading as part of the Theatre Exile X-hibition Series. It is currently being circulated to producers for production consideration.

I’ve been incredibly lucky. When I first moved here Terry Nolen at the Arden, Sara Garonzik at PTC, and Paul Meshejian at PlayPenn took a chance on hiring me as a young, rather untested, playwright-dramaturg. A year later, Kevin Glaccum and Allison Heishman gave me my first full professional production (of “The Terrible Girls”) at Azuka then, the next year, Thom Weaver and Rebecca Wright took a flying leap of faith on a big cast, fragmented fable (“Slip/Shot”) at Flashpoint. I cannot thank them enough for opening doors for me in this community.

Who are the writers and new play creators here in our city that are inspiring me? All of them. Anyone who gets up in the morning and fights the fear in our culture and lack of resources and puts their energy into making something true and meaningful. But I think most folx are going to answer this question with the names of powerful local artists you already know - so I’m going to give you a few very talented young voices to be on the look out for in the future. These are the strivers who are learning and growing together and will be the next generation of ragingly brilliant homegrown artists. Playwright Erlina Ortiz, Creative Producer Gabriella Sanchez, Producer-Creator Cat Ramirez, Playwright-Creator Josh Walker, Creator Hannah van Sciver, Playwright Iraisa Ann Reilly, Playwright-Producer Brie Knight, Playwright-Educator Josh Campbell, Playwright-Educator Cheyenne Barboza, Playwright-Performer Stephanie Walters, Poet-Performer Iman Aaliyah, Director-Artistic Administrator Kasual I. Owens-Fields, Playwright-Creative Producer Esther M. Cohen, Designer Apollo Mark Weaver, Creative Producer Erin Washburn, Dramaturg-Creator Alex Rosenfeld, and so many more. Keep holding the light, new world-makers, we cannot wait to see what you do next.

Hear more from Jackie, and share a meal alongside other creators of new work, at the Marquee Dinner on February 5th and Panorama Restaurant!