BareBones® productions are simply staged, public presentations of plays in the later stages of development, and are The Lark’s most intensive development workshops, with plays receiving three weeks of rehearsal and up to eight public performances. In On Every Link a Heart Does Dangle; or Owed, the town of Thebes, once the jewel of Southern Illinois, has fallen to ruin. The river has turned poisonous, the crops are failing, and pregnant women and their unborn babies are dying mysterious deaths, all while the town's leader has locked himself away.
“This play began as an Oedipus adaptation set in Southern Illinois, but I soon found I wasn’t interested in creating another adaptation of a story about a man who creates a problem, refuses to listen to those trying to help him, then bewails the fate that was thrust upon him,” said Lord. “So I pushed Oedipus offstage. Instead, I wanted to focus on the most vulnerable people in this world. Those left to deal with his inability to see what’s killing Thebes. The new central character is a young woman born in poverty and shunned because she was born with a disability.”
Lord has been developing the play through his residency with The Lark in The Apothetae and Lark Playwriting Fellowship, which is granted in partnership with The Apothetae (Artistic Director, Gregg Mozgala), and provides a two-year cycle of support to a Disabled writer for the generation of a new play to essay and challenge perceptions of the "Disabled Experience." Tim became the inaugural recipient of the Fellowship last season, receiving a $40,000 prize and a $5,000 opportunity and resource fund, as well as outreach and scouting toward the commissioning and development of the new play, and a $10,000 production enhancement fund.
“But Every Link isn’t a play about disability,” said Lord. “Like the play that inspired it, it’s about power—who has it and how they hold onto it. It’s about understanding that true power comes from being entrusted with it. And it’s about learning to own one’s power. I’ve had the great gift of unwavering support from The Apothetae and Lark Playwriting Fellowship over the past year and a half. It’s allowed me to tell this really big, ambitious story from a perspective that is often overlooked, so Every Link is also a play about enabling people to tell their own stories.”
On Every Link a Heart Does Dangle; or Owed is a theatrical event expected to run approximately three and half hours, and is a work-in-progress, subject to change throughout the run in order to support the development of this epic story. The play has also received development through The Lark’s Project on Tyranny, Winter Writers’ Retreat, and Roundtable programs, as well as at the University of Minnesota, The Playwrights’ Center, and at the Kennedy Center.
“Tim’s play is adventurous and incredible,” said Lloyd Suh, Director of Artistic Programs at The Lark. “It uses classic myths of history and explodes myths of disability; a heroine’s journey told with wild theatrical imagination.”
“And there's a joinery into a monster's lair called the Panther's Den,” said Lord.
Past BareBones® have supported plays that have since advanced to become impactful pieces in the American theater repertoire, and include Donja R. Love’s In the Middle, Dominique Morisseau’s Skeleton Crew (Atlantic Theater Company 2015), Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop (Broadway 2011, Olivier Award for Best Play 2010), and Rajiv Joseph’s Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo(Broadway 2011, Pulitzer Prize nominee).
All tickets for On Every Link a Heart Does Dangle are free. Reservations are required and can be made through The Lark’s website beginning April 15th. The run will also be accompanied by a panel conversation in early May on the topic of how Disability has been historically portrayed in theater, and how artists today are reclaiming these narratives. The panel will feature Lord and will be moderated by Mozgala. Details and other panelists will be announced soon.
The Lark is ADA accessible. For specific questions or requests regarding accessibility, please contact Megan McClain at (212) 246-2676, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lark programs are made possible with leadership support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the National Endowment for the Arts with additional support from the New York State Council on the Arts, and Axe-Houghton Foundation.
This show is not open for review, however process-oriented articles and features are encouraged.