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Associate Professor of Theater Ken Prestininzi directed “Sanctuary City” at the second annual Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, which took place in Morocco this past summer.
At the international new play development lab, Prestininzi worked with Martyna Majok, the Polish-born playwright who was awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Drama for her play “Cost of Living.”
“It was great to work at such a high artistic and professional level with Martyna. Her play demanded my best work and called out the best from the other artists,” said Prestininzi, who taught Majok playwriting at the Yale School of Drama.
“Sanctuary City” is called a “Cubist play about love(rs) and Dreamers set in pre-DACA America.”
According to The New York Times, the play “blends the personal and political in its depiction of a newly naturalized teenager who decides to marry her undocumented best friend so he can remain in the country.”
“It was an ideal situation. We focused on the play without any production or outside concerns, and then shared it with other artists who were also there creating work,” Prestininzi said.
The Sundance Institute Theatre Lab alternates locations each season, moving between the Sundance Resort in Utah, and a venue in the Middle East/North Africa, as part of a multi-year commitment to international work and a means of facilitating cultural exchange between artists, independent from commercial or public pressures, as they develop their projects.
“Working collaboratively with a former student who now teaches me about the theater and what is possible and necessary for American audiences, as did all the honored artists Sundance invited to Morocco—it’s what I expect to happen in the future in ongoing relationships with my students when they graduate from Conn.
“The work continues,” Prestininzi said. “Always.”