Mar 7 – 27, 2024
Abbey Fenbert is a writer from Detroit, MI, though her other homes include New York, Boston, LA, Chicago and Ukraine. She holds an MFA in Playwriting from Boston University and a BA from NYU. Her original plays have been produced and developed by the Matrix Theatre Company, Red Theatre Chicago, Northern Illinois University, the Great Plains Theatre Conference, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, the KNOW Theatre, the Berkshire Playwrights’ Lab, the Vagrancy, the Playwrights Center of Minneapolis and the Playwrights Union of Los Angeles. Her plays Sickle and Child were Finalists for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and her short dramatic works are published in anthologies from Smith & Kraus.
Her writing has been featured online at The Toast, McSweeney’s, Catapult, The Offing, HowlRound and American Theatre. She also wrote and stars in the webseries Beck & Clem, a feminist time-travel comedy. Fenbert served in the Peace Corps, Ukraine, 2008-2011, where she worked as an English teacher and youth organizer.
Abbey’s work is obsessed with complex intimacies and the systems that govern them. Queerness, whether romantic or not, pervades her writing, and she brings a comic sensibility to every drama. During her stay at Good Hart, she plans to complete a working draft of a new ensemble play inspired by the movements of birds. The project began as an experiment in writing towards alternative forms of embodiment: what if a role wasn’t determined by the particular body of an actor? What if actors didn’t have to contend with the narratives associated with their bodies and the limitations of “type,” which too often reinforce violent social hierarchies? Her challenge was to create a theatrical world where these types don’t exist – where directors, designers and actors can create new narratives of physicality and performance. From there she got all into birds.
In the play, set in a too-near future where climate devastation has irrevocably marked the woods and waters, a group of chemically-altered birds have unlocked evolutionary memories from the time they were dinosaurs. The forest-wide identity crisis becomes a mystery-comedy about the costs of survival and what it means to confront and lose our past selves. Good Hart, situated among the trees and attuned to the rhythms of nature, is the ideal developmental home for this project. Abbey also hopes to explore themes of movement, place and creative embodiment in workshops with young people, collaborating with them to dismantle stereotypes and embrace the liberatory potential of theater.