SPF 14: Ain’t No Fairytales in Section 8
Focusing on the issue of poverty and the inability to get ahead for working class people and people of color in the United States, this play focuses on a group of people whose lives become entangled when the desperation that comes with raised rent prices and unpaid bills gets so extreme that they decide to resort to committing a crime just to afford to live. This only leads to deeper conversations, guilt, greed, and a broad exploration of how the American Dream can sometimes be a nightmare.
Cris Eli Blak is an emerging Black playwright whose work has been performed around the world. He is the winner of the inaugural Black Broadway Men Playwriting Initiative, the Atlanta Shakespeare Company’s inaugural winner of the Muse of Fire BIPOC Playwriting Festival. He has been the artist in residence at the State University of New York – Oswego, a 2023 FORGE Fellow, and the recipient of the inaugural Emerging Playwrights Fellowship from The Scoundrel & Scamp Theatre. He was a resident playwright with Fosters Theatrical Artists Residency, Paterson Performing Arts Development Council and La Lengua Teatro en Español/AlterTheater Ensemble; the recipient of the Michael Bradford Residency from Quick Silver Theatre Company; and was in the inaugural class of fellows for the Black Theatre Coalition.
Christian Telesmar was the Festival Director of the 2022 Summer Playwrights Festival, as well as the Co-Director of the festival in 2020 and 2021. He was also an Artistic Board Member of the Road Theatre Company from 2019 to 2022 while he was overseeing the SPF 11, 12 and 13 festivals. This year he is honored to pass along the festival responsibilities into the capable hands of other Road members to step into the play directing seat with Ain’t No Fairytales in Section 8 by Cris Eli Blak. This play resonants with Christian’s passion surrounding social justice, race, poverty and our human affinity for a life’s purpose greater than ourselves. Hailing from the PNW, where Christian earned his BA in Drama and his MFA in Acting from the University of Washington, he later moved to California to earn his MBA in Business Administration from Purdue University Global while pursuing his professional acting career in Los Angeles. Though he treasures the opportunity to participate in theatre offstage, his home is on the stage. Christian can be recognized from his work in the LADCC award-winning production of On the Other Hand, We’re Happy at Rogue Machine Theatre, and as Harmond Wilks in August Wilson’s Radio Golf, directed by Gregg T. Daniel, at A Noise Within Theatre.