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‘Esai’s Table’ by Nathan Yungerberg at Spike Hill

Bedford-Stuyvesant writer pens new play in under a month

The Brooklyn Paper
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Time is on his side, yes it is.

Each month, the organizers of a project called Brooklyn Generator choose one young playwright and give them the task of writing a complete, stage-ready play in one month.

But since this month’s dramatist was otherwise engaged with writing projects, he has taken far fewer than his allotted 30 days to write his play, “Esai’s Table.”

It turns out that was all he needed.

“I learned that I do not need months and months to get a first draft out,” said writer Nathan Yungerberg, who splits his time between Bedford-Stuyvesant and San Francisco. “When you do not have a deadline, you have the luxury of ample amounts of time, but that can be detrimental, because you take too much time to get it done.”

“Esai’s Table” is the story of the mentor of three young black men who are all struggling to figure out their strengths.

“I wanted to create a play that would give a voice to the aspects of young black men that are not normally projected in the media, like their talents and interests and idiosyncra­sies,” said Yungerberg. “Those are the aspects the media disregards when it just posts a photo of an angry black man.”

The play’s first outing, which will be at Spike Hill in Williamsburg on Nov. 30, will be an informal reading without sets or costumes.

The tight timeline has made Yungerberg more prolific than ever before, he said.

“The play is already inside of me, and it is literally just flowing out,” he said. “If I had one day to sit here from 8 am to 8 pm, I think I could get the whole thing out.”

Writer and actor Erin Mallon started Brooklyn Generator four years ago as a way of getting more 10-minute-long plays created. In the early days, she would invite 12 actors and six writers to her house for a party each month, and each writer had to pick the names of two actors out of a hat and then write a play for them. They would then debut them all at the end of the month.

But last year, Melon and her partner, playwright Bixby Elliot, decided to shake the format up a bit and invite one writer per month to pen a play in 30 days. She still holds the same parties at her apartment, but now they are aimed at generating ideas for one playwright to create a full-length production.

“The ideas are so hot that by the time they’re done, the playwrights don’t even know what they have got,” said Mallon “It’s a brave and scary process.”

Mallon and Elliott have already picked six more playwrights for 2015, and plan to start the next round of parties in January.

“Esai’s Table” at Spike Hill [186 Bedford Ave. between N. Sixth and N. Seventh streets in Williamsburg, (718) 218–9737, www.spikehill.com] Nov. 30 at 4:30 pm. Free.

Posted 12:00 am, November 25, 2014
Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
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