The Center for Fiction and Theatre Communications Group co-presented Story/Teller Arts: Martyna Majok on Cost of Living with Naveen Kumar and David Zayas on November 16 at The Center for Fiction in Brooklyn and via livestream. Zayas also performed a monologue from the play.
Majok’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork Cost of Living tackles the biases and perceptions of those living with disabilities and explores the divisions set by class, race, and nationality that hinder our simple, innate desire to connect as people. This event represents the seventh collaboration between The Center and TCG, with past events featuring Jackie Sibblies Drury and Claudia Rankine; Annie Baker and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins; Heidi Schreck and Paula Vogel; Sarah Ruhl and Matthew Aucoin; Aleshea Harris and Nissy Aya; and Lynn Nottage and Damon Tabor.
Since its founding in 1984, TCG Books has grown to become North America’s largest independent trade publisher of dramatic literature, with 19 winners of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama on its book list. The book program commits to the life-long career of its playwrights, keeping all of their plays in print. TCG Books’ authors include: Annie Baker, Nilo Cruz, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Larissa FastHorse, Athol Fugard, Quiara Alegría Hudes, David Henry Hwang, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Adrienne Kennedy, Tony Kushner, Young Jean Lee, Lynn Nottage, Suzan-Lori Parks, Sarah Ruhl, Heidi Schreck, Stephen Sondheim, Paula Vogel, and August Wilson. TCG Books events are supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Follow TCG Books on Twitter and Instagram at @BooksTCG.
Martyna Majok‘s other plays include Ironbound, Queens and Sanctuary City. Cost of Living was awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Majok is the recipient of a Lucille Lortel Award, Lilly Award, Helen Hayes Award, Lanford Wilson Prize, Greenfield Prize, Jean Kennedy Smith Award, two Jane Chambers Awards, NYTW’s 2050 Fellowship, NNPN Smith Prize for Political Playwriting, and The Merage Foundation Fellowship for The American Dream. Majok was the 2015-2016 PoNY Fellow at the Lark Play Development Center and is a 2018-2019 Hodder Fellow at Princeton University.
Naveen Kumar is a theater critic for the New York Times and Variety. His recent work as a journalist has been published by them.us, the Daily Beast, Town & Country, InStyle, the Hollywood Reporter, and many more. He has twice served on the jury for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, in 2020 (Michael R. Jackson’s A Strange Loop) and 2021 (Katori Hall’s The Hot Wing King). Prior to journalism, he worked in the theatrical literary department at CAA. He earned his B.A. from Vassar College and an M.A. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University.
David Zayas is best known for his role as Angel Batista on the Golden Globe-nominated psychological drama “Dexter” (Showtime). David was recently seen as Sal Maroni on “Gotham” (Fox), Sheriff Aguirre on “Bloodline” (Netflix), Eduardo Magana on “Shut Eye” (Hulu), and El Alma del Diablo on “Deadly Class” (SyFy). His other TV credits include “Saint George” (FX), “Seven Seconds” (Netflix), “Blue Bloods” (CBS), “Quantico” (ABC), and “The Guest Book” (TBS). While working on the crime drama “The Beat,” Zayas met Emmy Award-winning TV writer and producer Tom Fontana, who then went on to create the role of Enrique Morales on HBO’s “Oz” especially for him. On film, he has starred in The Expendables, Skyline, 13, Michael Clayton, Sixteen Blocks, The Savages, Bringing Out the Dead, The Yards, Undefeated, Wit, Angel, and The Interpreter. David also starred opposite Helen Hunt in the indie feature Ride, starred opposite Elliot Page and Allison Janney in the feature Tallulah, and as Ramon in Shine. He appeared in the film remake of the 1982 movie musical Annie opposite Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz. Most recently, David starred as Sgt. Kesper in Body Cam and John the Baptist in Force of Nature. He plays Fernando Capulet in the upcoming film R#J. A former New York City police officer, Zayas began his acting career with LAByrinth Theater Company in 1992. He has starred in more than thirty theater productions, most with LAByrinth: Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train, In Arabia We’d All Be Kings, Our Lady of 121st Street, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Anna in the Tropics on Broadway. David recently starred as Eddie in the Broadway production of Cost of Living.
The Center for Fiction is a literary nonprofit that brings diverse communities together to develop and share a passion for fiction. Founded in 1821 as the Mercantile Library of New York in Manhattan, the organization is now based in the heart of the Brooklyn cultural district, with a 18,000 sq. ft. facility that offers New Yorkers an immersive cultural experience centered on reading and writing. Throughout the year, The Center for Fiction provides a vast array of public programming, reading groups, and writing workshops. The First Novel Prize and Emerging Writer Fellowships help build literary careers, and KidsRead/KidsWrite programs inspire an early love of reading and writing in public school students with author-led events. In recent years, the organization’s programming has expanded to include storytelling in all its forms, integrating music, theater, dance, film, television, and the visual arts into its exploration of the best of fiction throughout history and today.
Theatre Communications Group
(TCG), the national organization for theatre, leads for a just and thriving theatre ecology. Since its founding in 1961, TCG’s constituency has grown from a handful of groundbreaking theatres to over 700 Member Theatres and affiliate organizations and over 7,000 Individual Members. Through its programs and services, TCG reaches over one million students, audience members, and theatre professionals each year. TCG offers networking and knowledge-building opportunities through research, communications, and events, including the annual TCG National Conference, one of the largest nationwide gatherings of theatre people; awards grants and scholarships to theatre companies and individual artists; advocates on the federal level; and through the Global Theater Initiative, TCG’s partnership with the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, serves as the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute. TCG is North America’s largest independent trade publisher of dramatic literature, with 19 Pulitzer Prizes for Drama on the TCG booklist. It also publishes the award-winning American Theatre magazine and ARTSEARCH, the essential source for a career in the arts. TCG believes its vision of “a better world for theatre, and a better world because of theatre” can be achieved through individual and collective action, adaptive and responsive leadership, and equitable representation in all areas of practice. TCG is led by executive director and CEO Teresa Eyring. www.tcg.org.
Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer, activist, documentarian, corporate photographer and an Award winning filmmaker and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Lia is also the host and Executive Producer of BACKSTAGE PASS WITH LIA CHANG, an Arts and Entertainment and Lifestyle program that airs on Sundays at 6:30pm on FIOS 34, RCN 83, Spectrum 56/1996 and MNN2.
Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. Her short film, When the World Was Young garnered a 2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations.