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Josh Kornbluth collaborating with Z Space Studio

Award: $35,000 Performing Arts grant awarded in 2005

Premiered:  2007 at the Magic Theatre

Monologist Josh Kornbluth collaborated with Z Space Studio and Democracy Matters, a non-partisan, nonprofit organization working for campaign finance reform, to develop an evening-length theatrical monologue, Citizen Josh—the third work in a series that includes Ben Franklin: Unplugged and Love & Taxes. In additional to highly successful performances of the piece, Kornbluth submitted the manuscript to his college adviser, completing the final requirement for his undergraduate degree.

Kornbluth developed the monologue through improvisation in front of live audiences and in collaboration with David Dower of Z Space Studio (who assumed a position at Arena Stage during the course of the project). True to the themes of the piece, Kornbluth conducted improvised performances around the country at meetings of political science classes and campus chapters of Democracy Matters.

Josh Kornbluth performed his first monologue, Josh Kornbluth’s Daily World, in 1989.  Subsequent works include Haiku Tunnel; Red Diaper Baby, (Off-Broadway premiere 1992);and The Mathematics of Change (1993-94). Ben Franklin: Unplugged–the first in the “Citizen Josh” series—opened in New York in 1999, and Love & Taxes, toured nationwide in 2003-04. Red Diaper Baby was nominated for a Drama Desk Award in the Solo Performance category and selected for inclusion in Best American Plays of 1992.

David Dower was the founder and Artistic Director of the Z Space where he mentored the development of more than 50 new plays and solo performances. Founded in 1993, the Z Space Studio is a productive new theater laboratory–incubating plays performed in theaters all over the world.  Z-Space-developed plays have earned the Bay Area Critics Circle Award, the Helen Hayes Award, the Kesselring Prize, the MacArthur New Play Award, The Will Glickman Award, and two Pulitzer Prize nominations.

Photo: Pat Johnson