Goodman Theatre welcomes Eliza Bent, Marisa Carr, Terry Guest and Exal Iraheta to its 2020/2021 Playwrights Unit.

Over the past 10 years, the Goodman has commissioned more than 40 Chicago-based playwrights through this unique annual residency.

Goodman Theatre’s commitment to new work and commissioning emerging artists continues as four Chicago-based writers are announced as the 2020/2021 Playwrights Unit—Eliza Bent, a playwright and performer whose work has been seen at The Flea Theatre, Clubbed Thumb and more; Marisa Carr, the co-founder of Turtle Theatre Collective, whose work has been seen throughout the Midwest; Terry Guest, whose work has been commissioned by Jackalope Theatre, First Floor Theatre and Chicago Children’s Theatre, among others; and Exal Iraheta, whose play They Could Give No Name was featured as part of the 2019 Ignition Festival of New Plays at Victory Gardens. The Playwrights Unit, in partnership with Chicago Dramatists, supports Chicago playwrights by commissioning and assisting in the development of new work from its annually-selected members. Goodman Theatre’s commitment to new work and commissioning emerging artists continues despite the challenges of COVID-19, with Playwrights Unit members currently meeting bi-monthly via Zoom to discuss the commissioned plays-in-progress with the Goodman’s artistic team, culminating in a public staged reading of each new play in July of 2021, presuming it is safe to do so.

Previous members of the Playwrights Unit include Greg Allen, Alice Austen, Lucas Baisch, Scott T. Barsotti, Seth Bockley, Monty Cole, Sam Collier, Kristiana Rae Colón, Phillip Dawkins, Sandra Delgado, Lisa Dillman, Ricardo Gamboa, Anne Garcia-Romero, Issac Gomez, Andrew Hinderaker, Ike Holter, Kristin Idaszak, Laura Jacqmin, Dawn Renee Jones, Georgette Kelly, Nambi E. Kelley, Jenni Lamb, Evan Linder, Nancy García Loza, Alex Lubischer, Mickle Maher, Rohina Malik, Mia McCullough, Bonnie Metzgar, Carlos Murillo, Dianne Nora, Nigel O’Hern, Marisela Treviño Orta, christopher oscar peña, Steve Pickering, Elaine Romero, Stacey Rose, Laura Schellhardt, Emma Stanton, Calamity West and Martín Zimmerman.

The Goodman is grateful for the generosity of its New Work Development and Playwrights Unit sponsors: Ruth D. and Ken M. Davee New Works Fund (Major Support of New Work), Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation (Major Support of New Play Development), The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust (Major Support of New Work Development), The Glassner and Rosenthal Family, and Shaw Family Supporting Organization (Support of New Work) and Joyce Foundation (Principal Support of Diverse Artistic and Professional Development).


Eliza Bent

Eliza Bent is a playwright and performer whose work includes Toilet Fire (Time Out New York Critics’ Pick); Aloha, Aloha, or When I Was Queen; Indeed, friend!; The Hotel Colors (The L Magazine best of 2013); On a Clear Day I Can See to Elba; The Beyonce, (Payne Award for Excellence); She of the Voice; Real Talk / Kip Talk; Blue Wizard / Black Wizard (published by Sam French) and Bonnie’s Last Flight. As an actor, Bent has performed in pint-sized New York theaters, regionally and toured internationally with the Obie award-winning performance ensemble Half Straddle. Bent was a senior editor at American Theatre magazine from 2006-2015 and her writing has appeared in Time Out New York, The Village Voice, HEEB, The Brooklyn Rail, Stages, Emergency INDEX and ELLE. Bent graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BA in philosophy from Boston College and has an MFA in playwriting from Brooklyn College.

Marisa Carr

Marisa Carr is a Milwaukee native who recently transplanted to Chicago after a decade in the Twin Cities. Her work has been presented by theaters including the Guthrie, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Pillsbury House + Theater, the Playwrights’ Center, Intermedia Arts, University of Iowa MFA Program and Pangea World Theatre. Selected recent awards and honors include Scratchpad at the Playwrights’ Realm (2019-2020), P73 finalist (2019-2020), American Blues Theater Blue Ink Award finalist (2020), Bay Area Playwrights’ Festival finalist (2019), McKnight Fellowship in Playwriting finalist (2019), Jerome Artist Fellowship finalist (2019) and Lila Acheson Wallace Playwriting Fellowship semi-finalist (2019). Marisa is the co-founder and former artistic director of the Turtle Theater Collective, a Twin Cities-based company committed to producing high-quality, contemporary work that explores Native experiences. She is Turtle Mountain Ojibwe from the Turtle clan.

Terry Guest

Terry Guest is a Chicago-based playwright, actor and teaching artist. As an actor he has worked with theater companies across the country including Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre and The Story Theatre (Chicago); Alliance Theatre, Actors Express, Aurora Theatre (Atlanta); and Arts Garage (West Palm Beach). His play At the Wake of a Dead Drag Queen is the recipient of the 2018 Out Front Theatre Spectrum Series Grant and had its world premiere at The Story Theatre. Other plays include Michael Jackson and the Devil’s Book (Jackalope Theatre Commission); Ghost Town (Chicago Children’s Theatre); DEAD GIRLS (Random Acts Chicago) and Marie Antionette and the Magical Negroes (workshopped with The Story Theatre).

Exal Iraheta

Exal Iraheta is a Salvi-American playwright and screenwriter from Houston, based in Chicago. His full-length play They Could Give No Name was part of Victory Gardens’ 2019 Ignition Festival of New Plays, an honorable mention for the 2019 Relentless Award, a 2020 National Playwrights Conference finalist and a 2020 Judith Royer Excellence in Playwriting finalist. His short play Open Venas was produced in the 2019 Theater Masters’ Take Ten New York Short Play Festival and The Untold Collectiv’s 2019 Latinx Scratch festival in London, England. His full-length play Rules of a Closed Door was a semi-finalist for the 2019 Activate: Midwest New Play Fest. Recently, Exal was featured in the May/June 2020 issue of American Theatre magazine as part of its “People to Watch” list. Exal earned an MFA from Northwestern University’s Writing for the Screen and Stage program and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Film & Video Production.