Inaugural Playwrights Announced for SERIALS Writers Room

The Bats in NOIR TOWN by Matthew Minnicino, SERIALS Cycle 42
Photo by Scott Fetterman

The Flea proudly announces the 11 selected playwrights for its newly created SERIALS Writers Room! Since its inception in 2011, the late night programming series for adventurous audiences has served as one of The Flea’s hallmarks. The inaugural SERIALS Writers Room playwrights were chosen from over 100 candidates and include Niccolo Aeed, Oscar A. L. Cabrera, Chloé Hayat, Lily Houghton, Brian Kettler, Yilong Liu, Matthew Minnicino, Liz Morgan, Jessica Moss, Madhuri Shekhar and Marina Tempelsman.

The Flea’s Artistic Director Niegel Smith says of the new initiative, “So many of New York’s talented early career actors and directors get started with a residency at The Flea, it only made sense that we begin to serve playwrights in the same way. From pitch to production these passionate and skilled playwrights will be actively writing the culture of today. We’re all in and can’t wait to share with audiences the compelling and diverse stories they are dreaming up.”

The SERIALS Writers’ Room will be a year-long commitment. Writers will be assigned to a SERIALS team, featuring a director and a group of Bats, The Flea’s resident acting company. Over the course of the year there will be eight cycles of SERIALS.  Playwrights will write on a rotating basis: if your play is not voted back, you will get a few cycles off until it is your turn to launch another series with a new pilot.

SERIALS returns to The Flea for its 45th cycle from June 7-16. Performances are on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 11pm. Tickets cost $12 and include a free beer. Purchase tickets by calling 212-352-3101 or online at


Niccolo Aeed is a black/palestinian writer and director based in New York. He is half the comedy duo Marina & Nicco, whose sketches and short films have been featured on The New Yorker, Comedy Central, Funny or Die and many more. Marina & Nicco’s plays have been produced at HERE Arts Center, The People’s Improv Theater, New Ohio Theater and Ars Nova. Individually Nicco has written and directed plays for The New York Fringe Festival, the Philly Fringe Festival, NY Summerfest and 7×7. He has written and directed sketch comedy at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and The People’s Improv Theater and teaches storytelling with The Moth. For more of Marina & Nicco’s work check out

Oscar A. L. Cabrera is a New York-based actor/playwright born and bred in the panhandle of Texas. Both a son to parents who worked two jobs each and the brother of a sibling with autism, his upbringing has crafted a lens for finding the extraordinary out of the common place. His plays have been developed and produced by The Public Theater, INTAR Theater, Rising Circle, Creede Rep, BRIC, NY Madness, Black and Latino Playwrights Conference, and OMPF. He is a current member of EWG at the Public, company member of INTAR’s Unit52, and co-creator of the NYC Latinx Playwrighting Circle.

Chloé Hayat is a Lebanese-American playwright and dramaturg from Roosevelt Island, New York. She graduated from SUNY Purchase with a degree in Playwriting & Screenwriting and a minor in History. She is the co-founder of After-School Special Theatre, a company of scrappy young female-identifying writer/producers that values accessible, organic, and experimental theatre. She is passionate about finding new ways to make theatre possible with excited and challenging collaborators. Her work has been seen and developed as a part of Young Playwrights Inc., SUNY Purchase’s New Plays Now festival and most recently her first Paranormal Play Spirit Journeyz was performed as part of Clubbed Thumb’s Summerworks readings. She’s a professional makeup artist, an amateur baker, a perfectly fine belly dancer, and the owner of a piece of the Abraham Lincoln deathbed. Chloé is fascinated by ghosts, historical women, stories about delusion, and is currently engrossed by the theatricality of reality television.

Lily Houghton is a twenty-three-year-old playwright born and raised in Manhattan. She wrote her first play at age seventeen before completing her B.A. at Bennington College last May. Her plays have been developed at MCC Theater Company, The Flea, EST/Youngblood, Contemporary American Theater Festival/Shepherd University, NYU, 20% Theater Company Chicago, Yale University’s Writers’ Conference, Bennington College, University of Michigan Theater Conservatory, and the Jermyn Street Theatre in London. Her short someone/something/someone/something (EST/ Youngblood) just won a Sloan Foundation Grant. Lily’s play, Dear, received a PlayLab with MCC Theater in the fall of 2017 and a production at Shepherd University/CATF this April. She is a proud member of Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Youngblood. Just announced: Lily has received an Elizabeth George Foundation grant through a commission from Seattle Rep!

Brian Kettler is originally from Portland, Oregon.  Like everyone from Portland, Brian enjoys coffee, beer and nature, is obsessed with the Blazers and plays bass in a rock band.  He earned his MFA in Playwriting from the University of Texas-Austin, where he studied under Steven Dietz.  He is a former recipient of the Oregon Literary Fellowship in Drama.

Last summer, Brian’s full-length play, Poor Boys’ Chorus, premiered in New York City as part of the Broadway Bound Theatre Festival.  His short play, Clown Room, was selected for the Theater Masters National MFA Playwrights Festival, with productions in Aspen and New York City.  He was recently commissioned by Orphic Theater Company to adapt Euripides’ Iphigenia Among the Taurians and his adaptation, Iphigenia 3.0, was featured in the 2017 Fertile Ground Festival.  Brian has worked as a tutor, teaching artist and for the past three years, has coached high school Mock Trial.

Yilong Liu is a New York-based playwright, born and raised in Chongqing, a city in Southwest China. His work has been produced or developed at Stella Adler Studio of Acting, East West Players, Queens Theatre, SPACE on Ryder Farm, WildWind Performance Lab at Texas Tech, FringeNYC, Kumu Kahua Theatre, Living Room Theatre, MOJOAA Performing Arts, and others. Awards include Kennedy Center’s Paul Stephen Lim Playwriting Award (The Book of Mountains and Seas), Paula Vogel Playwriting Award (June is The First Fall, 2nd Place), National Partners of the American Theatre Award for Playwriting (Joker), Po’okela Award for Best New Play (Joker), and a APAFT playwright scholarship. He was a semi-finalist for Bay Area Playwrights Festival and O’Neill Playwrights Conference, a finalist for The New Harmony Project and Lark’s Van Lier New Voices Playwriting Fellowship. When he’s not writing, he’s usually netflixing, people watching, or liking cat posts on instagram. BA: BNU. MFA: UHM.

Matthew Minnicino is a Virginia-born, Manhattan-based playwright, adaptor, actor, director, teacher, and theatre-maker. He has been a resident with SPACE on Ryder Farm, Exquisite Corpse, Sugarglass Theatre at Trinity College in Dublin, the Barn Arts Collective, Letter of Marque, the box collective, and numerous others. He is a Jeffrey Melnick New Playwright Award Nominee, winner of the 2016 Arts & Letters Prize, and member of Pipeline Theatre’s PlayLab, Everday Inferno’s Writer/Director Lab, Joust Theatre’s Writers’ Round Table, and 2018 Great Plains Theatre Conference PlayLab. He has written for Serials@The Flea, Rule of 7×7, and the NYC Fringe, FauxReal, and Shenandoah Fringe Festivals. He has professionally adapted Chekhov, Strindberg, Ibsen, Gorky, Homer, Euripides, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Moliere, and more. His essays on theatre have been published by The Dramatist, Gathering of the Tribes, and HowlRound. In his spare time, he teaches kids about Shakespeare. MFA: Columbia.

Liz Morgan was raised on oxtail, peas & rice. As an artist raised by two Caribbean doctors, she has maintained a dedication to healing and a taste for all things spicy.  She’s been published in HuffPo and developed new stage work with The Fire This Time Festival, The Lark, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Fresh Ground Pepper, Liberation Theatre Company, Judson Arts, Amios, Rising Circle, JACK, NY Madness, POTPOURRI! World Women Works Series, and National Black Theatre where she was named a finalist for the I AM SOUL Playwrights’ Residency. Other honors include the Torchbearer for Black Theatre Award, NYNW Theatre Festival (Finalist), Playwrights Realm Writing Fellowship (Semi-Finalist) and the New Works Lab at Stratford (Semi-Finalist).  She holds a Bachelors degree and MFA from Brown University where she received the Davis Wickham Prize for Excellence in Playwriting and once twerked the toga off of a frat boy.

Jessica Moss is an actor, writer, and producer from Toronto, Canada. Her work has been developed or presented at Great Plains Theatre Conference, Roundabout Theatre, Premiere Stages, Kitchen Dog Theatre, the Juilliard School, the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, and the Canadian Stage Festival of New Ideas and Creation, among others. As an actor, she has appeared in shows with Necessary Angel/Luminato, Tarragon Theatre, SummerWorks, Sudbury Theatre Centre, the NAC, and many times at the Toronto Fringe.

Madhuri Shekar is a playwright from Chennai, India, currently based in New York. Productions include In Love and Warcraft (Alliance Theatre and others; 2013/14 Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Award), A Nice Indian Boy (East West Players and others), Queen (Victory Gardens; Kilroys List 2017) and two TYA shows at the Alliance Theatre. Her plays in development include House of Joy (most recently seen at the Pacific Playwrights Festival and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival) and new commissions from Victory Gardens, Audible and South Coast Repertory. Her work has been developed at the Center Theatre Group, the Old Globe, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Hedgebrook Playwrights Festival, the Kennedy Center, New York Stage and Film, and the Atlantic Theatre.

She is a member of the Ars Nova Playgroup and Ma-Yi Writers Lab, has an MFA in Dramatic Writing from USC, and is a 2016-2018 alum of the playwriting program at Juilliard.

Marina Tempelsman is a writer who was born and raised in New York (where she is still based). She is half the comedy duo Marina & Nicco, whose work has been featured by The New Yorker, Comedy Central, and Funny or Die. Their play Room 4 was a New York Times critic’s pick, and their work has also been featured at HERE Arts Center, Ars Nova, The New Ohio Theater, The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, and The Peoples Improv Theater. They recently co-wrote a sketch comedy pilot for Fusion, and wrote and produced a web pilot (Smüchr) for BRIC TV. In the summer of 2010, Marina was a Guest Artist at the Kennedy Center Summer Playwriting Intensive, where she studied with Theresa Rebeck, Marsha Norman, David Ives, Jason Robert Brown, Gary Garrison, and Heather McDonald, among others. She co-wrote the Comedy Central series At the Office Microwave, and currently teaches and directs for The UCB.