Cornerstone Theater Company

The Hunger Cycle Plays


In the Fall of 2017, Cornerstone will present Magic Fruit written by Michael John Garcés, as the Hunger Bridge Show, the culmination of the six-year Hunger Cycle, in collaboration with our many community partners. The world premiere of Magic Fruit will unite the eight communities that we have engaged with over the life of the cycle. reconnecting us with thousands of individuals, community partner organizations, and audiences. CLICK HERE to find out more.

Michael John Garcés

Michael has been an ensemble member at Cornerstone since 2006. Plays he has written for Cornerstone include Magic Fruit, the final project of the multi-year Hunger Cycle which will bring together the many communities of the cycle in a culminating production; The Forked Path, a collaboration with Stut Theatre and the Van der Hoeven Kliniek in the Netherlands, which was performed at the Net Even Anders Festival in Utrecht and The International Community Arts Festival in Rotterdam; Consequence, out of story circles with students, teachers, administrators and parents in South Kern County; and Los Illegals, created in residence with communities of day laborers and domestic workers. Los Illegals was subsequently produced by Teatro Bravo in Phoenix; it is published in Theatre Magazine (Yale School of Drama/Duke University Press - More info on this Publication).

Directing credits at the company include Urban Rez by Larissa FastHorse, California: The Tempest by Alison Carey, Plumas Negras by Juliette Carrillo, Café Vida by Lisa Loomer, and Making Paradise by Tom Jacobson, Shishir Kurup and Deborah Wicks La Puma; as well as the upcoming What Happens Next by Naomi Iizuka, which will be produced by the La Jolla Playhouse in association with Cornerstone. Michael is a core member of the Living Word Project in San Francisco, where he has developed and directed three works by Marc Bamuthi Joseph: /peh-LO-tah/ a futbol freedom suite (premiere at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, subsequently at the Hancher and The Kennedy Center), red, black and GREEN: a blues (various venues including The Brooklyn Academy of Music and REDCAT) and the break/s (premiere at Humana Festival and The Walker Arts Center). He is also a company member of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington DC where he will be directing The Arsonists by Max Frisch. Directing credits at other theaters include District Merchants by Aaron Posner (The Folger Theatre), Wrestling Jerusalem by Aaron Davidman (premiere at Intersection for the Arts; other productions include The Guthrie Theatre, Cleveland Public Theatre and Mosaic Theatre), and Seven Spots on the Sun by Martín Zimmerman (The Theatre @ Boston Court). His full-length plays include south (Great Plains Theatre Conference), THE WEB (needtheatre), points of departure and customs (INTAR Hispanic American Arts Center) and Acts of Mercy (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater); as well as a solo performance, agua ardiente which ran Off-Broadway at The American Place Theatre as part of "Dreaming in Cuban"; and short plays include americanas (Mix Blood Theatre and MACLA - "DJ Latinidad's Latino Dance Party"), A Parable (Great Plains Theatre Conference), Grief (Active Cultures), hymn in three parts (Chalk Rep), inhabited and in the Zone (Red Fern Theatre Co.), tostitos (EST Marathon of One-Act Plays), on edge and the ride (Humana Festival), audiovideo (The Directors Project) and sandlot ball (Mile Square). He collaborated with composer Alexandra Vrebalov on the oratorio Stations, which received its premiere at the Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra and was also performed at the NOMUS Festival in Novi Sad, Serbia.

Michael is a recipient of the Rockwood Arts and Culture Fellowship, the Princess Grace Statue, the Alan Schneider Director Award, a TCG/New Generations Grant, the Non-Profit Excellence Award from the Center of Non-Profit Management, is a Southern California Leadership Network Fellow and a proud alumnus of New Dramatists. He serves on the executive board of SDC, the national union for stage directors and choreographers.

Shishir Kurup

Over the past few years Shishir directed Michael Garces' first play for Cornerstone, Los Illegals, wrote and directed On Caring for the Beast, was the lyricist for Cornerstone's Making Paradise: The West Hollywood Musical and in Spring '11 directed Lynn Manning's The Unrequited in the community of Watts. He will be writing the Hunger of Addiction play which goes up in '14. Shishir has acted in numerous Cornerstone shows, currently in Lisa Loomer's "Cafe Vida and has written over a 150 songs for various Cornerstone productions. The songs he wrote for the Medea portion of MedeaMacbethCinderella (MMC), a production originally created as a collaboration between Cornerstone Theater and The Actor's Gang in 1998, will be part of the 2012 Oregon Shakespeare Festival's season running from late April to late November 2012. He is also a solo performer and a founding faculty member of the new Applied Theatre Arts MA program in the School of Theatre at USC. Shishir’s play Merchant on Venice premiered in Chicago and appears in the anthology Beyond Bollywood and Broadway. He recieved the TIME (Time for Inspiration, Motivation and Exploration) Grant from the Audrey Skirball Foundation for his body of work. He's a Princess Grace Fellow, TCG/Alan Schneider directing finalist, two-time Herb Alpert nominee and MAP grantee. His feature film Sharif Don’t Like It (writer/director) is about the loss of Habeas Corpus and most recently the short documentary Amu's Kitchen about his mother which was created for Cornerstone's "Creative Seeds," both of which will soon be seen on Vimeo. Shishir's TV and film credits include: Bones, Lost, Sleeper Cell, Alias, Monk, Surface, Heroes, various pilots and most recently the Disney Channel movie musical, Lemonade Mouth. His most profound, instructive and daily inspiration, however, is his daughter Tala Claye Ananya Perl Kurup.