Name: Mara Lee Gilbert
What is your current project?
I have written and am starring in a new one-act play! Protect the Children is a tense two-hander exploring how we use fantasy as a coping mechanism in a world that can be quite cruel: Kendra protects precious collateral for those who’ve made criminal deals they weren’t prepared to handle and now her world is falling apart. How much will she let is crumble and burn as she faces down her perceived adversary, Simon, over who gets to keep his daughter? Will she end her life of secrecy and fantasy or begin creating a new fantasy? It begs the questions, When is it time to snap back to reality? Or is reality simply what we make it? And are any of us ever actually protected? The play also stars Alfredo Diaz of All My Children, The Affair, and the new feature film, Lucky, premiering at the UrbanWorld Film Festival in September. It is Directed by Sarah Doudna of the New York City Opera Company, and features music by Richard Padron, who’s composed for and played with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, the Bronx Arts Ensemble, Lauryn Hill and Paquito D’Rivera.
Where are you performing it and why is it the right fit for your piece?
It will be showcased as part of the New York New Works Theatre Festival 2016 on August 31st! This is my second year showcasing with the festival and I truly love it! It really serves the artists in growing their networks with the right people who can either mentor them or directly help them advance to the next level in their careers. I was one of the six finalists last year with my play, Passage, (dealing with the topic of euthanasia and feeling complete as a human being), and I was mentored into expanding it to a full length piece and working towards getting it Off-Broadway! I’m really looking forward to what comes from this year’s experience! You can read about the festival here: http://www.NYNWTheatreFestival.com
What’s next for you?
I will continue working towards getting Passage Off-Broadway, as well as screening my award-winning short film, What’s Left (exploring forgiveness), and looking into developing that into a feature-length film. And of course, seeing how far Protect the Children goes on in the competition! I love exploring the darker realms of humanity where we often don’t want to look and the power of the choices we make in our lives; choices that can lead us towards peace and redemption or further into the dark. I like to explore darkness without judgement and with compassion.
Who is your biggest inspiration right at this moment and why?
I’d have to say my boyfriend and musician, Richard Padron, who’s music I have used for my last three projects. He has told me, “The Universe rewards you when you are bold.” He’s an extraordinarily talented guitarist and composer with a powerful drive to create and be successful. He puts his heart fully into all of his work and creates opportunities for himself. He inspires me to keep going, live life on the edge of my passion, be on the top of my game and always do my best. You can learn more about him here: http://www.richardpadron.com
Mara is an actress/writer/producer living in New York City. Her debut short film, What’s Left, just won an Award of Artistic and Technical Merit through the Best Shorts Competition. She is currently a staff writer with MonologuesToGo.com . Her one-act play, Steel or Pretzels, was chosen as one of the best plays of the Strawberry One-Act Festival of 2009 and is published in volume 6 of their anthology. Her poetry has been published in John Jay’s Finest, volume 22 – a yearly publication showcasing the best student work for that year at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She has also been published as the foreword to well-known NY poet, Douglas Rothschild’s, collection: The Minor Arcana, which closes out his book of poetry, Theogony. She has a Master’s in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, is the 2010 recipient of the Richard Henry Hommel Award for Excellence in Theater at John Jay, and was recently nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Short Film with the Macabre Faire Film Festival. Mara has worked for the past ten years counseling teenagers in one of NYC’s most restricted facilities and has taught drama to incarcerated individuals inside Bayview Women’s Correctional Facility and Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center.
Show information (venue, dates, ticket info)
Wednesday, August 31st, 7pm at The Elektra Theater: 300 West 43rd Street in Manhattan, 2nd Floor. Tickets can be purchased here: http://www.NYNWTheatreFestival.com/Book-Tickets
TIMES SQUARE ARTS CENTRE
300 W 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036 – 2nd Floor
AT 7PM sharp.
*Disclaimer: Please be aware shows performing after 8:30pm may not be suitable for younger audiences. No children under the age of 4 are permitted.
** Please note that tickets can be purchased after 3pm the day of the show at the door are $25.
Click HERE for tickets and other festival participants