Review: Almost 13 written & performed by Joan Kane

A white bench. Vaseline. A flashlight. What story is being told tonight. Joan Kane, known as a director and co-founder of Ego Actus (with her husband Bruce A! Kramer) in theatrical circles performs her solo piece, Almost 13 , as part of the Best of United Solo.

Kane already had the the lively audience in her hands the moment the house lights went down and the stage lights came up. We were willing to travel back in time to “South Brooklyn” (now known as Park Slope) circa 1969. It was a tough time. Racism was represented by lines of demarcations in neighborhoods. The biddies sat on the stoop and reported to each other and the whole neighborhood. An unforgiving parish instilled fear instead of love. Now add being a latchkey kid from a broken home, no one is safe. In a world where distrust permeates everything, bad things will inevitably happen. And they do to Joan. You kept your mouth shut and prayed that no one would find out. But then the abuse on your body and mind cause “acting out” and then you breakdown. You need to go through that to get to the breakthrough. Healing begins. Love prevails.

Love heals even when the hope seems gone. Kane tells her story through eight characters, a simple set lighting design and precise directing under Bruce A! Kramer. Told in a concise 45 minutes, the story is clear and to the point. When the lights went to blackout after her last brilliant and hopeful line, she came out to do her a bow to a standing ovation. Three times.

Those who have been in the audience with me know know my telltale signs. For a good show it is my inaudible gasp with my hand flying to my mouth. I had two moments like that. The good news is Almost 13 will return for one more performance. More details can be found at http://www.unitedsolo.org. Be sure to see it’s encore presentation.

United Solo, the world’s largest solo theatre festival, is proud to present its 10th anniversary season at Theatre Row in the heart of New York City’s theatre district. Since its inaugural year, United Solo featured over 1,000 theatre productions from all over the world. This season, performers from six continents will present their unique works between September 19 and November 24, 2019. TICKETS are available NOW through Telecharge (www.telecharge.com or 212‑239‑6200) and at the Theatre Row Box Office (410 West 42nd Street, NYC). For the full calendar of performances, please visit http://www.unitedsolo.org/us/ufest

Joan Kane (director/producer/dramaturg/writer/actor) is the founding Artistic Director of Ego Actus, an independent NYC Theater Co. Joan has written, devised and directed six Living Newspapers from 1979 to 2018 that  toured and performed in NYC Parks & Streets,  Theaters and Clubs. Topics included Women’s Issues, Environmental Justice, The Civil War and Ageism. As an educator she designed and implemented a Living Newspaper curriculum that she taught in the NYC Public Schools throughout the five boroughs. Selected Directing:  Sycorax by Fengar Gael at HERE, Play Nice! by Robin Rice at 59e59 theaters, I Know What Boys Want  by Penny Jackson at Theatre Row,  Aliens With Extraordinary Skills by Saviana Stanscu at Theater 54,  More by Maria Tryti Vennerød at Theater For The New City, Six Characters in Search of an Author in Oslo, Norway and Kafka’s Belinda  by Bruce Kraemer in Prague. She also directed both Safe by Penny Jackson and what do you mean by  Bruce Kraemer at 59e59 theaters and in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, getting four star reviews for each. Selected other work: Joan has also directed and devised plays, workshops and readings at the Lark, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Urban Stages, Workshop Theater, Nylon Fusion, Articulate Theatre, Abingdon Theatre, Oberon Theatre, the Samuel French Short Play Festival, the Actors Studio, T. Schreiber Studio, the Broadway Bound festival and many others. As a writer Joan has written and devised: The Judges, The Trial of Mary Reade, Richard III. She is performing her biographical solo play Almost 13 in The Best of The United Solo Sept .2019. Awards and honors: Joan was awarded Best Director in the 2016 United Solo Festival. Joan was named one of the 2011 People of the Year in honor of her contributions to the NYC theatre scene and inducted to the NYC Indie Theatre Hall of Fame by nytheatre.com. Her shows have been nominated for 61 awards, winning 21. Education: Joan graduated from NYC’s  High School of Performing Arts (La Guardia), studied acting at the  Neighborhood Playhouse with Sanford Meisner and has an MFA in Directing from The New School For Drama and an MS in Museum Education from Bank Street College. She is a member of The New York Madness Company, the League of Independent Theatres, the Dramatists Guild and the Society of Stage Directors & Choreographers and The League of Professional Theatre Women. 

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