Meet Fengar Gael & Sycorax, Cyber Queen of Qamara

SycoraxPostcardFrontName: Fengar Gael

Tell us about you. 

I don’t sleep well; I keep dreaming that I’m a resident alien in a plutocracy led by a miserly, mean souled, tinpot dictator who has tricked us into allowing the ethics of business to infest every aspect of life. My mother said I was born wanting to re-stage the world, but since I’ve failed miserably, I drink too much, eat too much, read too much appalling news, and because I’m a playwright, I’m also subject to bipolar-manic-depression with delusions of grandeur and multiple personality disorder. I can trace the origin of these afflictions to a childhood of constant traveling in and out of the country which may explain why I write plays that take me to unfamiliar worlds and feature characters of diverse races and ethnicities from the past and future. For the past ten years New York has become my heart’s home, a great melting pot city where going to the theatre is a way of life. I have new friends and am part of the League of Professional Theatre Women whose members have enriched my hermit’s life beyond imagining.

Tell us about your current project? 

The play, Sycorax: Cyber Queen of Qamara, is a comic drama originally intended as a prequel to The Tempest. Shakespeare only mentioned that Sycorax was a witch from Algiers who was exiled to an island where she gave birth to a deformed boy named Caliban. In my play, Sycorax has waited 500 years to tell her side of the story to the widest possible audience: the World Wide Web of the Internet. She does so through her avatars, but I won’t give away the plot except to say that Sycorax feels moral outrage at the continuing gender imbalance of power in a world controlled by men who value their arsenals more than their artists. I’m thrilled that the fearless Ego Actus Theatre Company has taken on the challenge of bringing the play to vivid life by their inspired Artistic Director, Joan Kane, whose vision of the play happily resembles my own. We are blessed with a fantastic cast of actors and theater artists contributing to this production: the scenery, the costumes, the lights and projections are going to be beyond anything I had dared to imagine.

Where are you performing your show and why is it a good fit for your production? 

The play is being performed at HERE which has already garnered a following of brave souls who are passionate about innovative (even subversive) theatre. Both HERE and the Ego Actus Theatre Company believe in theatre as a fusion of art forms: with dialog that aspires to poetry, with music, dance and artful costumes, scenery and multi-media projections.

What’s next for you? 

The Detroit Repertory Theatre is producing my play, The House on Poe Street, in January of 2019. Another play, Smile Like a Knife, is a current finalist at two theatres sponsoring contests, and I’m currently writing Passing Parades that’s turning into a louche tale of the supernatural about an idealistic woman who undergoes a radical transformation after a bomb shatters the lives of marchers gathered to celebrate the centennial of women’s suffrage. The play leaps backwards to the 1850s when the suffrage and abolitionists movements were aligned, but faced radical opposition. The play will be given a concert reading at the League of Professional Theatre Women’s Julia’s Reading Room series at the Jefferson Market Library on December 11th.

What is the name of the last show you saw? 

The Winning Side by James Wallert, a post-modern collage of a play produced by the Epic Theatre about Wernher von Braun, a former Nazi rocket engineer who interacts with his French lover and the Americans who steal him away to help claim the moon and conquer the world.

Any advice for your peers?

Drink wine, read poetry, and try not to commodify yourselves in a world where everything seems quantifiable — even plays are given numerical scores. If playwriting is the literary form that best expresses your passions, then don’t wait for commissions or guaranteed productions. To quote Emily Dickinson, “Be a fire that lights itself.” Also in this age of constant surveillance and identity politics, it’s best to resist definition. If the great evolutionary triumph of our species is the imagination and capacity to reason, then to define ourselves in terms of race, age, gender or ethnicity is to be forever stranded on a smaller planet. When we allow anyone to police our imaginations, to condemn us to writing plays only about people like ourselves, then we’re doomed. The best thing about our capacity for abstract thinking is that it allows us to imagine what it’s like to be someone else (saint or sinner), so we might become more empathetic. I should add that I truly believe there’s a great future for theatre. Perhaps it’s naive, but I think people will attend plays more than ever before, if only to heal their damaged attention spans, and to focus on the perpetual wide screen of the stage where no bullying cameras are telling them precisely where to look, no soundtracks assaulting their ears, where they’re no longer isolated but in the company of other human beings, and where their presence actually matters because going to the theatre is a creative act.


Show Information: 
DATES: November 1-18th
VENUE: HERE  145 6th Avenue one block south of Spring Street
TICKET URL: http://www.HERE.org or (212) 352-3101

More info is available at www.egoactus.com/sycorax.html

FringeNYC + FringeBYOV Returns 2018

After a one year hiatus, the New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC) returns with a new look.  It also returns with an additional moniker called FringeBYOV (Bring Your Own Venue) which opens the festival and audience members to theatre beyond the borough of Manhattan. Unfortunately, the Bronx wasn’t included but kudos to Staten Island for being creative in their presentation of The Ferry Play as a podplay.

So I would be lying if I said that there wasn’t some trepidation around the new format. August in NYC for theatre-makers and audience members comes with an acceptance. There will be 200 shows to read in the program guide (in addition to the other festivals and shows); you’ll only be able to get to maybe ten (2 if you are in the Fringe); and you’ll have to run from venue to venue in 100 degree weather. Honestly, as much as I complained about it, I LOVED it. Even if some of the shows were hit or miss.

This leads me to figuring out my Fringe schedule in October. The days are getting shorter, there are some serious plays being produced at our non-profit institutions, and now there’s the Fringe Hub where we all meet to be taken to our venue. How to see it all?! Yes, a luxury problem, but in today’s climate, the theatrical platform, soapbox, medium, choose your noun, is essential. So when Onaje is the play that kicks off my Fringe viewing, I am intrigued. The show is already sold out in the days prior to its opening.

Onaje uses the Cambridge riots of 1967 on the Eastern Shore of Maryland as a backdrop for a group of people who are neighbors turned enemies due to the race relations. An ensemble of nine tell the story of an astrological hobo, an ex-CIA operative, a stripper, a drunk, an angry cop, a family living a simple life, and hitchhiker as they intersect on the highway (literal and metaphorical). We learn soon that this is the first layer of the onion. Wrong place at the wrong time. Running away from the truth. Money solves all problems. The grass is always greener on the other side. Leaving the world better than we found it. All of these are reflected in each actor as in their insightful and careful expression of Robert Bowie, Jr.’s words.

It took me some time to unpack the 145 minutes of intensity. There were many aspects of the show that left me in thought. The cast was talented, Pat Golden’s direction tight in telling the story within the allotted time (though it felt long at spots), and the writing significant.

My next stop was Jamaica Center for the Arts & Learning (JCal) as part of the fringeBYOV/fringeQNS. On the way to see The Public and Private Deaths of Carol O’Grady, I listened to a new feature of the Fringe called the podplay. I listened to Subway Plays which was simply a pretty cool thing to experience as I rode the 7 train. The good thing about the series is that you don’t HAVE to be on that line if you’re already familiar with the subway. I listened to Damper Felts: N on the bus and had the same experience. If you are a tourist, though, it’s a great companion piece for taking the train. All the conversations you have, don’t have, avoid, overhear, and imagine are in one place. Jenny Lyn Bader, Jessie Bear and Colin Waitt capture those moments. As a native New Yorker, I laughed aloud many times and didn’t care about the reactions of others.

As for The Public and Private Deaths of Carol O’Grady, Frank Murdocco’s solo show was a breath of fresh air on a cool night in Jamaica, Queens. The experience began as soon as I arrived and was treated with a tour of the venue which boasts two artists’ gallery. That prepared me for another surprise – a beautiful state-of-the-art 120 seat theatre. It’s Christmas and something terrible has happened to Carol O’Grady! Murdocco’s tells the story through three characters in the style of Sarah Jones, Anna Deveare Smith and Eric Bogosian. He flawlessly and smoothly transforms into these characters. The only indication of a character change is a click of the lamp (which I loved) which added to the layer of the insanity created by Jessica DiPaola and Lindsey Smith.

My trip to the Fringe is coming to a close due to scheduling but definitely support the artists. We need their voices and their stories. And we need yours too. Start creating!


The NEW York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC + FringeBYOV)

www.fringenyc.org

October 1st – 31st, 2018

OCT 12th – 28th

OCT 5th – 28th

OCT 1st – 31st

Meet Gabri Christa & Magdalena

 

MAGDALENA_PROMO-.jpgName: Gabri Christa

Tell us about you. 

I am an artist who uses whatever media that is appropriate to communicate an idea. I come from choreography as my background but mostly use film and other media these days. I was born and raised in Curaçao, Dutch Caribbean. I seek to create an understanding of our humanity through art.

Tell us about your current project? 

My current project is a multimedia work called “Magdalena” inspired by my mother’s life and her struggle with dementia.

Where are you performing your show and why is it a good fit for your production? 

I’m performing at Theaterlab in Midtown. The work is created for intimate spaces (not necessarily for traditional venueGs) and Theaterlab as a small intimate venue with a history of presenting experimental and multimedia work which makes it a great fit for this project. I can stay through to the vision of the work in that space.

What’s next for you? 

I’ll be touring this piece for at least the next two years. I have been also awarded the Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health so this coming year I will learn a lot more about the brain and aging in a global context. I also will be working on a feature film (that takes long) and some smaller dance-films about aging.

What is the name of the last show you saw? 

The last show I saw was a studio showing at the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam.

Any advice for your peers?
 
Make what you believe in and the rest will follow.

https://vimeo.com/284656342


Show Information: 

Dates: September 11-15 and 19-22, 2018

Venue: Theaterlab (357 West 36th Street, 3rd floor, NYC)

Tickets: https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/996199

Meet Rob Dames & Nowhere Man

Tell us about you. NOWHERE MAN FACEBOOK ICON.png

Rob has been writer, producer and/or director for over 30 television series including 17 network pilots. Rob worked on such series as: Benson, Marblehead Manor, Gimme A Break, Me and The Boys, The Royal Family, The Blues Brothers, Full House and many more. He was a nominee for The People’s Choice award for Best New Comedy for the series he co-created, Me and The Boys. Rob’s credits also include five original screenplays and multiple uncredited rewrites for Amblin’ Entertainment and Disney Studios. During the years working in television and film, he was pleased to write or direct for such great producers as Aaron Spelling, Witt-Thomas-Harris, Miller/Boyett, Ed. Weinberger and Steven Spielberg. His career also offered him the opportunity to work internationally in England, France and Germany. In recent years, his comedy play, VIRGINIA THROWS A WAKE, was a 2017 finalist for the Reva Shiner Comedy Award and his drama, HAUNTINGS, was a finalist for The Stanley Drama Award. Currently, his play, NOWHERE MAN, is premiering at the Broadway Bound Theatre Festival in New York in late August 2018. Rob, along with composer Dan Foliart, has recently completed their musical, BACK IN THE GAME. Rob was also an original member of The Groundlings Improv Company.
Tell us about your current project? 
NOWHERE MAN is an original full-length play dealing with difficult moral decisions
Where are you performing your show and why is it a good fit for your production?
The Theatre at the 14th St. Y. This is an excellent venue and a well-run festival.
What’s next for you? 
Time to workshop my musical, BACK IN THE GAME
What is the name of the last show you saw? 
Hamilton
Any advice for your peers?
Just do it

Show Information:

Date: Aug. 23, 25, 26.
Venue: The Theatre at the 14th St. Y.

Meet George Pfirrmann & The Brothers Khan

The Brothers Khan 8.5x11Tell us about you. 
Playwright/Producer
Tell us about your current project? 
The Brothers Khan, An American Story is going up at the Broadway Bound Theatre Festival this August in NYC
Where are you performing your show and why is it a good fit for your production? 
The Broadway Bound Theatre Festival. This is an opportunity to get this full production up before an audience. The BBTF is very helpful in teaching all one needs to know to self produce.
What’s next for you? 
Rewriting AROUSAL, workshopping Reckoning, finishing The Allens.
What is the name of the last show you saw? 
The Iceman Cometh
Any advice for your peers?
Write, have it read, rewrite, have it read, and do it until it’s where you want it to be.

Show Information:

Dates: August 15th at 8:30, the 17th at 8:30, and the 18th at 5pm.
Venue: 14th Street Theatre at the Y.
Tickets: http://www.broadwayboundfestival.com Tickets are $25.

Meet Albi Gorn & Jim’s Room

Jim's Room Flyer_Page_1.jpegTell us about you. 
I’m Albi Gorn. I’ve been writing for 25 years and have been produced all over the U.S. and in Canada, Mexico and England. My shows have won dozens of playwriting competitions and theater festivals. I live in Hastings-on-Hudson in Westchester, N.Y. with my wife and director of choice, Robin Anne Joseph. I retired last year after working for 50 years so I could dedicate myself to theater and at 71 I feel like my life is just starting. Member of the Dramatists Guild. Website: albigorn.com
Tell us about your current project? 
My play Jim’s Room will have its world premiere at the Broadway Bound Theatre Festival in August. It’s a play that explore what we will do – and believe – to get back what we’ve lost and make ourselves whole.
Where are you performing your show and why is it a good fit for your production? 
Broadway Bound Theatre Festival, The 14th St. Y, 344 E. 14th St, NYC. The Festival is a wonderful mix of theater from all over the country touching on all manner of topics in all manner of theatrical styles. While Jim’s Room is mostly a traditional show, it does ask its audience to suspend their disbelief in disbelief. And I think that’s very much the atmosphere that BBTF has created.
What’s next for you? 
My one-act play about abortion, Paradise Enow, will be part of the Emerging Artists Annual New Work Series. Following that, my theater company, GoJo Clan Productions, will be doing a revival of Doubt (which, in case there’s any doubt, I didn’t write).
What is the name of the last show you saw? 
Sugar in Our Wounds at MTC
Any advice for your peers?
Two things. 1) Don’t listen to my advice, and; 2) In the event you’re still reading this, as a playwright I have three goals in this order of priority: Please myself, please my actors, please my audience. If I take care of the first two, the last one always takes care of itself.

Show Information: 

Dates: August 22nd 8:30; August 24th 5:00; August 25th 8:30.
Venue: The 14th St. Y, 344 E. 14th St, NYC.

Meet Sean David Robinson & Starbright

starbright-promo-image.jpgTell us about you. 
My name is Sean David Robinson, and I’m a playwright from Asheville, NC. My work is focused on creating strong female protagonists in stories which bring science, speculative fiction and magical realism to life on the stage.
Tell us about your current project? 
Starbright, my current play, tells the story of Grace Morrow, an astronomer who lost her young daughter Abby nearly a year ago. As Grace’s life spins out of control, Abby appears to her and begins making bold predictions about the movements of the cosmos. Grace must determine if her daughter’s appearance is a sign of her dwindling sanity, or proof that there’s more to the universe than even she understands.
Where are you performing your show and why is it a good fit for your production? 
Starbright will debut at the Broadway Bound Theatre Festival at the 14th Street Y Theatre. It’s perfect for this show. We have striking visual effects that will wow audiences in the two-story space, and the 120-seat venue is the perfect size for the intimate-yet-universal story this play tells.
What’s next for you? 
I’m working on two new plays at the moment, one dealing with the American justice system (with a speculative fiction bent), and the other a more personal, human story about a heart transplant that changes everything about the life of its recipient.
What is the name of the last show you saw? 
The last show I saw was Other Desert Cities at N.C. Stage Company in Asheville.
Any advice for your peers?
I think the most important part of being a writer, or any kind of artist, is to never stop learning, growing, and evolving. Surround yourself with people who challenge you to become the best version of yourself. Oh, and find a bad ass editor. Marry them, if you can.

Show Information: 

Dates: August 16-19;
Venue: 14th Street Y Theatre

Meet Emily Emerson & The Field

The Field 1000x1000.jpegTell us about you. 
I am a playwright and actress currently based in North Carolina.
Tell us about your current project? 
My full-length play, The Field, is premiering at the Broadway Bound Theatre Festival on August 8, 9, & 10.
Where are you performing your show and why is it a good fit for your production? 
The Field is part of the Broadway Bound Theatre Festival and it will be performed at the Theater at the 14th St. Y in the East Village. The theater is beautifully renovated and is a lovely, intimate space for the show.
What’s next for you? 
I am currently working on a few new projects, but no dates for production as of yet.
What is the name of the last show you saw? 
The last show I saw in NYC was War Paint. The last show I saw in North Carolina was Legally Blonde at UNCSA.
Any advice for your peers?
Get a good team of collaborators. They are the people that will make your show great.

Show Information:

Dates: August 8 (5pm), August 9 (8:30pm), August 10 (5pm)
Venue: The Theater at the 14th Street Y, 344 E. 14th St.

Meet Jamie Aderski & Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood

Name: Jamie Aderski

What is your current project?

Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood

Where are you performing your show and why is it a good fit for your production?

I am performing my 50 minute solo show on the Mainstage at The Peoples Improv Theater. It’s a large stage, but comfortable with a lot of character. (And there’s a bar there. No brainer!)

What’s next for you?

Currently, I am working on a book proposal based on my show.

What is the name of the last show you saw?

Show Up! By Peter Michael Marino. He is brilliantly hilarious, and makes a show up on the spot off of prompts he gives the audience. He’s currently touring around with it, go see it if you can!

Any advice for your peers?

Keep a notebook next to your bed. If a thought wakes you up, write it down. That’s when I’m most open, my brain is unpacking itself, and I’ve gotten my best ideas that way including this show. Know your audience, but don’t get so lost trying to make everyone love you that you don’t take risks or make it exciting for yourself night after night. Be truthful. It’s not always easy, but the more honest you are, the deeper the connection with the audience will be (and the more laughs you’ll get, seriously.) Lastly, set it and forget it. Ron Popeil, creator of the Showtime Rotisserie said that, and it applies not only to poultry cookers but to life. Set it and forget it, y’all.

Want More?

Website: JamieAderski.com

Facebook: facebook.com/AderskiIsACryBaby/

Twitter: @jamieaderski

Instagram: @jaderski

You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCC1SzXfW5Ll3QicZXA2DANA

Jamie is an actress, comedian, and writer, originally from South Jersey. She studied at The Peoples Improv Theater, Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, and Annoyance Theatre (NYC). She is a graduate of the Maggie Flanigan Studio conservatory program for acting (NYC), and graduated summa cum laude with a BS in psychology from Fordham University. Inspired by real things and imaginary things in her head, Jamie is the writer and performer of character pieces. Her solo show, “I Just Disappear,” was showcased in the SOLOCOM Festival in NYC and the Boston Comedy Arts Festival. Jamie’s newest one woman show “Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood,” has been featured in Time Out NY (Critics’ Pick), The New York Times, Parade, AFAR, Comedy Cake, Broadway World, and more. Jamie has been featured in sketches for Comedy Central, UCB Comedy, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. She’s created content for sites such as Elite Daily, Well Rounded, and Parents. Her latest video “What Pregnancy is Really REALLY Like” has garnered over 840k views and growing. She has also appeared in several national commercials, and in print ads with babies and stuff. Jamie is also faculty member at The Peoples Improv Theater, teaching improv, which she loves! Visit Jamie’s site for more.


Show Information

When: 12/16 @7pm; 12/23 @7pm; 12/30 @7pm

Where: The Peoples Improv Theater, 123 East 24th Street, NY, NY

Tickets: https://thepit-nyc.com/event/2017-12-16-cry-baby-my-reluctant-journey-into-motherhood

And Another One:Midtown International Theatre Festival Ends After 18 Seasons

Of course, I am flooded with emotions. Of course, I understand. To my indie artists, dig deep, find a way, continue to create.

Midtown International Theatre Festival Ends After 18 Season

NY, NY – Broadway World News Desk – Creator and executive producer of the Midtown International Theatre Festival, John Chatterton, announced today that he will be retiring the MITF until further notice. In a statement to the press, Chatterton said:

“On looking back over 18 seasons of the MITF, I have many memories, most of them good, some not so much, and some hilarious. But I’ve had some reverses in recent years that have forced me to hang up the gloves. Hence, this retirement memo.

When you get to be 71, you accumulate a few dings on your person — with some people, more dings than others, some dings going deeper than others. When you start to feel like my first car, a ’65 Dodge Dart (this was in ’79), you know it’s time to re-evaluate your priorities.

The financial situation has also grown more parlous. When I started the MITF (in 2000), I was making $65 an hour as a tech writer on Wall Street. Now I’m on Social Security. I can no longer underwrite the Festival budget out of my own pocket.

(A few years ago I moved back to Massachusetts, for personal reasons, and the strains of commuting to NYC also take their toll.)

The last straw was recent lawsuit. It was one of those cases where you’re damned if you win and damned if you lose, because either way you have to pay legal costs.

I have lots of energy and ideas left. Also an increasing urge to travel the world, starting with a farewell tour (in a much better car) down the East Coast to Florida. So, as the Governator said, ‘I’ll be b-a-a-a-c-k!’

Thank you, New York, for giving my life meaning for 24 years. Thank you for the opportunity to serve that occasionally fickle muse, the Theatre, in all the roles I’ve experienced. Good luck and God bless. We’ll be in touch!”

In the summer of 2000, in midtown Manhattan, the Midtown International Theatre Festival (MITF) began celebrating the diversity of theatre.

MITF emphasizes imaginative, low-tech staging. In addition to offering a safe environment to develop innovative theatre, the MITF is devoted to keeping costs for participants down. This means there are now no participation fees for any of our festivals!

The MITF welcomes submission of any kind of stage play, musical or otherwise, new or revived, mainstream or focused on an ethnic or cultural niche.

The Festival is the brainchild of John Chatterton, creator of OOBR (“the off-off-broadway review”), which for many years was the only publication exclusively devoted to covering the Off-Off-Broadway scene. Mr. Chatterton started the MITF as a way to present the finest Off-Off-Broadway talent in convenience, comfort, and safety. He also produces the Short Play Lab and the Midwinter Madness Short Play Festival.