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. 

Meet Amanda Nicastro & I’m Just Kidneying

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Giancarlo Osaben, production photographer
Name: Amanda Nicastro
Tell us about you. 
I write and produce a lot of my own work but that’s not what I originally set out to do. And I still have a lot of self doubt with the definition of “writer.” If you would have asked college aged Amanda, “Is your dream to write and produce your own work?” She would have said, “Heck, no! I want people to cast me in their stuff so all I have to do is memorize the lines!” Ha! But when I look back on my creative career I have pursued and realized a lot of my own creative projects.
Tell us about your current project? 
I’m Just Kidneying is a comedic portrayal of how I donated a kidney for my sister through a paired donation and wound up also helping save the life of a Trump supporter. It all started with a couple funny instances during my living donor evaluation that I turned into comedy sketches. From there I decided I wanted to make it a solo show, and I wanted to use humor as a tool for advocacy. When I found out the other donor was a MAGA Head it added another crazy level to my story.
Where are you performing your show and why is it a good fit for your production? 
I’m Just Kidneying has a run at Frigid Fringe Festival Feb 22-March 9. My show isn’t a traditional storytelling show nor is it quite a traditional comedy/sketch show. It’s a little bit of both and I find that mix is the perfect recipe of what Fringe audiences are looking for when they are deciding what shows to see.
What’s next for you? 
Edinburgh Fringe! I just signed a contract with a venue and I’m so excited to be bringing I’m Just Kidneying to the world’s first and largest Fringe Festival.
What is the name of the last show you saw? 
Haha! My husband and I actually just saw Hamilton! He’s a huge American History buff and has wanted to see the show for the longest time. The tickets were his joint birthday and Anniversary present.
Any advice for your peers?
Self doubt is your worst enemy. I can’t tell you how many times I almost talked myself out of a creative project that turned out either successful or rewarding.

Show Information:

When:
  • Friday Feb 22nd, 5:30pm
  • Saturday Feb 23rd, 8:50pm
  • Sunday Feb 24th, 1:50pm
  • Monday March 4th, 10:30pm
  • Saturday March 9th, 5:30pm

Where: Under St Mark’s Theatre at 94 Saint Mark’s Place

Tickets: http://www.horsetrade.info/event/be402d57b3d578097f90dcbcdde5e2f4

Social: @TheLastAmanda https://www.facebook.com/imjustkindeying/ $5 off with code DONATELIFE

Meet Zoe Aqua & Between the Threads

Photos by Emily Hewitt. (emilyhewittphotography.com)
Name:  Zoe Aqua
Tell us about you. 
I’m a violinist and composer based in Brooklyn. My specialty is klezmer and Eastern-European music, although I perform in a number of other genres as well.
Tell us about your current project? 
“Between the Threads” is a devised theater piece built from the family stories and musings of 5 Jewish women actors as well as director Coral Cohen. I’m contributing original music using a loop/ effect pedals to build textures with my solo violin. Some parts are influenced by klezmer, some by Mizrachi (Middle Eastern Jewish) music, and other parts are more influenced by minimalist and electronic music. It’s my first time using a loop pedal so that is a fun and exciting thing for me! And the actors are very thoughtful and creative– it has been interesting to see how this piece has come together.
Where are you performing your show and why is it a good fit for your production? 
We’re at HERE Arts Center in Soho, in the smaller theater underground. The space is a good fit because we’re performing an intimate piece based on family histories, some engaging with trauma. It’s powerful to able to see the audience react as they travel with us through the piece.
What’s next for you? 
Working on original music for 2 projects that I co-lead, Tsibele (https://tsibele.bandcamp.com/releases) and Farnakht (https://farnakht.bandcamp.com/releases). Also, I will be performing with amazing dancer/choreographer Joya Powell in the upcoming Estrogenius Festival on March 15 and 16.
What is the name of the last show you saw?
JOAN, at HERE Arts Center! It’s great, I recommend it.
Any advice for your peers?
Keep supportive friends and colleagues close who can help you push push PUSH through the challenge of working as an artist! Because it is a challenge, and artists need networks of support to survive and thrive.

Show Information: 

When: Through Feb 10
Where: HERE Arts Center at145 6th Ave, New York, NY 10013
Tickets:  http://here.org/shows/detail/2038/; /https://www.facebook.com/jewishwomenproject/

Meet Kelly Haramis & Hard-Core CORN

image3.jpegName: Kelly Haramis
Tell us about you. 
I’m a Chicago-area actor, writer, and teaching artist. I was a journalist for 12 years (6 of those years at the Chicago Tribune). I returned to my love of theatre 10 years ago. I perform weekly on the House Team at the Improv Playhouse, and I love taking my one-woman shows to fringe festivals. 12 years ago, I became a mom twice in 6 months. I live with my husband, preteen daughters, and Russian Blue cat in the Chicago suburbs.
Tell us about your current project? 
Kelly Haramis is an uncontrollable food addict in “Hard-Core CORN,” a one-woman show directed by David Knoell. And Kelly’s popcorn-jonesing life is about to get flipped upside down after she meets a nutrition guru. Find out what happens when Kelly navigates a maze of maize–through hilarious newscasts, cooking shows and personal confessions–in a world turned against her.
Where are you performing your show and why is it a good fit for your production? 
FRIGID NY at Under St. Marks, which is perfect because it’s an intimate black box setting that captures the scale of the show. I perform as a host of different characters, but each one speaks directly to the audience.
What’s next for you?
I’m writing a show about my grandparents and their immigration from Greece, Germany, and Puerto Rico. I also plan to perform my show “Double Happiness: A Tale of Love, Loss, and One Forever Family” again because my daughters haven’t seen it yet.
What is the name of the last show you saw? 
“The Skokie Detective Charter School.” My 11-year-old daughter Kallista had one of the lead roles in the middle school production.
Any advice for your peers?
Never give up. There will be performing slumps that will seem longer than forever, but there are always be new opportunities. Sometimes, the best opportunities are the ones you create for yourself.

Show Information:

When: Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 10:30 p.m.;  Saturday, Feb. 23 at 2:10 p.m.;  Sunday, March 3 at 5:10 p.m.;  Wednesday, March 6 at 8:50 p.m; Friday, March 8 at 8:50 p.m.; Saturday, March 9  at 12:30 p.m.
Venue: Under St. Marks Theater (94 St Marks Pl, New York, NY.)

The League of Professional Theatre Women present the 2019 Theatre Women Awards

THE LEAGUE OF PROFESSIONAL THEATRE WOMEN
ANNOUNCES
THE 2019 THEATRE WOMEN AWARDS 
THE ROAD TO PARITY
 
LPTW Lifetime Achievement Award winner Graciela Daniela Photo credit: Walter Kurtz
MONDAY, MARCH 25 @ THE SHEEN CENTER
The League of Professional Theatre Women (Kelli Lynn Harrison and Catherine Porter, Co-Presidents)an organization which has been leading the gender parity conversation and championing women in the professional theatre for over 35 years, will present the 2019 Theatre Women Awards at The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture (18 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10012) on Monday, March 25 at 7pm (doors open at 6:30pm). For more information on the 2019 Theatre Women Awards, and to purchase tickets, please visit www.theatrewomen.org.
This year’s Theatre Women Awards will honor director/choreographer Graciela Daniela (Lifetime Achievement Award), director May Adrales (Josephine Abady Award), acting teacher and author Mari Lyn Henry (LPTW Special Award), the founding members of the feminist activist and advocacy group The Kilroys (LPTW Lucille Lortel Visionary Award), scenic designer Mimi Lien (Ruth Morley Award), translator/director/producer Joanne Pottlitzer (LPTW Special Award), producer/dramaturg Natasha Sinha (LPTW Lucille Lortel Award), and playwright Karen Zacarías (Lee Reynolds Award).
The League of Professional Theatre Women’s annual Theatre Women Awards are dedicated to promoting the visibility of the theatrical work of women artists and their contributions to the field, across all disciplines. For decades the LPTW has celebrated women who are consistently creating and working in every facet of the theatre industry. The diversity in disciplines of this year’s awardees, including choreographers, translators, casting directors, dramaturgs, educators, designers, playwrights, actors, and producers exemplifies the vast talents theatre women contribute to the art-form. Although some of these positions are not often recognized, they are critical to the success of the theatre industry, and the LPTW is proud to recognize their vital work in our community.
The theme for this year’s Theatre Women Awards is The Road to Parity. At last year’s Awards, LPTW launched its advocacy campaign   #OneMoreConversation, which, in addition to taking off on social media, included direct contact with approximately 400 theatre leaders, decision-makers, and educators across the country encouraging leaders to have one more conversation — with a theatre woman — before making a hire.  As 50/50 in 2020 approaches, #OneMoreConversation is only one step in the League’s Road to Parity. The breadth and scope of the 2019 TWA awardees’ experience and talent are a call to action: the goal is parity; the time is now.
Graciela Daniela (Lifetime Achievement Award) has directed on Broadway, at Lincoln Center and the Public Theater, and at regional theaters and has earned ten Tony Award nominations and six Drama Desk nominations. Her Broadway Director/Choreographic credits include Chita Rivera, The Dancer’s LifeAnnie Get Your GunMarie ChristineOnce on This IslandChronicle of a Death Foretold and Dangerous Game. She has Musical Staged/Choreographed such shows as Ragtime (Astaire, Ovation [L.A.], NAACP, and Callaway Award), The Goodbye GirlZorbawith Anthony Quinn, The Rink starring Liza Minnelli and Chita Rivera, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. She choreographed the New York Shakespeare Festival production of The Pirates of Penzance on Broadway, Los Angeles and London, the motion picture of Pirates, and three Woody Allen films including Mighty Aphrodite, for which she won the 1996 Fosse Award, and Everyone Says I Love You, for which she won the 1997 Fosse Award. Ms. Daniele directed and choreographed A New Brain, which enjoyed an extended run in the summer of 1998 at Lincoln Center Theatre. She is recipient of the 1998 “Mr. Abbot” Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Director/Choreographer. Ms. Daniele directed and choreographed the Michael John LaChuisa’s Little Fish (Second Stage) and Bernarda Alba (Lincoln Center Theatre) along with the Lincoln Center Theatre production of William Finn’s Elegies, A Song Cycle. Most recently, she has choreographed The Visit on Broadway and the world premiere of Sousatzka at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto.
May Adrales (Josephine Abady Award) is a director, artistic leader and teacher and has directed over 25 world premieres. She recently was awarded the prestigious Theater Communications Group Alan Schneider award for freelance directors. She is a Drama League Directing Fellow, Women’s Project Lab Director, SoHo Rep Writers/Directors Lab and New York Theater Workshop directing fellow, and a recipient of the TCG New Generations Grant, Denham Fellowship and Paul Green Directing Award. She proudly serves as an Associate Artistic Director at Milwaukee Rep. She is a former Director of On Site Programs at the Lark Play Development Center and Artistic Associate at The Public Theater. May has directed and taught at Juilliard, Harvard/ART, ACT, Fordham, NYU and Bard College. She has served on faculty at the Yale School of Drama and Brown/Trinity MFA program. MFA, Yale School of Drama. World premieres include Qui Nguyen’s Lortel Award and Obie Award winning, Vietgone and Poor Yella Rednecks (Manhattan Theatre Club, South Coast Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Seattle Rep); Lauren Gunderson’s Natural Shocks (WP Theater); Kemp Powers’s Little Black Shadows (South Coast); Idris Goodwin’s The Way The Mountain Moved (OSF); Chisa Hutchinson’s Somebody’s Daughter (Second Stage Theater) and The Wedding Gift (Contemporary American Theater Festival); JC Lee’s Luce (Lincoln Center); Katori Hall’s Whaddabloodclot!!! (Williamstown Theater Festival); A. Rey Pamatmat’s Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them (Actors Theatre of Louisville) and after all the terrible things I do (Milwaukee Rep); Thomas Bradshaw’s Mary (The Goodman Theatre) and The Bereaved (Partial Comfort Productions); Zakiyyah Alexander and Imani Uzuri’s girl shakes loose her skin (Penumbra); In This House (Two River Theater Company); Richard Dresser’s Trouble Cometh (SF Playhouse); and Tommy Smith’s The Wife (Access Theater). She directed David Henry Hwang’s The Dance and the Railroad at Signature Theater; Kimber Lee’s Tokyo Fish Story (Old Globe); Stefanie Zadravec’s The Electric Baby (Two River); Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop (Milwaukee Rep); Chinglish (Portland Center Stage, Syracuse Stage); Everything You Touch, (CATF); In the Next Room, or Vibrator Play and Disgraced (Syracuse Stage); and Breath and Imagination(Cleveland Playhouse). Upcoming Projects: Lloyd Suh’s The Chinese Lady at Milwaukee Rep and Hudson Valley Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing.
The Josephine Abady Award is given in memory of Josephine R. Abady, a stage and artistic director, and leader of the nonprofit theatre movement in the United States. The award is given annually to a woman theatre artist who has created work of cultural diversity. 
Mari Lynn Henry (LPTW Special Award) has guided thousands of actors to successful careers in film, TV and theatre for over 45 years. Upon leaving her position as Director of Casting, East Coast for ABC/NY, which she held for over thirteen years, she launched an image and career coaching business. Her book, How to Be a Working Actor, (co-written by Lynne Rogers) is currently in its 5th Edition and continues to be the “Bible of the Biz.” Her workshops on on-camera audition techniques, sight reading, script analysis and impression management have been well-received in cities and universities throughout the U.S. as well as Toronto, London, Oxford and Sydney. As a guest faculty member at the Circle in the Square Theatre School, she advises the second-year students about career preparation and monologue auditions. She is the Dean of Students for the Tom Todoroff Conservatory in New York City, where she teaches the business of acting. For several years she also has been the industry showcase consultant for the New World School of the Arts in Miami. She has been a board member and V.P. of Programs for the League of Professional Theatre Women and is head of their heritage program. In 2013 she founded the Society for the Preservation of Theatrical History which produces a program about famous actresses of the past entitled Stage-Struck Sampler. She earned her BA in Speech and Drama at San Jose State University and a master’s degree in theatre from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
Mari Lynn Henry is receiving a LPTW Special Award for her service to the industry as a casting director, acting coach and teacher, and the author of one of most widely used manuals on the business of acting, as well as her service to the League in establishing theatre history and heritage as an important parity advocacy tool for the League.
The Kilroys (LPTW Lucille Lortel Visionary Award) are a gang of Los Angeles and New York City-based playwrights, directors, and producers who are done talking about gender parity and are taking action. For the past five years The Kilroys have been advocating for equal representation on American stages, and have released an annual list of under-produced plays by woman, trans, and non-binary writers. They mobilize others in their field and leverage their own power to support other marginalized theater artists. The current class of The Kilroys are Jaclyn Backhaus, Hilary Bettis, Jennifer Chambers, Claudia de Vasco, Emma Goidel, Christina Ham, Jessica Hanna, Monet Hurst-Mendoza, Obehi Janice, Hansol Jung, Chelsea Marcantel, Caroline V. McGraw, Bianca Sams, and Gina Young. The founding members are Zakiyyah Alexander, Bekah Brunstetter, Sheila Callaghan, Carla Ching, Annah Feinberg, Sarah Gubbins, Laura Jacqmin, Joy Meads, Kelly Miller, Meg Miroshnik, Daria Polatin, Tanya Saracho, and Marisa Wegrzyn.
The LPTW Lucille Lortel Visionary Award and accompanying grant is awarded from time to time to aspiring theatre women working outside the parameters of production, embody the spirit of Lucille Lortel and the League, and who show great creative promise deserving recognition and encouragement. This is only the 4th time it has been awarded.
Mimi Lien (Ruth Morley Award) is a designer of sets/environments for theater, dance, and opera. Arriving at set design from a background in architecture, her work often focuses on the interaction between audience/environment and object/performer. In 2017, Mimi won the Tony Award for her design of Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812.  In 2015, she was named a MacArthur Fellow, and is the first set designer ever to achieve this distinction. Mimi is a company member of Pig Iron Theatre Company, and co-founder of JACK, a performance/art space in Brooklyn. Selected work includes Model Home (a performance installation commissioned by WoW Festival, La Jolla Playhouse), Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812 (Broadway), An Octoroon (Soho Rep/TFANA), John (Signature Theatre), Appropriate (Mark Taper Forum), Preludes & The Oldest Boy (Lincoln Center), Black Mountain Songs (BAM Next Wave). Internationally, Mimi’s designs for dance have been presented in the Netherlands and Russia, and her work has been exhibited in the Prague Quadrennial. Her sculpture work was featured in the exhibition, LANDSCAPES OF QUARANTINE, at the Storefront for Art and Architecture. She is also a recipient of the Cullman Award for Extraordinary Creativity at Lincoln Center Theater, a Bessie Award, Drama Desk Award, Lucille Lortel Award, American Theatre Wing Hewes Design Award, LA Drama Critics Circle Award, and an OBIE Award for sustained excellence.
The Ruth Morley Design Award was initiated in 1998 in honor of costume designer Ruth Morley, one of the profession’s leading designers for theatre and film who also served on the LPTW Board of Directors. It is given annually to an outstanding female theatre designer in the field of costumes, scenery, lighting, or special effects. 
Joanne Pottlitzer (LPTW Special Award) is a writer, theater director, and translator who has produced many Latin American plays in New York and is the winner of two Obie Awards, two Senior Fulbright Awards, two NEA translation grants, and multiple producing and writing awards. She has directed plays in New York, Los Angeles, Tucson, and Santiago de Chile. Her English translations of Latin American plays and screenplays have been produced, published, and distributed in New York and throughout the U.S. Among them are José Triana’s Common Words; Mario Vargas Llosa’s La ChungaThe Young Lady from TacnaKathie and the HippopotamusDaedalus in the Belly of the Beast by Marco Antonio de la Parra; Nelson 2 Rodrigues by Antunes Filho; Striptease and Saying Yes by Griselda Gámbaro; The Toothbrush by Jorge Díaz; and Mythweavers by Arturo Uslar Pietri. She also translated the dubbed version of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s film The Holy Mountain.
Joanne Pottlitzer is receiving a LPTW Special Award for her service to the industry as a translator, producer and archivist of Latin American theatre, and her service to the League in establishing the International Committee.
Natasha Sinha (LPTW Lucille Lortel Award) is a producer and dramaturg, focusing on new plays and new musical work. As Director of Artistic Programs at Signature Theatre, she spearheads new artistic programs for Signature, and she is artistic line producer for select plays and musicals. From 2012-2018, Natasha was Associate Director of LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater which exclusively produces premieres (including Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar, Rude Mechs’ Stop Hitting Yourself, Dave Malloy’s PreludesWar by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Bull in a China Shop by Bryna Turner, Ghost Light by Third Rail Projects, Martyna Majok’s Queens, and Antoinette Nwandu’s Pass Over). She kicked off the LCT3 Spotlight Series with SHABASH!, hosted by Danny Pudi and Parvesh Cheena. Natasha was previously the Associate Producer at Barrington Stage Company. In addition to producing and developing new plays, Natasha has worked on new musicals, including projects by Michael R. Jackson, Sukari Jones & Troy Anthony, Grace McLean, Shakina Nayfack, Sam Salmond, and Kit Yan & Melissa Li. Natasha is a co-founder of Beehive Dramaturgy Studio, which works with individual generative artists as well as organizations such as Page 73, Musical Theatre Factory, Astoria Performing Arts Center, and SDC. Natasha is on the Advisory Boards of SPACE on Ryder Farm and Musical Theatre Factory (where she co-moderates MTF’s POC Roundtable, exclusively for musical artists of color, and advises on various programs). She has also served as a judge on many award committees, taught classes, written articles, and created events to center a range of exciting new voices from historically underrepresented communities.
The LPTW Lucille Lortel Award and accompanying grant was founded in 2000 with a bequest from the estate of Lucille Lortel to annually honor “an aspiring woman in any discipline of theatre who is showing great creative promise and deserves recognition and encouragement.”
Karen Zacarías (Lee Reynolds Award) was recently hailed as one of the most produced playwrights in the US. Her award-winning plays include Destiny of Desire, Native GardensThe Book Club PlayLegacy of LightMariela in the DesertThe Sins of Sor Juana, the adaptations of Just Like Us, Into the Beautiful North, Ella Enchanted, and How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent. She is the author of ten renowned TYA musicals and the librettist of several Ballets. She is one of the inaugural resident playwrights at Arena Stage, a core founder of the Latinx Theatre Commons, and a founder of Young Playwrights’ Theater. Born in Mexico, Karen resides in Washington DC with her husband and three children.
The Lee Reynolds Award, in memory of producer and League member Lee Reynolds, is given annually to a woman or women active in any aspect of theatre whose work through the medium of theatre has helped to illuminate the possibilities for social, cultural or political change. 
The League of Professional Theatre Women (a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization) has been championing women and leading the gender parity conversation in the professional theatre for over 35 years. Since its founding, the LPTW’s membership has grown to 500+ theatre artists and practitioners of all backgrounds, across multiple disciplines, working in the commercial and non-profit sectors. To increase visibility of and opportunities for women in the field, the LPTW spearheads public programming, advocacy initiatives, events, media, and publications that raise awareness of the importance of nurturing women’s voices, celebrate industry luminaries, preserve the legacy of historic visionaries, and shine a spotlight on the imperative of striving for gender parity and fostering a diversity of expression, both in the theatre world and the world at large. To find out more about how you can support its endeavors, please visit www.theatrewomen.org.
The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture Named after the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, best known for his popular radio and TV ministry in the 1950s and 60s, The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture is a project of the Archdiocese of New York, presenting more than 75 events in theatre, film, music, and thought per season. The state-of-the-art complex has a 274-seat proscenium theater equipped with five-camera high-definition livestream capability and a multi-track recording studio with thirty-two onstage inputs; an 80-seat black box theater; four rehearsal studios; and an art gallery. This facility is the newest arts center in Manhattan in 35 years and a significant addition to the growing artistic community in NoHo/East Village.  www.sheencenter.org

Meet Sabina England & Allah Earth: The Cycle of Life

Sabina EnglandName: Sabina England

Tell us about you. 

I am a filmmaker, playwright and performance artist. I am profoundly deaf and cannot hear but I work with musicians a lot in my projects. I just won a Jury Award at Lady Filmmakers Film Festival in Beverly Hills, California last month for my short sign language poetry film, “Deaf Brown Gurl,” which I wrote, filmed, directed, produced and edited.

Tell us about your current project? 

I wrote and created “Allah Earth: The Cycle of Life” which is a solo multimedia performance show with sign language, mime, music, video and movement. I incorporated elements from traditional South Asian dances and Sufi poetry into my show, creating an unique deaf theatrical experience for both deaf and hearing audiences.

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

I am performing “Allah Earth: The Cycle of Life” at New York International Fringe Festival here in New York City. I believe New York City is a great fit because of the rich diversity of so many cultures and communities. My show appeals to everyone, not just for Deaf or brown people, but for anybody who has wondered about the meaning of life and why we are here on Earth.

What’s next for you? 

After I am done with New York International Fringe Festival, I will write, direct and produce a short silent narrative film about an undocumented man and deaf woman who fall in love together.

What is the name of the last show you saw? 

No Exit, by Jean-Paul Sartre, produced by SATE Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri

Any advice for your peers?

Don’t worry what everyone thinks of you. Just focus on doing what makes you happy and keep going with your dreams. You are here on Earth for yourself, not to please anybody or make others happy.


Show Information: 

WHEN: October 21 (7:00pm), October 23 (4:45pm), October 27 (1:15pm)

WHERE: 685 Washington St, New York, NY 10014

TICKETS: https://www.sabinaengland.com/allahearth.html

Follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/Sabina_England/

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

Festival Lineup Announced for Speak Up, Rise Up

Festival Lineup Announced for
Speak Up, Rise Up
Second Annual Storytelling Festival to Play The Tank, August 6 – 12
Speak Up, Rise Up, is pleased to announce their festival lineup which features a diverse group of over 100 artists featuring a wide range of ethnicities and races with the majority of the performers being women.
Now in its second year, Speak Up, Rise Up will present a diverse range of topics on The Tanks two stages with multiple shows running in the evening and on the weekend. Playing August 6 – 12, Speak Up, Rise Up, aims to amplify the voices of communities and people we don’t often hear from.
The festival will present over 40 shows with a wide range of topics and performers including WNYC’s Nancy Podcast, 15 year-old storyteller Maeve Press, comic/storyteller Josh Johnson whose credits include The Tonight Show and comedy specials with Comedy Central and Netflix, Drae Campbell’s Tell and Bobby Hankinson’s  KWEENDON, both shows feature evenings of Queer Storytelling, Average Women with Average Rage featuring Leah Bonnema, Ophira Eisenberg, and Negin Farsad, Sydnee Washington’s solo show, Death of a Bottle Girl, OutsideIn – a storytelling show that focuses on the prison system, Shalewa Sharpe’s solo show Don’t Reach in the Bag, and Comedy Central and HBO comic Aparna Nancherla, among many other talented performers.
Spotify is the lead sponsor of this years Speak Up, Rise Up Festival.
2018 Lineup
 
Monday, August 6 
Main Stage @ 6:30 pm
NYC Veterans Alliance – Community Showcase
The NYC Veterans Alliance achieves community wellness and access to services for all veterans in New York City and beyond, regardless of service era or discharge status. We empower veterans, families, and civilian allies to connect as a community, advocate for improved policies, and advance as civic leaders. The showcase will feature Veteran’s sharing their stories onstage.
Side Stage @ 7:00 pm
Tell, Queer Storytelling Show – Storytelling
Curated & hosted by Drae Campbell
TELL is a queer storytelling show featuring a line-up of queer folks telling their own stories on their own terms. The storytellers include Danielle Earle,
Azure D. Osborne-Lee, David Reyes, Sara Jane Stoner, and Foxy Squire.
Main Stage @ 8:00 pm
Average Women with Average Rage – Storytelling
Written & performed by Leah Bonnema, Ophira Eisenberg, and Negin Farsad.
Three of New York City’s best comics blend personal stories with political commentary as they attempt to dismantle the patriarchy in one 60-minute show. (You know women, such overachievers…)
Side Stage @ 9:00 pm
I’m Just Fine – Solo show
Written & performed by Nina Mozes
A stand-up style solo show that asks you to laugh at my pain. Pain is a personal and private experience, but it is also universal. So, let’s talk about it. And joke about it. Because when we laugh, nothing hurts.
Main Stage @ 9:30 pm
Calvin Cato Has Daddy Issues – Solo show
Written & performed by Calvin Cato
Watch Calvin S. Cato work out his daddy issues in real time as he tells a tale of unfortunate hookups, misleading mentors, and a formative moment with his dad that will change his life.
Tuesday, August 7 
Side Stage @ 7:00 pm
It’s nice to feel wanted – Solo show
Written & performed by Sammie James
Comedian Sammie explores some of the more awkward and in some cases traumatic experiences. Bad dates, bad relationships, health issues, and uncomfortable conversations, are all in there and yeah, some silly jokes about animals and movies will be there too.
Main Stage @ 8:00 pm
WNYC’s Nancy Podcast live show – Storytelling/Podcast
With Tobin Low and Kathy Tu
Nancy is a critically-acclaimed podcast featuring queer stories and conversations, and hosted by two best friends, neither of whom are named Nancy. It’s a podcast about how we define ourselves, and the journey it takes to get there.
Main Stage @ 9:30 pm
Faith No More – Solo show
Written and performed by Matthew Dicks
A boy whose faith in God is absolute finds himself suddenly lost after his faith in a higher power is tragically stripped away. As he becomes a man, he struggles for the return of his faith as the universe attempts to kill him (literally) at seemingly every turn.
Wednesday, July 8
Main Stage @ 6:00 pm
No One Left Behind – Community Showcase
No One Left Behind helps America’s Wartime Allies with Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) resettle safely in the United States. They bridge the gap that exists between current State Department and NGO refugee relief programs, and provide assistance with housing, employment and cultural adaptation. They treat their clients as the heroic veterans they are.
Side Stage @ 7:00 pm
Woody’s Order! Concert Version – Solo show
Written & performed by Ann Talman
How can you live your own destiny if you’re “Woody’s Order!”, and have been told since birth that your destiny is to be thy brother’s keeper? A screening of the documentary with excerpts of the play introduces Ann, Woody, Mom, Dad, Elizabeth Taylor, and special souls who helped Ann come to grips with what real destiny means.
Main Stage @ 8:00 pm
Late Night Talkers – Variety Show
Hosted & curated by Chelsea Davison
Writers and performers from late night TV share stand-up and stories in a show you don’t have to stay up late for. LINEUP: Chelsea Davison (The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon), Alingon Mitra (Conan), Aaron Jackson (The Opposition w/ Jordan Klepper), Alison Leiby (The President Show).Late Night Talkers
Side Stage @ 9:00 pm
Come Fly with me! Let’s fly away! – Storytelling
Curated & hosted by Tarik Daniels
They say you shouldn’t run away from your problems but sometimes your problems are due to horrible people or a terrible place. All storytellers will tell a tale about running away from what they knew wasn’t good for them. They all escaped to have a brighter, more beautiful life.
Main Stage @ 9:30
You Got Left – Solo show
Written & performed by Andrew Collin
When Andrew Collin was 24, he made over $250,000 in one deal. He was working in Florida real estate during the wild days of the early 2000s. But when the recession hit, Andrew found himself scrambling to find the next big score. You’ll laugh and shake your head along with this tale of fancy cars, bottle service and paper bags full of cash.
Thursday, July 9
Main Stage @ 6:30 pm
Center for Popular Democracy – Community Showcase
The Center for Popular Democracy works to create equity, opportunity and a dynamic democracy in partnership with high-impact base-building organizations, organizing alliances, and progressive unions. CPD strengthens our collective capacity to envision and win an innovative pro-worker, pro-immigrant, racial and economic justice agenda.
Side Stage @ 7:00 pm
The Sound of MUltiple SensItivities to Chemicals – Solo show
Written & performed by Jacqueline Peters
Jackie was an extroverted gal until a mold exposure left her sick, hypersensitive to chemicals, and spending way too much time home alone with just her imagination for company. Join her as she escapes into the things that comfort her: singing, laughing, the Sound of Music, and being the center of attention
Main Stage @ 8:00 pm
Aparna Nancherla – Stand-up/Storytelling
Written & performed by Aparna Nancherla
Catch Aparna Nancherla before she goes on her Fall tour. Aparna’s credits include a comedy special with Netflix, performing on Two Dope Queens on HBO and was the voice of Hollyhock on the most recent season of Bojack Horseman. Other acting credits include Crashing, Master of None, Love, and Inside Amy Schumer. Aparna was also named one of “The 50 Funniest People Right Now” by Rolling Stone. She also co-hosted the 2018 Women’s March Rally in NYC.
Side Stage @ 9:00 pm
SELFISH JUSTICE – Two 30-minute Stories
Written & performed by Courtney Antonioli & Lindsay Hoffman
Lindsay Hoffman’s aggressive leap into real responsibility. She builds the Teen Center with the help of her friends in her hometown of Clawson, Michigan. A place where teens can be themselves, create art, find themselves, and have a team of dedicated people there to help them through the process of growing up. Join her through bouts with the city council, superiors, parents and schools. She and the community fight to keep one of the greatest achievements of her life alive and untouched.
Courtney Antonioli asks, why can you MagicBand turkey legs, but not tampons in the women’s restrooms in Disney World?  When will society embrace periods as valid experience that needs to be recognized?  What happens when women stop accepting the menstruation as their “burden” and start to hold men and companies accountable? This happens.
Main Stage 9:30 pm
DON’T REACH IN THE BAG – Solo show
Written & performed by Shalewa Sharpe
A young woman applies for a job at an adult video store because she figures the dress code will be lax. Such naivete. Shalewa Sharpe presents a show about growing and showing, inspired by her six-year stint at a porn store.
Friday, July 10
Side Stage @ 7:00 pm
Our True Voice Now: stories of resistance from New Jersey – Storytelling
Hosted & curated by Angel Ling
Four suburban Jersey women share heartfelt, personal stories of what it has meant to be “woke” since November 2016. How are we likely/unlikely political organizers and leaders, at this moment in our American history? We will share stories of success, pitfalls, and of personal becoming. Stories by Rachel Barry, Lisa Ferraro, Rachel Goldstein, and Angel Ling.
Main Stage @ 8:00 pm
I’m Choking (and other excuses to leave a party) – Solo show
Written & performed by Josh Johnson
Whether it was the wedding of someone we don’t like, or the housewarming of someone we don’t know, we’ve all been at that point at a party where we ask ourselves… what am I doing here? What Josh answer those questions for himself, and maybe for you too. From hilarious surprises to accidental deaths he’ll cover all the reasons you’d want to leave a party, and the reasons you might want to stay.
Main Stage @ 9:30 pm
College Sucks! – Solo show
Written & performed by Anita Flores
Turns out, college isn’t like the movies. This show illustrates the comedic high and lows of what it’s like to attend 4 different colleges. From a small, overpriced private school to a “party school” to NYU, one thing’s for sure: Sallie Mae is a bitch. This is one woman’s journey finding a place to belong.
Saturday, July 11
Main Stage @ 12:00 pm
Stage the Change – Storytelling
Written & performed by Stage the Change Players (A troupe of high school students from Long Island)
Stage the Change is an organization dedicated to enabling high school students to use their voices to make a difference in the world. Through creativity and mentoring these students began to create a body of work that expresses their ideas and approaches issues of race, social justice, gender and sexual equality, bullying and a variety of other social and emotional issues that influence their lives.
Side Stage @ 1:00 pm
The ‘Hoodwink – Solo show
Written & performed by Melanee Murray-Hunt
Albie Davis is a singer with a heart of soul.  But the world doesn’t seem to be ready for Albie’s blend of outspoken word, creative freedom and righteous take on pop culture, hip-hop and hair weaves.
Main Stage @ 2:00 pm
MASHUP- Stories Into Song – Storytelling
Hosted & curated by Jude Treder-Wolff
Great stories have words, ideas and an emotional energy which create a kind of music. In this show some of New York’s finest storytellers perform, followed by an original song co-written by writer/performer and singer/songwriter Jude Treder-Wolff and composer Wells Hanley which was inspired by their story. Storytellers include Robin Bady, Richard Cardillo, Michele Carlo, and Vernon Payne.
Side Stage @ 3:00 pm
That’s Not How It Happened – Solo show
Written & performed by Colleen Hindsley
Colleen began her journey in storytelling a few years ago after the deaths of her parents, two larger-than-life figures who raised her and five older siblings in and around their Irish pub. It was a childhood spent listening to the wild stories of the characters there – Colleen’s parents being the most important of them all.
Main Stage @ 4:00 pm
Lil’ Mama – Solo show
Written & performed by Emily Reese
The only child in a town of six residents, Reese, was raised by her bear hunter father, Zeus, and her artist mother, Mary Jo. Reese takes us on a memorable trip through pivotal moments in her life. Her story is sure to be unlike any you’ve heard before. ​
Main Stage @ 6:00 pm
Women of Color for Progress – Community Showcase
Women of Color for Progress (WCP) is a multi-strategy political organization founded by women of color for women of color. WCP empowers women of color to excel, lead, represent, and be heard. Ultimately, WCP hopes to not only elect women of color into public office but also create a pipeline of women of color political leaders.
Side Stage @ 5:00 pm
Trampoline – Solo show
Written & performed by Christina Blacken
Christina Blacken is a storyteller, performer, and founder of TheNewQuo.com, a platform + consultancy with 1M social media impressions to date that teaches storytelling for change. Her stories showcase the subtle ways we other one another through our beliefs and are inspired by her experience growing up as an extreme minority in Utah. As a Utah native & NYC resident for the past 9 years, she knows far more uses for jello than she’d like to admit.
Side Stage @ 7:00 pm
Singleling – Storytelling/Podcast
Vanessa Valerio
Singleling is a podcast and live series show that showcases love and dating stories from regular people around the world and the best comedians and storytellers in the country.
Main Stage @ 8:00 pm
Death of a Bottle Girl – Solo show
Written & performed by Sydnee Washington
After a decade of working in NYC nightlife, Sydnee decided to hang up her cocktail dress forever. Reminiscent of “MTV Diaries” meets “20/20”, this hilariously authentic solo show exposes the ups & downs of the fast life as a bottle waitress.
Side Stage @ 9:00 pm
You Roar, I Roar – Storytelling
Hosted & curated by Becca Beberaggi
You Roar, I Roar is a storytelling show featuring women of color, queer and trans performers from NYC. The show is inspired by the #METOO movement and #timesup movement. Women and survivors are finally having their voices heard. We are roaring like never before! Storytellers include Zubaira Ahmed, Michelle Carlo, Andrea Coleman, And Veronica Garza, and Sammie James.
Main Stage @ 10:00 pm
KWEENDOM – Storytelling
Hosted & curated by Bobby Hankinson
KWEENDOM is a long-running comedy and storytelling showcase featuring some of New York City’s most beloved LGBTQ writers and performers. With a fervent commitment to diversity, KWEENDOM has provided space for underrepresented performers to share their stories for nearly three years.
 
Sunday, July 12
Main Stage @ 12:00 pm
Town of Islip Anti-bias Ambassadors – Community Showcase
The Town of Islip (Suffolk County, NY) sponsors an Anti-bias Ambassadors Program for youth which encompasses approximately ten school districts. Students from participating schools attend leadership conferences where they hear speakers who have endured racism and bigotry. As their final project this year at Sayville High School, they held a story slam featuring six students who performed for English classes over the course of two consecutive 40 minute periods.
Side Stage @ 1:00 pm
Dis(is)Respect with Maeve
Written & performed by Maeve Press
With a combination of observational comedy, unpredictable, honest and saucy storytelling and good old-fashioned rebellion, Dis(is)Respect is fifteen-year-old Maeve Press’ invitation to look deeper, remember when, embrace ourselves in all of our warped craziness and confusion and slap some DAMN RESPECT and a little LOVE into our lives.
Side Stage @ 2:00 pm
Cheating Death: Magic, Memoirs & Mortality
Created & performed by Nelson Lugo – Storytelling & Magic
A personal examination of one magician’s life – or more specifically – his many brushes with death.
Main Stage @ 4:00 pm
No, We Won’t Shut Up! – Storytelling
Curated by Robin Bady
There’s still a whole lot wrong in the world today and these women have something to say about it.  And you can’t stop them, because their time is NOW!  With issues ranging from white privilege to wage theft to racism to gentrification to sexual harassment by the police, these women share their personal—and ultimately inspiring – stories. Storytellers include Robin Bady, Michele Carlo, Nicole Ferarro, Dawn Frasier, and Angel Yau.
Side Stage @ 5:00 pm
OutsideIn – Storytelling
Curated & hosted by Nisse Greenberg
The boundaries that bind us and separate us have come into question. In this storytelling discussion we will tell stories of what it feels like to be inside and outside these boundaries – whether literal, as in the bars of the jail cell, or figurative, as in the alienation of immigration. The storytelling discussion/panel includes Juan Franco, Tazmin Uddin, and Michael Majok Kuch.
Main Stage @ 6:00 pm
The Dean’s Choice – Solo show
Written & performed by Thomas Conroy
My scholarship award was my first association with the dean of my undergraduate college at a state university in Ohio. It did not come without strings attached. It is 30 years later, and I speak for the first time … about the encounters, about the lies, about the murder, and about coming out in Ohio in the late 80s.
Side Stage @ 7:00 pm
Now You’re Talking!” Presents The Baby Boom Meets #MeToo – A Reckoning – Storytelling
Hosted & curated by Tracey Segerra
The #metoo movement is powerful and palpable. But how are the women over 50 who came of age during the Women’s Liberation movement handling this paradigm shift? Four women face their pasts and reckon with the future of sexual harassment via deeply personal stories. Storytellers include Renee Joshua-Porter, Tracy Rowland, and Julie Threlkeld.
Main Stage @ 8:00 pm
Serpent’s Tooth – Storytelling
Written & performed by Gianmarco Soresi
“How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child!” New York’s best storytellers air their dirty laundry, share some f*cked up family secrets, and don’t ask for their parents’ permission. Come for a night that would make King Lear feel lucky.
All performances take place at The Tank, 312 West 36th Street (between 8th & 9th avenues), 4th Floor, New York, New York 10018. Subways: 1, 2, 3, 7, A, C, E, N, R, Q, W to 34th Street. Tickets are $17 in advance, $20 at the door and are available at www.speakupriseup.com
About Speak Up, Rise Up
The first Speak Up, Rise Up festival was held in August 2017 at the off-Broadway venue, the Connelly Theater on the Lower East Side. Over the course of a week, over 100 people took the stage. The shows highlighted diversity in subject matter including stories about immigration, LGBTQ rights, and stories from the incarcerated. The line-up featured a diverse mix of performers with the majority of them being female and people of color.
Speak Up, Rise Up’s mission is to create a network of stories, sharing, and workshops to elevate disenfranchised communities’ stories via personal storytelling. Through live events, workshops, and connection to local community groups to tie people to community actions. Providing a space for people to develop, express, and share their stories that we don’t get to hear from. The festival offers storytelling workshops to various community groups in preparation of the next live festival.
Asher Novek (Founder/Producer) is a community organizer, tech designer, media producer, storyteller, storytelling coach, and occasional wedding officiant. He is involved in local political and community organizing and newly minted President of the Central Brooklyn Independent Democratic Club. Asher also serves as a steering committee member of Get Organized Brooklyn and is passionate about community engagement in local issues and working with communities to amplify their voices.
As a storyteller, Asher has performed and produced comedy and storytelling for the last 5 years including the monthly storytelling show he produces, So What Happened Was, in Park Slope. Asher also co-hosts and co-produces the podcast, the Whole Story, and has been featured on the Risk! podcast, Yum’s the Word, and the Bady House Concert Series. He has also led storytelling workshops with the Moth, the Field Innovation Team, Civic Hall, SVA, and recently began 1 on 1 coaching.

Martin Denton: A Conversation

mddbwJust in case you haven’t heard the news,  Martin Denton is closing up shop. He announced on August 31st that he and Rochelle are retiring from the business of theatre. Our community was in shock and sad but grateful and supportive. The Dentons have been an integral part of the independent theatre community for the last 20 years giving us the voice we so desperately needed and now definitely need.

Thank you for all you have done for our indie community for 20 years which is how long I have known of you! You and Rochelle have always been kind when we saw each other at shows. I also thank you for taking the time to chat with me.

I love everything about this statement: 1996 October – Martin Denton takes an Internet class and builds his first website, dedicated to his number one passion, the theatre. What was going on in the indie scene that sparked an interest in writing about the community?

Discovering the indie community actually came later for me. When I started nytheatre.com I was very much focused, like most people, on Broadway and off-Broadway. But I started getting invitations from smaller indie companies to review their work, and I learned that this was the work I preferred, because of the passion and risk-taking that seemed to always be inherent in it. So I made the indie community my niche, which I think was a great decision!

Where did the ideas of creating a small press and a media outlet come from?

In 1999 we saw a play called “Are We There Yet?” by Garth Wingfield at Synchronicity Space in SoHo. After the play I said to Rochelle, “That was a great play—it’s too bad that after it ends its 16-performance showcase that it will probably be forgotten. Someone ought to publish it.” And then, a few months later, we decided that WE would publish it, along with other excellent new plays from the indie theater world. We did it because it needed to be done, like so much of what we did along the way.

When and how did you connect with Elena and The NY International Fringe Festival? And how did you and your team manage to review every show?

I went to the very first FringeNYC in 1997 and loved it. The following year we reviewed it pretty extensively. In 1999, we decided to bring our first volunteer reviewers on staff and made an effort to review as much as we could (perhaps 40 or 50 shows all told). I don’t remember how we made the connection with the FringeNYC folks, but I do remember that I met John Clancy for the first time a few days before the ’99 festival, when we sat down for a few hours at the Present Company Theatorium and he went through the Program Guide with me. We just clicked with the FringeNYC folks; they became our theatrical home base. We got involved in many aspects of the festival over the years: did you know that I was the master of ceremonies of the Opening Ceremonies more times than anyone else?

As for doing the reviews of every show in the festival, as we did every year from 2002 through 2014: we did it because we had dozens of dedicated volunteers to make it happen. Each of them saw and wrote about a few shows and together we got the whole festival covered. I think they all did it because they believed in the underlying idea, that all of the shows deserved some feedback.

“Martin Denton, Martin Denton” written by Chris Harcum is a wonderful tribute to you and Rochelle. How did this charming story make it to the page then to the stage especially at the Kraine with Horse Trade?

We had dinner with Chris and his wife Aimee (who directed the play) about a year ago. At some point Chris remarked that the various anecdotes I was relating about earlier days of indie theater might make a good play, and he asked if he could create one. By about January he had a first draft, and then we were involved in fact-checking and so forth. The whole effort was entirely Chris and Aimee’s. They booked it at the Kraine, which I thought was a splendid and appropriate choice.

So what was the moment that made you say to yourself, “it’s time”.

It was when I realized there was something I wanted to do more than what I had been doing. For nearly 20 years, the NYC theater scene was the focus of almost all my energy and resources and love. But people change, and now I have discovered that I want to spend my days exercising parts of my brain that I didn’t engage with as much in the past. I am becoming a maker, particularly of Lego creations. I am writing about what I am discovering on my new blog, Second Childhood. And we’re starting a little online Lego business as well.

What are your thoughts on the future of the indie scene in New York City?

I think that there are always going to be amazing, ambitious, talented artists coming onto the scene, who will morph and evolve it as their needs and desires see fit. It’s a much tougher place to work in than it used to be, mostly because, as someone famously said, the rent is too damn high. But that won’t stop these folks from making art, and I wish them well. Oscar Hammerstein II wrote in Cinderella: “Because these daft and dewy-eyed dopes keep building up impossible hopes, impossible things are happening every day.” He was right.

Do you know how much you will be missed?

That’s a sweet question. The people we worked with over the years have actually done a pretty wonderful job of making that kind of clear, in emails and Facebook posts.

Any words of wisdom?

Do what you care about. Do what matters to you. Don’t wish that things were different, just make each moment be as close to how you want the world to be as you can. And, quoting Yoda: Either do or do not; there is no try.

One more question! I am sure you observed the ebbs and flows of the scene. What were some high points and low points in your observation?

A low point: that too many wonderful artists spend their time on social media posting about what they’re feeling rather than creating art (for example, a play) about what they’re feeling.

Too many high points to name, but a couple come to mind. One was how the community came together in a meaningful, tangible way to help each other after 9/11. Another was how the community organically evolved in the early 2000s to embrace diversity (in terms of gender identity, sexual identity, race, religion, ethnicity, etc.). There is more to do, but I loved how it just seemed to spring forth without any organizing or lobbying right after 9/11.