Women of Cause and Conscience: The Working Women of Off-Off Broadway. Part Four

Written by Sander Gusinow

The Off-Off Broadway scene surges with revolutionary female voices. Whether writers, directors, or producers, women have advanced the Off-Off community for decades, continually clawing against the gender bias of the for-profit theater world. It is a time-honored tradition for us to acknowledge some of this swelling talent; celebrating a chosen few women for their time, commitment, and good old-fashioned theatrical know-how. Without further ado … part four of an expose of some of the hardest Working Women in Off-Off Broadway!

Rachael Lee and Rachel Casparian: Core Artist Ensemble

IMG_9585How does one approach the seemingly insurmountable task of connecting and collaborating in the most isolating city in the world? Many companies become cliquish and insular, but the Rach(a)els (as they call themselves) of Core Artist Ensemble are anything but. By creating an ever-growing database of actors, writers, and directors (Which they loving refer to as ‘The Matrix’)  Lee and Casparian break the Off-Off Broadway mold with their ironically named company.

264357_10100274938762407_5458559_nA breakaway  from the Barrow Group’s acting program, the duo was voted into power by their peers to helm the fledgling Core Artists Ensemble in 2011. The  Rach(a)els have since survived and thrived off their eye for quality and their penchant for collaboration. Proponents of urban work, edgy, dark, and esoteric, CAE believes in showing ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. WIth such an inclusive philosophy, the company can ensure the cream rises to the top.

With a summer reading series of forty new plays, Lee and Casparian send their company members out apostle-like into the homes and rehearsal spaces of scores of new artists.  These ‘Core’ members are eager to learn what each and every collaborator has to offer. Lee and Casparian’s company subsists on a philosophy of artistic hospitality, peppering in new talent with their core members to create exciting theatrical recipes. As their audience grows, the Core Artist Ensemble continues to cement itself into the Off-Off Broadway canon.

Women of Cause and Conscience: The Working Women of Off-Off Broadway. Part Three

Written by Sander Gusinow

The Off-Off Broadway scene surges with revolutionary female voices. Whether writers, directors, or producers, women have advanced the Off-Off community for decades, continually clawing against the gender bias of the for-profit theater world. It is a time-honored tradition for us to acknowledge some of this swelling talent; celebrating a chosen few women for their time, commitment, and good old-fashioned theatrical know-how. Without further ado … part three of an expose of some of the hardest Working Women in Off-Off Broadway!

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Jessie Fahay: Ripple Effect Artists

Some theater company’s founders are content to name themselves after a Shakespeare quote and call it a day. Not so much Jessie Fahay, Founding Executive Director of Ripple Effect Artists. Her cutting-edge company uses masterful, unapologetic work to provoke discussion and dialogue about the most sensitive of subject matter. In asking an audience bold and insightful questions, Fahay fosters dialogue she hopes will create a ripple effect at home, in the community, and beyond.


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From exposing a faulty healthcare system in Deathbed to jumping headlong into the sexual violence inherent in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, Fahay refuses to shrink from the controversial subjects. According to her, these visceral topics are too integral to who we are as human beings to ignore. A lioness when it comes to work she believes in, Fahay is never afraid to get down-and-dirty if a performance is on the line. (including personally corralling audience members in the bitter cold when her theater lost power)

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Believing wholeheartedly ‘We are here to create and contribute, not compete,’ each show at REA partners with a nonprofit charitable foundation and donates a percent of the box office to fund their efforts. True to Ripple Effect’s mission, the charitable work doesn’t end domestically. Bringing teaching artists to Peru though the Alegria Foundation, Fahay creates ripple effects within Ripple Effect; ensuring her company’s mission of charity, provocation, and goodwill continues to expand.