Spotlight On… Paula Caplan

The Founder of the New York Theater Festival returns with RISE OF THE PHOENIX: The 2017 Spotlight-On Festival, running April 17 – 30 at The Wild Project, 195 East 3rd Street, NYC. Frank Calo, founder of Spotlight-On Festivals, the first organized theater festival in New York City, pre-dating the New York Fringe Festival by one year, was a leader in presenting new and exciting works, rarely seen plays, and even classical presentations during the late 1990s and early part of the 21st Century. Its high production values and locations in areas such as Times Square made Spotlight-On a popular facet in the NY theater scene. Spotlight-On returns with a series of works from some of its prominent alumni. RISE OF THE PHOENIX features works from previous participants who have gone on to great things and who are thrilled to return to where it all began.

We spoke with a few of the playwrights and producers about their inspirations and why Independent Theater is so valuable to them … and to us:
 
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Paula J. Caplan grew up listening to – but not remembering – stories her beloved father, Jerome Caplan, told yearly about being Captain of an all-Black battery in The Battle of the Bulge. Her bewilderment about her inability to remember those stories led her to listen to hundreds of veterans. Her alarm that veterans’ deeply human reactions to war and rape are diagnosed as mental illness drove her to set up free sessions nationwide for a nonveteran to listen in wholehearted, respectful silence to whatever a veteran wants to say, reducing veterans’ soul-crushing isolation and nonveterans’ illiteracy about war and rape listen2veterans.org. Paula takes us on her journey through interviews with veterans including Sgt. Isaac Pope — a 96-year-old man who served with Captain Caplan, archival footage, and visual art.

“What inspires me as an artist is the opportunity to connect with members of an audience through the plays I write, the films I make, the acting that I do, in the hope of moving them, helping them to feel and/or think about things they have not noticed or known about before…or to feel and/or think in new ways about things they have known about before. Often, my work is about a combination of social and political issues and their effects on deeply personal matters and relationships between people. I treasure independent theater partly because, as a woman, I find that many other kinds of theaters are run by people who have little respect for the work of women or other underrepresented groups or for nontraditional forms or formats.” 

Is Anybody Listening [click here]

Featured with Matthew Widman’s STOP AND FRISK short play 
Saturday, April 22, at 8 p.m.
Sunday, April 23, at 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 25, at 5:30 p.m.
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