KENNEDY’S CHILDREN Starting Performances Next Week
Regeneration Theatre is really smart!
They look behind us first, to get a glimpse of what’s ahead.
It’s a new company dedicated to plays that NEED TO BE SEEN … AGAIN.
Their inaugural production is KENNEDY’S CHILDREN by Robert Patrick, who like Israel Horovitz, is one of the founders of the off-Off Broadway movement. With lines like “The people are hungry and tired and weak and disillusioned, but isn’t that a sure sign that something’s crumbling?” or “I could be wrong; they may be in the pay of the Soviet Russians.”… and “the world is just a swamp of violence and crooked politics”
Maybe we should pay attention.
Performances begin tomorrow for this rare revival of Robert Patrick’s Kennedy’s Children, at UNDER St Mark’s in the East Village presented by Regeneration Theatre. And with only six chances to see it, RARE is getting rarer.
“November 22, 1963. The day optimism died for a generation. November 8, 2016. Is history repeating itself? Do we ever learn from the lessons of the past or are we destined to grow up like those who were left behind in Dallas… Kennedy’s Children” says producer Barnaby Edwards, producer and founder of Regeneration. Drama Queens got a chance to meet with several cast and company members so they might share some of their own philosophies with us.
What’s it like to be a woman in indie arts today?
Sara Minisquero (Rona): I’m very very lucky to be immersed in an outstanding network of women in indie theatre whom I admire and never take for granted the work they do and the works I’m collaborating in. Of course there is still a resounding misogyny and inequity in the industry but it’s been a constant push for women to get the recognition they deserve, particularly in the underground scene. We have a fabulous female powerhouse of a director, and an outstanding female stage manager (another often overlooked and underpraised member of the team)- who are both so nurturing, thoughtful and incredibly thorough and organized I feel they command more respect than the men I’ve worked with in the past, for doing the work despite the lack of recognition. I’m not too worried about my fate as a female artist, it’s an uphill struggle but I’m in very good company on the mountain.
What inspires you as an artist?
Sara Miniquero (Rona): I’m very much inspired today by the arts community at large. The theatrical process has always been cathartic and therapeutic for me, whether I’m an active participant or an audience memeber, live theatre is the medium that touches me most profoundly- sharing breath between the text lines, making connections with a web of actors and designers and technicians. My most sincere take away from each performance I give or contribute to is honoring the strangers who have agreed to sit and listen to me talk in the dark for an hour or two- and bend time that magical way between the curtain rising and falling.
Nicole Greevy (Wanda): Getting to share something universal about the human condition. That sounds pretentious, but I don’t mean it that way- I mean that there’s such a thrill in being able to make a connection with an audience member- good works of theater, I think, give an audience that moment of, “Oh, me too!” and in that moment of connection you get a chance to shift how a person sees the world and their own place in it. I’m always so happy when I hear from someone, “I’m still thinking about that play…” because it’s a gift to know your work resonated. Also, making people laugh doesn’t suck.
Erin Solér (Director): I couldn’t pinpoint any one thing. Inspiration comes from everywhere. Art begets art. Sometimes a tiny moment, like early afternoon summer sun streaming through glass bottles, the smell of jasmine and old books, or the sound of a friend’s laugh, can ignite an entire story. Other times, you simply need to dive into the work headfirst, and the art reveals itself. The desire is always there, but sometimes it needs a prod or a kick-start. I’m drawn to theatre largely because it is a collaborative art from. I love creating together; working with other artists inspires me.
Why independent theater?
Sara Minisquero (Rona): This community, and the kind of art I’m very interested in making lives and breathes and learns to crawl on indie stages. Where the budget is shoestring, or the venue in the middle of nowhere- that’s where an artist can test their metal and focus on what’s most important to the storytelling. Big budget blockbusters do not happen overnight- they cannot exist without experimentation and trial and error, indie theatre is vital to the larger process of creating the commercial works we love and adore down the road.
Nicole Greevy (Wanda): While we all would like to make lots of money doing this entertainment thing, I think when the objective becomes making a profit, the work has to be done in a way that will, pardon my quoting Kennedy’s Children, “appeal to people in the mass.” And you lose the chance to take certain risks. It’s just how things go. One of the things I loved most about rehearsing this show is knowing it’s going to be a very small space, and the audience will, by necessity of proximity, become a part of it each night. It’s such a lovely homage to the beginnings of Off-off Broadway theater, which is part of the play. There would be no way to do that in commercial theater, where the show would have to be directed to work in a large house. Even if we sell out every night, in the end, it will be a small number of people who have seen the show, but I think that those people will have a theatrical experience that lets them, for a moment, touch the past and link it to the present, not just in a “oh my God, that line still applies to today!” but in the actual execution of the play. I think the play works fine in a larger space, of course, it’s just it’s a different experience. I’m really excited about the creative challenge and adventure that doing it in an environmental space affords, and you can’t have that without independent theater to do it.
Erin Solér (Director): Independent theatre allows a lot of space for creativity and experimentation. It’s a fabulous way to learn, grow, and polish. I also like to work! All disciplines in the arts are very competitive! We’re very lucky to live in a city full of fantastic artists. I’ve found the most committed, intelligent, exciting collaborators in independent theatre. The love for the craft really shines. It also tends to be more accessible for audiences; one can choose to see a film, or go see an independent theatre production for about the same cost. Commercial theatre is financially inaccessible to many. I believe that theatre is for everyone. We’re living in an age where Broadway productions are surveying preview audiences about their thoughts on their shows, and making changes based on the results. I’m interested in artist-driven work. The roots of independent theatre in New York city are firmly in places like the Caffe Cino, La Mama, and Theatre For the New City. They gave birth to artists like Lanford Wilson, Robert Patrick, Sam Shepard, John Guare, Moises Kauffman, Ellen Stewart, Elizabeth Swados, Maria Irene Fornes, Charles Busch, Harvey Fierstein, and Amy Sedaris – pretty great company to be in!