A Clever End-of-the-World

Occasionally Nothing

Review by Alexa Elmy

img_0208-1000x1024The stakes are high in the play Occasionally Nothing, written by Natalie Menna and featured in Planet Connections Theatre Festivity. Occurring in a post apocalyptic world, the play questions human nature in grim circumstances. The set is simple, but conveys lapses in time tastefully, as the scenes change and the actors move their set pieces.

If British accents don’t spark your interest, come to watch the fantastic actors perform. Physical comedy adds a delightful layer to the quick humorous exchanges over the meaning of nothing, between the leads, Harry and Clay. Later in the show we meet Luella, a confused woman that has lost touch with reality. Her extravagant costumes and behavior display the extent of her delusions.

The writer plays with the meaning of words as we watch the characters struggle to survive and maintain positive spirits. At times the dialogue even brings Samuel Beckett’s, Waiting for Godot, to mind. The dialogue of ‘waiting’ is similar to the dialogue over whether a sound is something or nothing. Overall, Occasionally Nothing is witty, worth seeing, and will leaving you pondering the meaning of your own utterances.

 

 

Advertisements

YARINA GURTNER ist brillant! Sehen Sie sie und ihr spannendes Spiel beim Midtown International Theatre Festival

EMMA’S BLISS BY CLAUDIA SCHREIBER
LYRICS BY YARINA GURTNER
DIRECTED BY YARINA GURTNER AND CHRISTIAN SCHARRER
MUSICAL DIRECTION BY YARINA GURTNER AND LUKAS THÖNI
STARRING YARINA GURTNER.
LIVE MUSIC BY BRANDON G. REILLY.
WHEN FACING DEATH… WHAT BECOMES ESSENTIAL IN LIFE?

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE: WED 8/02, 7:15PM; FRI 8/04, 6:00PM; SUN 8/06, 1:00PM

MITF: SUMMER 2017 AT THE WORKSHOP THEATER, 312 W.36TH STREET, NYC; WWW.MIDTOWNFESTIVAL.ORG

This unique love story comes is an American premiere at MITF.  Claudia Schreiber’s musical tale focuses on Emma. A lonely woman living on a foreclosed farm. In this dark time came Max, a thief on the run, dying of pancreatic cancer. The joining of these two darkened hearts brings-on a major decision that could be salvation for both … even just for a little while. After receiving tumultuous acclaim in her native country, Austrian entrepreneur, Yarina Gurtner, has chosen this engrossing drama to premiere here in New York City. “I am the International in Midtown International Theatre Festival!” she said with a laugh.

This is another case of an articulate powerful woman. Her views about the arts and its influence was thrilling to listen to. Welcome to America… Yarina … your arrival is OUR pleasure!

Share with our readers, what you consider inspirations. 

18813283_1908393359375870_2832961947008257592_n
I see myself first and foremost as an artisan in the world of theatre. My passion for language and communication guides my stagework. The most unique inspiration for me is the energy exuded by people of all ages in the process of learning and discovery. My approach while working on a character is that of a child exploring, seeking her own personal expression, with all means available. Language  can often be very limiting. That is exactly where my search begins.

I think it is necessary and healthy to live our dreams and wishes. Therefore, what I want to share on stage is the experience of how personal ideas, dreams and interpretations of life find a path into the world through oneself . – through the way we approach it – whether it is in a word, an image, a movement or a certain way in which we use our body or voice to communicate. – It is not about only text or scenery or which dilemmas one faces that show what is important in life . All of our ideas are important and worthy of expression. The magic of learning and discovery within a given story, with its  particular conflicts and dilemmas starts by stepping outside of the habitual. I step out of the box  but on the way I stay in touch with myself, retaining an “out of the box” approach.

On stage as in life I strive for the entirety.

From someone of world, why bring your opus to independent theater?

 In the course of the bodywork I teach through the Feldenkrais method, I have created my own style. There, I learned to discover how I actually relate to the world with my instrument as an actress and how I can stay in touch with myself.
I see life itself and human growth as the most inspiring directors. Whatever sets our learning free, needs to be activated. I use different combinations of texts, settings, genres und stories to enable empowerment and make it viable. With that in mind, I create different performance pieces, wherever I smell theatricality in everyday life.
Simplicity and authenticity in everyday life is a very important basis. With my performances and the manner in which I present them I want to inspire other people to get more in touch with oneself, far beyond the concept of what is dictated or what materials are utilized.

My themes on stage are only one part of my work. I usually  offer an artists’ talk so people can better understand the theme, while discovering their own dilemmas.
I think my bilingualism – German and Spanish- adds a very important resource to my work . As a child, I thought I should decide between Spanish and German- between Mom and Dad, between Austria and Peru… Finding my independence and building bridges between worlds is one of my main driving forces.

Shurl NEEDS an audience!

Sue ColourINTERNATIONAL AWARD-WINNING PLAYWRIGHT, SUE BEVAN, BRINGS HER INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED ONE-PERSON SHOW TO NEW YORK AFTER SUCCESSFUL RUNS IN BOSTON, CAPE TOWN, STOCKHOLM, PRAGUE, LONDON, EDINBURGH…

AN AUDIENCE WITH SHURL

MITF: SUMMER 2017

AT THE WORKSHOP, 312 W.36TH STREET, NYC

WWW.MIDTOWNFESTIVAL.ORG

Performance Schedule: Tues 7/25, 6:00pm; Fri 7/28, 7:pm; Sun 7/30, 2:45pm

Y’know, I feel really small.

When I hear the stories of other lady-authors, I feel compelled to shout their stories as far as possible … and then some more!

AN AUDIENCE WITH SHURL draws upon Sue Bevan’s own experience of losing her child to adoption when, at the age of 15, she gave birth to her in a poor, tight-knit neighbourhood. Well, what’s a girl to do when, at just fifteen, she’s forced to give up her newborn for adoption? This tragicomic story is one to surely see!

 

Sue, what inspires you as an artist?

All kinds of things. I’m currently producing a play for which I won an international award, and that was inspired by published academic research on motherhood, but drawing also on my own experience and that of other women I’ve spoken with. Mum’s The Word has received fantastic audience response for the short preview tour in London and around the small island where I currently live, and Seren Theatre will be rolling it out more widely in a few months time.

I’m currently writing a two-hander exploring the complex issue if assisted dying, and that was inspired by a powerful documentary I saw a couple of years back. It’s a complex issue,  and one involving national debate here in the UK. This play’s a love story in which the young husband is diagnosed with a terminal illness. I’ve written the romantic first half,  but now the challenge is to move towards the death of a character I’ve grown to love.  This writing lark is some emotional roller coaster!

But the award-nominated 4* solo show I’m bringing to New York and San Francisco draws significantly on my having grown up in a tight-knit community and sitting on my grandma’s knee hearing stories as a child.  My Welsh culture runs deeply in my veins,  and the piece is about belonging,  loss and search for connection in an ever-shifting landscape.

In truth I find inspiration everywhere – overheard snippets of conversation, visual art, music, film, poetry, a stunning landscape or a scene of terrible destruction, a life story someone tells me…  The creative spirit is in all of us,  and if we can be open to it we will find our voice…even if it takes a little searching first.

Why independent theater?
I’m excited ti hear the answer from someone whose theater experience is worldwide. 

This is so important in keeping new work alive and giving it the chance to be tested out and grow. By this I mean grow both in numbers of productions and in audiences, and also in artistic richness and quality. The diverse opportunities presented by the independent theatre sector mean that there are places to try things out on scratch nights,  develop them in smaller experimental spaces, and then to launch in the right place to an audience interested in exciting theater addressing a range of issues. Independent theater can take risks. It’s not reliant on government funding and therefore censored or self-censoring, producing only ‘safe’ shows promoting the status quo and opiating us into complacency. It allows for edgy, challenging work which can take on the establishment,  play with form, explore radical ideas. It provides places where we are reminded of just how essential the Arts are to our well-being, both individually and as nations.  We have never needed independent theater more than we do today.

Ronna gets an A+ here at DramaQueens

“Ronna is the bomb. I had her from English 92 and she is a very helpful and kind person and she really cares about her students. I wish I could have her again. I recommend her to everyone.”
Rate My Professors.com
Ronna is more than the bomb… she’s a superhero. The instructor/actress will not shed light on what we need to make the future better … education for everyone. It’s an honor to be able to help her spread the word.
Ronna, what inspires you as an artist?

With respect to my solo show, “This Gonna Be on the Test, Miss?” my inspiration comes from the students in my community college remedial English classroom: their stories, follies, naiveté, apathy, struggles, honesty, and resilience.

The fifty-five year-old grandmother, the veteran, the single mother of three living in a shelter, the student snoring in the back of the classroom because of her bi-polar medication, and the immigrant students from all the corners of the world inspire me.

You just made me tear-up. Thank you. Tell me more. 

My frustration with trying to explain what I teach (Remedial English is for dummies, right?) and more particularly whom I teach (What do you mean your students don’t do the work or buy the book?) and bumping into the cultural narrative, characterized by a Hollywood portrayal of education have also inspired me as an artist and storyteller to bring awareness of the realities of the public urban community college.

And on a deeper level, the issues surrounding education and class and economics and the typically negative view of community college students, particularly those who are academically under-prepared have inspired me to write this play and give a voice to this adult student population that is virtually voiceless and to make visible an academic environment that is virtually invisible.

 

That’s great. Why do it with independent theater?

When I think of independent theater, I think of theater as being free from the dependency of box office, of perfection, of star power, of the constraints of, let’s say, commercial theater.  I see independent theater as positioned to nurture new playwrights, directors, actors, and audiences. It is a safe space where boundaries are bent; the chaos of creation is encouraged; product is, perhaps, secondary to process; and, yes, failure is okay.

As a new playwright and actor with a still-evolving theatrical piece, independent theater is the most appropriate place for my solo show.

 

18670946_10154598416808873_1714263529666349842_n

THIS GONNA BE ON THE TEST, MISS? 

WRITTEN BY AND STARRING RONNA LEVY
DIRECTED BY TYLER SPICER

MITF: SUMMER 2017

THE JEWEL BOX AT THE WORKSHOP THEATER
312 W.36TH STREET, NYC
WWW.MIDTOWNFESTIVAL.ORG

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE: MON 7/24, 6:00PM; THURS 7/27, 8:30PM; SAT 7/29, 2:30PM

“Ronna is the bomb. I had her from English 92 and she is a very helpful and kind person and she really cares about her students. I wish I could have her again. I recommend her to everyone.”
Rate My Professors.com

Welcome to Community College remedial English, where it’s my job for the next 12 weeks to teach you what you should’ve learned over the past 12 years.

So here’s Ronna’s story: An aspiring actress moves to Los Angeles in 1992 to pursue her dreams.  To makes ends meet, she takes a job as an adjunct instructor in a downtown Los Angeles community college, teaching “Basic Sentence Writing and Paragraph Building.”  Determined not to let this teaching job interfere with auditions, the aspiring actress indifferently enters this Remedial English classroom only to have her life changed by this group of academically under-prepared and economically disadvantaged students who exhibit a hunger and desire to learn despite their complex and chaotic lives.  She loves teaching.  A few years later, she moves back home to New York, reunites with her boyfriend whom she left to pursue her acting, and lands a job in a Brooklyn community college, (Kinsborough Community College) teaching the same Remedial English to the same academically under-prepared and economically disadvantaged students.

She spies an ever-growing gap between academia and reality. This is her story.

A Powerful “Fifteen Minutes”

Performance Review: Fifteen Minutes with Ellen by Andrew Selig 

Written by: Danielle Boss

Fifteen Minutes with Ellen is an emotionally charged spectacle written by Andrew Selig and directed by Michael Thomas Cain. Presented by Forgotten Artist Productions, Fifteen Minutes with Ellen makes its premiere at the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity.

The world of the play takes place in a nursing home where Walter Weatherington, (Chaz McCormack), waits for his niece, Molly, to finally visit him as promised. The play opens with Walter sitting with title character, Ellen, portrayed by the lovely Luna Alago. The two characters bond over their shared agony waiting for their loved ones to finally come visit them. As the title suggests, Walter is only allowed to visit Ellen between fifteen minute intervals before the nurses catch them, as it is not allowed for residents of the nursing home to visit each other. It is revealed that Walter suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, as he sometimes mixes up the name of his nurse with his daughter, Molly, blaming it on the fact that they both look so similar. Walter’s condition worsens as the play progresses since he refuses to take his medication. Asides from Ellen, Walter’s loneliness is assuaged by the company of nurse Mandy, (Ceren Zorlu), and his only friend Jack (William Sours). While Walter’s Alzheimer’s intensifies, the line dividing imagination and reality begins to blur to the point that Walter struggles to decipher what is real and what is not.

In New York City — where an abundance of plays are being written and performed every day, from the streets of Broadway to off-off Broadway — Fifteen Minutes with Ellen sets itself apart. This wonderful play offers us a unique and rare storyline that details the lives and perspectives of the elderly living in a nursing home — tackling a social issue that many do not wish to face. This play explores the universal themes of love, existential crises and existence, suffering from incurable mental and physical illnesses, pain, guilt, betrayal, and loneliness. With very little representation of the elderly in media and close to no depiction of the trials and grave loneliness in which the elderly face living within the confines of a nursing home, Fifteen Minutes with Ellen couldn’t be a more important play. Fifteen Minutes with Ellen tells an untold story and gives a voice to a voiceless and often overlooked group. Fifteen Minutes bring to light the heartache that plagues the loved ones having to deal with a family member who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. What is also great about a play like Fifteen Minutes with Ellen is that its casting offers opportunities for actors of an older age group. In theater and film alike where young actors are more desired and youth still emphasized, it is heartening to know that playwrights such as Andrew Selig are breaking out of this circle of exclusion to offer employment opportunities for older actors. Like all shows performed at Planet Connections Theater Festivity, Fifteen Minutes with Ellen benefits a charity of their own choice and collects donations for their cause after the performance. Appropriate for the themes of the play, Fifteen Minutes is benefitting the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, a charity that provides aid, services, and employment opportunities for those aged fifty-five and older.

William Sours shines in his role as Jack, who is Walter’s sarcastic and acerbic companion whom consistently derides and mocks not only the nurses, but also the other seniors in the home. Sours’ portrayal of the snarky character is brilliant and finite with the detail of his facial expressions, his affected hoarse mocking laugh, his specific body movements, and incredible line delivery. Every movement of Sours’ body was so distinct and in character—no movement he made was ever random, it always held purpose to the role. Ceren Zorlu as Nurse Mandy also had a striking performance. She nailed the role with her animated facial expressions, astute reactions, vocal quality, and her quick switches from a caring to a condescending nurse. Chaz McCormack and Luna Alago as star-crossed lovers Walter and Ellen delivered a poignant and emotional performance that can bring any audience member to tears. McCormack and Alago’s portrayals of Walter and Ellen’s pain, distress, and confusion is poignant and their acting so effective to the point that their character’s emotional states are palpable. McCormack and Alago’s performances were realistic, believable, and heart wrenchingly touching. The entire cast of Fifteen Minutes with Ellen did a marvelous job in working together to represent these colorful characters in such a beautifully touching play. With very minimal set design, the performance of Fifteen Minutes emphasized dialogue, characters, and storyline. The simple lighting and sparse use of props accurately reflects the dismal and emptiness of the nursing home in which the story takes place. The interaction between the characters is a spectacle of itself with heavy focus on dialogue. All of the characters seem to have dull and unnoticeable costumes that reflect this world as well—with Mandy’s standard blue scrubs and Jack and Walter’s simple pants and t-shirts. The only character whose costume is colorful and stands out is Ellen’s, with her floral dress, white veil, and her choice to be barefoot rather than wear shoes. This choice shows how Ellen is different from the others in the home and how she is captivating for Walter in his state of loneliness and despair. Ellen offers refuge for Walter in his desperate and lonely wait for his precious daughter to keep her promise in paying him a visit. The dialogue in the play is so incredibly memorable and profound, with lines such as, “I’m only as smart as you make me,” and “I’d rather have a blurry TV than a blurry conscience.” Fifteen Minutes truly delivers with such a well-written and woven plot and stunning performance by the actors and tech team.

Fifteen Minutes with Ellen opened to the public with its first performance on June 14th and will be running throughout the festivity until its final performance date on July 3rd. This prophetic play is important for all to see with its mesmerizing characters, riveting storyline, and remarkable performance that move you to tears. Fifteen Minutes is truly a special and unique play that you really do not want to miss.

 

Strong Showing of P.O.W @ A.T.A.

Review by Stephanie Schwartz

P.O.W. is Irving A. Greenfield’s telling of the long-term effects of  a Vietnam war experience. Director Laurie Rae Waugh continues to have a deft hand guiding her actors through Greenfield’s complex script.

Ken Coughlin plays Sidney Pollack with credibility and sincerity causing increasing sympathy for his character. While under attack in Vietnam, Pollack, the platoon leader executes a shocking action which still haunts him, even though he continues to believe it “was the right thing to do.” Pollack, now a professor of English wrote a short story about the incident which involved euthanasia. When he reads his story to his class, his Machiavellian and self-righteous department chair enlists the aid of her lover, a NYCPD detective. She wants Pollack to be arrested for murder, which will aid her academic ambitions.  Victoria Christie plays the Meagan, self-serving Amanda Howell. Ms. Christie’s portrayal is sharp, pointed and effectively hateful. Robert Gordon is the likable lover, Anthony J. Gallo, who reluctantly complies with Amanda’s request in the hope of achieving his own goal.  Mr. Greenfield shows how politics in academia is no different nor less vicious than politics in other arenas.

During the Court Martial in Act II, Pollack reads a letter he wrote to his dying sister Rose, to whom he sent a copy of his story. He tried to explain his actions, thus taking the topic of euthanasia off the military battlefield into civilian life. This idea could have been expressed more succinctly and clearly.

Pollack’s wife Laurie played sympathetically by Amy Losi was kind, loving and supportive.  She was tortured by the negative and destructive relationship with their son Murray, played with appropriate, controlled nastiness by Harrison Benjamin. This character and the conversations about him was an unnecessary distraction and did not advance the main story.

Greenfield wrote good, clear supporting characters. The cast helpfully fleshed out the situations.  Alan Charney convincingly played a helpful military defense attorney while Mike Durrell gave a strong performance as the more powerful defense attorney. Nick Pascarella was a cold, routine prosecutor and Ted Montouri gave a valuable performance as a witness for the defense. A.J. Converse played a courtroom guard.

It was difficult to understand the opening dialogue because Pollack and his wife were seated opposite each other at a small table. Their voices were directed to each other and not toward the audience. This problem was corrected as they moved across the stage.  The lights came down at the end of each scene. The audience applauded. This broke the continuity and caused some uncertainty for the audience. Bringing the lights to half would have been more effective until the end of Act I.

The production was generally satisfying. The script needs to be tightened to be more successful.

 

ISRAELIS AND MUSLIMS AND REPUBLICANS, OH MY! 

Playwright Monica Bauer took the Wizard of Oz, the new tensions in America and the old tensions in the Middle East and put them all in the head of a school drama teacher. Then she added a whole bunch of international actors and voila!

We grabbed this former professor from the American University in Cairo on her way to a rehearsal one night …

“Anne Frank” performs June 24 @ 3:45 PM; June 25 @ 4:30 PM; July 2 @ 7:15 PM; July 6 @ 9:00 PM; July 8 @ 9:00 PM; and July 9 @ 1:00 PM. For tickets, visit PlanetConnections.org or https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/27385

2017 PLANET CONNECTION THEATRE FESTIVITY started last night and runs thru JULY 9, 2017 AT THE CLEMENTE, 107 SUFFOLK STREET, NYC.

Monica Bauer, The Year I Was Gifted

.
What inspires you as an artist?
I’ve written a number of plays with young women and girls  as protagonists, such as “My Occasion of Sin” (Urban Stages, Emerging Playwright Award), and “The Maternal Instinct” (Third Place, New Works for Young Women). I’ve also written many plays with LGBT themes, such as “Made for Each Other,” and “The Higher Education of Khalid Amir” (MITF Best New Script 2007). I’m drawn to outsiders who find a place where they can, to paraphrase Shakespeare, “screw their courage to the sticking point.” And because of my weird perspective as a former Political Science professor, much of my work, especially these days, has a political urgency to it. All of these inspirations have come together in this new play, “Anne Frank in the Gaza Strip: a Political Comedy.” Also, because I taught for a year at the American University in Cairo, I have an understanding of Islam, and an urge to hit Islamophobes over the head with a blunt theatrical instrument, so I’ve been writing about the rise of Islamaphobia a great deal these days. And I am always inspired to ground the action in comedy whenever I can, because laughter is required for the survival of the human race!
Why independent theater?
I would hope that some smart commercial producer would see a title such as “Anne Frank in the Gaza Strip: a Political Comedy”, and decide it could run in a commercial house. But what I know is, independent theater is the place where a writer and actors can go to the most outrageous places, without fear. That’s why independent theater is necessary, always, and especially, these days!
anne

A Philosophical Protest at Planet Connections … for fun and prophet. 

Camilla Crawford has assembled an international company (a director from England, an actor and assistant director from South Africa, to name a few) for her play that dares to boycott Him!

A Philosophical Protest starts when a woman’s faith is tested due to an emotion crisis… faith loses the test. Now, amid a public protest of the all-knowing, that same woman shares some sage wisdom with one particular passerby.

THE 2017 PLANET CONNECTION THEATRE FESTIVITY RUNS JUNE 12 – JULY 9 AT THE CLEMENTE, 107 SUFFOLK STREET, NYC. A PHILOSOPHICAL PROTEST PERFORMS JUNE 20 @ 9:15 PM; JUNE 24 @ 5:30 PM; JUNE 26 @ 7:00 PM; JUNE 29 @ 9:00 PM; JULY 2 @ 1:45 PM; AND JULY 5 @ 7:00 PM. FOR TICKETS, VISIT PLANETCONNECTIONS.ORGhttps://web.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/27385

 

Let’s hear from the all-knowing Camilla Crawford

Article Pic 3

What inspires you as an artist?

Society inspires me as an artist. Understanding the way people think. Understanding how a minority of politicians can get away with stealing from the poor when millions are aware of their wrong-doings. Understanding how a man can beat his wife every day while still convincing her that he really loves her. How we can post about the struggles of mental illness on social media for millions to see, but still victim-blame, still not attempt to understand. What inspires me as an artist is how we forget that 7 billion wake up just like you, and look in the mirror, and brush their teeth and eat breakfast. And go to work. And fight with their significant others. And lose the people they love. That the person next to you may be in pain right now. We overthink but we don’t think enough. That is what inspires me as an artist.

Why independent theater?

Well, budget, of course. That’s just being realistic. You have to start somewhere. But also, independent theater gives me the opportunity to bring awareness one theater-goer at a time. I can share MY voice, and nobody can tell me that it’s not commercial enough. Nobody else has a say but me. I’m my own boss, and I love it.

APP Poster NYWF

Jazzing it up with Step 1’s Jazmyn Arroyo

snipped (1)Jazmyn Arroyo and Janelle Zapata have taken a great step… Step1 Theatre Project. These two courageous women have built a powerful brand in just a short time. Step 1’s mission is endorse and encourage artistic freedom. Money doesn’t stop them from bringing bold, meaningful productions to interested audiences. Female-centric in terms of authors – ethnic authors, by the way, J & J open a very necessary door to the theatre to a very necessary voice.

Their entry in this year’s Planet Connections Festivity is a perfect example:
The Plays of Desi Moreno-Penson come to Planet Connections thanks to Step 1 Theatre Project. 

Snipped/Cut/Tied: Una Noche de Magia Performing June 16 @ 7:00 PM, June 18 @ 2:30 PM, June 21 @ 9:30 PM, June 24 @ 5:45 PM, June 26 @ 7:15 PM, July 1 @ 3:45 PM at this year’s Planet Connections Theater Festivity

The festival runs JUNE 12 – JULY 9 AT THE CLEMENTE, 107 SUFFOLK STREET, NYC.
https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/27385

Nuyorican playwright Desi Moreno-Penson boldly presents a world of magical realism for the next generation. In her three short plays, Genesister, Let Mezaluca Buy Your Car, and Dead Wives Dance the Mambo, the audience is immersed in a world of novella, film noir, and menacing mamboleros styles.  “Snipped/Cut/Tied: Una Noche de Magia” takes the audience through a surrealist universe immersed in both levity and a scintillating darkness.

Desi Moreno-Penson’s plays have been developed and produced at Ensemble Studio Theater, INTAR, Perishable Theater (Providence, RI), Henry Street Settlement, SPF-Summer Play Festival, The Downtown Urban Theater Festival @the Cherry Lane, Urban Theatre Company (Chicago), among others.

So Jaz, what drives YOU? 

Jazmyn-ArroyoWhat inspires you as an artist?
What inspires me as an artist is that each individual human being has a unique interpretation of the world around them–so no matter how many works of art exist out there, there is always room for as many new unique interpretations as there are artists to present them. I enjoy looking at pieces and thinking, how can we apply our own unique voice and vision to this?

 

Why independent theater?
I love indie theatre because there’s a wide, diverse network of artists who choose to take artistic risks and push the envelope in their pieces. The reality is that many artists present their work knowing there won’t be much of a financial return for their efforts–but the piece, to them, is important, needs to be presented, and/or is something that makes them feel passionate. In our big, colorful, eclectic theatre scene, there’s something for everyone–and that deserves to be celebrated.

RAE of Hope: Laurie Rae Waugh

A theatre season CANNOT go by without the prolific LAURIE RAE WAUGH delivering a dynamic piece of intimate stage art! She tackles delicate subjects with a hard edge: crime, depression, relationships, now even war.

17498913_1453024498062419_7088348780151550876_nThe secrets of a war from long ago are brought to light in P.O.W., a new play by Irving A. Greenfield, directed by Laurie Rae Waugh, part of the American Theatre of Actors’ Cutting-Edge Summer Series, Wednesday – Saturday, June 7 – 10 and June 14 – 17 @ 8:00 p.m. Sundays, June 11 & 18 @ 3:00 p.m. BroadwayWorld has a sneak peek at the cast in rehearsal below!

In this drama, a college professor and former Vietnam Vet reads a short story to his class that alarms the Dean of the Department; enough so to facilitate his arrest and subsequent trial – for his life. Our country’s morals are on trial with this distinguished academic.

IMG_0607Celebrated character actor Ken Coughlin portrays the professor. Ken is a repertory member of Ms. Waugh, creating roles on stage and on film for her. Together they’ve cleaned-up many an award ceremony especially the ground-breaking Jean Dalrymple Award – off-off Braodway’s FIRST award.

Also featured in the cast are Amy Losi, Victoria Christi, Anthony Gallo, Alan Charney, Mike Durell, Nick Pascarella, Harrison Friedman, and Teddy Montuori.

The American Theatre of Actors is located at 314 W 54th St, New York City. Tickets available at (212) 581-3044

So what says one of the leading female directors in indie theatre?

What inspires you as an artist?

So many things and everything inspire me.  Original plays!  Finding out what inspires the playwright to write a play.  Working with new and veteran actors.  Seeing the vision of the play I’m working on I my head come to life on stage.  The subject matter in the plays I direct have to touch, move and inspire me.  My playwrights also inspire me.  How the audience responses to the play I have directed inspire me.  I feel that if my actors get to me during the rehearsal period then the audience will feel the same thing.

Why independent theatre?

Independent theatre is where you can take risks with the play your directing.  Sometimes the play is straight forward and sometimes there are so many scenes that those scenes can only be suggestive.  With independent theatre, you are usually dealing  with a black box and very limited seating.  You get to try different things and you have to build an audience every time unless the play is well known or you have an actor in the play that everyone wants to see.  I love independent theatre because there is a chance that I get to direct a play a second or third time and I get to take a different cut at it each time.  Independent theatre is all about word of mouth or what is put up on social media.