The Altruistic Theatre Company, an organization dedicated to social change, presents Committed – a fictionalized account of the last two days of the Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh. The play is written by Natalie Menna and directed by Brock Harris Hill.
Van Gogh worked with the Somali-born writer and politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali to produce the short film, Submission (2004), which exposed the treatment of women, and resulted in an outrage from the Dutch Muslim community.
He was murdered in November of 2004.
The play explores the inevitable tragedy when artistic radical temperament collides with religious and political realities. Can friendship, family, or love save Theo from his biggest threat — himself?”
The cast features Ivette Dumeng.
We got a chance to speak with Ivette Dumeng – literally inbetween shows as she opened GUILTY with Nylon Fusion Theatre and now dives into COMMITTED with Altruistic…
Tell us about yourself as an artist/artisan.
I never imagined doing anything else. I was born and raised in New York. I don’t have any artists in my family but I seemed to have been connected to something beyond me… I have been performing since I was a teen. And I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. Darn fortunate to be able to do what I do.
When dealing with topical dramas like this – especial such a hot topic – do you feel a stronger sense of responsibility in conveying the play’s message?
I play Victoria Blackman a headstrong reporter for the San Fransisco Chronicle – my character has a built-in responsibility to deliver the news as is but she also feels compelled to protect Theo Van Cogh the protagonist, which seems almost impossible given his strong stance and commitment to his views – inevitably this leads to his ultimate demise . I think it makes for good drama.
What role does independent theater play in the New York art scene?
Independent theatre plays a very significant role in the New York art scene. I founded a theatre company here in NYC, so for me… this is where my heart lies. Someone recently walked up to me and said – “I am still thinking about that production you did three years ago. I remember feeling very fortunate to have been there.” It’s pretty special.
Dream role? Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler and I always wanted to play a [Jazz] singer in a show (a play now in the works) — I would be returning back to my roots. I was fortunate enough to sing opposite of Andy Karl in a performance of John Shanley’s The Monkey Show a musical several years ago and I remember the joy that it gave me to be able to sing (of course I was completely terrified too! ) — I mean, you sing when you can no longer contain yourself. It certainly would be nice to do it again.
Produced by the Altruistic Theatre Company in conjunction with the Theatre at the 14th Street Y, 344 E 14th St, New York City, Committed runs: Friday, September 8 @ 7:30PM; Saturday, September 9 @ 7:30PM; Thursday, September 14 @ 7:30PM; Friday, September 15 @ 7:30PM; Saturday, September 16 @ 7:30PM; Sunday, September 17 @ 5:00PM; Tuesday, September 19 @ 7:30PM; and Saturday, September 23 @ 7:30PM. Run time: 90 Minutes; No Intermission; Tickets: $18 at 14streety.secure.force.com/ticket#details_a0S36000004SimNEAS.