DQ Spotlight: All Our Love to Sarah Matteucci

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All My Love, Kate

By Joe Breen

2018 Fresh Fruit Festival

The Wild Project

195 East 3rd Street

Review by Jade Fernandez

Joe Breen’s production of All My Love, Kate conveys what it’s like to be living in the United States during WWll. Men are dying, women are crying, and in Danny’s case so are the men. Jack, played by Brendan Cataldo and Danny, played by Matt W. Cody have fallen in love and are ready to build their lives together. Jack and Danny couldn’t be happier, that is until WWII began, and the couple found themselves miles and miles apart. While Jack is off fighting overseas, he is forced to deal with the brutality of war, the loss of his best friend, and most importantly keeping his love life alive. The need to stay in love becomes more critical than ever, given the fact that everything just seems to be stacked against the lovely couple. Although the odds of Jack and Danny making it through this difficult time are slim because Jack might not make it out of the war alive, still, both Jack and Danny manage to maintain faith.

Sarah Matteucci, who played Betty, friend and roommate of Jack and Danny had to improvise due to her devilish shoe that got stuck while performing. She kept going and it was even better because of it. She was very funny, and it wasn’t awkward for anyone at all. Betty was one the best characters in this production. All the actors did well and it was a powerful piece to watch. At times the way the actors had to pull in emotions because of that time in history and what was expected made a barrier for me sometimes.  I am much more used to men being able to express themselves and once I got used to the behaviors these actors clearly brought to us from the past I felt really connected to the story and the people.

All My Love, Kate brings the audience through a realistic view of the suffering and heartache that comes with war and being separated from loved ones.

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Side Show

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Two Sides

By Alexandra Siladi

Planet Connections Theatre Festivity

Theaters of the Clemente

107 Suffolk Street New York City (btw Rivington & Delancey)

7/13 @7:30pm

7/15 @11:45am

7/17 @9:30pm

7/24 @5:30pm

7/28 @9:15pm

7/29 @9:30pm

Review by Veronica Romero

 

In this play Two Sides written by Alexandra Siladi we have a mystery murder and its told by two different points of view and the events leading up to it and then after. Detective Jones, trying to solve a murder and with a sharp focus on interviewing Tom. The other point of view is seen through Mimi and Tanya and the days leading up to the murder.

The play was interestingly written, and it is a good story.

Grant Harrison stands out to me as a fine actor doing a great and very convincing job on the stage.  Sarah Grace Sanders as Detective Jones was lovely to watch but I felt she could have been stronger and colder. Viviana Valeria looked perfect for her role. I like the play very much and had a great time watching it unfold.  I’d be interested to see it grow and come back and see it again.

Some LIP from Jake on Ruby

Our old friend, Jake Lipman, the founder and artistic director behind the clever company, Tongue in Cheek, is preparing for a full season of great works. But first a quick one-nighter at Planet Connections. If it’s just one night, we’d better grab her now.

 

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Why is it, whenever I go to a restaurant, I always get the table next to a crying baby? I would never want one of those… or would I?
By Susan Gross
Directed by Jake Lipman
Presented by Tongue in Cheek Theater Productions
Benefiting Through the Heart

TICKETS
Teatro LATEA @ The Clemente
Monday 7/23 @8:00pm-9:00pm

 

Ruby tells the story of one woman’s journey of emotions after a miscarriage. It explores how she tries to cope with her grief, body issues and anxiety. Part comedy, part tragedy, it examines how she tries to understand the loss, coupled with her continued desire to have a child, all the while surrounded by women who seem to have it all. But do they?

 

lipman-jake-5410-ret_orig.jpgTell us about yourself as an artist:
I have been an actor most of my life, and after grad school, I founded my own production company to ensure I am always working on projects I love.
My company, Tongue in Cheek Theater Productions (www.tictheater.com) produces thought-provoking comedies. I’ve worn many hats for TIC, from actor to playwright to director, and I love all aspects of creating a work from the ground up! 
In studying solo show creation with this amazing teacher, Matt Hoverman, I was blown away by the solo shows my fellow classmates were creating and I started my own solo show festival, Plus 1, which runs during the dark nights of my mainstage shows. In 2017, Susan Gross came to me with her one woman show RUBY and I was so honored to direct it in TIC’s Plus 1 Festival.
We were so excited to be an official PCTF selection this summer and can’t wait for her performance (one night only!) on Monday, July 23 @ 8 PM at the LATEA Theatre!
A little something about RUBY that isn’t in our press release:
Susan Gross, the writer and performer of RUBY, has written a piece about longing to have a child. (I’m producing and directing!)
In filming a trailer of the piece on the Brooklyn promenade, there was a bright red baby carriage behind her. Her husband/videographer managed to get the baby carriage in the background of their shot, but then the parents snatched the baby carriage away. 
In writing this, it doesn’t sound that funny, but it is hilarious to see in the video. It’s as if these strangers were like, “No! Not your baby carriage!”
How does RUBY resonate today?
 
I think the piece resonates with all kinds of people, even those who don’t want kids, because it’s about hope and loss. We’ve all had dreams that were not fulfilled, and yet we still endeavor to try again.
Why choose Planet?
 
First of all, I love Planet’s mission to use theater as a tool for advocacy. I have been coming to see PCTF shows for many years now and the team behind the fest is warm, creative, and incredibly inspiring.
Last year, I was lucky enough to produce, direct and act in a show in Planet — BUFFALO HEIGHTS — and we had an amazing experience — great audiences and we were nominated for 4 awards! 
I had directed Susan Gross in her piece RUBY in the fall of 2017, and suggested we submit to Planet this summer, and here we are! We are so excited.
Where do you see RUBY in the future? What’s the next step?
 
Susan Gross, who wrote and performs RUBY, has plans to turn the script into a film, and we are also looking to take it on the road to other festivals. 
Final thoughts?
 
I am so excited to catch as many of the other shows as possible in Planet!

Magic and Ms. Jones

bernadetteupcoming.jpgThe Song of Bernadette Jones
Written by Maura Campbell and directed by Liam Lonegan.
Review by Alexa Garcia
The 2018 Fresh Fruit Festival
The Wild Project
195 East 3rd Street

After watching this show the one thing was clear! The relationship between sisters is quite special. Having a sister is like having a best friend that won’t ever leave you no matter what happens. Although sisters fight like cats and dogs, at the end of the day, they will always be each other’s favorite person. A storyline that was unfamiliar and very original, yet the audience found it both intriguing and hilarious.

Sam Spadafore as Carolyn a genderfluid teen did a great job and actor Bryn Dolan who played the role of Mary stood out as well.  I loved the realism that she brought to the role.  Jerrod Everett who was the narrator of the play and the Ouija performed amazingly. Throughout the whole play he gave a calm and welcoming energy that set a comfortable and intriguing mood. Tom Hayes as the role of Robert made the audience laugh on more than one occasion and in my opinion, he seemed to really fit the character totally!

The plot centered on issues that teens experience such as going through bodily changes, sexuality, and discovering who they are and learning to express that. This allowed the younger audience members in attendance to really connect with the play. Sometimes I found myself confused because of scene changes and the mentioning of a character named Jennifer whose story I had trouble following. I enjoyed the production and watching it was a lesson for me.  I realized that even if I’m unsure of where I will end up in the future at least right now I have my older sister to help me out and I’m truly grateful for that. I told her that when I got home! This play really showed me some truths about my own relationship!

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

unnamed (1).jpgTHE NUCLEAR PLAYS

Written by Anthony P. Pennino

Directed by Alberto Bonilla

Review by Amanda Kavaja

The Planet Connections Theater Festivity

Theaters of the Clemente, 107 Suffolk Street, New York City (btw Rivington & Delancey)

7/12 @6:15pm;
7/14 @3:15pm
7/15 @1pm
7/20 @6:15pm
7/22 @3pm
7/26 @8:15pm

 

I was enlightened watching this play which is what the author set out to do. The story had revolved around a huge nuclear bomb exploding in the center of Manhattan, while teenage students were rehearsing for their school production. As the first act began, a student named Michael Saunders introduced the play by claiming that his 16-year-old daughter had passed away, due to Leukemia. His daughter developed Leukemia because of the harsh radiation released from the nuclear bomb. Suddenly, a new scene appears, where six students are in a classroom, bored to death by Joseph Jones’ teaching. Each scene told a different story. All actors were college students from Farleigh Dickinson University and personified multiple characters which confused me at some points. It was still quite educating but like any difficult subject in school at times, hard to follow.

Now that society doesn’t seem to talk about Hiroshima’s devastation anymore, I valued the fact that this production promoted awareness in encouraging others to prepare for the worst. The consequences of the bomb’s explosion were mentioned clearly throughout all the characters. Since the play focused primarily on radiation, Samantha Quiles created a realistically plausible vibe for the audience to grasp. She characterized a girl who became blind after the dangerous effects radiation had towards those who lived in New York City. I must admit, I teared up a little because of Samantha’s capability of winning the audience’s attention. Joseph Jones acted more as a leader using his motivation. Ashlie Hayes was easily the people’s favorite. Her witty style is what made her an ambitious girl who strived for greatness.

Spencer Pargas provided great emotional value to the piece in every scene.  The moment where she personified John.F.Kennedy was humorous and ironic with a female president. Joseph Jones as Marilyn Monroe caused even more audience engagement. Allen Garcia captured my attention thanks to his ability to impersonate age extremely well and convincingly. Overall, we had many a tour-de-force from this young, passionate cast. The barbarous outcome grabbed peoples’ sympathies and realization in how reality works. It’s all fun and games until someone steps in and finds satisfaction in demolition. Albeit a bit disjointed, Anthony J. Pennino’s Nuclear war cautionary tale gave us the moral: where there is unity, there is hope.

 

 

 

Stringing the Audience Along

evwithpuppetsjpg-1.jpegLate Night with Ev and Puppets

Review by Mia Moeta

Trans Theatre Festival 2018

The Brick, 579 Metropolitan Ave in Brooklyn NY

July 13 at 7:00 pm

 

 

I was lucky enough to see Late Night with Ev and Puppets. However, if you have a puppet phobia steer clear but for all the rest, I recommend getting to this show! It makes you wonder what your dreams are about!

Ev Fitzgerald interacted with the audience and even stole the show from the puppets! I didn’t imagine I’d become one of the writers of the piece, but I was, and it was a pleasant surprise that made the audience even more happy to be at the show!  The mood shifted from joyful and comedic to mysterious and wondrous easily and was great fun to experience.  As EV and the puppets (Mermaid, a very rambunctious 12-year-old, and a bird) demonstrated each dream. Each character was very different, and each puppet seemed to come to life. You soon forget that they are puppets at all!  My disbelief was totally suspended, and my mind opened! Thanks to EV and the great talent of using puppets to get a message across.  I learned tons and I loved this show.  See EV when you can!

Class Participation

An Uncommon Core written and performed by Abigail Swetz

Review by Mia MoetaIMG_2171.JPG

The 2018 Fresh Fruit Festival 16th Season, The Wild Project,  195 East 3rd Street

July 11 @ 8:30 pm, July 15 @ 1:30 pm

The Fresh Fruit Festival has a list of engrossing productions going on from July 9 through July 22. One production that I’d recommend going to see – as a school trip or for teachers to see, ironically – is An Uncommon Core written and performed by Abigail Swetz . There are numerous ways to describe this production but one word that comes to mind immediately is “tears.” Just ten minutes into the play and my cheeks are already stained by the never-ending emotion this play solicited in me. This is a one-person performance that slaps the audience with the harsh reality of what students, teachers, and families are facing in this century.

Abigail Swetz provides the most heart-aching production in this festival so far. The shocking truth of what many students see and must go-through as they try to survive and plan for a better future. This play is filled with poems written by Ms. Swetz’ eighth grade class on topics consuming today’s society such as racism, police brutality, homophobic violence, etc. A powerful performance that truly does embody a “sensitivity and raw honesty that will cut you to the quick” and maybe provide hope and inspire change.

Things have changed dramatically for students because of bullying, school shootings and fear.  This is a must see for those wanting to experience the truth from the side of the people most hurt by what is happening today.

 

Future Drama

Half Me Half You 

Written by Liane Grant

(Review by Alexa Garcia)

half me half you (1).jpgThe 2018 Fresh Fruit Festival 16th Season

The Wild Project

195 East 3rd Street

July 11 @ 6 pm

July 12 @ 8 pm

July 14@ 2pm

For 16 years, The Fresh Fruit Festival has produced many powerful and meaningful productions. This year, they present Half Me Half You written by Liane Grant. This is a beautiful and alarming story was directed by Leah Fogo with great power and potency.  This play is about the world we live in now and what it may look like in the future. This piece brings you to a place where one imagines a world where all of history’s hidden discrimination explodes at once!

Once you start to think about the message you realize that you don’t have to imagine anything at all it because it’s already happening!  Fact checking proves that racial discrimination is now on the upswing, a fact this writer can clearly echo!

In this production we get to see the imperfection of America the beautiful from the point of view of those discriminated against also through the eyes of those more privileged. It’s only the fear of death and the unknown that puts mankind on the verge in this play! The actors of this production brought vigor and power to this dark drama, injecting the mixture of emotion and intellect needed for an atmosphere of sorrow mixed with anger and sprinkling just enough humor to provide a moment relieving laughter to the crowd. Wonderful performances were turned in by Jennifer Fouché, Liane Grant, Kalea Williams, and Evelyn Christina Tonn. They presented their work effortlessly and gave starkly real performances.  However, the star of the show was the play, by Liane Grant which serves up as strong message about what could happened if we don’t listen right now to the signs all around us.

MESHELLE goes PUBLIC

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MESHELLE affectionately called “The Indie-Mom of Comedy” returns to New York in a big way after a whirlwind tour of her one-woman show, Diary Of A MILF” (Mom I’d Love to FOLLOW).

Meshelle will be at Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater for one-night-only, July 26.

Meshelle’s brand of wild but family-style humor has brought her praise and accolades. From New York’s Midtown Festival to the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival, Diary of a MILF has racked up laughs and lauds.

Winning awards at the Midtown International Theatre Festival some years ago, propelled Meshelle to now being on the marquee at The Pubic Theater’s ultra-trendy night spot.

Her show is phenomenal … but it’s she who is the REAL success story.

Her days are way-booked but she squeezed a few minutes for her fans at Drama-Queens.

 

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OK, Indie Mom, tell us about yourself as an artist

I started off singing in my church , the perfect place for little brown girls to gain confidence in world that didn’t always celebrate us.   Musical Theater became my passion in college.  I was Dorothy in the THE WIZ, Deena Jones in DREAMGIRLS and in Ain’t Misbehavin.  I loved the energy of singing and acting and seemed to naturally get a laugh or two without great effort.  I always admired and adored the bold brilliance of Stand Up comedy.  I was dared by co-workers out  of college to share the stories that I shared at lunch, urged to go on stage at Mo’Niques Comedy Club in my hometown, Baltimore; for an open mic and reluctantly with my hand written quirky stories, I did.  It’s been the biggest love affair of my lifetime.  I never knew that I would break up with a PhD program, get married, have three kids and still be sitting at Stand Up’s door.  I am smitten.

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Brilliant idea, this show … so share with us … what was the inspiration behind the Indie Mom of Comedy?

I was now a graduate school dropout, married with three kids and couldn’t wrap my mind around “my” truth.  I wasn’t the sassy, single professional student living in Philadelphia with my  faux Sex In The City meets Insecure tales anymore.  I was a long way from there, but wasn’t willing to let the “fearless girl” in me go quietly into the night.  She still had much to see and say, she just had a family in tow.  Yet, I never saw myself as those “helicopter moms” whose entire lives existed in motherhood and marriage.  I was independent, innovative and had my own “swag” aka individuality.  How could I communicate that motherhood didn’t translate to a loss of self, sexuality and sensuality? Not to mention, a thirst for adventure and growth.  I said, “ I am Indie”, like SUNDANCE but not a festival, just an Indie-Mom who is a Stand Up Comic.  Thus, the birth of the Indie-Mom of Comedy.

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How does your family feel about “the indie mom?” 

They see me “live it”. It’s not just a moniker, it’s a lifestyle, a truth I stand on. It’s definitely not for the thin-skinned who need constant coddling and attention.  While I am unashamedly nurturing, domestic and all things mom; I am very much a vivacious GAWD (Grown Ass Woman…Darling) . Seriously, I believe women are overly sacrificial and it has been embedded in our culture that a good woman, good mom; makes herself “last”. Bull$hytt!  I am a better person, better human, better mom and partner when “self-love” and “self-care” are the new normal. It’s been a paradigm shift for sure, because I also drank the “kool-aide” for a long stint and then life showed up and I realized that this self-sacrifice stuff for everybody else is madness.  Quite frankly, I think my kids admire my relentless pursuit of all things Indie-Mom of Comedy.

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Is there a defining moment in your life/career that you can say still fuels you?

When I wrote my first one woman show (Nervosis) after giving birth to my second daughter.  I was nursing her between shows, with matinee and nightly performances.   My co-writer shared my premise with a seasoned  sit-com writer and her agent, they loved it and it landed me in LA, pitching my concept on 5 lots, Paramount being one of them.  At the time, I had no idea the magnitude of what was happening. I was a part of a triad; and “my life” was the backdrop.  It was overly rehearsed and I was lactating like crazy with my 6 month old in tow at a friends while I was sitting in front of development executives whose credits read like a TV Guide magazine editorial, Moesha, Girlfriends, etc.  So while it was colossal, I wasn’t all there, but it was simply a foretaste of what is to come! I know that for sure.  I am much keener and have lived through more adventure.  It assured me that I have much to offer as a performance artist, just stay on stage, hone my craft, write, and with persistence, and a work ethic that it insatiable, the door will open.   

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Public Theater … how does that feel?

All I can say is…Hamilton.  Really.  I mean some of the most amazing BROADWAY Productions have come by way of THE PUBLIC THEATER and to just walk through the doors and make that sharp left turn into one of the most lauded performance spaces in the world is jarring.  Joe’s Pub was where Adele and Amy Winehouse made their US debuts.  Not to mention the likes of Alicia Keys, BONO, Mos Def, Janelle Monae, John Mayer, Al Franken and Sarah Silverman, just to name a few.  It’s a dream to be performing my one-woman show there!  I am so grateful.

What’s next?

Picture-1-1.pngEVERYTHING!  I am so excited.  I will be performing my Diary…on September 22 (wait for it) on 42nd Street, theater row in the United Solo Festival.  It is one of the best dreams that I hope to never wake up from!  I am also very excited about my writing projects.  My writing partner and I have some amazing content to share, so let’s just say that crash course many years ago in Los Angeles was a great boot camp.  Stay tuned!

MESHELLE “The Indie-Mom of Comedy “

www.meshelle.net

Purchase MESHELLE’s Comedy Album “Funny As A Mother…”   iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Spotify

Listen on PANDORA Radio “MESHELLE Radio”

Author, “101 Things Every Girl/Young Woman of Color Should Know” (Duafe Press, 2010) Available online: AMAZON and www.meshelle.net

 Booking Inquries: Shawn M. Mason, shawn@meshelle.net, 917.676.7559 (direct)

Nicoletta’s “Mirror”

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The subconscious is a mysterious place: to submerge is to discover our lights and shadows, our true and complex selves. GIRL INSIDE THE MIRROR is a short dance/movement-based Surrealist piece that dives into the subconscious of a Latin-American character, the Girl, who emerges into a parallel world; the core of her most vulnerable side, where all her ghosts and shadows from her past remain, and where she can either face them or through the voice/presence of her inner child, or let them disappear her.

WOW! That’s intense!

Girl Inside the Mirror, written and directed by the equally intense Nicoletta Mandriotti, performs at Teatro LATEA @ The Clemente as part of Planet Connections’ AMAZING Tenth Anniversary Season (why is it amazing? Check out the articles running on all of Five-Star’s sites) Friday 7/20 @7:30pm-9:00pm, Sunday 7/22 @9:30pm-11:00pm, Saturday 7/28 @11:15am-12:45pm, Wednesday 8/1 @9:15pm-10:45pm, Saturday 8/4 @2:30pm-4:00pm.

Nicoletta started with a quote: “Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire.” JORGE LUIS BORGES, “A New Refutation of Time,” Other Inquisitions

 

Are you ready to be enthralled?

Tell us about yourself as an artist:

I started getting engaged with art when I was 4 years old. I started doing ballet, piano and tap classes. I connect immediately with these art forms and ways of expressing myself. Years later I got more engaged with reading as well as going to Museums with my mother. I let myself drive into these different qualities of art, and let my senses to open.

It was at the age of 14 that I got engaged with Theater in particular; it was during a summer workshop I did with the Company Yuyachkani, in Lima-Perú. It was there when I first met the Physical Theater approach, and I immediately fell in love with it. After finishing high school I did my BFA in Theater and Communications and I worked as a Freelance Director and Producer in Lima. I decided to come to NY to do my MFA in Theater at Sarah Lawrence College after getting half of my scholarship. I recently graduate.

I have also been a fellow of Companies like SITI Company here in NY. I train with them every time I can. I think they are wonderful and I also feel very identified with their philosophy, with their ritualistic approach and respect to Theater.

I feel that as an artist, my style and way of expressing myself has been changing. Nowadays I feel more connected with my true essence, and I do combine all the techniques I’ve received since I was a child. I feel I’m more attached to my sensorial world, to my own senses. For me, everything what surrounds us is sound. Everything can be touched or feel. The world is composed by music; it is just that we don´t listen to it.

I used to write poems when I was younger, so I am glad to start doing it again, in a different and more intimate way. Nowadays my approach to Theater is Physical mostly and very sensorial. I usually combine poetry with movement, as well as the inner body´s music, the one I perceive from each one of the Performers I have on stage while I am directing.

IMG_7907I am REALLY impressed. Share with us a little something about your play that we WON’T see in the press release.

This is a piece I wrote last year and that it´s changing more and more in terms of adaptation. I am keeping the text as it is, but having these 10 Performers has been a luxury to me. They not only come from different backgrounds, experiences; but also from different parts of the world. It is the energy, passion and commitment they are bringing to the table what drives me to keep adapting this piece and enhancing it. We have 10 women from Turkey, Bolivia, Italy, China, Colombia, Venezuela, America and Germany.

Makes sense – sensorial as the case might be – that it evolves as you did. How does your play resonate today? 

I feel that even if this is a piece dedicated to women, it is also a piece that asks for honesty: how can we find a way to be more mindful, conscious of who we are, as well as more kind to ourselves. One of the characters, the inner child, is the one that tries to bring light and hope to the GIRL (main character). Her entire action on the piece is to try to re-connect her to her true essence, to her spirit. This becomes difficult since she has lost it after a traumatic event she passed.

The piece drives into a very deep and dangerous part of all human beings, which is our psyche, and I feel that nowadays more than ever, we are diving more towards our psyche rather than towards our spirit. ¡ For me, it is the unhealthy relationship between psyche and spirit what makes us feel unbalanced, lost. If we can´t control our psyche, then we are lost. Any trauma, or issue we don´t want to face will return over and over again. The mirror is a metaphor of looking into us in the most honest way, accepting our lights and shadows and getting out from stereotypes.

The Ensemble plays the role of society, and Women in Black Dresses represent the most castrating aspect; related to guilt, religion and pressure.

IMG_7913 (1)Why did you choose Planet Connections for your work?  

It was while I was finishing my Master degree where I received a suggestion to apply to the Festival. I am pretty new in NY so I wasn’t that aware of the Festivals that were running in the city. After looking up their website and seeing their concern/involvement with Charities and Green I fell in love and identified with it automatically. I can say that this has increased now, after meeting the wonderful artists that are behind of it. I had the pleasure to work with one of them recently in a project at Governors Island.

Where do you see it going in the future? What’s the next step?  

I will continue creating, writing and directing; as well as growing as an artist. For me, this is a career that never stops. I am a very curious artist and human being, so I have a strong appetite for learning and making. I think that´s what keeps me creating.

 Final thoughts? 

Join us this upcoming July 20, 22, 28, August 1st and 4th at LATEA Theater! We will love to have you there and meet you.