Tell us about yourself.
My name is Maera (‘My-Rah’) and I’m an Actress, Writer, Director, Producer and a Customer Success Manager. I was born in Texas, raised in Israel and had the privilege to live in Germany and Egypt, and travel much as I was leading ground security for the Israeli airline, before moving to NYC six years ago. I was always very passionate about storytelling as well as connecting people and cultures through the arts. That was my drive to study Visual Communications at the Bezalel academy of art and design in Jerusalem, my passion to take acting at Beit Zvi school of performing arts in Ramat- Gan as well as with Mr. John Anthony in NYC, and my ambition to develop a career as a customer success manager at SundaySky, a successful, cutting edge start-up, specializing in personalized story-telling. At one point, it all funneled down to founding Dirty Laundry Theatre. Luckily for me, I found myself surrounded by wonderful people who share this passion and were happy to join me in the mission of opening minds and hearts and hopefully drive a change.
Tell us about this play … why did you choose to produce it?
This play is about communication and the tension between the virtual image we create to ourselves and the actual physical reality. I must admit that when I first heard of this play, I was skeptic it’ll fit our mission. I didn’t want to tell another story of “the conflict in the middle east”, I wanted to tell a human, personal story that people could connect to. But when I read the play, I realized, it is exactly it. The playwright crafted this story so profoundly, that although I am not a gay man, and I was never on Grindr, I immediately connected to it and could see myself and my own experiences’ reflection in it. The fact that we were given only the virtual conversation to play with, was genius, and gave us tons of room to explore. Whether we like it or not, in this day and age, most of our communication happens in the virtual, almost fantastical space. The same conversations we see in the play happen every day, uncountable times, in various locations all around the world. The Israel- Lebanon political environment adds to this tension and pushes the story to the extreme, but at the end of the day, we remain with the one opinion we imagined, created to ourselves of what the other side’s like. Can we change that? On my first chat with the playwright, I asked about the audience reaction to this. I could not be more surprised by his answer. He said that after each performance, gay guys came to him to thank him for the first time they’ve been represented on stage as any other “human”. That for the first time people can see what life is, without having to focus the story around stereotypical LBGTQ+ themes. This shook me to my core and only increased the importance of this story needs to be told. I’m grateful I’m able to enable it.
This is your inaugural production. Tell us what it’s like starting a theatre company NOW in NYC
Huh. We’ve only started, and I can already give you the same advice other theatre leaders gave me during my initial research as I asked to consult; if you want to open a new theatre company- Don’t. It’s hard and exhausting, and it doesn’t “worth it”- it’s not going to bring you fame nor fortune. Quite the opposite, most of the time. If, however, it is burning in you, then go for it. It took me over a year of contemplation before I took the first step. And when I finally did, I found so many helping hands around me, giving advice, donating space, time, effort- there are incredible people, in the theatre community and outside of it, who are truly committed to help create the best theatre we can, in a real “Start-Up” fashion. It’s not easy. We can only get there if we’ll help each other.
What is it like being a woman in the arts today?
Oh, so easy and fun! I’m kidding. I think it’s as challenging as in any other field. Unfortunately, many times we’re still not being treated equally, and often need to stay ‘on the watch’ from the big bad wolf. But I’m happy to see more and more women (and men!) support women on this journey and help our voice grow louder and louder.
So many things! First, we’re seeking collaboration to take this beautiful play to as many audiences as possible, in NYC and around the country. Theatre groups, schools, universities, communities- please don’t hesitate to reach out =) we want to take this play as far as we can! Second, we’re already working on our next productions development; one of which is a wonderful family drama that I believe many of us, no matter where we’re from, will find very close to home. More to come!
Photo credit: Stephen Mosher