It speaks volumes when word of a particular show peeking it head out of the seas of well-done works at a prominent festival like Theater for the New City’s Dream Up.
In this case, that show is ABDICATION!
Handing us on stage chills and giggles like you’d find in a quality Black Mirror episode and the don’t-let-this-happen thoughts we see around The Handmaid’s Tale, the live anthology show, Abdication!, is a multi-cultured, multi-media dark comedy looking like more than just a featured event at the 10th anniversary THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY DREAM UP FESTIVAL 2019 but a really hot ticket. Limited run at TNC’s Johnson Theater at 155 First Avenue (between 9th and 10th Streets) in New York City. It opens and runs right after Labor Day – 09/03 @ 9pm; 09/04 @ 6:30pm; 09/05 @ 9pm; 09/06 @ 6:30pm; and 09/07 @ 8pm.
This production is produced by Three-Headed Lion Productions. Two of those heads are Naya James and Lucia Bellini (with Trenton Clark as the completing head). We wanted to show our support to these two entrepreneurs on the start of their new show … new company … new beginning.
I’ve had so many different answers to this question,
so I look forward to your answers.
What’s it like to be a woman in the arts in NYC?
Lu: First off, I feel very lucky to be able to call myself and be addressed as “a woman in the arts in NYC.” Total life goal vibes here. Look Ma! But that aside…there’s a big responsibility that comes with being a woman in the arts today. Or a woman in anything really. We fought so hard to get where we are that I believe it is our duty to take full advantage and cherish any opportunity to create and be heard. I am not gonna lie, the pressure is palpable. There’s always that little voice in your head that tries to trick you into thinking you that you are here to prove that you are as smart, that you are as strong, that you are as—fill in the blank—as a man would have been in your place. I have also noticed on more than one occasion that if something bad happens or someone treats you wrong people go to this question: do you think that would have happened if you had been a man? Or if something good or lucky happens: do you think that would have happened if you hadn’t been a woman? And although sometimes fitting, it can be quite a dangerous game to play since it seems to focus on who we are rather than on what we do.
Naya: Living as an artist is exciting, fulfilling, and often feels like a privilege. However, being a female artist today also comes with a weighty sense of responsibility and urgency. Women’s voices have been underrepresented for a very long time—so now that people are finally starting to pay a bit more attention to those voices, I often feel that it’s up to us to play catch up and rabidly create and tell stories that include women in every step of the process. Personally I know a number of badass women who are doing just that, and I try to work with them whenever possible!
Would you consider yourselves millennials?
If so, what do you find is different for your generation?
Lu: About a year ago, my 90-year-old grandmother was helping me curl my hair, you know just two girls getting ready for a night out on the town. I asked her: “Nonna (that’s grandma in Italian in case Joey Tribbiani hadn’t taught you that already, but I digress), when you were little, what is it that you wanted to do when you grew up?” “A math teacher,” she said. “How come you never became one, what happened there?” “It wasn’t really up to me to decide. You know, I was a woman after all.” Which left me wondering because, mind you, the grandma in question here is quite the feisty one. “In fact—she continued—if I could go back, I would wish to have been born a man.” We kept talking about childhood dreams, then parents, then husbands then finally she asked: “How is it for you, my little one, these days? Do you feel like you and your sister are free to do whatever you want?” I couldn’t believe how much pause that question gave me in that moment. It did give me a chance to count my blessing. Yes, Nonna. We are free.
Naya: I am very much “between generations,” which is likely a contributing factor to why much of my work deals with issues that aren’t specific to any one group or age range. It tends to focus more on larger topics lovingly referred to as: “general fears experienced by virtually all humans.” This informs what my advice would be to anyone, of any age—stop focusing on what makes us different, as generations, as genders, as categories of people. In art, entertainment, life, relationships, let’s try to focus more on the things that we all care about, the things we all love, and the things we are all frightened of, as people. Empathy is the artist’s greatest tool.
Three Cheers for Three Lions!