Directors Weekend I
- Teatro Sea 107 Suffolk Street New York, NY, 10002 United States (map)
At the core of Women Center Stage is the next iteration of our unique and successful Directors’ Weekend, in which we invite 14 directors to create 15-30 minute pieces on a prompt and present them in a single evening over the course of two weekends. This year’s director-driven pieces use theatre in a unique way to address issues of immigration, presidential impeachment, criminal justice reform, and racism in our community or in our nation.
5:00-7:00 Series A
7:00-9:00pm Series B
Personal Bio: Michelle is a visual artist and activist working across genres: video production, dance theater, painting, public and performance art. Her work is an exploration of the feminine. Feminine wisdom, intelligence, beauty, and power.
Title of Piece: Darkwave Feminism Talk #1
Description: Darkwave Feminism Talk #1 is a musical experience incorporating women singers, spoken word artists, performance artists, djs, and musicians to educate the audience about the sexualization of women’s bodies: what it is and how it negatively impacts everyone’s lives.
Personal Bio: Rania Lee Khalil (director, There is a Portal) works in performance and moving image. Interweaving reflections on post colonialism, ecology and third world feminism, Khalil’s artworks meditate on the beauty and displacement of indigenous plant, animal and human (culture)s. Her works have been seen in such places as The Judson Church, Utopia Station and The Ontological-Hysteric Theater in New York; Aomori Art Museum Japan, Al Ma’mal Contemporary Art Foundation Jerusalem, Palestine, Zawya Cinema, Egypt, Kiasma Museum for Contemporary Art, Finland and the artistic research pavilion of the 2015 Venice Biennale. She is presently completing a practice based doctorate at Theatre Academy/ University of Arts Helsinki. Between 2007 to 2016, she was based between Cairo, Egypt and Europe, and has recently returned to Brooklyn, where she lives, works and is the mother of one daughter.
Title of Piece: There is a Portal
Description: There is a Portal is a multimedia, one-woman performance that uses storytelling and participatory theater to create a space for dialogue and healing. Written by 2016 White House Champion of Change and Emmy award winning writer, performer and activist Kayhan Irani, There is a Portal chronicles Irani’s experiences of immigration from Tehran to Queens as a girl, set against the backdrop of 9/11 in her early adulthood. Designed for schools and community centers as well as theaters, There is a Portal hopes to create openings for conversation and healing among immigrant communities affected by Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism (including folks neither Muslim nor Arab) and for all who’s experience of citizenship, safety and belonging is compromised by the anti-immigrant policies of our government. It is dedicated to a new generation of youth, growing up in the shadow of these policies upon our lives and bodies.
Kayhan Irani: writer, performer
Gazelle Samizay: video artist
Gargi Shinde: dramaturg
Personal Bio : Founder and Artistic Director of Neo-Political Cowgirls
Title of Piece : Title: One Flag, United in Hell
Description: OFUIH is an exploration into the dangers and depravity of nationalism. Flag identity politics, no matter the country, hit hardest the extreme ends of the female experience. The child and the elderly, the beginning and the end of a life, bookend the pained experience of nationalism's crushed hope and wilted endings. Within the female entity lies promise and possibility. Nationalism defeats these with the blunt smack of fear and "otherness" while vibrant achievement and communal outcomes are depleted and replaced with a neutralizing allegiance.
Performers: Marina Gregory, Janet Sarno, LaWanda Hopkins, Ziyao Yu, Camila Sander, Sayoko Kojima, Kate Kenney
Personal Bio: Holly Cinnamon is an actor, writer, director, songwriter and Alexander Technique teacher based in New York. Directing credits include Qualia (New Works Fest), The Woman in the Red Dress (NextFest), This Is the Kind of Animal I Am (NextFest / Fringe) and Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad (Boston Conservatory). She appeared in Dear Jane ( Off-Broadway) and is a recurring guest on Season 3 of Marvel/Netflix’s Daredevil . Holly teaches Alexander Technique to actors and offers private lessons at the Balance Arts Center in Manhattan. She frequently performs her original music on her ukulele at the West End Lounge and venues around town. You can read her poetry and articles, find out more about AT and see her past work at www.hollycinnamon.com . Holly completed her MFA in Musical Theatre at the Boston Conservatory and her BA in Drama at the University of Alberta. Insta: @holly.cinnamon
Title of Piece: Mary / Frank: the Ellis Island Story
Description: “I had been told that I looked like a man, and I knew that in Canada some women have put on men’s clothes do men’s work. So the thought took shape in my mind. If these women had done it why could not I, who looked like a man? ... I bought men’s clothes and began to wear them. Then things changed. I had prospects.”
Mary Johnson was a Canadian immigrant who entered New York through Ellis Island in 1908 as Frank Woodhull, dressed in a suit and asserting that they had lived under a male identity for fifteen years. Woodhull was brought before a Board of Special Inquiry at Ellis Island, which declared him a “desirable immigrant who should be allowed to win her livelihood as she saw fit.” This is the story of a transgender immigrant who was accepted freely into this country in 1908.
Cast/ Creative: TBA
Personal Bio: Juliacks is the author and creator of the transmedia fictions made from networks of performances, films, comic books, exhibitions, installations, paintings and multiform social interactions. Her play, Swell based upon her graphic novel (directed by Kathleen Amshoff,) was a headlining production of the 2012 Women Center Stage Festival. Her work has been shown at MoMA PS1, the Moderna Museum, Musee d'Art Contemporain de Lyon, as well as many art spaces, galleries, alternative venues, and festivals in North America and Europe. Her comic art book, Architecture of an Atom was published in 2017 and can be found at all book places. Splitting her time between Amsterdam and New Jersey, she was a recipient of the NJ Council Fellowship for the Arts, the Fulbright Fellowship and most recently the Mondriaan Project Investment Grant which supported this project, Transversal Scepters | The Antecedents specifically.
Title of Piece: Transversal Scepters | The Antecedents
Description: Transversal Scepters | The Antecedents is a fiction which uses legal archives from the 17th century Netherlands to think about the history and future of crime and punishment in the United States and the Netherlands. Focusing on the first prison of Haarlem in the Netherlands and its subsequent first prison uprising/strike in 1613 with its parallels with our present and future, this trans-historical science fiction is a sensory performance essay / plenary, a menu against prisons with immersive video, trans-historical morsels, live music, tapestries and shadow puppet dance. This performance looks at the trans-historical parallels of 'reforms,' laws, incarceration institutions and their uprisings as well as new technologies, fiction, poetry, movement, food and textiles as a means to imagine alternative futures.
Director, Writer, Costumes, Design, Tapestries : Juliacks
Performance Artist, Research, Food Art: Laura Linda Miller
Projection Mapping & Design, Camera: Lars Berg
Shadow Dance Choreography: Julia Bengtsson
Dancers : Abby Marchesseault, Cara Treacy, Julia Bengtsson
Original Live Music Composed by Brian Morales
Original Pre-Recorded Music Compositions by Emilia Pennanen
17th Century Archival Research & Dramaturgy: Suzanne Sanders
Support from the Mondriaan Foundation & Haarlemseherfst
Personal Bio: Natalie Cook is a filmmaker, playwright, and poet. She has been a spoken word artist since the age of 13 and has shared the stage with artists such as Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, Saul Williams, and MC Lyte. Natalie founded Atlanta Word Works (501c3) when only sixteen in hopes that young people would find ways to express themselves through creative writing and spoken word poetry, just as she had. She is the writer and director of MANIKIN, an interdisciplinary theatre production that explores gender relations between Black men and Black women living in modern day America. Natalie obtained her Master’s at the NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study where she designed her own program, “Revitalizing Black Education through the Arts”. Her current projects consist of the short film , Ellie , which is set to be in production in 2019, as well as her one-person show, Cat Got Your Tongue .
Title of Piece: Cat Got Your Tongue
Description: Cat Got Your Tongue is a mixed media production that reveals the literal images that metaphors invoke when language — that is typically attributed to femininity — is [ab]used. Misogyny is often normalized because it is embedded within the fabric of entertainment, media, interpersonal interactions, and systems that American citizens’ operate within. Particularly looking at rap music, the songs that are typically popularized contain lyrics and visual images that objectify and degrade women. Cat Got Your Tongue cautions and invites audiences to see the pictures that a violent vernacular paints. The production begins with a warning: The metaphor is literal.
Personal Bio: is a New York City-based producer, director, choreographer, actor and writer. She received her BA in English and Theatre Arts from the University of Pennsylvania and her MFA from the American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theater School IATT at Harvard University. Collins produced and acted in the feature film, Chasing Taste, “Best Comedy” winner of the 2013 Burbank International Film Festival and the 2014 Manhattan Film Festival. Recent directing: The Bedbug and the world premieres of Gay Boy, I’m Mindful...of My Anxiety, Flak House: The Musical. She is the author of several books and short stories. Ashley is the recipient of a writing fellowship from the Edward F. Albee Foundation. The musical she co- created, Mother Eve’s Secret Garden of Sensual Sisterhood, has been optioned for an off- Broadway production. Ashley was also a participant in the 2015 Directors Lab at Lincoln Center Theater.
Title of Piece: Land Grab
Description: Land Grab addresses the thought-provoking and timely themes of oil, multiculturalism and American imperialism and asks us to examine our motivation behind the morals and ethics of the choices we make in our families, at work, in our communities and the world. When should we be passive and step down? When should we be aggressive and fight? What is worth it and what is not? Are we too far gone? When do we say yes? And when do we say no? Land Grab questions the level of personal accountability we should have not only for our own actions, but also for the actions of our country.
Actors: Dan Domingues, Tom Green, Hugh Sinclair, Natalia Cuevas
Playwright: Lori Fischer