USC School of Dramatic Arts Announces Second Annual Diversity and Inclusion Summit
The USC School of Dramatic Arts announces its second annual Diversity and Inclusion Summit, taking place from Oct. 27-30, 2016. Consisting of a series of interactive workshops, panel discussions and performances, the summit was created to foster community through civic and conscious dialogue around issues of race, gender, culture and identity.
Organized by SDA Associate Professor Anita Dashiell-Sparks who also serves as the School’s Diversity Liaison Officer, these events are a catalyst to spark a series of conversations and strategies to cultivate and sustain an artistic, innovative and inclusive environment that reflects the evolving communities of the 21st century. The theme for 2016 is Crossroads – Embracing Race, Class and Gender in Theatre, Television and Film and will be guest facilitated by Jacqueline E. Lawton, playwright, dramaturg, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Advocate. All events are open to the entire USC community.
Schedule of Events
Thursday, October 27
12:00pm-1:30pm Cultural Appropriation and Cultural Capital Workshop - PED 208
This workshop facilitated by Shafiqua Sahmadi from USC Rossier School of Education will define the difference between celebration and exploitation of cultural customs and traditions. Participants will also examine the various forms of capital we collectively have from our diverse backgrounds that enable us to become allies. RSVP for this event.
1:30pm-3:00pm “Having Our Say” – Theatre for Social Change Workshop - PED 206
Jacqueline E. Lawton will facilitate a workshop exploring how art and theatre provide a creative and critical space for dealing with complex issues of diversity and inclusion. RSVP for this event.
3:00pm–5:00pm Performing Gender Workshop - PED 207
An interactive gender-based, workshop exploring the play SEVEN. One of the seven playwrights, Paula Cizmar, will discuss creative process of documentary theatre based on current events. Jacqueline E. Lawton will lead participants in a gender identity activity. RSVP for this event.
Saturday, October 29
10:00am-11:30am Theatre of the Oppressed Workshop - MCC 111
Dr. Brent Blair, Boal scholar-practitioner, will facilitate a workshop in theatre of the oppressed techniques that provoke civic and community engagement surrounding issues of diversity and inclusion. RSVP for this event.
11:30am-1:30pm #Every 28 Hours Project - MCC 111
Join a national collaboration of multicultural theatre artists responding to our Civil Rights Movement. After a community reading of one-minute plays produced by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Jacqueline E. Lawton and Oliver Mayer, will moderate discussion including community leaders/educators, and facilitate a creative writing workshop. RSVP for this event.
2:00pm-3:30pm Staging Diversity Panel - MCC 111
Join artistic directors Jon Lawrence Rivera (Playwright’s Arena), Anthony Abatemarco (Skylight Theatre Company), Gregg Daniel (Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble) and Khanisha Foster (Educational Outreach, Center Theatre Group) for a conversation about play selection, inclusive casting, diversifying audiences and educational/community outreach initiatives. RSVP for this event.
3:30pm-5:00pm Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Workshop - MCC 111
Jacqueline E. Lawton, playwright, dramaturg, and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advocate, will facilitate a workshop/discussion about how to effectively implement strategies and mission-relevant initiatives to enhance the culture of your school, organization, or business. RSVP for this event.
5:00pm-7:00pm Reading of The Hampton Years - MCC 111
USC students and alumni will present a staged reading of The Hampton Years, written by Jacqueline E. Lawton. This reading will be directed by Anita Dashiell-Sparks, Associate Professor of Theatre Practice and SDA Diversity Liaison. RSVP for this event.
Sunday, October 30
10:00am-12:00pm Performing Race and Class - PED 206
Screenings of the groundbreaking series Queen Sugar and Atlanta will illuminate different perspectives about race and class through the genres of drama and comedy. A discussion with Queen Sugar’s Anthony Sparks (writer/producer) and Ayanna Floyd Davis (writer/producer, Empire, Private Practice), moderated by Anita Dashiell-Sparks, will immediately follow the screening. RSVP for this event.
12:00pm–1:00pm Identity Politics and Representation in Mass Media - PED 206
A panel discussion, moderated by David Maquiling from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, examining how multi-cultural actors, writers, producers and directors explore, define, and represent diverse identities and culture on stage and on screen. RSVP for this event.
The Kilroys Launch the List: #ParityRaid - Armed to Achieve Gender Parity in the American Theatre
It's remarkable what can happen when theatre artists come together in the support and advancement of the American Theatre. The Kilroys are an example of the power, passion, and commitment of a community working together to create change. I'm honored that my play, NOMS DE GUERRE, which was developed as part of Arena Stage's Playwrights Arena was nominated for the "The List." Here's more about the Kilroys and their amazing and important work.
The Kilroys are a gang of LA-based female playwrights and producers committed to gender inclusivity in the American theater. They are creating positive initiatives to achieve field-wide change while working independently to advance the artistic and professional goals of their members.
The Kilroys formed in 2013 out of a shared desire to create positive solutions to the long-standing issue of gender-inclusivity on American stages. THE LIST is a tool for producers committed to ending the systemic underrepresentation of female voices in the American theater. Their first national initiative, THE LIST, was published today and can be viewed here. For a full list of nominees, click here. For a list of voters, click here. To nominate yourself as a voter for The List 2015, click here.
American theater professionals have long expressed an urgent desire to address the undeniable gender disparity on our stages. And yet the problem persists: Regional surveys routinely show significant bias towards production of plays by male authors. In three widely-discussed surveys of plays produced in the 2012-2013 season, only 10.5% on Broadway, 21% in Washington, D.C., and 22% in Los Angeles were written by women.
Using The Black List (Franklin Leonard’s yearly publication listing Hollywood’s favorite unproduced screenplays) for inspiration, The Kilroys surveyed 127 influential new play leaders to compile a mighty brain trust. Their responses showcase the abundance of excellent new work being written by women today: These experts identified more than 300 plays as among the best work they had encountered in the past year.
THE LIST comprises the 46 most recommended plays from this survey. In order to be eligible, a play must have been 1) unproduced or have had only a single professional production; 2) by an author who identifies as female; and 3) among the most excellent seen or read by the industry professional within the previous twelve months. The invited responders included Artistic Directors, Literary Managers, Professors, Producers, Directors, and Dramaturgs who had read or seen at least 40 new works in the last year. Each expert recommended three to five plays. To ensure unbiased results, responses were anonymous. All identifying information of recommenders was tracked separately from their recommendations in the survey software. The members of The Kilroys did not vote. The complete lists of nominees and recommenders are available at www.thekilroys.org.
The Kilroys believe THE LIST will be an important resource for theater leaders in season planning, bringing us one step closer to finally achieving our common goal of gender-inclusive production on American stages.
 The Kilroys recognize the complexities of gender identity, and the shortcomings of binary descriptors. We use this language as shorthand for the broad spectrum of female and genderqueer identity.
About the Kilroys
The Kilroys are a gang of LA-based female playwrights and producers committed to gender inclusivity in the American theater. They are creating positive initiatives to achieve field-wide change while working independently to advance the artistic and professional goals of their members.
Founded in 2013, The Kilroys are named after the iconic graffiti “Kilroy Was Here” that was first left by WWII soldiers in unexpected places, a playfully subversive way of making their presence known.
The Kilroys are Zakiyyah Alexander, Bekah Brunstetter, Sheila Callaghan, Carla Ching, Annah Feinberg, Sarah Gubbins, Laura Jacqmin, Joy Meads, Kelly Miller, Meg Miroshnik, Daria Polatin, Tanya Saracho, and Marisa Wegrzyn.
The Kilroys Who's Who
Zakiyyah Alexander is a bicoastal playwright who sometimes writes television. Plays include 10 Things to do before I die (Second Stage Uptown), The Etymology of Bird (Providence Black Rep), and Sweet Maladies (Rucker Theater). Currently developing the musical GIRL shakes loose her skin (Joe's Pub) with Sonia Sanchez and Imani Uzuri. An alumni of New Dramatists, the Women's Project, CTG Writers Lab, and EST's Youngblood. Past commissions: Second Stage, Philadelphia Theater Company, Humana Festival Children's Theater Company. Education: Yale School of Drama. Television writing credits include Grey's Anatomy.
Bekah Brunstetter’s plays include The Oregon Trail (The O’Neill) Be A Good Little Widow (The Old Globe, Ars Nova,Collaboration) House of Home (Williamstown Theater Festival, Rough Reading Series), and OOHRAH! (Atlantic Theater, Steppenwolf Garage/ Livewire Productions), She was a New York New Voices Fellow through the Lark Play Development Center and is an alumna of the Women's Project Writer's Lab, the Ars Nova Play Group, and the Playwright's Realm. She is currently a story editor on ABC Family's Switched at Birth, a member of the CTG Playwright’s group, and writing a new play for South Coast Repertory. BA UNC Chapel Hill; MFA in Dramatic Writing from the New School for Drama. bekahbrunstetter.com
Sheila Callaghan's plays have been produced and developed with Soho Rep, Playwright's Horizons, South Coast Repertory, Clubbed Thumb, The Lark, Actor's Theatre of Louisville, New Georges, The Flea, Woolly Mammoth, Boston Court, and Rattlestick, among others. They include Scab, Crawl Fade to White, Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake), We Are Not These Hands, Dead City, Lascivious Something, Kate Crackernuts, That Pretty Pretty; or, the Rape Play, Fever/Dream, Everything You Touch, Roadkill Confidential, Elevada, and Women Laughing Alone With Salad. Sheila is an affiliated artist with Clubbed Thumb, a member of 13P, and an alumni of New Dramatists. Marie Claire named Callaghan one of "18 Successful Women Who Are Changing the World " and Variety named her one of "10 Screenwriters to Watch". http://bekahbrunstetter.com/
Annah Feinberg’s play The Beautiful Beautiful Sea Next Door was produced at part of Ars Nova's ANTFest and by EBE Ensemble. Her play Numismatics was a finalist for Clubbed Thumb's Biennial commission, who produced her short play Mucus Radius in their Summerworks festivities. She has served in artistic and literary capacities for The Civilians, LCT3, ICM, MTC, Steppenwolf, Northlight, TimeLine, and 13P. Annah has an MFA in Dramaturgy from Columbia University and a BFA in Theater Studies from the University of Illinois. She is currently the assistant to Julia Louis-Dreyfus on HBO's Veep and contributes to The Scout Network. www.annahfeinberg.com
Sarah Gubbins’ plays include Fair Use, In Loco Parentis, The Drinking Problem, The Kid Thing (Jeff Award and Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award), fml: how Carson McCullers saved my life, I am Bradley Manning, A Sense of Things and Cocked. Her plays have been produced at the Steppenwolf Theatre, Actor’s Express, Next Theater, About Face Theater and Chicago Dramatists among others. And developed at the Public Theater, New York Theater Workshop, and the O’Neill Theatre Center among others. Fellowships: Carl J. Djerassi Playwriting and Jerome. She’s a member of CTG’s Playwrights’ Workshop, The Playwrights’ Union, an Artistic Associate at About Face Theatre and a Core Writer at The Playwrights’ Center. M.F.A. from Northwestern University.
Laura Jacqmin is a Chicago-based playwright and TV writer. Plays: January Joiner (Long Wharf Theatre), Ski Dubai (Steppenwolf Theatre), Look, We Are Breathing (Sundance Theater Lab; upcoming Rivendell Theatre), Two Lakes, Two Rivers (O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Royal Court Theatre’s International Residency), Dental Society Midwinter Meeting (Chicago Dramatists/At Play, remounted 16th Street Theater and Theater on the Lake), Do-Gooder (16th Street Theater), Ghost Bike (Buzz22 Chicago) and more. Awards: 2008 Wasserstein Prize, two NEA Art Works Grants, ATHE-Kennedy Center David Mark Cohen Playwriting Award, two MacDowell Fellowships. BA Yale University, MFA Ohio University. She’s currently a story editor on Netflix’s Grace & Frankie.
Joy Meads is the Literary Associate and Artistic Engagement Strategist at Center Theatre Group, where her dramaturgy credits include Forever by Dael Orlandersmith, Marjorie Prime by Jordan Harrison, The Royale by Marco Ramirez, and A Parallelogram by Bruce Norris. Previous to CTG, Joy was Literary Manager at Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Associate Artistic Director at California Shakespeare Theater, where she ran the theater’s New Works/New Communities program. Joy has also worked with Portland Center Stage, the O’Neill, South Coast Rep, Chicago Dramatists, The Playwrights’ Center, Native Voices at the Autry, NYTW, and Campo Santo + Intersection for the Arts.
Kelly Miller is the Literary Director of South Coast Repertory, the Co-Director of the Pacific Playwrights Festival, and the director of SCR’s CrossRoads Commissioning Project. She has dramaturged over 20 world premiere productions and new play readings at SCR. She has worked at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and as the Literary Manager of Long Wharf Theatre and Playscripts, Inc. Kelly has also worked as a consultant for the O’Neill, PlayPenn, The Playwrights’ Center, the Public Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company, and Berkeley Rep. In 2008, she co-founded Creative Destruction, a company dedicated to the development of new work.
Meg Miroshnik's plays include The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls (Yale Rep 2014; Alliance 2012), The Tall Girls(Alliance 2014), The Droll, and Old Actress. Fairytale Lives was the 2012 Kendeda Award winner and a Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalist. Her work has been developed by the O'Neill, Pacific Playwrights Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, CTG Writers' Workshop, McCarter Theatre Center, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, the Kennedy Center, Chicago Opera Theater, and the Moscow Playwright and Director Center, among others. She has commissions with South Coast Rep, Steppenwolf, and Yale Rep. She is the winner of a 2012 Whiting Award and holds an MFA in Playwriting from Yale School of Drama where she studied under Paula Vogel.
Daria Polatin: Plays include In Tandem, Guidance, That First Fall, D.C., A Fair Affair, and The Luxor Express, inspired by her father’s life growing up in Egypt. Works produced at The Kennedy Center, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Naked Angels, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Cape Cod Theatre Project, and in London, Hong Kong, and Los Angeles. Daria wrote and directed the short film “Till It Gets Weird,” which premiered at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Residency with London’s Royal Court Theatre, alumna of Youngblood, M.F.A. Columbia University. Kennedy Center/A.C.T.F. Best One-Act Play. Daria currently lives in Los Angeles and works on the Starz original series Flesh and Bone. www.dariapolatin.com
Tanya Saracho was born in Sinaloa, México and is a playwright who writes for television (HBO's Looking, Girls and Devious Maids) PLAYS PRODUCED AT: 2nd Stage (July '14), Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Goodman Theater, Steppenwolf Theater, Teatro Vista, Fountain Theater, Clubbed Thumb, Next Theater, Teatro Luna and 16th Street Theater. PLAYS INCLUDE: Mala Hierba; Hushabye; The Tenth Muse; Song for the Disappeared; Enfrascada; El Nogalar; a musical adaptation of The House on Mango Street; Our Lady of the Underpass; Kita y Fernanda, and Quita Mitos. IN DEVELOPMENT WITH: HBO. CURRENTLY COMMISSIONED BY: Goodman Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre, Two Rivers Theatre, Denver Theater Center, and South Coast Rep.
Marisa Wegrzyn's plays include Mud Blue Sky, Hickorydickory, The Butcher of Baraboo, Diversey Harbor, Ten Cent Night, Psalms of a Questionable Nature, Killing Women, lots of short plays, etc. Produced at Steppenwolf Theatre, Second Stage Uptown, Baltimore CENTERSTAGE, Actors Theatre of Louisville Humana Fest, A Red Orchid Theatre, MOXIE Theatre San Diego, Chicago Dramatists (resident playwright), Theatre Seven of Chicago (founding member). TV: Mind Games on ABC, The Mentalist on CBS. She's been commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre and Steppenwolf Theatre, and she received the 2009 Wendy Wasserstein Playwriting Prize for Hickorydickory. www.chainsawcalligraphy.com and @howdymarisa on Twitter.
On Saturday, April 26th, Boston's StageSource presented the Defining Gender Parity Town Hall. Hosted by Julie Hennrikus and Ilana Brownstein, here are the objectives, inquiries, and themes of the Town Hall:
"In this Defining Gender Parity Town Hall, we want to have a conversation about what gender parity looks like for our theater community. Where are we now, and what are our future goals? What does "success" look like, and how do we get there?
The Diversity/Inclusion/Gender Parity Task Force report talked about these three topics on stage (actors), back stage (playwrights, directors, designers, technicians, stage managers, crew), in the offices (administration, front of house), in the board rooms (and donor bases), and in the audiences. Gender parity is a conversation for all of these areas, though recent conversations have been around opportunities for playwrights and directors. We will not limit the conversation, though that context is helpful when we think about how to create the change we want (need) to see.
There are a number of recent conversations that help inform this meeting. They include Pat Gabridge's blog posts with an overview of some of the numbers around playwrights and directors on New England stages, and Ilana Brownstein's blog post "Rounding Up The Summit"."
While wasn't able to attend in person, I watched it live and thought it was an in-depth, thoughtful, and deeply engaging discussion. I don't know how often or in how many different ways we need to keep saying this, but sexism, like racism, is a pandemic issue. Just as we have to exercise our privilege to dismantle white supremacy, we must break down the barriers of patriarchy. We must challenge pervasive assumptions that rely on the notion of race and gender based mediocrity to promote and solidify exclusionary and discriminatory practices. White is not universal; male is not inherently best. We simply cannot thrive in either/or modalities. We are stronger together than apart.
You can watch the Town Hall in its entirety below:
Race and Representation at Everyman Theatre
After watching the Defining Gender Parity Town Hall, I took the train to Baltimore to participate in Everyman Theatre's World of the Play panel discussion, Race and Representation: "Our greatest accomplishment. Our greatest shame." It was a powerful, complex, and challenging conversation that asked:
"What is the personal cost of being a forerunner - a barrier breaker? Through her storytelling, Lynn Nottage reminds us of those who are marginalized by circumstance, yet fervently trying to assert their presence."
Moderated by Marc Steiner, I was joined on the panel by Dr. Kimberly Moffitt (Professor of American Studies) and Otis Cortez Ramsey-Zoe (Lecturer of Theatre Arts). Click here to listen to the podcast.
One of the final questions had to do with hope. Marc wanted us to meditate on what issues we thought would be laid to rest in generations to come. Interestingly, and not surprisingly, no one was able to provide a solid answer. For me, in reflecting on this production of By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, I feel that many of the race and gender based socio-economic and geo-political issues that we struggled against in the 1930s, that we marched against in the 1950s, and that we balled our hands and raised our fists against in the 1970s, continue in detrimental ways to this day. And yet...I still have hope that progress, incremental though it may seem, is being made.
"Writing Our History" Panel at Shakespeare Theatre Company
The next morning, Sunday, April 27th, I took part in the "Writing Our History" panel, which was part of Shakespeare Theatre Company's AsidesLIVE symposium around Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, which Shakespeare wrote approximately 200 years after the historical events depicted. Moderated by STC's Literary Associate and Production Dramaturg, Drew Lichtenberg, I was joined on the panel by Robert Schenkkan, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright of Broadway's All the Way.
"What is the history play," Lichtenberg ask. "People often throw those words about with complete confidence in the fixity of the genre, but when you look closer, 'the history play' becomes a surprisingly amorphous and constantly evolving term of art. I'm eager and excited to hold up models of the history play, both Shakespearean and contemporary, as we attempt to answer this surprisingly complicated and resonant question."
Many of the issues I wrestled with during the Race and Representation panel bubbled under this conversation. Weeks later, this question that Drew asked resonates with me still, "What is the ethical obligation of contemporary theatre artists in representing history?"
For me, the greatest obligation we have is to tell the stories of our communities, especially those who are marginalized and to speak truth to power. The greatest thing the Shakespeare Theatre Company (and perhaps even the Folger Theatre) can do is to commission writers of color to tell our stories and to adapt the classics for audiences today. This way, these new plays will be one day be the classics that theatres and historians 400 years from now will produce and study for a greater understanding of the generation that not only brought forth the greatest advancement of technology ever known to man, but also set us on the path to eradicating the ills of racism and sexism in this country.
The Summit Part Three: Directors and Playwrights at Arena Stage
By the time Monday rolled around, I was amped and ready. It was then that I took part in the long awaited and much anticipated final installment of The Summit hosted by Arena Stage and moderated by Washington Post theatre critic Peter Marks. The focus of the evening was on playwrights and directors. I was joined by Rachel Grossman, ringleader of the District’s innovative audience participation troupe, dog & pony dc; David Muse, Studio Theatre artistic director and director of Tribes; frequent Woolly Mammoth director/playwright Robert O’Hara (Antebellum and Bootycandy); Ari Roth, Theater J artistic director and author of last season’s Andy in the Shadows; and D.C.-area playwrights and members of Arena Stage’s inaugural Playwrights’ Arena collaborative writing group Norman Allen (Nijinsky's Last Dance).
A few days ahead of the event, Peter emailed each of us and shared:
"If you've been following along, you'll know the Summits have been lively, entertaining and even a bit provocative. As you're an especially brainy group, I'm going to try to make the questions friendly but challenging, and of course relevant to the issues facing playwrights, directors and artistic directors today. I think it would be helpful if you all think about the "meta" question of what role theater wants to function going forward in this society. Statistics indicate that a shrinking share of Americans opts for theatergoing as even a once-in-a-while experience. There are also those questions of who the theater you all so diligently strive to put on is for--and whether the playwriting and directorial opportunities are being shared equitably with, for instance, women and people of color."
The event was live streamed and so I'm going to let you all experience this event for yourself.
After the Summit, I wrote to Peter to thank him for including me and shared my thoughts on why I felt events like this were important:
"With this series, you've given leaders of the D.C. Theatre Community an opportunity to address issues that concern theatre artists locally, regionally, and nationally. From Gender Parity and Diversity and Inclusion to marketing and capitalization to the complex Artist and Arts Organization relationship and the unfortunately reality of our ever dwindling audiences, you are challenging each of us--theatre practitioners and audience member alike--to dig deep, engage, and find new and lasting ways to grow, nurture, and sustain the American Theatre."
On Saturday, January 18th at 5:00pm, Everyman Theatre will host a panel discussion on How Women's Voices Changed Our Culture in conjunction with the production of Crimes of the Heart. Hosted by radio personality Marc Steiner, panelists will include: Teresa Eyring (Executive Director, Theatre Communications Group), Jacqueline Lawton (Playwright and Dramaturg) and Jackson Bryer (Professor of American Theatre, University of Maryland). Click here to listen to the podcast.
"The World of the Play is a new panel discussion series at Everyman Theatre. With the program we aim to promote cultural dialogue within the community, providing access to conversations with experts, professionals, and academics, relating to the themes and broader relevance of a given Everyman production. Everyman is beyond excited to welcome the highly distinguished panel of guests for the discussion inspired by Beth Henley's Crimes of the Heart. We live in a time that has been dubbed, ‘The Age of the Playwright’, examining the presence of the American female voice in this declaration is as pertinent as ever. We hope to provide a platform on which panelists and participants can interrogate the intricate dynamics between gender, art and culture." said Everyman Theatre Education Director Nora Stillman Burke
Crimes of the Heart debuted in December, 1980 and became a swift success for playwright Beth Henley. The Pulitzer Prize-winner provided great leading roles for many great actresses. However, over 30 years later, plays written by women are still produced far less than plays written by men. To this day, less than 15 women have won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. In this discussion we will use the legacy of Beth Henley's Crimes of the Heart to discuss the role of women play in theatre today. Contemporary playwright Jacqueline E. Lawton will provide living expertise as a current playwright. And Jackson Bryer will provide historical perspective as a professor of American Theatre at the University of Maryland.
"I’m excited to participate on this panel, in my hometown of Baltimore where my love of theatre began," shared Eyring. "I am also passionate about the topic. I’ve been fortunate to be given extraordinary opportunities in the American theatre field, including in my current position as the first woman to head the 52 year old Theatre Communications Group. Many of the most significant artists and producers working in theatre today are women, and I am honored to be a part of an important conversation about opportunities and issues for women in the field.”
"I first read Beth Henley's Crimes of the Heart when I was an undergrad and I've held a deep respect for it ever since." said Lawton. "I admire not only how Henley addresses the role and expectations of women in society, but also how she allows the sisters to have an awareness and access to her sexuality. Additionally, I appreciate the respectful way that race relations and depression are addressed in this play. I'm excited to take part in this panel and to have the opportunity to explore these issues in depth."
Click here to listen to the podcast.
Everyman Theatre is an intimate Equity theatre with a resident company of artists from the Baltimore/Washington area, dedicated to producing quality plays that are accessible and affordable to everyone. Everyman Theatre is a professional Equity theatre company celebrating the actor, with the resident company of artists from the Baltimore/DC area. Founded in 1990 by Vincent Lancisi, the theatre is dedicated to engaging the audience through a shared experience between actor and audience seeking connection and emotional truth in performance.
Tomorrow, Friday, December 13th at 7:30pm, please join Hilary Kacser, Laura Zam, and Mary Resing at High Tea Stories--a performance of true stories of honesty, generosity, quality, responsibility and community.
"Laura Zam has written a wonderful piece that really captures moments in the lives of women striving to help the world," said Mary Resing, Artistic Director of Active Cultures. "It is very fun and touching. Hilary Kacser and Laura are delightful as they rapid shift from character to character, showing a wide range of the Jewish women of Baltimore."
High Tea Stories
by Laura Zam
directed by Mary Resing
performed by Laura Zam and Hilary Kacser
When Chana, a character from the Book of Samuel, faces conflict and self-doubt, she turns to a group of modern day women in Baltimore for help. A modern parable, High Tea Stories celebrates the role of authenticity, community and generosity in our lives.
Friday, Dec 13, 7:30 pm
Old Parish House
4711 Knox Road
College Park, MD 20740
Click here for directions.
Commissioned by The Associated of Baltimore and produced by Active Cultures. Please support our free events with your donation at the door.
About the Artists
Mary Resing is a playwright, director, dramaturg & producer and the founder of Active Cultures Theatre. In 2012, the Maryland State Arts Council recognized her with an Individual Artist Award in Playwriting for her signed/spoken musical Visible Language. She has served on panels for the TCG, CIES and The Rockefeller Foundation. A proud alumna of Michigan-Ann Arbor, NYU, and Spring Hill College, Dr. Resing was a 2005-2006 US Fulbright Scholar to Armenia. In 2005, she also received an Offstage Award from the League of Washington Theatres for her body of dramaturgical work at Woolly Mammoth. With Tim McKeown, she is co-owner of the successful startup ResingMcKeown Unlimited.
Hilary Kacser is a long time DC actor,who has performed regionally and internationally, on stage and screen. She has produced and performed in every Capital Fringe Festival since the Festival’s inauguration eight years ago. Her original work has been awarded multiple DC Commission on the Arts and Humanties grants. Hilary just returned from Austin,Texas and Miami, Florida, where she performed her touring solo show, “DisordR, the Play,” in which Pakrat Patty the Hoarder comes out of the Clutter Closet (2reprises.blogspot.com).
Laura Zam is a writer/performer specializing in solo plays. MARRIED SEX, commissioned by Theater J (Semi-Finalist O’Neill), at NY Fringe and Off-Broadway (United Solo). Other NY performances: Dixon Place, Public Theater, EST and others. COLLATERALLY DAMAGED tours nationally, including Kennedy Center, Woolly Mammoth, Shakespeare Theatre, universities, schools, conferences, and museums. International: four Prague productions. Awards: Tennessee Williams Fellowship, Artist Fellowship (DCCAH), Amiri Barka Literary Prize, and others. Publications: six book anthologies, personal essays and articles. As an arts-educator, Laura has worked with post-trauma populations internationally, including teens from Mid-East, wounded soldiers, and sexual trauma survivors. M.F.A from Brown (Playwriting). LauraZam.com.
“Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour ... If at my convenience I might break them, what would be their worth?”
I'm a playwright, dramaturg, and teaching artist. It is here where you'll find my queries and musings on life, theater and the world. My posts advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity in the American Theatre and updates on my own work. Please enjoy!