Cast, Creatives Set for Foundry Theatre's O, EARTH World Premiere This Winter
The Obie Award-winning Foundry Theatre will continue its tradition of producing theater laced with radical politics by artists and thinkers at the forefront of experimentation with the world premiere of O, EARTH, January 23 - February 20, 2016 at HERE.
Written by Casey Llewellyn and directed by Dustin Wills, O, EARTH takes inspiration from Thornton Wilder's Our Town and passes its themes of love, marriage and death, and the universe that contains us, through the lens of queer and trans culture and history.
O, EARTH's diverse cast of predominantly queer or trans identified performers includes: Jess Barbagallo (Ancient Lives, Man in a Case) as George; Kristen Sieh (RoosevElvis, Orange is the New Black) as Emily; Emily Davis (Ancient Lives) as Portia de Rossi; Moe Angelos (Sontag:Reborn) as Ellen DeGeneres; activist and performer Julienne "Mizz June" Brown (Justin Vivian Bond's "Golden Age of Hustlers") as Marsha P. Johnson; Activist Cecilia Gentili as Sylvia Rivera; Ato Blankson-Wood (Anne Washburn's Iphigenia in Aulis) as Spencer; Tommy Heleringer (Losing Tom Pecinka) as Duncan; Donnetta Lavinia Grays (Men on Boats) as Stage Manager, and Martin Moran (A Man's a Man, The Tricky Part) as Thornton Wilder.
A contemporary epic, O, EARTH brings a panorama of characters to the stage: Our Town's Emily, George, Simon Stimson, the Stage Manager and Wilder himself join historical LGBTQ icons Gertrude Stein, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera as well as Ellen DeGeneres and Portia DeRossi. In this play's ever-expanding universe, playwright Llewellyn and director Wills invite the audience to consider the ways we organize our togetherness.
Thornton Wilder is digging in search of a time capsule buried somewhere on the stage; Emily and George venture out into the unknown; Portia DeRossi stares into the soft light of her refrigerator and wonders if she'll ever be truly happy; and Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are jettisoned back to the land of the living, curious to discover what's happened in their absence. In playful ways, O, EARTH unearths our shared history, bringing together those whom society has remembered well, alongside those who deserve to be never forgotten. An interrogation of the "universal," Llewellyn's epic play imagines the radical possibilities within everyone.
O, EARTH builds upon The Foundry Theatre's boundary pushing investigation into theatre's radical potential to unpack the ways in which we build the world together, everyday.
The creative team includes: Design by Adam Rigg (upcoming: Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again., Soho Rep.); costume design by Montana Blanco (upcoming: Red Speedo, New York Theater Workshop); lighting design by Barbara Samuels (Great Lakes, The Women's Project); sound design by Janie Bullard (What I Did Last Summer, Signature Theatre Company); props by Raphael Mishler (The Box, Foundry Theatre); stage management by Nicole Marconi and Amanda Feldman is the line producer.
This production is a part of SubletSeries@HERE: Co-op, HERE's curated rental program, which provides artists with subsidized space and equipment, as well as technical support.
Casey Llewellyn is a writer and theater maker whose work interrogates identity, collectivity and form. Works for theatre include: The Body which is the Town, Zaide!,Come in. Be with me. Don't touch me., Obsession Piece, The Quiet Way, Existing Conditions (co-written with Claudia Rankine) and I Love Dick, an adaptation for theater of the book by Chris Kraus. Her essay "What We Could Do With Writing" appears in The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind edited by Claudia Rankine, Beth Loffreda and Max King Cap. Ms. Llewellyn has developed work at the MacDowell and Millay Colonies. She has an MFA in Writing for Performance form Brown University.
Dustin Wills is a NYC-based theatre director originally from Texas. He has worked with Williamstown Theatre Festival, Berkeley Rep, Berkshire Theatre Group, Yale Opera, Lark Play Development Center, Salvage Vanguard Theatre, and has devised new work for the Teatro L'Arciliuto in Rome, Italy. He is a two-time recipient of the Princess Grace Award for Theatre, a Drama League fellow, and a WTF Boris Sagal directing fellow. MFA: Yale School of Drama.
As with all Foundry shows, O, EARTH will include audiences from The Foundry's Audience Ambassadors program, a simple program with a radical idea: to build audiences for NYC theatre that are more reflective of the city itself. The Foundry partners with leaders from low income communities organizing for social justice, to bring groups from their member base to theatres across NYC for free. Now in its 5th year, the Audience Ambassadors Program has brought over 1400 people to the theatre, many for the first time. At each performance, Ambassador groups are paired with artists for a post show discussion and meal.
The Foundry was established in 1994 to assemble and support a community of artists with revolutionary ideas for the theatre and the world in which it is situated. The Foundry commissions, develops, premieres and tours new theatrical works that invite audiences to visit unexplored landscapes of thought-works that employ the limitless forms that only live theatrical events can create.
Foundry productions challenge the power of live performance to provoke considerations of the social, political, and cultural discourses that inform our everyday lives. Each project explores the (im)possibilities of theatre, and The Foundry's body of work constitutes passionate argument for its limitless imaginative potential.
Simultaneously, The Foundry hosts public Dialogues and community programs that bring artists together with other community stakeholders to formulate new questions for our changing times. Dialogues sometimes seed new commissioned works and/or function as research sites in the development of new commissions.
Foundry productions have toured nationally and internationally and have been honored with 12 Obie Awards and 7 Drama Desk nominations, including three for "Unique Theatrical Experience."
The Foundry has been recognized for its hybrid programming with TCG's national Peter Zeisler Award for Innovative Practice and Dedication to Freedom of Expression and for having twicebeen awarded the special Ross Wetzsteon Obie "creating cutting edge work and engaging artists in some of the thorniest issues of the world we inhabit."
The Foundry is an ongoing performance of ideas, created by rigorous theatrical works, public dialogues and community programs that invite as many people as possible to consider what it means to be citizens of this world.