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PEN World Voices International Play Festival and More Set for Martin E. Segal Theatre Center's Spring 2014 Season

PEN World Voices International Play Festival and More Set for Martin E. Segal Theatre Center's Spring 2014 Season

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at the CUNY Graduate Center has announced its SPRING 2014 season of public programs. The season includes the Center's inaugural PEN World Voices International Play Festival, featuring 9 free readings of plays from around the globe, including HAITI, JAPAN, TUNISIA, CHILE, POLAND, AUSTRALIA, SINGAPORE, AUSTRIA and INDIA. The season also features 11 free public programs throughout the spring, featuring contemporary theatre and performing artists from around the world.

Highlights from the Segal Center's SPRING 2014 season of programs include:

· Large Likenesses: The Work of Theodora Skipitares March 17: In addition to afternoon screenings surveying her career, noted theatre maker Skipitares will present an excerpted performance of her new work Chairs (featuring Judith Malina), followed by a discussion with performance artist Martha Wilson.

· Babette Mangolte: The Archive in Performance, Two Views March 27: Following an afternoon of screenings, noted experimental filmmaker Mangolte will present and discuss her recent work, including Reading Yvonne Rainer's 'this is the story of a woman who,' recently seen at the Whitney Museum.

· PEN World Voices International Play Festival 2014 April 28, 29, + 30: The Martin E. Segal Center, in partnership with the PEN World Voices Festival, will present the inaugural International Play Festival : a 3-day, 9 play look at exceptional drama from around the globe.

· Anne Bogart's What's the Story May 19: A day long look at the work of vanguard director Anne Bogart, featuring an afternoon with the conservatory artists of Bogart's SITI Company, and an evening presentation and discussion between the director and her frequent collaborator, playwright Charles Mee.

All events are presented at the CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street, New York, NY 10016. All are free of charge and open to the public. First come, first served. Dates and times are listed below. All programs are subject to change. For updates, visit


March 3: Syrian Drama: The Plays of Sa'dallah Wannous

6:30pm Excerpts and Discussion

Syrian playwright Sa'dallah Wannous (1941-1997) was a central figure in the Arabic theatre of the late twentieth century. His most important works began to appear in the wake of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, and were focused on positive social and political change in the region. The evening celebrates his first collection of works in English translation, Four Plays from Syria, published by the Segal Center (co-edited by Marvin Carlson & Safi Mahfouz, with translations by Marvin Carlson, Safi Mahfouz, Robert Myers, and Nada Saab). The evening will include excerpts of Wannous' acclaimed play Rituals, the first Arab play in repertory at the Comédie Française.

Followed by a discussion with co-editor GC CUNY Professor Marvin Carlson, Rituals translators Robert Myers (Professor of English, American University in Beirut) and Nada Saab (Assistant Professor of Literature at Lebanese American University), as well as Beirut-based actress and director Sahar Assaf (Lecturer in Theatre, American University in Beirut). Myers, Saab, and the Chicago-based theatre company Silk Road Rising received a MacArthur grant to translate Rituals in 2012. Reading produced by Arab-American company Noor Theatre.

March 17: Large Likenesses: The Work of Theodora Skipitares

3:00pm Screenings | 6:30pm Performance and Conversation with Martha Wilson

Join us for an exploration of the inventive and highly theatrical world of artist and director Theodora Skipitares. Trained as a sculptor and theatre designer, Skipitares has been creating personal solo performances since the late 1970's. Skipitares' work features realistic, life-size puppet figures, as well as miniature ones, who become the performers in large-scale works that include live music, film, video, and documentary texts. Her work has been exhibited widely in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, and most recently at the Whitney Museum. Among her many honors, Skipitares has garnered a UNIMA Citation for Excellence in Puppetry, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rockefeller Fellowship, and a McKnight Playwriting Fellowship.

Afternoon Screenings

Trilogy: Iphigenia, Odyssey, Helen, Queen of Sparta
+ The Traveling Players Present the Women of Troy

Evening Performance + Conversation

An excerpted performance of Skipitares' upcoming work The Chairs, featuring Judith Malina, and others. Conversation with legendary performance artist Martha Wilson.

March 27: Babette Mangolte: The Archive in Performance, Two Views

3:00pm Screenings | 6:30pm Presentation

Babette Mangolte (American, born in France) is an internationally known experimental filmmaker. As an installation artist, Mangolte is interested in creating architectural spaces which propose various modes of interaction between spectators, particularly with photographs and films shown in installation. Mangolte is also known for her photographic and film archive, which documents the experimental theatre, dance, and performance scenes of the 1970s and 1980s in New York City. She has also published essays theorizing her practice as a filmmaker and photographer, and has written about technological transformations in film with the advent of digital technologies. Mangolte is currently a professor at the University of California, San Diego.

Afternoon Screening: Filming a Reenactment of Past Performance

Four Pieces by Morris, a film by Babette Mangolte.

Evening Presentation: Presentation of Two Installations

Mangolte will present and discuss two selections from her archive: Touching III with Collage (2013, Inhotim, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, curated by Rodrigo Moura) and Reading Yvonne Rainers' 'this is the story of a woman who...' (2013, Whitney Museum, in Rituals of Rented Island, curated by Jay Sanders).

April 7: Ruth Maleczech: Art + Impact

6:30pm Discussion

Join us for an evening celebrating and honoring the work of the American avant-garde stage performer, director, and producer Ruth Maleczech (January 8, 1939-September 30, 2013). Maleczech was Co-Artistic Director of the internationally renowned downtown New York theater company Mabou Mines, founded with legendary artists Lee Breuer, JoAnne Akalaitis, Philip Glass, and David Warrilow in 1970. Her work was influenced by Herbert Blau and the Actor's Workshop, R.G. Davis and the San Francisco Mime Troupe, Jerzy Grotowski, and the Berliner Ensemble. With JoAnne Akalaitis, Sharon Fogarty, Patricia Spears Jones, Greg Mehrten, and Catherine Sasanov.

April 23: Modern Japanese Drama: Cody Poulton in conversation with Peter Eckersall

6:30pm Excerpted Readings and Discussion

Join us celebrating the publication of The Columbia Anthology of Modern Japanese Drama (Columbia University Press) The collection provides an overview of twentieth-century Japanese theater and beyond for students, scholars, and dramatists. Playwrights represented in the collection include Masamune Hakucho (The Couple Next Door), Enchi Fumiko (Restless Night in Late Spring), Abe Kobo (The Man Who Turned into a Stick), Morimoto Kaoru (A Woman's Life), Kara Juro (Two Women), Terayama Shuji (Poison Boy), Noda Hideki (Poems for Sale), and Mishima Yukio (The Sardine Seller's Net of Love).

Co-Editor M. Cody Poulton (Canada) will be in conversation with new Graduate Center, CUNY Asian theatre specialist, Professor Peter Eckersall (Australia), to discuss current trends in Japanese theatre. Excerpts from two plays will be directed by New York-based director Aya Ogawa.

April 28 + 29 + 30: PEN World Voices International Play Festival 2014

Daily at 2:00pm, 5:00pm, + 7: 30pm

As part of the 2014 PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, The Segal Center will showcase play readings by nine of the world's most respected dramatists. With each writer hailing from a different world region as classified by the United Nations, the International Play Festival generates a conversation on art, politics, dreams, war and philosophy, meant to give American audiences a rich awareness of the greater global dialogue. *Selected readings will be followed by discussion with the playwright. The festival runs April 28th, 29th, and 30th.

Monday, April 28

2:00pm - Tsunami by Jalila Baccar


Playwright Jalila Baccar chronicles the events that shook Tunisia in the murky hours after the Jasmine Revolution-the event that triggered the Arab Spring. Tsunami is a trilogy devoted to the contemporary history of Tunisia, a cycle dominated by the question of memory: "A country without memory is a country which never knows where it is going." Translated by: Marvin Carlson.

5:00pm - No Matter How Hard We Tried or We Exist on the Best Terms We Can

by Dorota Maslowska (POLAND)

With wildly inventive language and razor-sharp humor, No Matter How Hard We Tried captures Poland's contemporary moment, bringing together nouveau-riche media celebrities, the abject poor, phony artists, and disaffected youth all struggling to stay afloat in a toxic stew of commercialism, inter-generational confusion, Catholic nationalism, and idealized visions of Poland's tragic past. Translated by: Artur Zapa?owski.

7:30pm -Villa + Discurso by Guillermo Calderon


In Villa, three women gather around an architectural model of the Villa Grimaldi, a site where thousands were tortured and hundreds were "disappeared," to debate the ideal adaptation of these blood-soaked facilities and grapple with a nation's unwanted legacy. Translated by: William Gregory.

Tuesday April 29, 2014

2:00pm -Yakiniku Dragon by Chong Wishing


Set in the years 1969 to 1971 in the Yakiniku Dragon, a restaurant without plumbing in a Korean-Japanese ghetto, Yakiniku Dragon tells the story of a young boy who feels welcomed neither by the Japanese nor Korean societies. The play is based on Chong's own childhood experience, and is told through the six family members and guests who frequent the Yakiniku Dragon. Translated by: Philip Flavin.

5:00pm - Endless Vigils at Crete-a-Pierrot by Frantz Dominique Batraville


The dead and the living, which "walk on the bones of the dead," are united by a wish to bring their dying nation together once again by physically and metaphysically reviving Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the first leader of the revolution for an independent Haiti. Translated by: Peter Consenstein.

7:30pm - Holiday by Raimondo Cortese


Holiday is an eclectic mixture of baroque song, video installation and gentle conversation, contemplating the world as a place where we can no longer cope with large occurrences and succeed only in retreating further into our own private spaces.

Wednesday April 30th

2:00pm - Cogito by Huzir Sulaiman


It is the year 2026. Katherine Lee is a wealthy socialite, married to Tony Szeto, a highly prized Singaporean biomedical scientist. When Katherine reads in a local newspaper that her husband has been assassinated, she discovers she is not the only one married to him.

5:00pm -Rechnitz (The Exterminating Angel) by Elfriede Jelinek


Rechnitz examines the silence about a massacre at the Austrian-Hungarian border on March 25, 1945. During a party by Countess Margit von Batthyany, Nazis killed about 200 Jews as part of their entertainment. Until today, the remains of the victims were not found, neither was the whole affair properly investigated. Translated by: Gitta Honegger.

7:30pm -The Dgins of Edigah by Abishek Majumdar


Ashrafi and Bilal are orphaned siblings stranded in Kashmir. While his sister is caught in the past, 18-year-old Bilal is the pride of the region, part of a teenage football team set for great heights. However, Kashmir's violence destroys his idealism, and he is torn between escaping the war and participating in the cycles of resistance.

May 8: Creative Placemaking: A Conversation with Rip Rapson + Jamie Bennett

6:30pm Discussion

Begun in 2011, ArtPlace America is collaboration among 14 foundations, six financial institutions, and eight federal agencies committed to creative placemaking. The Segal welcomes ArtPlace America's recently-appointed Executive Director, Jamie Bennett (formerly of the National Endowment for the Arts and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs), and Rip Rapson (CEO of The Kresge Foundation and current chairman of ArtPlace's Funders Council) for a conversation about the ways that the arts can and should play a central role in shaping the social, physical, and economic futures of their communities. Drawing on examples from New York City, Detroit, and rural and urban communities all across the US, Rapson and Bennet will present the case that the arts should be represented in any conversation about the future of a community, as well as the challenges and opportunities in getting elected, civic, business, and arts leaders to share that vision. This event is part of the GC Public Program's initiative "Cultural Capital: The Promise and Price of New York Creative Economy."

May 12: Edwin Booth Award: Honoring Elevator Repair Service

6:30pm Award Ceremony

New York's Elevator Repair Service (ERS) is the winner of this year's Edwin Booth Award. ERS' body of work includes such visionary productions as Arguendo, Gatz, The Sound and the Fury, Total Fictional Lie, and Shut Up I Tell You (I Said Shut Up I Tell You). Founded in 1991 by Artistic Director John Collins, ERS' theatre pieces are built around a broad range of subject matter and literary forms; they combine elements of slapstick comedy, hi-tech and lo-tech design, both literary and found text, and the group's own highly developed style of choreography. John Collins and members of ERS will be present to receive the award.

The Edwin Booth Award was established in 1983 by the Doctoral Theatre Students Association to honor a person, organization, or company in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the New York City/American Theatre and Performance Community. Recipients of the Booth Award are nominated and elected exclusively by students in the program. Named after the nineteenth century tragedian Edwin Booth, renowned for his intellectual curiosity, the award promotes integration of the professional and academic theatre communities. Past honorees include: The Royal Shakespeare Company ('83), Ellen Stewart ('84), Joseph Papp ('89), Arthur Miller ('92), Richard Foreman ('97), Tony Kushner ('02), Karen Finley ('08), The Living Theater ('09), Charles Mee ('10), and Woodie King, Jr. ('13).

May 19: Anne Bogart's What's the Story: Essays about art, theater, and storytelling

3:00pm Presentation by SITI Conservatory | 6:30 Evening Program

Join us for a day with vanguard director Anne Bogart, celebrating the publication of her collected writings on theatre, What's the Story (Routledge 2014). Her latest collection of essays explores the story-telling impulse, asking how she, as a "product of postmodernism," can reconnect to the primal act of making meaning and telling stories.

Afternoon Presentation: Presenting the SITI Conservatory

Meet the artists of SITI's inaugural Conservatory program as they show the depth and scope of their work with SITI. The SITI Conservatory trains theater artists to emerge with classically trained bodies, contemporary sensibilities, and rich flexible intellects. It is designed for independent artists from diverse backgrounds and features training in Suzuki, Viewpoints and Composition.

Evening Presentation

Bogart will read selections from her book and discuss her work with playwright Charles Mee.

May 21: The Dramaturg/Producer: A Symposium about an Emerging Profession

All Day (for updated schedule, please go to

Join us for a full-day symposium as we investigate and document the increasing prominence of dramaturgy-driven projects and ways in which dramaturgs are expanding and fusing their roles in American theatre. Afternoon activities will include professional and project development workshops helmed by leading practitioners. The symposium will conclude in the evening with additional presentations and a panel discussion about new ways of considering the dramaturg in the contemporary theatre landscape. Presented in Partnership with LMDA, co-curated by Leah Hamos and Amy Jensen.

June 19: RE: (no subject): An Extended Conversation between Playwrights

6:30pm Presentation + Discussion

During the Segal Center Spring Season, five playwrights-Annie Baker, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Sibyl Kempson, Max Posner, and Anne Washburn-will exchange emails on an extended chain, continuing a conversation begun at the PRELUDE.13 Festival ( With no structure and no rules, the threads that emerge will represent the styles and perspectives of each of the five artists. In the final presentation of the season, the playwrights will present and perform their conversation to the audience in a form that walks the line between play and self-aware panel discussion. Conceived and created in partnership with Caleb Hammons (Co-Curator, PRELUDE.12 and PRELUDE.13; Associate Producer, Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Bard College).

About The Segal Center: The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center (MESTC) is a non-profit center for theatre, dance, and film affiliated with CUNY's Ph.D. Program in Theatre. The Center's mission is to bridge the gap between academia and the professional performing arts communities both within the United States and internationally. By providing an open environment for the development of educational, community-driven, and professional projects in the performing arts, MESTC is a home to theatre scholars, students, playwrights, actors, dancers, directors, dramaturgs, and performing arts managers from the local and international theatre communities. Through diverse programming-staged readings, theatre events, panel discussions, lectures, conferences, film screenings, dance-and a number of publications, MESTC enables artists, academics, visiting scholars and performing arts professionals to participate actively in the advancement and appreciation of the entire range of theatrical experience. The Center presents staged readings to further the development of new and classic plays, lecture series, televised seminars featuring professional and academic luminaries, and arts in education programs, and maintains its long-standing visiting-scholars-from-abroad program. In addition, the Center publishes a series of highly regarded academic journals, as well as books, including plays in translation, written, translated and edited by leading scholars.

The Graduate Center, CUNY, of which the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center is an integral part, is the doctorate-granting institution of The City University of New York (CUNY). An internationally recognized center for advanced studies and a national model for public doctoral education, the school offers more than thirty doctoral programs, as well as a number of master's programs. Many of its faculty members are among the world's leading scholars in their respective fields, and its alumni hold major positions in industry and government, as well as in academia. The Graduate Center is also home to twenty-eight interdisciplinary research centers and institutes focused on areas of compelling social, civic, cultural, and scientific concerns. Located in a landmark Fifth Avenue building, The Graduate Center has become a vital part of New York City's intellectual and cultural life with its extensive array of public lectures, exhibitions, concerts, and theatrical events.

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