Absurdist Comedy Premieres THE CHESS LESSON, Beginning 1/4 at IRT Theater


Slightly Altered States Theater Company presents the World Premiere of THE CHESS LESSON, an absurdist comedy by Sari Caine, a chess champion and teacher. Directed by ElizaBeth Miller, previews begin January 4 at IRT Theater. Opening is slated for January 11.

In THE CHESS LESSON, three very different parents have come to take a chess class with their children's teacher. Despite everyone’s best intentions, the adults keep turning into children, the class keeps slipping out of control, and the teacher is one romance novel away from a nervous breakdown. Four strangers all at a crossroads in their life, alone together in a classroom for children, have no choice but to examine who they are, and remember who they were.

THE CHESS LESSON stars David Crommett, Sari Caine, David Rigo and Meg Fee, with a production team that includes Daryl Embry (set), Derek Wright (lighting), Andre Fratto (sound), Zach Tait (stage manager) and Sonya Sobieski (dramaturg). It was developed through residencies at Space on Ryder Farm, Jimmy’s No. 43, IRT, and with a donation from the Sidney and Beatrice Albert Foundation.

Sari Caine (Teacher/Playwright/Artistic Director/Co-Founder SAS) is a NYC bred playwright, actress, and chess instructor. Her plays have been produced at IRT, Jimmy’s No. 43, Roy Arias Theater, and The Strawberry Festival. As a competitive chess player, she placed 10th in the country in the junior high division, and won city-wide tournaments. Named “The Best Beginner Chess Teacher in NYC” on Mommypoppins.com, she’s taught in every borough since she was 13, teaching for over two dozen programs, including the Montessori Schools, NY Public Libraries and The Harlem Children Zone. She is a graduate of Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn and NYU Gallatin, where she majored in Utopias studying with scholar and activist Stephen Duncombe. She is an Artistic Associate with Purple Rep Theater Company. As an actress she has appeared off and off off Broadway in The Crucible, Hey You Lightman, Picasso at the Lapin-Agile, The Children's Hour with Kate Burton, A Change Of Address with Allison Janney, Schoolhouse Theater: Imaginary Invalids, The Crucible, and shows at Circle in the Square, EST, York Theater, St Clements, La Mama, and Arclight. Film includes Mr Destiny, June Roses, The Year of the Nail, Artworks. She has also appeared in over two dozen commercials and print ads. Sari studied acting with Fred Kareman, and singing with Stephanie Scourby. Dedicates this show to her father, for teaching her how to play, and in memory of her cousin Laurie Dinnerstein.

ElizaBeth Miller is a director, writer and visual artist originally from Fort Worth, Texas. Most recently she directed Spark, a new play by Angela Santillo at Access Theater, and a workshop of Sonya Sobieski's Hysterical Preservation at New Georges. She also recently directed for New Georges’ 2012 Perform-a-Thon. She holds an MFA in Theater from Sarah Lawrence College. She is presently the Art Director for the new quarterly SDC Journal.

Slightly Altered States is a not-for-profit theater company made up of actors, writers, and improvisers. The company devoted to darkly funny, slightly absurd material that deals truthfully with the extraordinary in everyday circumstances. Since its inception in 2011 under Artistic Director Sari Caine and Managing Director David Rigo, Slightly Altered States has been the recipients of residencies at IRT, Space on Ryder Farm, Jimmy’s No. 43, and Manhattan Theater Source. For more information, visit www.slightlyaltered.org.

THE CHESS LESSON runs January 4 -27, Thursday - Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 7pm. IRT Theatre is located at 154 Christopher Street -- accessible from the 1 train to Christopher Street or the A, C, E, B, D, F, or M trains at West 4th Street. Running time is 1 hour. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door and can be purchased at 1-800-838-3006 or BrownPaperTickets.com.

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