Pirronne Yousefzadeh Directs New Play By Romana Soutus With All-Female Cast

Martyrs, written by Romana Soutus and developed with and directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh, will premiere at The Downstairs at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, April 19 - May 6, Thursday to Saturday at 7 PM, Sunday at 2 PM. A devised ensemble piece performed by a female cast of nine, Martyrs dives into the dynamics of martyrdom, sainthood, self-worth, and desire.

Martyrs is a convent slumber party turned upside down as tensions rise and relationships erupt. Cats and Kittens let you in on midnight whispers between sisters. Watch as the girls dance in milk and honey and crush cherries between their fingers. In search of purity, the women of Martyrs are forced to contend with their sensuality in the face of their insecurities. In the era of #MeToo, Martyrs is where the body is battleground and sisterhood offers shelter.

The project is developed, directed, designed, written and performed by an all-female team, creating a focused vision and providing a unique perspective that enhances the work and its difficult themes. Performers are Madison Fae, Shea Kelly, Kayla Jackmon, Kimiye Corwin, Alexandra Lapp, Amira Nader, Lindsay Rico, Jenna Bosco and Shelley Fort. Members of the team include Cecilia Durbin as lighting designer, Emily Auciello as the sound designer, Brooke Cohen Brown as costume designer, Carolyn Mraz as set designer, and Lianne Arnold as projections designer.

The Downstairs at La MaMa is located at 66 East 4th Street, (btw. Bowery and 2nd Avenue), NYC. Tickets are $25 adult tickets and $20 students/seniors (plus $1 facility fee). La MaMa makes ten tickets available to every performance in its season for only $10 each. These tickets are available online, by phone or at the box office before the opening performance. For tickets and information, contact
212-352-3101 or visitwww.lamama.org.

Playwright Romana Soutus is a playwright, producer, and performer based in New York City. Soutus graduated in May 2014 cum laude from Fordham University's Theatre Program with a focus on Performance. For the past six years, she has performed and produced at the experimental theatre institution La MaMa in New York City. Her plays include Hyena, performed at La MaMa, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the United Solo Festival. Soutus was a 2017 Fellow of the Lambda Literary Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices.

Director Pirronne Yousefzadeh is an Iranian-American Brooklyn based director, writer, and educator. She has directed and developed new work at The Public Theater's Joe's Pub, New York Theatre Workshop, Atlantic Theater Company, Ars Nova, Soho Rep, New Georges, Partial Comfort Productions, Noor Theatre, Ma-Yi Theater Company, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville, La Jolla Playhouse, Huntington Theatre Company, Cleveland Playhouse, Geva Theatre Center, InterAct Theatre Company, and Hangar Theatre, among others.

She is a Usual Suspect at NYTW, New Georges Affiliated Artist, member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, Resident Director at Colt Coeur, a recipient of SDC's Denham Fellowship and Williamstown's Sagal Fellowship, and an alumna of the 2050 Fellowship at NYTW, Drama League Directors Project, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. She currently serves on the NYU faculty and is a frequent guest director there, as well as at Columbia, Juilliard, Fordham, and Yale School of Drama. Yousefzadeh is a founding member of Maia Directors, a consulting group for artists and organizations engaging with Middle Eastern stories.


La MaMa is dedicated to the artist and all aspects of the theatre. The organization has a worldwide reputation for producing daring performance works that defy form and transcend barriers of ethnic and cultural identity. Founded in 1961 by award-winning theatre pioneer Ellen Stewart, La MaMa has presented more than 5,000 productions by 150,000 artists from more than 70 nations. A recipient of more than 30 Obie Awards and dozens of Drama Desk, Bessie, and Villager Awards, La MaMa has helped launch the careers of countless artists, many of whom have made important contributions to American and international arts milieus.

La MaMa's 56th season highlights artists of different generations, gender identities, and cultural backgrounds, who question social mores and confront stereotypes, corruption, bigotry, racism, and xenophobia in their work. Our stages embrace diversity in every form and present artists that persevere with bold self-expression despite social, economic, and political struggle and the 56th season reflects the urgency of reaffirming human interconnectedness.

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