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Segal Theatre Center Spring 2012 Season to Include EGYPT IN TRANSITION, MELODRAMA RECLAIMED, More

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center (Frank Hentschker, Executive Director) has announced the rest of its Spring 2012 season, featuring 11 free events at the Graduate Center, including rarely-seen performances, premiere readings of international playwrights, and day-long symposia on everything from ecologically inspired performance (for Earth Day!) to The Group Theatre to innovative American women producers. 

This year our MESTC season will run until June 25, 2012 at the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center (365 Fifth Avenue, at 34th Street), with events occurring on April 2, April 5, April 16, April 23, April 26, May 1, May 14, May 21, June 4, June 7 and June 25.  While some events are all day (see complete listing below), all evening discussions start at 6:30pm, and every event is completely free and open to the public.

All programs are subject to change. For updates, visit

All events take place at the CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue/34th St., New York, NY 10016.

If you wish to receive our brochure in the mail or to join our email list, please contact us at

Additional information is available by visiting the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center website at                                                                        



Monday, April 2, 2012


Egypt in Transition: Playwright Ibrahim El-Husseini’s Commedia Al-Ahzaan (Comedy of Sorrows)

With Marvin Carlson and Rebekah Maggor.

Award-winning Egyptian playwright Ibrahim El-Husseini visits the Segal Center to present a reading of his Commedia Al-Ahzaan (Comedy of Sorrows) in its English translation by Mohammed Albakry and Rebekah Maggor. Both formally and historically of-the-moment, Comedy of Sorrows was one of the first theatrical responses to Egypt’s January revolution. Its heroine, a young, college-educated Cairene woman, travels through her city, gradually growing aware of the misery that surrounds her. First performed at Cairo’s Al-Ghad Theatre, it won accolades: critic Nehad Selaiha called it an “emotionally poignant and aesthetically cathartic theatrical experience.” Maggor directs an hour-long condensed reading of the (condensed) play starring Najla Said, Arthur French, Mikeah Ernest Jennings and Steve Mellor.  Join us for this look at excellence in the Egyptian theatre and for a discussion about how art informs a society convulsed by change. (Presented in collaboration with the Radcliffe Institute.)


Thursday, April 5, 2012


Edwin Booth Award Ceremony Honoring Split Britches

Presented by the Doctoral Theatre Students Association of CUNY in Collaboration With the DSC, CLAGS, and Mise en ScÈne.

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. Only students in the program nominate candidates and elect recipients. Named after the nineteeth-century actor who was also renowned for his intellect, the award promotes integration of the professional and academic theatre communities. This year’s awardee is the groundbreaking feminist theatre company Split Britches, who will be present to receive the award. Ceremony organized by Brad Krumholz (DTSA Second Vice President).


Monday, April 16, 2012


On Producing: Broadway’s Roger Berlind in Conversation with Mara Isaacs

In a Broadway career spanning more than thirty years, Roger Berlind has produced or co-produced more than forty plays and musicals, in addition to a prolific Off-Broadway and regional theatrical career. From Amadeus to Long Day’s Journey into Night, from Copenhagen to Anna in the Tropics, Berlind’s Broadway productions have won Tony Awards beyond count. In 2003, Princeton University named the McCarter Theatre Center’s 360-seat Berlind Theatre for the producing legend. Roger Berlind will share his secrets for surviving on the Great White Way and give us his perspective on contemporary American theatre. The conversation will conducted by Mara Isaacs, Producing Director at McCarter Theatre.



Monday, April 23, 2012

All Day plus 6:30pm

Earth Day: From Valuing Green to Sustaining Life with Marc Bamuthi Joseph

Co-Presented with MAPP International Productions

“What sustains life in your community?” This was the question at the center of poet/performer Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s creative inquiry over the three-year-long process of developing his acclaimed new work, red, black & GREEN: a blues in communities across the U.S. Join us in a multi-faceted investigation into this question, as you celebrate Earth Day by broadening the definition of the “green” movement and highlighting sustainable survival practices of people and communities often excluded from the conversation. There will be screenings of short films; lunch with a creative exploration and directed discussion led by artist-activists Samita Sinha and Julia Ulehla; and a panel with luminaries from various parts of New York’s creative ecosystem. In the evening, see poetry performances by Joseph, recipient of the 2011 Alpert Award for Theater, who will share the stage with youth from Urban Word NYC. Co-curated by Emily Harney, MAPP’s Director of Community Engagement.


Thursday, April 26, 2012


Melodrama Reclaimed:  Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Mark Ravenhill reimagine Dion Boucicault’s The Octoroon

Two of theater’s fiercest intellects—the Brooklyn-based provocateur Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Neighbors) and English groundbreaker Mark Ravenhill (Shopping and F*ing, Ten Plagues)—take a crack at the 1859 melodrama The Octoroon, considered by many one of the first American plays. Using the play as a jumping off point, Jenkins and Ravenhill discuss the playwright Dion Boucicault’s historical legacy, as well as dramatic depictions of America’s race problem both here and abroad; the role of the press in the theatre; and the trials of adaptation, authorship and controversy. (Presented in association with the workshop of An Octoroon in the Soho Rep Studio Series. )


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

2:00pm, 4:00pm and 6:30pm

PEN World Voices Festival: Revolutionary Plays Since 2000

In conjunction with the PEN World Voices Festival, you're invited to a day dedicated to the emerging global voices of revolution from Egypt, Georgia, and the United States. This full day of theatrical readings and critical discussions will examine the links between uprisings in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and movements like Occupy Wall Street, looking for similarities between these grassroots expressions of frustration, fury, and optimism. How does theater react to these crucial historical moments? With documentary exactness? With lyrical outrage?  

2:00 p.m.: Reading, A Diary in Scenes (and remember to never wear tampons at a revolution) by Laila Soliman (Egypt) who has been one of the first and most respected young writers to record and dramatize the events of Tahrir Square                                                                                                    

PEN World Voices Festival: Revolutionary Plays Since 2000 

4:00 p.m.: Reading, Iced Tea by Lasha Bugadze (Georgia), winner of the BBC International Radio Playwriting Award, who  turns a satiric eye on the excesses of a state increasingly preoccupied with force-based solutions

6:30 p.m.: The Civilians (US: NYC) bring their investigative theatre toolbox to the Occupy movement. This evening program will feature introductory material from The Civilians, to be followed by a talk with Soliman and Bugadze, Iranian novelist Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, and Civilians composer Michael Friedman on the kinships between the Occupy Wall Street movement, worldwide protests, and the possibilities for a new type of political theatre. The evening will be chaired and moderated by Mike Daisey, playwright-performer and activist (The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs).


Monday, May 14, 2012

All day from 2:00pm

The Legacy Project: Pioneering Women Producers

Foremothers of the American Stage

Presented with the League of Professional Theatre Women

The day after Mother’s Day, come to this all-day tribute to the foremothers of the American stage. Consider the legacy of 20th century producers—many also actresses, playwrights and directors—who envisioned and created alternatives to the commercial theatre, laying the foundation for what we know as the Off Broadway, non-profit, and regional theatre. So where are they in our histories? Susan Jonas and Ludovica Villar-Hauser of the League of Professional Theatre Women program a day of symposia on titanic figures like Eva Le Gallienne (who called theatre “an instrument for giving, not a machinery for getting!”), Margo Jones, Susan Glaspell, Lucille Lortel, Cheryl Crawford, Margaret Webster, and Hallie Flanagan. Speakers will include historians Susan Quinn and Wendy Smith, biographers Helen Sheehy and Alexis Greene, and scholars J. Ellen Gainor and Wendy Ann Vierow.


Monday, May 21, 2012


The Sundance Kid Is Beautiful with Christopher Knowles

followed by a conversation with Lauren DiGiulio and The Watermill Center

Christopher Knowles first became widely known in the theatrical community as an early collaborator of Robert Wilson, when he provided the libretto for Robert Wilson and Philip Glass’s genre-changing opera Einstein on the Beach while a teenager in 1976. Knowles has continued to cultivate an astoundingly diverse and prolific arts practice that includes his infamous “typings.” Witness the rarely glimpsed artist perform The Sundance Kid Is Beautiful and a second performative piece in a setting of his own sculptural design, staged by Noah Khoshbi, and then stay to hear the artist in conversation with Lauren DiGiulio. (Presented in collaboration with The Watermill Center, Dissident Industries, and Gavin Brown’s Enterprise.)                                                                                                          


Monday, June 4, 2012

All Day + 6:30 p.m.

Elebash Recital Hall (different venue! Elebash Recital Hall is also in the CUNY Graduate Center, so the same address and contact information applies.)

The Group Theatre and How It Transformed American Culture

In 1931, three theatrical visionaries—Harold Clurman, Lee Strasberg, and Cheryl Crawford—created America’s first permanent company of actors, The Group Theatre. Modeled on the Moscow Art Theatre, The Group Theatre presented timely plays using Constantin Stanislavsky’s System of Acting with an ensemble that included Stella Adler, Sandy Meisner, Bobby Lewis, Sidney Lumet, and Elia Kazan. The Group Theatre premiered many American plays over a ten-year period, among them Clifford Odets’s Awake and Sing, and their influence continues. Theatre historian Mel Gordon and international artist/educator Ronald Rand invite you to join Eli Wallach, Edward Albee, Lee Grant, Wendy Smith, Ellen Adler, and other distinguished guests for this special day. Discover 10 secrets about The Group Theatre—and reflect upon the broad cultural impact of this legendary ensemble. The day will feature play readings, film screenings, Group Theatre exercises, sound and film clips, and panel discussions about The Group Theatre and its legacy. 


Thursday, June 7, 2012


The Brighton Beach Project (Elyse Dodgson, UK) With Playwrights Natalia Vorozhbit (Ukraine), Mikhail Durnenkov (Russia) and Pavel Pryazhko (Belarus)

Join interNational Theatre champion Elyse Dodgson as she and a trio of Russian-language playwrights uncover New York’s hidden immigrant histories—as well as that of Dodgson’s own family. In the 1960s, Dodgson’s mother filmed a documentary about life in Coney Island, a document now lost. That missing film and her own family’s emigration from Eastern Europe to Brighton Beach inspired Dodgson, known best as the much-lauded director of The Royal Court Theatre’s International Playwrights Programme, to commission three Russian-language playwrights to spend two weeks in Brighton Beach and to turn their findings into plays. Now Natalia Vorozhbit (Ukraine), Pavel Pryazhko (Belarus) and Mikhail Durnenkov (Russia) come to the Graduate Center to allow you a peek into their processes of confronting the twin neighborhoods of immigration and memory. Joining the conversation will be translator Sasha Dugdale and director Ramin Gray. In collaboration with the Genesis Foundation, The Public Theater (NY) and the Actors Touring Company (UK).


Monday, June 25, 2012

7:30pm (Later than usual start time!)

Contemporary Argentine Theatre: Claudio Tolcachir + Timbre 4

A presentation by TeatroStageFest in collaboration with the Segal Center

Argentinean playwright, performer and director Claudio Tolcachir founded Timbre 4—at once a theatre, a school, a company and a collective workshop—inside his own small Buenos Aires apartment in the late ’90s. Since then, this staggeringly successful member of the independent theatre scene has won every major Argentine theatre award and has traveled extensively to international festivals, including the Festival d’automne. Come to the Segal for an evening with the playwright, featuring a reading from the new Segal publication of Jean Graham-Jones’ translations of his oeuvre, including Tolcachir’s first original play, 2005’s La Omisión de la familia Coleman. This improvisationally built drama about a family circle in which violence gradually replaces speech has been a sold-out hit since its premiere, and no conversation about the vibrant Argentinian theatrical scene can be complete without it. With translator Jean Graham-Jones. Reading directed by Susana Tubert, Producing Executive Director of TeatroStageFest.

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