Studio Six of The Moscow Art Theater to Present Staged Readings of WOMAN AT THE FUNERALS, 5/3-4

Studio Six of The Moscow Art Theater to Present Staged Readings of WOMAN AT THE FUNERALS, 5/3-4

Studio Six of The Moscow Art Theater presents two industry-only staged readings of Woman at the Funerals, a new comedy about human malfunction and a budding funeral planner written by Elena Balyberdina, to be presented on Saturday, May 3rd at 5pm and Sunday, May 4th at 7pm at IATI Theater, 64 East 4th Street in NYC. Ben Sargent will direct a cast of twelve including Stewart Alden, Cameron Berner, John Blaylock*, Tonya Marie Canady, David M. Farrington, Doug Hartwyk, Sarah Michelle McAvoy*, Pete Macnamara, Samantha Opitz, Benjamin Russell, Najla Said*, and RaShelle Stocker. *Member, Actors' Equity Association.

Woman at the Funerals is set in a city, which for our purposes is NYC. Anna, a divorced mother of two, struggles to maintain relationships with a lying boyfriend, manipulative ex­-husband, and emotionally distressed children. She becomes a popular funeral planner in the midst of her crisis.

The play will get a full world premiere AEA showcase production at IATI Theater in June 2014.

Woman at the Funerals is presented by Studio Six of The Moscow Art Theater & Mikhail Dvortsov. Director: Ben Sargent; General Manager: Good People Management Group; Casting Director: Robin Carus; Public Relations: Paul Siebold.

Elena Balyberdina (playwright) has a rich living, intellectual and artistic experience. She started at Bolshoi in Moscow as a young ballerina, then defected to the US while touring here and proceeded to get 4 degrees in psychology, philosophy and mental health counseling. She was a co-author of a 2007 acclaimed feature "A Book Of Truth, A Book Of Lies." Elena is in private practice as a philosophical counselor and continues to write plays that reflect her long-standing interest in existential and post-lacanian theories and self-inflicted psycho-traumas.

Ben Sargent (director) graduated from the Moscow Art Theater School with an MFA in 2005. As a founding and current member of Studio Six of the Moscow Art Theater (, he has performed in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Boston, Connecticut, New York, Baltimore, and Montreal. He began directing in 2008: Gogol Project, I Heart Chekhov, La Cueca, and Doroga. Among other publications, Ben's work has been featured in The New York Times and Backstage. Teaching credits include the Lee Strasberg Institute (Biomechanics, Movement for the Actor), Studio Six workshops (Acting and Movement), and New GeneRussian (Moscow Art Training). More information can be found on his website, and on his blog,

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