Vibrant Cast Presents Erik Ehn's Latest At Planet Connections

Vibrant Cast Presents Erik Ehn's Latest At Planet Connections

DEMAFELIS: A Staged Reading Benefit for Filipino Advocates for Justice

Based on a True Story

When Joanna Demafelis' indebted family needed money to fix their typhoon-battered home, she followed in the footsteps of millions of other Filipinos and left to find work overseas. And like far too many Filipinos, her journey ended in tragedy.

Playwright Erik Ehn's work includes The Saint Plays, What a Stranger May Know, Erratics (a play for puppets, with Dan Hurlin), Soulographie, and Vireo (an opera libretto, score by Lisa Bielawa). He is grateful for past collaborations with Glory Kadigan, on Her Speech, Clover, and Quiet House. Ehn conducts silent retreats in in community with Anne Washburn, Gary Winter, Anthony Weigh, Liz Duffy Adams, and Jen and Madeleine George. Co-founder, TEnderloin Opera Company. Graduate of New Dramatists. Former Dean of the CalArts School of Theater, former Director of Writing for Performance, Brown University. Currently pursuing an MTS degree at the Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley.

Stage Directions read by Kathleen O'Neill

Run time is 45 minutes, followed by a 15-minute talkback with the Playwright.


Mariel Reyes (Joanna, a housekeeper) is a Meisner-trained actress and graduated from the William Esper Studio. She has worked in film, voiceover, TV, and theater both Asia and NYC. Mariel is also a writer and was nominated for Outstanding Writer in a Staged Reading during Planet Connections Festivity 2014.

Lydia Gaston (Eva, Joanna's Mother) B'way: The King and I, Lincoln Center 2015 and 1996 B'way revival, Jerome Robbins' B'way, Miss Saigon. Off-Bway: Dogeaters (The Public Theater), Ma-Yi Theatre Group, National Asian American Theatre Co, Pan Asian Rep. Regional: Bloody Mary (South Pacific) at Reagle Theatre (Boston), Precious Nonsense (The Kitchen Theatre, Ithaca). Public Theater Shakespeare Lab, TV: HULU, The Path HBO's The Sopranos (co-star). Lydia is a NYC teaching artist, MA in Applied Theatre, CUNY Grad Center.

Ysabel Jasa (Jojit, Joanna's younger brother) is a New York based actor. Recent credits include: Cabaret, Wig Out!, Pericles, Henry V and Twelfth Night. She has participated in numerous new play and musical readings at NYU's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, LaMaMa, Theatre Lab and the PlayGround Experiment. She is currently the assistant fight choreographer for the upcoming production of NAATCO's Henry VI. Ysabel is a proud graduate of the New Studio on Broadway at NYU Tisch.

Isabella Dawis (Joyce, Joanna's younger sister) Upcoming: 24 Hour Plays Nationals. Recent: Corkscrew Theater Festival, Center for Contemporary Opera, New York Philharmonic, NAATCO, NYU Graduate Film, Skeleton Rep, the Tank, Project Y, New Ohio, Theater Mu, Minnesota Opera, Children's Theatre Company. B.M. summa cum laude, piano performance, University of Minnesota; Classical Voice, New England Conservatory.

Gina LeMoine (Mary Mother of Sorrows) is a founding member of Black Door Theatre Company. Recent credits include: P.S It's Poison; Dead Dogs of Ohio; Magic Kingdom (NY International Fringe Festival); Virus Attacks Heart (Best Lead Actress Award, PCTF); B*TCH; DOE (Santiago a Mil Festival), Ecstasy.

Perri Yaniv (Nader, Joanna's employer in Kuwait) is a native New Yorker with over 30 local, regional and international credits. Currently appearing in Barefoot Theatre's revival of RAFT OF THE MEDUSA for Planet Connections. Previous work with Erik Ehn and Glory Kadigan: CLOVER (World Premiere, LaMaMa) and a staged reading of QUIET HOUSE.

Mary Monahan (Mona, Nader's wife) has appeared in many theater and film productions. Some of her favorite roles include: Mary in Moonage Daydream which she wrote and performed (UnitedSoloFestival 2016;Fringearts2017); Eden, Gideon(PCTF 2016); Patty, Louise in Charlestown (UnitedSolo 2015), Janet/Lady, Magic Kingdom (FringeNYC); Jan, Doe (Santiago A Mil).Film roles include: Mary Sherman, Woman/Mary, Windows (SANFIC, Tribeca FF, LoCarno); Q, Slice(SANFIC, Signis Award) PCTF award winner.

Isra Elsalihie (Anna, the daughter of Mona and Nader) is a recent graduate of the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. A truly international actor, Isra is of Swedish-Iraqi descent. Selected theatre includes: Red Ballon directed by Jessica Blank at Noor theatre, Parisian Blues Fantasie, produced by Tony award winner Mercedes Ellington, The 24 Hour Plays: Nationals and Anne Frank in the Gaza directed by Shaun Peknic for which she won outstanding supporting actress at PCTF 2017.

Production Team

Lauren Arneson (Stage Manager) - previous credits at Planet Connections include INVERSION OF THE BABY SNATCHERS, CAIN, PUNK GRANDPA, THE SOCIAL AVENGER, BEN MINUS ZOE MINUS BEN, and coming up next THE INSIDE OF HIS SEVERED HEAD a new musical. She was also the ASM for the PCTF Award Ceremony for 6 years.

Dana Boll (Choreographer) is honored to collaborate on Demafelis. Last year for Planet Connections, she choreographed Erik Ehn's Quiet House. An ensemble member of New Stage Theatre Company, she is developing a new environmental musical My Toothbrush Killed an Albatross!

Benjamin Ehrenreich (Lighting Designer) REGIONAL: Beauty and the Beast, Mary Poppins (Berkshire Theatre Group) Owners (Yale Repertory Theatre). NYC: Playwrights for a Cause 2016-2018, PharmaBro, The Hunting Season, SAFE (Planet Connections), Clover by Erik Ehn (La Mama), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Gallery Players), Ultimate Beauty Bible (NYU TISCH ETW). Yale School of Drama). MFA Yale School of Drama. PCTF award winner.

Glory Kadigan (Director) founded Planet Connections Theatre Festivity and served as the Producing Artistic Director for six seasons. Among her directing credits: World Premieres of Regina Taylor's Biting the Bullet; John Patrick Shanley's Doublecross; St. Anne's Soup (Israel Horovitz, World Premiere), Breaking Philip Glass (Israel Horovitz, World Premiere), Her Speech (Erik Ehn, World Premiere), Mean Girls by Lyle Kessler. Most recently, she directed Erik Ehn's Clover at La Mama. Love to Erik and the La Mama family.

Jacob Subotnick (Sound Design) Jacob is an NYC based composer and sound designer who has designed over 100 Off and Off-Off Broadway productions. Selected Off-Broadway: A Midsummer Night's Dream (Masterworks Theater; InnerVoices 2014 (TBG Theater); Any Given Monday (59E59). Selected Off-Off-Broadway: The Ballad of Rodrigo (Funny...Sheesh: Nominated forOutstanding Original Music NYITA 2015); Tulpa or Anne and Me (Winner: PCTF Sound Design Award)

Filipino Advocates for Justice's work is guided by its vision for an empowered Filipino community with the power to advance social and economic justice, and realize democratic and human rights for everyone. Its programs are rooted in Bayanihan principles, a Filipino demonstration of social justice values where a community comes together to help those in need. Help us make a difference:

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