Kristen Kosmas and Leon Finley Come to The Chocolate Factory Theater
The Chocolate Factory Theater (chocolatefactorytheater.org) continues its Fall Season with the New York Premiere of The People's Republic of Valerie, Living Room Edition, a new performance written and performed by Kristen Kosmas in collaboration with Leon Finley. Tickets are $20 and may be purchased in advance at (212) 352-3101 or chocolatefactorytheater.org.
Kristen Kosmas returns to The Chocolate Factory (and New York City) for the first time since her critically acclaimed 2012 performance There There, described as a "language-drenched, resonant knockout" by Claudia La Rocco in the New York Times.
First staged as a large scale ensemble performance at On The Boards in Seattle, The People's Republic of Valerie, Living Room Edition is reborn as an intimate monologue (written and performed by Kosmas) staged for a small audience in the living room of a private home, with lo-fi visual accompaniment (using only an overhead projector and a music stand) by interdisciplinary artist Leon Finley. An abstract political commentary on the seemingly relentless upsurge in violence to people and the planet in recent years, The People's Republic of Valerie, Living Room Edition attempts to transform feelings of despair, grief, and rage into something of value, into positive action, into something of beauty that might uplift and create space and occasion for imagination and community.
The People's Republic of Valerie, Living Room Edition has been performed for free or by donation in living rooms across the country. The New York City performances will take place at a private home in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
The People's Republic of Valerie, Living Room Edition will be published by 53rd State Press in October 2019.
The People's Republic of Valerie, Living Room Edition is written and performed by Kristen Kosmas. Cartography by Leon Finley.
Kristen Kosmas makes contemporary performance. Her primary materials and concerns are language, presence, liveness, and collaboration with other artists, audience, and the space, environment, or site she's working in/on. Kosmas is a writer, performer, and educator. She was Assistant Professor of Theater at Whitman College from 2011 to 2018, when she achieved tenure before returning to Seattle to live with her partner, visual artist Leon Finley. Since March 2018, Kosmas and Finley have been giving The People's Republic of Valerie, Living Room Edition, a performance duet offered in living rooms to benefit Path With Art, a Seattle-based organization that offers free art classes to people coming out of homelessness or recovering from other forms of trauma and addiction. Kosmas has had new works commissioned by The Chocolate Factory (NYC), On the Boards (Seattle), Performance Space 122 (NYC), The Theatre of a Two-Headed Calf (NYC), Seattle University's SITE Specific, Dixon Place (NYC), and the New City Theater in Seattle. Her plays and critically acclaimed solo performances have been presented in Seattle, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and in New York City at numerous venues including The Chocolate Factory, PS 122, La Mama, Dixon Place, Prelude, Barbès, the Ontological/Hysteric Downstairs Series, and the Poetry Project. Her play Hello Failure was published by Ugly Duckling Presse; her multi-voice performance text This From Cloudland appears in issue #4 of "PLAY A Journal of Plays"; ANTHEMand The Mayor of Baltimore and There There were published by 53rd State Press; and her play APEX appears in "15 Second Plays Curated by the Debate Society," published by UDP. Kosmas is a founding member of the OBIE Award winning performance series Little Theater (NYC); The Twenty-Five Cent Opera of San Francisco, a monthly event for the enactment of texts and theatricals (NYC); and Birthday Girl, a nomadic celebration of new performance in Seattle. Kosmas is also a founding member of Machiqq/The Ladies Auxilliary Playwriting Team, a women's experimental writing collective.
Leon Finley is a trans, interdisciplinary artist born in Seattle, WA in 1987. His work crosses over performance, sculpture and drawing and comes out of his experiences having a physical and spiritual body. His work is concerned with interdependency: the relationships between all kinds of bodies (human, animal, plant, object, architecture, sound, etc.) and the idea that bodies are vibrating, that matter is not solid but is, in fact, moving, permeable and changeable. Leon received his BFA from Cooper Union in 2009 and his MFA in Sculpture from Yale in 2012. Leon was the recipient of the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Trust Prize in 2009, the Blair Dickinson Memorial Prize, the Dan David Prize Scholarship in 2012, and was a finalist for The Henry Art Gallery Brink Award in 2017. Leon has shown work around New York and Seattle including galleries such as The Alice and the Jacob Lawrence gallery and has performed in venues such as the Whitney Museum of American Art as part of Kevin Beasley's Public Programs in Sonic Masses and Movement Research as part of the Open Performance Series. Leon has taught at Cooper Union, Virginia Commonwealth University and Montclair State University. He currently lives and works in Seattle, Washington.