WAM Theatre Unveils 15th Anniversary Season

The season includes Be Here Now by Deborah Zoe Laufer, Far, Far Better Things By Geetha Reddy, and more.

By: Feb. 13, 2024
WAM Theatre Unveils 15th Anniversary Season
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​WAM Theatre has unveiled its 2024 season centering new paths and brave futures, through four innovative theatrical stories and a special 15th Anniversary Benefit. The season includes: Be Here Now by Deborah Zoe Laufer, Far, Far Better Things By Geetha Reddy, Outside by Genée Coreno, and Galileo's Daughter by Jessica Dickey.

“I am thrilled to announce WAM's 15th Anniversary season featuring dynamic theatrical presentations of new stories by women that draw on past traditions to envision new futures,” said Artistic Director Genée Coreno. “Within the four complex and beautiful stories, we see women philosophers, doctors, scientists, and adventurers in moments of  personal change. These women navigate censorship, gate-keeping, employment, immigration status, and gender bias—and still they look up, they look beyond, they reimagine, and they rise. These are tales of courage and resilience about the active choices we make every day in pursuit of a better tomorrow. “ 

“Our 2024 program themes are also reflective of this exciting moment at WAM Theatre as we transition to a new chapter with Genée Coreno as Artistic Director and celebrate our special anniversary year, ” added Managing Director Molly Merrihew. “One of our shared passions on the team is new work and it's exciting to begin Genée's artistic tenure nurturing the development of two new pieces—Geetha Reddy's Far, Far Better Things and her own devised production, Outside. The board and team have worked so hard to bring us to this next phase and we're delighted to welcome these breathtaking stories that will spur us into further action.”

“Art has a power to revive and inspire in difficult times,” said Associate Artistic Director Talya Kingston. “The stories in our season cross genres from dramatic comedy to magical realism, each in different ways lifting you out of the present but also leaving you with a lot to reflect on.”

The season begins with a staged reading of Be Here Now by Deborah Zoe Laufer (Sirens, End Days, Rooted), directed by Kelly Galvin (WAM's Last Wife, Shakespeare & Company's: Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the Shrew), performed on Sunday, March 10, 2024, at 2pm & 7pm at The Foundry (West Stockbridge, MA).

Deeply cynical and woefully underemployed, Bari is surrounded by painfully cheerful co-workers at a small-town packaging “Fulfillment Center.” When she meets Mike, a man who makes art out of garbage, it's her turn to pull another out of darkness. In this quirky new comedy, called “clever” and “filled with laughter” by the Cincinnati Enquirer, Be Here Now, asks what we are willing to do for love, happiness, and to create meaning in our life.


"I always jump at the chance to work with the passionate and engaged artistic community at WAM,” said Director Kelly Galvin, “and I'm really looking forward to bringing Be Here Now to audiences, with its big, compassionate questions about what it really takes to live in the moment and connect to each other in these painful times." 

The next Fresh Takes Play Reading will present an updated script of Far, Far Better Things by acclaimed playwright Geetha Reddy (Mahābhārata, Hela with Lauren Gunderson), directed by Tatyana-Marie Carlo (Pride and Prejudice at Hartford Stage; La Broa' [Broad Street] at Trinity Repertory Company). This play will be presented in person at The Foundry (West Stockbridge, MA) on Sunday, April 7 at 2pm and offered as an online stream Saturday-Sunday, April 13-14.

WAM is proud to present the first reading of the latest version of Far, Far Better Things,  inspired by Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, this new play tells the tale of two women—Pilar, a Latina domestic worker, and Zoe, a young South Asian doctor—separated by class, race, and the unspoken rules of modern womanhood. The two women struggle to balance their responsibilities to their children, to themselves, and to each other. In the end, they must decide if they are on the same or opposing sides of the struggle.

“When I set out to reimagine A Tale of Two Cities my idea was to center the two female characters in the book; portray them as allies instead of enemies,” said Reddy. “As I was writing the play the events of the book and the real world seemed to align. And as I watched, and partook, in the waves of activism sweeping the world I found myself compelled to set the play in the present day. But at its heart I still contend with the same questions Dickens does: How do you know when it is time to act? What action is meaningful? And for whom should you make sacrifices?”

In August, join WAM for a special 15th Anniversary Celebration, featuring a site-specific performance of Outside at The Mount in Lenox, created and directed by our new Artistic Director Genée Coreno. 

Outside tells the story of June Ashbury who returns to a place called Paradise following a climate event. Guided by a lone wolf, June traverses landscapes weathered by time and loss,  gathering strength and hope as she journeys towards new horizons. Audiences will be guided through the grounds at The Mount by characters, text, original score, and puppetry in this family-friendly outside theatrical experience. 

“I am pleased to present an expanded version of Outside featuring never-before-experienced scenes for the WAM community to explore the intersection of gender and environment in an ever changing world. ” said Coreno.

WAM is excited to announce that their fall mainstage production will be Galileo's Daughter by Jessica Dickey (The Amish Project, The Rembrandt, Row After Row), directed by Reena Dutt (Chester Theatre Company's Guards at the Taj), and performed at The Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox.

Rattled by a personal crisis, a playwright flees to Florence to study the letters between Galileo and his eldest daughter Maria Celeste. Caught up in the threats against her father, Maria must abandon her work and join a convent. The writer's discovery of Maria's strength and tenacity inspires her own pursuit of purpose. Alternating between past and present, this play is a personal examination of faith, forgiveness, and the cost of seeking and speaking truth. The Chicago Reader called it “a smart and poignant” story.

Director Reena Dutt explains, "The show travels with a writer working through her own crisis by investigating the history of a brilliant woman long since buried with time. Unearthing their lives in this fast-moving, funny, and heart-warming play is going to be a delight, particularly because the folx at WAM hold all women and our stories with such grace and care. It's the perfect group of people with whom to bring this story to life."

In concert with their theatrical programming, WAM continues its commitment to partnering with emerging theater artists from historically marginalized groups with a new multi–year apprenticeship cohort who will join the creative team of WAM's fall mainstage, Galileo's Daughter, at the Bernstein Theatre. 

“The hope is to build meaningful relationships with apprentices over time to cultivate a sense of creative belonging and nurture paths to future collaborations,” said Coreno. “While the apprenticeship is focused on practical training theater artists backstage, the season also provides multiple devised theater workshops, led by Director of Community Engagement, Maizy Scarpa, including Elder Ensemble, Teen Ensemble, and the first WAM bilingual workshop for artist-activists and Berkshire community members.”  

Other programming includes participation in Berkchique, a pop-up boutique fundraiser selling clothes and accessories, happening April 26th-28th, back for the first time since the pandemic; and hosting the first Regional chapter of The Parent Artist Advocacy League (PAAL), as WAM continues to nurture sustainable pathways for parent-artists here in the Berkshires and beyond. 

TICKETS

WAM's Fresh Takes Play Reading Series tickets are now on sale. Join WAM in-person for a season of new groundbreaking readings. Seating is limited at all Fresh Takes readings and expected to sell-out. 

WAM will release tickets for the 15th season benefit and fall mainstage, Galileo's Daughter, in the coming months. For tickets and more information about WAM Theatre's 2024 Season, programs, events, and artists, please visit wamtheatre.com.

WAM THEATRE 204 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS

A Fresh Takes Play Reading

Be Here Now

Written by Deborah Zoe Laufer
Directed by Kelly Galvin
The Foundry (West Stockbridge, MA)
Sunday, March 10 at 2pm & 7pm
Tickets $25 and $50


A Fresh Takes Play Reading and development

Far, Far Better Things

Written by Geetha Reddy
Directed by Tatyana-Marie Carlo
The Foundry (West Stockbridge, MA) 
Sunday, April 7 at 2pm, live 
Sunday, April 13-14, online
Tickets $25 & $50

WAM Theatre's 15th Anniversary Benefit Performance
Featuring a Site-Specific Performance of Outside
Created and Directed by WAM Artistic Director Genée Coreno
At The Mount, Edith Wharton's Home (Lenox, MA)
August 18, 2024 


Fall Mainstage Production

Galileo's Daughter

by Jessica Dickey
Directed by Reena Dutt
The Elayne P. Bernstein Theater, Shakespeare & Company, Lenox
October 18-November 3, 2024


For more information about the 2024 Season and WAM Theatre's programs, events, and artists, please visit www.WAMTheatre.com.
 

MORE ABOUT THE WAM TEAM:

Genée Coreno

(She/Her, Artistic Director) is a director and producer with a passion for devised theater created in collaboration with women, girls, and non-binary artists and designers. WAM Theatre: Incoming Artistic Director and life-long admirer. Selected Directing Credits: Outside (Culture Lab, LIC), Madge Love (Theater Mitu & The Brick),  The Hopelessly Hopeless Story of All Good Girls (The Brick), “Is This Clear Enough?” (The Poetry Project), Dutchman (UnUrban Cafe, LA), Selected Producing Credits: The Possessed Girls of St. Mary's (Reading, at Brick Aux), thisamericanplay (pop-up theater by Blue Flamingo), The Stronger & Mother Love (Alchemical Studios), The World is Round (BAM Fisher). Select Company Management Credits: Under the Radar Festival (The Public Theater), The Outer Space (The Public Theater), National Mobile Unit Tour of Sweat (The Public Theater), Mobile Unit's Twelfth Night (The Public Theater), Various Performances (Big Dance Theater). Community Engagement/Activist Work: Former Manager of Development and Engagement at Every Mother Counts and Clinic Escort at Choices; Adjunct Professor at Purchase College, Women and Performance. Training: MA in Performance Studies, NYU; BA in Drama Studies, Purchase College; Embodied Voice: Intensive Vocal Workshop; The Song of the Goat; Siti Company Summer Intensive; Theater Mitu Artist Fellowship (Japan). Creative Inspiration: I'm inspired by large-scale international work that demonstrates a commitment to dance theater practices and film-making.  

Molly Merrihew 

(She/ Her, Managing Director) is an arts executive and nonprofit leader with over a decade of experience in the nonprofit theatre and the for-profit arts and entertainment sector. She has worked collaboratively with organizations, artists, and clients ranging from grassroots ensembles to multimillion-dollar non-profit institutions and for-profit creative enterprises. Molly is a proud advocate of the Berkshire arts community, and her consulting work has also brought her to Boston and New York City. From activist art in found-spaces, to large scale Shakespearean festivals and award-winning audiobook launches, Molly is energized by passionate artists, creative thinkers, and an innate curiosity to meet new people and learn new things. Recent work experience includes spending the past four years at WAM Theatre as Managing Director. Molly spent eight years at Shakespeare & Company working in PR and Marketing. Molly's journey with WAM actually began in 2014, when she spent four years in the role of Artistic Associate, curating and producing the Fresh Takes Reading Series. After that, she served on WAM's Strategic Planning and Hospitality Committees for two years. Before moving to the Berkshires, Molly worked at the Florida Studio Theatre in a variety of capacities including communications and patron services. In addition to her full-time work, Molly has led consulting projects for artist organizations and projects in a variety of roles including lead strategist, project manager, grant reviewer, and copywriter. Molly has an M.S. in Arts Administration with a Graduate Certificate in Fundraising Management from Boston University. She graduated with a B.A. in Theatre and English-Creative Writing from the State University of New York at Potsdam. More recently, Molly completed the ‘Transformational Leadership Program for Non-Profit Leaders' at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. She is the co-chair of Berkshire County Development Alliance, a member of the Berkshire Business & Professional Women association, and a BRIDGE Race Task Force member. 

Talya Kingston

(She/Her, Associate Artistic Director) is a dramaturg, playwright, and educator, who is inspired by the live interactions between artists and audiences and how these can be a catalyst for social change. Prior to joining WAM in 2018, she was a Visiting Professor of Theatre at Hampshire College. She has also held the positions of Education Director at Hartford Stage and of Educational Programs Coordinator at the New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco. Talya is originally from Britain and returned for five recent summers to co-teach a University of Massachusetts course at the Edinburgh Festival. Talya's writing on theatre has appeared in Theater Journal, Scene Magazine, The Moving Voice, European Stages, HowlRound, and The Valley Advocate. Talya curates WAM's Fresh Takes Play Reading Series and has directed readings of Swallow, Paradise, Campus Unrest, and The Thanksgiving Play. Her professional dramaturgy credits include: What The Constitution Means to Me, ROE and Lady Randy at WAM; the premiere of Eve Ensler's Necessary Targets at Hartford Stage/Variety Arts Theatre; the US premiere of Helmet by Douglas Maxwell at the New York Fringe Festival; an immersive production of The Lonely Soldier Project by Helen Benedict; Seriously… What Did You Call Me? written and performed by Onawumni Jean Moss at the Ko Festival; and Late Style, a stage adaptation of conversations between Edward Said and Daniel Barenboim featuring performances by members of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. Talya is a member of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, the Dramatists Guild, the Play Incubation Collective and the Northampton Playwrights Lab, and holds an MFA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Maizy Broderick Scarpa 

(she/they/any pronouns) is an educator, writer, and theatre artist who is dedicated to building a more just & healthy world by fostering equity in the arts, and nurturing mutually supportive communities. Current Role at WAM: Director of Community Engagement. Previous WAM Credits: Teaching Artist (Teen Ensemble 2023); Actor in Fresh Takes Play Readings (Port of Entry, Grand Concourse, The Droll, The Tall Girls, Campus Unrest); 24 Hour Theatre Project 2016 (Playwright); workshop co-facilitator “Writing & Gender” Selected Teaching Credits Elsewhere: Theatre: Barrington Stage Co, Shakespeare & Company, Hampton Shakespeare Festival, Dorset Theatre Festival, The Buxton School, Taconic High School, Le Chapeau Rouge, StateraConIV.  English as a Foreign Language: Lycée Alphonse Daudet; Collège Rene Cassin; The Kurdish Regional Government. Training: NYU/Tisch (Adler & ETW). Awards & Experiences: Named a “Berkshire County Woman Change Maker” by the Berkshire Eagle for International Woman's Day (nominated by Kristen Van Ginhoven); proud member of the Dramatists Guild of North America; 3+ years as an advocate & case manager for people living with HIV and/or experiencing housing instability. Selected Artistic Credits: Maizy's plays have enjoyed productions, readings, and workshops across the United States as well as in Sweden and France. She has performed as an actor throughout the Berkshires and across the Northeast. (If you have kids, you may have heard their voice on WBUR's popular storytelling podcast Circle Round). Inspired by the belief that all humans are artists, she founded Bloom Creativity in early 2020, which helps people unleash their inner artist through playwriting and creative wellness. Connect: maizyscarpa.com / bloomcreativity.com Instagram: @maizyscarpa / @bloom_creativity
 
MORE ABOUT THE 2024 SEASON ARTISTS 

Kelly Galvin

(director, Be Here Now) A director, producer, and teaching artist, Kelly is passionate about making theater with artists and audiences of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. WAM Theatre: The Last Wife (director), Emilie remount (associate director), Artistic Associate (2012-2014), Fresh Takes inaugural play reading series (producer), Blue Stockings reading (director), The Tall Girls reading (director). Selected Theatre Credits Elsewhere: Kelly has directed for Shakespeare & Company, Gloucester Stage, Boston Playwrights' Theatre, Great Barrington Public Theater, the Theater at Woodshill, Catskill Mountain Shakespeare, Southwest Shakespeare Company, Advice to the Players, and Berkshire Playwrights' Lab; she has assistant directed for the Guthrie, Asolo Rep, and the Orlando Shakespeare Festival. Community Engagement/Activist Work: Program Director at Community Access to the Arts in Great Barrington, an organization that nurtures and celebrates the creativity of people with disabilities through the arts. Membership/Affiliations: Company artist with Shakespeare & Company, founder of the rig, and associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Association. Training: Boston University (MFA in Directing and Certificate in Arts Administration). Wellesley College (BA, Political Theory and Theatre Studies). Connect: kellydirecting.com; CATAarts.org

Deborah Zoe Laufer

(playwright, Be Here Now) is a writer whose plays have been produced at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cleveland Playhouse, Geva, The Humana Festival, Everyman, Primary Stages, Ensemble Studio Theatre, and hundreds of other theaters around the world. Plays: The Last Yiddish Speaker (which just received a Lortel commission and is a finalist of The Jewish Play Project), Be Here Now, End Days, Rooted, Informed Consent (NYTimes critic's pick), Leveling Up, Out of Sterno, The Last Schwartz, Sirens, Meta, The Three Sisters of Weehawken, Fortune, dozens of short plays, and the musicals Window Treatment and By Any Other Name, written with composer, Daniel Green. Awards: Deb is a recipient of the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award, the Lilly Award, The ATCA Steinberg citation, and grants and commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, The Edgerton Foundation, The National New Play Network, and the Lincoln Center Foundation. Her work has been developed by The Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference, Theatre Lab, PlayPenn, The Cherry Lane Alternative, The Missoula Colony, LOCAL Theatre, Asolo Rep, The Baltic Playwrights Conference, and more. Publications: Her plays are published or recorded by Concord/Samuel French, Smith and Kraus, Playscripts, LA Theatreworks, and Premieres. Training and Memberships: She is a graduate of Juilliard, an alumna of the BMI Lehman Engel Advanced Musical Theatre Workshop, a member of Honor Roll, and a Dramatists Guild Council member. Connect: deborahzoelaufer.com

Geetha Reddy

(playwright, Far, Far Better Things) is a playwright and filmmaker working in the Bay Area. Her plays include: Mahābhārata (Oakland Theatre Project) Far, Far Better Things (Shotgun Players/ TheatreFirst), Hela (with Lauren Gunderson, TheatreFirst), Safe House (SF Playhouse), Blastosphere (with Aaron Loeb, CentralWorks). Geetha's plays Me Given You, Girl in a Box, and On a Wonderverse were part of the Playwright's Foundation's ‘In the Rough' reading series. Safe House and On a Wonderverse were featured in the Bay Area Playwrights Festival. She has been commissioned by TheatreWorks, SFPlayhouse,  Oakland Theatre Project, Shotgun Players, Crowded Fire, the Gerbode Foundation, and PlayGround (3). Her plays have also appeared in the San Francisco Fringe Festival, the Santa Rosa Quickies festival, the Best of PlayGround Festival, the Just Theatre Lab series, the Crowded Fire Matchbox series, and the Theatreworks New Works Festival. Film Credits: Her short film Obit appeared at LA Shorts, NY Indie Fest, Bend Film Festival, the GI Film Festival, and many others. Memberships: Geetha is a member of the Dramatist's Guild and alumna Resident Playwright at the Playwright's Foundation.

Tatyana-Marie Carlo

(director, Far, Far Better Things) is a proud Puerto Rican director from Miami who received her MFA in Directing from Brown University and her BFA in Acting from New World School of the Arts. WAM Theatre: debut. Theatre Credits Elsewhere: Sueño and Marisol by José Rivera; Behold, a Negress by Jacqueline E. Lawton; Fedra, Queen of Haiti by J. Nicole Brooks; Fade by Tanya Saracho; Subliminal by Ren Dara Santiago; The Last Days of Judas Iscariot by Stephen Adly Guirgis; She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen; Real Women Have Curves by Josefina Lopez; Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes; The Motherf**ker with the Hat by Stephen Adly Guirgis; Life is a Dream by Pedro Calderón de la Barca; References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot by Jose Rivera; Paris by Eboni Booth; The Inferior Sex by Jacqueline E. Lawton; Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris; Carmela Full of Wishes by Alvaro Saar Rios; Vámonos by Julissa Contreras; La Gringa by Carmen Rivera; A Little Less Lonely at Dallas Theater Center; and several bilingual adaptations of Shakespeare with La Bulla Collective. Most recently she directed Pride and Prejudice by Kate Hamill at Hartford Stage and La Broa' (Broad Street) at Trinity Repertory Company. Awards: 2019 Matt Harris Directing Fellow at Williamstown Theater Festival. 2021 Drama League Public Works Fellow. As the former Artistic Director of Micro Theater Miami, Tatyana integrated English-language plays where previously all the plays were performed in Spanish. Soon after she became the Associate Director of Seminole Theatre, a performing arts center in Homestead FL. In her role, she aided in the reopening of the theater after a 40-year closure. Membership: SDC. Contact: tatyanamariecarlo.com

Jessica Dickey

(playwright, Galileo's Daughter) is an award-winning playwright and actor. Playwriting: Jessica's most recent play, The Convent, a dark comedy about a group of women who try to live like nuns in the middle ages, premiered Off-Broadway this year in a sold out co-production with Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Rising Phoenix, and WeatherVane, and is now being developed into a series for Sarah Jessica Parker's company, Pretty Matches. Jessie's play The Rembrandt (about a museum guard who decides to deliberately touch a Rembrandt painting) had a sold out run at Steppenwolf starring John Mahoney. Other plays have been premiered Off-Broadway in New York and produced around the country: The Amish Project, about the 2006 Nickel Mines school shooting in an Amish community; then Charles Ives Take Me Home, about a violinist father and his basketball star daughter; and Row After Row, a dark comedy about Civil War reenactors. Her next world premiere is coming up this season on the west coast: Nan and the Lower Body is a dark comedy about the creation of the Pap Smear and her maternal grandmother (commissioned by Manhattan Theater Club and the Sloan Foundation). Acting Credits include: Cry It Out (Humana Festival), Pocatello (Playwrights Horizons), and performances at Manhattan Theater Club, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Barrow Street, Cherry Lane, Keen Company, the Guthrie, McCarter, the Huntington, Denver Center, and George Street. TV Credits include: Homeland, Shades of Blue, The Big C, Law & Order, and the Lifetime movie Amish Grace. Memberships & Awards: Jessica is a member of the exclusive New Dramatists and a recipient of the prestigious Stavis Award. Contact: jessicadickey.com

Reena Dutt

(director, Galileo's Daughter) is dedicated to new and reimagined texts that catapult polarizing conversations through unexpected stories with the bodies, voices, and life experiences of the underheard. Theatre Credits: Her Broadway debut was on The Collaboration at MTC as Assistant Director to Kwame Kwei-Armah of the Young Vic in London, and she most recently assisted Leigh Silverman on Merry Me at NYTW. New York:  Columbia University, Playwrights Realm, A.R.T.  West Coast: UC Riverside, Artists At Play, Coeurage Ensemble, UC Riverside, Greenway Court Theatre, East West Players, Sacred Fools. Upcoming: An Experiment with an Airpump (CalArts), Pang Spa (World Premiere, Chalk Rep). Film: Reena is also a film director and producer, having screened films at over 80 festivals worldwide including Sundance, LAFF, Outfest, Frameline, Cucalorus, NBCUniversal, BET, PBS/Latino, and HBO. Her most recent short film, FOUND, brings voice to transracial adoption through fictional storytelling from the adoptee's point of view and is currently touring the festival circuit in conjunction with private events with adoption organizations across the country. Dutt directed TOO MANY BODIES, a socially driven music and dance piece advocating for gun reform, which was picked up by NoRAnow.org and Survivors Empowered and received numerous awards in music video and social justice categories. She directed 3 PUFFS OF GOLD, a magical realism piece about domestic violence, and was a finalist for New Filmmakers Los Angeles: On Location competition with her film "SNAPSHOT!" (2011), which explored Angelinos and their diverse roots. Community Activism: Reena was the first South Asian Community Liaison at the Ford Amphitheatre in Los Angeles and served on the board of Theatre of NOTE.  She produced panel discussion connecting 99-seat theater to large theatre houses in the LA area at the Hollywood Fringe Festival and acted as an Associate Producer for Directors Lab West/Connects during the pandemic. Fellowships: Drama League NY Directing Fellow, LCT Directors Lab, Directors Lab West, Project Involve at Film Independent, SFFilm, and Trans Atlantic Partners with the Goethe Institut (Berlin). Connect: reenadutt.com




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