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TFANA and Saint Flashlight Launch Poetry Activation THE WILL OF THE CITY

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Poems Inspired by Shakespeare's plays will transform the streetside and outdoor screens at Polonsky Shakespeare Center through the fall.

TFANA and Saint Flashlight present The Will of the City, poems inspired by playwright and poet William Shakespeare, launching today and running through the fall. Spotlighting the work of over a dozen writers, this activation will transform the streetside and outdoor screens at Polonsky Shakespeare Center (262 Ashland Place, Brooklyn, NY)-Theatre for a New Audience's home in Fort Greene-into a bi-weekly updated anthology of poems inspired by Shakespeare's plays.

This collaboration celebrates TFANA's return in the wake of the pandemic and honors the company's rich history with both New York-affiliated writers and the Bard over the past 40 years. Participants include playwrights Anya Banerjee, Twinkle Burke, Will Eno, Steven Gaultney, Modesto Flako Jimenez, Emmy Lane, Jeffrey Sweet, and Carol Triffle, as well as poets Regie Cabico, Mónica de la Torre, Kate Lutzner, Ricardo Alberto Maldonado, Diane Mehta, and Malcolm Tariq, among others.

Curated by Saint Flashlight co-founder Drew Pisarra, The Will of the City aims to put fresh eyes on the tragedies (Hamlet), the romances (The Winter's Tale), the comedies (Twelfth Night) and the histories (Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2) in equal measure.

Curator Pisarra says, "As a longtime fan of TFANA and a writer obsessed with the sonnet, I couldn't be more tickled by the various ways these poets and playwrights have used Shakespeare as a muse. And while none of the contributors has seen each other's final works yet, some serendipitous pairings have emerged. Will Eno (A Winter's Tale) and Diane Mehta (Hamlet) both took on global warming unbeknownst to each other while Anya Banerjee (A Midsummer Night's Dream) and Malcolm Tariq (Othello) both focused on characters only mentioned in their respective plays. My goal in the coming months is to pair a playwright and a poet each week to highlight these wonderfully accidental thematic connections."

TFANA Founding Artistic Director Jeffrey Horowitz expands: "When Shakespeare was writing in his lifetime, England was filled with other poets, playwrights and songwriters. Artists influenced other artists. I'm thrilled Saint Flashlight and Drew Pisarra reached out to TFANA as this project is Elizabethan. It creates a vibrant literary exchange between past and present that is part of the essence of TFANA's programming. And what thrilling writers."


ABOUT THE WRITERS

Anya Banerjee is a Kiwi-American actress/writer. Born in Wisconsin and raised in New Zealand, she completed a Masters in English Literature at University of Auckland. In 2017, she returned to the States to earn an MFA in Acting from Columbia University (2020). Anya turned her literary research on prostitute-actresses in colonial Bengal into Apologies to the Bengali Lady, her first play. The piece was workshopped at Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University before playing at The Tank NYC and finally Edinburgh Fringe Festival where it received shining reviews from The Scotsman, British Theatre Guide, and The List.

Twinkle Burke is a writer/actor who was born in Harlem, NY and spent her early days using the steps of Columbia University as her playground. She then spent decades living in the East Village. Her work has been seen and produced by Actors & Writers of Hudson Valley, TMI Project, Lift Every Voice: Black Women Speak Festival, and The Drawing Board, to name a few. She is a Teaching Artist for Teachers & Writers, and a writing mentor for Prison Writes. She is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and is a 2021 recipient of the Cerimon Personal Development grant.

Regie Cabico won the Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam and took top prizes in three National Poetry Slams. His solo shows and plays have been presented at Dixon Place, Joe's Pub, The Kitchen, Humana Theater Festival, and Woolly Mammoth Theater. Cabico is a former NYU Asian American Studies Artist-in-Residence and received a NY Innovative Theater Award for his work with the New York Neo-Futurist production of Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind. He is featured in The Queer Nuyorican: Racialized Sexualities and Aesthetics in Loisaida (NYU Press, 2021)

Mónica de la Torre's most recent book of poems and translations is Repetition Nineteen (Nightboat). Other books include The Happy End/All Welcome (Ugly Duckling Presse)-a riff on Kafka's Amerika-and Public Domain (Roof Books). With Alex Balgiu, she co-edited the anthology Women in Concrete Poetry 1959-79 (Primary Information) and teaches at Brooklyn College. Recent writing appears in The Paris Review Daily, the NY Review, and Midst.

Will Eno lives in Brooklyn with his wife Maria Dizzia and their daughter Albertine. He is a Pulitzer finalist, and winner of an Obie, Drama Desk, Guggenheim Fellowship, and Lucille Lortel Award, among other honors. His plays have been performed around the country and world and translated into many languages. They are published by Samuel French, TCG, Dramatists Play Service, playscripts, and Oberon Books. He wrote the book for the wildly successful Skittles Commercial: The Broadway Musical. He is working on several new plays and television projects.


Steven Gaultney is a Brooklyn-based playwright. His plays include A Thousand Ships at the Bottom of the Sea, Limb from Limb, Negligence, and Adam's Dream. He is the resident playwright for The Theatre of Others, which has now produced two of his plays. His work has also been developed by Chautauqua Theatre Company and Theatre for a New Audience. M.F.A.: Columbia University.

Modesto Flako Jimenez is a Dominican-born, Bushwick-raised theater maker, producer, and educator. Jimenez is best known for original productions and three signature festivals produced with his company Oye Group. He has appeared in Taxilandia (Oye Group, NYTW, the Bushwick Starr, & The Tank, NYTimes Critic's Pick), Early Shaker Spirituals (Wooster Group), Last Night At The Palladium (Bushwick Starr/3LD), Yoleros (Bushwick Starr/IATI theater), Conversations Pt.1: How To Make It Black In America (JACK), Take Me Home (3LD/Incubator Arts Project), Richard Maxwell's Samara (Soho Rep.), Kaneza Schaal's Jack & (BAM).

Kate Lutzner is the author of Invitation to a Rescue (Poet Republik Limited, 2016). Her poems and stories have appeared in Antioch Review, Mississippi Review, The Brooklyn Rail, BlazeVOX, Rattle, and other journals. Lutzner holds a JD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MFA from The City College of New York. She lives in Brooklyn.

Ricardo Alberto Maldonado is co-editor of Puerto Rico en mi corazón and author of The Life Assignment, a finalist for the Norma Farber Award from the Poetry Society of America. He is at work on the Puerto Rico Literary Project, an archive of poets supported by the Mellon Foundation.

Diane Mehta is the author of Forest with Castanets and a recipient of a 2020 Literature Grantee of Café Royal Cultural Foundation. The New Yorker has published three poems recently, and other poems and essays are in Agni, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Air/Light, American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, and Southern Humanities Review. Previous Saint Flashlight projects include Movie Marquee Poems at Nitehawk Cinema and The Lost Poems at O Miami. The New York City Ballet commissioned a poem on Christopher Wheeldon's DGV: Danse à Grande Vitesse. She is finishing a novel set in 1946 and a collection of essays.

Emmy Potter is an actor, writer, comedian, and director originally from the Midwest, who moved to NYC with just two giant suitcases in 2011. Over the past decade, she's established herself online as a go-to voice for thoughtful, funny, feminist film/TV analysis at Consequence of Sound, Bright Wall/Dark Room, and Crooked Marquee. Offline, she's authored such plays as Maneater and The Wayward Women. (The latter was commissioned by Phoenix Theatre Ensemble.) Having collaborated with Saint Flashlight on Movie Marquee Poems at Nitehawk Cinema, she's thrilled to be part of this new project celebrating two things she loves: Shakespeare and NYC.

Jeffrey Sweet is the author of more than 20 plays and musicals, including Flyovers (Jeff Award), The Action Against Sol Schumann (ATCA Award), American Enterprise (ATCA Award) Court-Martial at Fort Devens (Audelco Award), Bluff, Porch and The Value of Names, many of which played New York, Chicago, and stages around the country. He also wrote lots of TV and published books on Second City (Something Wonderful Right Away), the O'Neill Center (The O'Neill) and playwriting technique (The Dramatist's Toolkit). His most recent play was Kunstler, which had successful runs at 59E59 and Barrington Stage. He teaches playwriting online through TheNegotiatingStage.com.

Malcolm Tariq is a poet and playwright from Savannah, Georgia. He is the author of Heed the Hollow (Graywolf, 2020), winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and the Georgia Author of the Year Award in Poetry. He was a 2016-2017 playwriting apprentice at Horizon Theatre Company and a 2020-2021 resident playwright with Liberation Theatre Company. Malcolm is a graduate of Emory University and holds a PhD in English from the University of Michigan. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he is the Programs Manager at Cave Canem, a home for Black poetry.

Carol Triffle co-founded Imago Theatre with Jerry Mouawad. The company's signature works-FROGZ and ZooZoo-have appeared at the acclaimed New Victory Theater on Broadway and won critical acclaim across Asia, Europe, Canada and the U.S. Additionally, Triffle studied extensively with Jacques Lecoq in Paris, completing his pedagogical program. Drawing inspiration from Lecoq, Triffle places form and design at the forefront of theatre creation and infuses each production with idiosyncratic physical energy. She wrote, directed and acted in Ginger's Green which marked the first of 15 original music-theater plays including her last, the radio play HAPPY TIMES.


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