WILLA'S AUTHENTIC SELF, Re-Imagining of Jewish Golem Myth, to be Presented at MITU580

This limited engagement runs May 11–26, 2023, at MITU580.

By: Mar. 23, 2023
WILLA'S AUTHENTIC SELF, Re-Imagining of Jewish Golem Myth, to be Presented at MITU580
Enter Your Email to Unlock This Article

Plus, get the best of BroadwayWorld delivered to your inbox, and unlimited access to our editorial content across the globe.

Existing user? Just click login.

Lisa Clair Group, in association with Immediate Medium and in collaboration with New Georges, will present Willa's Authentic Self, a musical, monstrous, and maximalist re-imagining of the ancient Jewish Golem myth. Written by Lisa Clair and directed by Shannon Sindelar, this world premiere explores how the desire to create can lead to the transformation of our communities. Willa's Authentic Self features Clair in the title role and Obie-winning actor and playwright Juliana Francis Kelly as her daughter. This limited engagement runs May 11-26, 2023, at MITU580 (580 Sackett Street, Brooklyn) with an opening set for May 14. Tickets are now on sale at www.lisaclair.com.

Willa just can't take it anymore! She feels boxed in! She wants to WEAR POWERFUL SUITS! Her apartment is infested with ants - her WHOLE LIFE is infested with ants! Willa is ATTACKED ON ALL SIDES! One day Willa receives a lump of clay. But not an ordinary lump - this clay is ALIVE! Willa is transformed; first into mother of a golem daughter and then into Mayor of New York City! This is a golem story. But like any Golem story, chaos reigns!

Willa's Authentic Self was inspired by Cynthia Ozick's 1997 messianic experimental short story "Puttermesser and Xanthippe," which retells the Golem myth through a feminist lens. The piece interrogates the responsibility of citizen artists to respond to our changing world through our own creative urges.

The work of Lisa Clair was last seen in New York in 2018 with the premiere of The Making of King Kong, an explosive and subversive fantasia 'Making Of' the original 1933 flick. Jesse Green in The New York Times noted, "All of the gender and racial ickiness of the 1933 film - defused or simply erased in the Broadway retelling - is here brought to the fore." Helen Shaw in Time Out New York celebrated Clair's "good instinct for experimental theatrical chaos."

Willa's Authentic Self finds the playwright and performer returning to a theatrical vision that is rooted in personal experiences. Its development was shaped by the death of her father in 2021 and the birth of her daughter in 2022.

"As modern-day life retreated in the midst of the pandemic, I found myself considering the creative act in new ways," says Clair. "The passing of my father, who I had been caring for, followed by the birth of my daughter radically changed my understanding of the creative process and my responsibility to the larger world. While these experiences are not unique, they were transformational and emboldened me to approach my art as a political act of care - one that should attempt to manifest positive change in my community."

In addition to Lisa Clair and Juliana Francis Kelly, the cast for Willa's Authentic Self includes Dee Dorcas Beasnel, Sauda Jackson, Jeremy Kadetsky, Nicholas Sanchez, and Hanlon Smith-Dorsey.

The creative team includes Caitlin Ayer (lead production design), John Gasper (sound design), Mary Ellen Stebbins (lighting design), Yijun Yang (associate scenic design), Emily White (associate costume design), Red (associate props and media design), Max Mooney (Stage Management) and Blaze Ferrer (creative producer)

Thirteen performances of Willa's Authentic Self will take place May 11-26, 2023, at MITU580, located at 580 Sackett Street in Brooklyn. Critics are welcome as of May 11 for an opening on Sunday, May 14. The performance schedule is Wednesday-Saturday at 7 PM and Sunday at 5 PM with an additional performance on Tuesday, May 23 at 7 PM. General admission tickets, which are priced at $15-$35, are available at www.lisaclair.com. Standard ticketing fees apply.

Willa's Authentic Self is produced and created by the Lisa Clair Group in association with Immediate Medium and In Collaboration with New Georges. In Collaboration with New Georges is an active partnership with artists in which New Georges stewards artist-driven productions of new works we love. It was developed, in part, with support from Theater Mitu's Artists-At-Home program.

Please visit
www.lisaclair.com for more information.

About the Artists

Lisa Clair

(playwright/performer) is a New York based playwright and performer. She makes work under the name Lisa Clair Group, a collective of performers, musicians, and designers who collaborate across disciplines to create live, experimental performance. Clair is a 2020-2021 New Georges Audrey Resident and an affiliated artist with Immediate Medium/AGENCY. Her work has been presented at The Collapsable Hole, Target Margin Theater, SPRING/BREAK art show, The SFX Festival @ The Wild Project, The Bushwick Starr Reading Series, Ars Nova, Dixon Place, JACK, The Performance Project at University Settlement and The Silent Barn.

As a performer, Clair frequently collaborates with New York-based theater artists including David Commander, Normandy Sherwood, Banana Bag and Bodice, Nellie Tinder, Dan Fishback, Little Lord and Immediate Medium. Her early years as a theater maker were spent in Minneapolis where she apprenticed with The Theater de La Jeune Lune and went on to perform with them for several seasons. She also performed with MPLS based theater companies Ten Thousand Things, Mixed Blood Theater and The Children's Theater Company. Clair has a BA from Bard College, a certificate of completion in Clown from The Burlesk Center in Locarno Switzerland under master teacher Pierre Byland. She completed her MFA in playwriting at Brooklyn College under Mac Wellman and Erin Courtney (class of 2018). She is also a voice over artist, having voiced numerous animated and commercial characters. Clair is also an experienced educator and currently teaches experimental playwriting and acting at Sarah Lawrence College.

Shannon Sindelar

(director) is a theater director and producer based in New York City. Recent directing work includes regional premieres of Madeleine George's Hurricane Diane, Clare Barron's Dance Nation, the Midwest premiere of Will Eno's The Realistic Joneses, and the Southern premiere of Jaclyn Backus' Men on Boats. In NYC her directing work has been seen at The Bushwick Starr, PS 122, Roulette and HERE, among others. For many years she directed the productions of the cross-media performance group 31 Down. She served as managing and programming director of The Ontological-Hysteric Theater, where she produced theatre auteur Richard Foreman's works. Under her direction, the Ontological's Incubator program for independent artists garnered an Obie Award Grant and transitioned into its own organization, where Sindelar served as its first producing director. She currently serves as producing director for the Obie Award-winning company The Builders Association and managing director for the composer-driven non-profit Experiments in Opera. She is an adjunct lecturer at Barnard College, an affiliated artist with New Georges, and a board member of the performance ensemble Object Collection. MFA: Carnegie Mellon (John Wells Directing Fellow).

About Immediate Medium

Immediate Medium is an anti­disciplinary artist collective that creates hybrid works of art that challenge formal distinctions between theater, performance art, dance, film, sculpture, and architecture. Through a unique cooperative producing model, we offer comprehensive support and professional development to artists making vital, experiential, live art that provokes creators and audiences alike.


To post a comment, you must register and login.