Celebrated Arts Orgs to Collaborate on FOUR PLAYS - 100 YEARS: A Celebration of Women's Suffrage

By: Apr. 25, 2017
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To celebrate the 100th Anniversary of New York State signing of woman's suffrage into law, three years before the US passed the 19th Amendment, Hangar Theatre, Kitchen Theatre Company, Civic Ensemble and Cherry Arts are collaborating on a two-night theater event: Four Plays - 100 Years. Performances will be at Kitchen Theatre Company on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 16 and 17 at 7:30pm.

The four theater companies are collaborating with many Ithaca area theater artists plus a few visiting guests. All four plays will be performed each night. There will be a post-show discussion following each performance. The project is supported in part by a grant from Humanities, NY and each of the theaters. Proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Women's Opportunity Center, Ithaca, NY.

Each evening will include: from Hangar Theatre March On! by Fengar Gael with anthem music and lyrics by Sheilah Rae, directed by Courtney Young, with actors Cynthia Henderson, Jennifer Herzog, Effie Johnson and Erica Steinhagen; from Kitchen Theatre Company Mrs. Satan & the Nasty Woman by Alice Eve Cohen; from Civic Ensemble In the Parlour by Judy Tate, directed by Beth Milles with actors Sylvie Yntema and Honey Crawford; from The Cherry Arts, MAY/ISABELLA/JO a triptych of monologues: LessonS for my Daughter by Aoise Stratford,with Darcy Rose, Don't Dream by Saviana Stanescu,with Camilla Schade, and Esopus by Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, with Eunice Akinola.

Samuel Buggeln will direct, with a soundscape by Annie Lewandowski performed by Sergey Levitskiy. The lighting designer and scenic coordinator is Tyler M. Perry. Stage manager is Tasha Sinclair. Lesley Greene is the production sound designer.

Hangar Theatre Company'sMarch On! by Fengar Gael, Anthem music and lyrics by Sheilah Rae.

The organizers of a Women's Suffrage Centennial rally accidentally summon the spirit of 19th century suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton to lead their parade. When bomb threats threaten to close the rally, however, Elizabeth Cady Stanton inspires the modern-day rallyists to continue fighting for what they believe in and, most of all, to march on!

Kitchen Theatre Company's MRS. SATAN AND THE NASTY WOMAN by Alice Eve Cohen.

Victoria Woodhull, the very first woman to run for president, is arrested and jailed right before the election of 1872. On the eve of the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton is having a hard time sleeping. Her mind is racing. Insomnia rules. Every time she thinks she has awakened, she finds herself in the Ludlow Street Jail in NYC, sharing a cell with Victoria Woodhull. Almost erased from the history books, Victoria was a clairvoyant, free-thinker, radical activist, stockbroker, and suffrage fighter. Will Hillary be radicalized by Victoria's foresight and revolutionary politics? Will she finally have a night's rest? Playwright Alice Eve Cohen examines two women's roles in the long path to a woman President.

In Civic Ensemble's IN THE PARLOUR, it's 1913, the eve of the FIRST Women's March on Washington, to which all women were invited to participate -- except black women. Written by Emmy-winner Judy Tate, IN THE PARLOUR is a battle of wills between white suffragette and Women's March organizer Alice Paul and black activists Mary Church Terrell and Nellie Quander over the intersection between race, gender, and inclusion.

In The Cherry Arts' MAY/ISABELLA/JO, three celebrated Ithaca writers explore the voices of three women and their complicated relationships to the right to vote. DON'T DREAM introduces May, an Eastern European woman who is cleaning and cooking for a wealthy family on Nov 7; in LESSONS FOR MY DAUGHTER, Iowan mom Jo explains to her daughter why people convicted of a felony in that state can never again vote; and in ESOPUS, a young Black activist turns to poetry in the wake of a calamitous election and finds herself slipping into communion with a young Black Dutch girl in Esopus, NY named Sojourner.

When newly appointed artistic director Michael Barakiva invited fellow local artistic directors Rachel Lampert, Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr., Sarah K. Chalmers and Sam Buggeln to his house for breakfast, it was primarily to reach out to his new colleagues. In his words, "One of the most terrifying things about leaving New York is the fear of artistic isolation." Not only was the breakfast delicious, it also began the collaboration that resulted in Four Plays - 100 Years. "We all know what happens when you get a bunch of us directors in a room together: we start planning. We can't help it. We're bossy," remembers Michael Barakiva. Sarah Chalmers was working with the History Center on their commemoration the Centennial of the Women's Suffrage movement. She suggested that as a theme. Rachel offered the Kitchen Theatre Company for the space. Godfrey Simmons and Samuel Buggeln said they could market it. And the Hangar applied for the grants. Nine months, two Humanities New York grants and endless breakfasts later, we have a production.

"The breakfasts were excellent. As was the opportunity to sit down together to plan the event, but also share information, even some commiserating, has made this a fun project for all of us," adds Rachel Lampert, Kitchen Theatre Company.

Post- Show Discussions Following each performance there will be a post-show discussion with the participating artists from all four companies. The May 16th post-show discussion will be facilitated by Sara L. Warner, Stephen H. Weiss Junior Fellow; Director of Graduate Studies; Associate Professor, Associate Professor of Performing and Media Arts. Warner is a core faculty member in the Feminist, Gender, and Sexual Studies Program and an affiliate faculty member in LGBTQ Studies, American Studies, and Visual Studies.

The May 17th post-show discussion will be facilitated by Chrystyna Dail Assistant Professor, Department of Theatre ArtsFaculty, School of Humanities and Sciences. Dail teaches Introduction to Theatre, History of the Theatre I and II, U.S. Social Activist Performance: History and Praxis, and the Theatre Studies Capstone in the Department of Theatre Arts.

Tickets are $10-$20. Tickets are available by calling (607) 272-0570 or on line at www.kitchentheatre.org or in person at the Kitchen offices (409 W. State St.) Monday-Friday, 10:00 AM-6:00 PM and at the theater (417 W. State St.) Saturday-Sunday, 12:00-4:00 PM.


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