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Saviana Stanescu's Provocative New Play About Domestic Slavery Presented On-Demand By HartBeat Ensemble

"Bee Trapped in the Window" is directed by Vernice P. Miller.

Saviana Stanescu's Provocative New Play About Domestic Slavery Presented On-Demand By HartBeat Ensemble

HartBeat Ensemble and the Romanian Cultural Institute announced the collaborative presentation of a provocative new drama, "Bee Trapped Inside the Window" by acclaimed Romanian-American playwright Saviana Stanescu. An intimate look at human trafficking in a wealthy suburb of Connecticut, this virtual play reading premieres Friday, February 26 at 7:30pm and runs through Sunday, March 21.

"Bee Trapped in the Window", directed by Vernice P. Miller, is available to view at no charge by registering at HartBeatEnsemble.org.

"Bee Trapped Inside The Window" explores modern-day slavery's effect on the lives of three women of different backgrounds and ethnicities in the leafy suburbs of Connecticut. May (Lydia Gaston) is an Asian-American in-house domestic worker for a wealthy family with kids; Sasha (Jennifer Dorr White) is a Russian-American corporate executive with a drinking problem; and Mia (Erin Lockett) is Sasha's Black daughter, who is exploring and gradually understanding her own biracial identity.

Written as intercut interior monologues sliding into dialogue, the play follows Mia's coming-of-age story over the course of 15 years through her relationships with her mom and her neighbor, while offering a window into the lives of domestic workers and immigrants. Bee Trapped Inside the Window was originally commissioned and produced by Civic Ensemble as part of Civic Acts: New Plays Toward the Beloved Community.

Playwright Saviana Stanescu states, "In Bee Trapped Inside the Window, I have been exploring the (secret) lives of three women of different backgrounds and ethnicities, their private joys, fears and desires, their daily inner monologues, their personal versions of the American Dream and nightmare. I tried to look at what's hidden behind walls - real or imagined - and create a world where true communication becomes possible. I tried to open a window."

HartBeat Ensemble Artistic Director Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr. states, "In my previous role as the Artistic Director of the Civic Ensemble in Ithaca, NY, I had the great honor of commissioning and overseeing the premiere of Bee Trapped Inside the Window. I'm delighted to not only revisit this work in my new capacity with HartBeat Ensemble, but to partner with the Romanian Cultural Institute to engage audiences with the issues of race, gender, and human trafficking addressed by this compelling play."

The Creative Team:

Saviana Stanescu (playwright) is a cutting-edge Romanian playwright, poet, and ARTivist based in New York/Ithaca. Her US plays include Aliens with extraordinary skills, Ants, White Embers (all published by Samuel French), Useless, Toys, For A Barbarian Woman, Lenin's Shoe, Waxing West (New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Play), What Happens Next, Bee Trapped Inside the Window. Honors include: Fulbright, Indie Theatre Hall of Fame, John Golden Award, KulturKontakt, Marulic Prize, Best Play of the Year UNITER Award. Saviana's plays have been developed/produced off-Broadway at Women's Project, La MaMa, 59E59, NYTW, EST, HERE, New Georges, Lark; regionally at the Hangar Theatre, Cherry Artspace, Civic Ensemble; and globally at Teatro La Capilla in Mexico City, Teatrul Odeon in Bucharest, and Dramalabbet in Stockholm. To learn more, please visit SavianaStanescu.com or Saviana.com.

Vernice P. Miller (director) performer, director, producer, activist- stage work includes directing Three Women (Break the Silence) by anthropologist Dr. Omotayo Jolaosho at the Market Theater Laboratory in Johannesburg before touring South Africa. In Slovenia and Poland, she performed and co-directed Nomansland for Seth Baumrin's Subpoetics International. Miller directed the inaugural production of Bee Trapped Inside the Window by Saviana Stanescu, commissioned by Civic Ensemble in Ithaca, NY. For network television, she shadowed director Felix Alcala on the CBS series Madam Secretary throughout filming of season 6 episode 9 Carpe Diem. Miller has collaborated with jazz musician Wynton Marsalis on Eatonville, a Zora Neal Hurston project, and spent ten years working internationally with HBO comedienne Hazelle Goodman. She is currently an adjunct lecturer at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in NYC. In 1995 with Joann Maria Yarrow, they co-founded A Laboratory for Actor Training Experimental Theatre Company, to evolve work they began with Roberta Carreri at Eugenio Barba's Odin Teatret in Denmark. Miller is the recipient of the London New Play Festival's Best Actress Award for her solo performance of Medea: Now. To learn more, please visit ALATetc.org.

The reading features sound design by Gavin Heaney and is stage managed by Raymond Johannes Kraft.

About the Cast:

Lydia Gaston (May) is a New York actor and teaching artist. Her Broadway credits include Jerome Robbins' Broadway, Miss Saigon, King and I (1996 and 2015 revivals), Shogun and The Red Shoes. Ms. Gaston has appeared Off-Broadway with Ma-Yi Theatre Group, NAATCO, and Pan Asian Rep. TV credits include The Blacklist, The Path, Late Night With Seth Meyers, and The Sopranos.

Erin Lockett (Mia) is originally from Oakland, CA and is currently based in New Jersey. She is a recent graduate from Ithaca College's Acting program and has recently appeared in The Hangar Theater's reading of Sense and Sensibility as Margret and in The Hanagar Theater's reading of The Inferior Sex as Gwen. Erin appeared in the Civic Ensemble production of Bee Trapped Inside the Window.

Jennifer Dorr White (Sasha) has appeared in Saviana Stanescu's Waxing West and Lenin's Shoe for The Lark. Recent credits include Jesus in Manhattan (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Three Girls (Cherry Lane), Loyalty (Hudson Guild), Congratulations Debby (title role), NOS4A2 (recurring), Blindspot, and Law & Order: SVU. Select New York and regional theatres include Working Theater, New World Stages, terraNOVA, CollaborationTown, SATC, Human Race, Dorset, and Denver Center. Select Film and television credits include Good Enough, A.B.C.D., and appearances on the Onion News Network. To learn more, please visit JenniferDorrWhite.com

About HartBeat Ensemble:

Founded in 2001, HartBeat Ensemble's mission is to create provocative theater that connects our community beyond traditional barriers of race, gender, class and geography. HartBeat Ensemble is the only institution in Hartford that consistently uses theater to speak powerfully across different generations, races, populations and interest groups. As an ensemble of artist-activists, we create as well as present innovative productions based on critical civic issues. HartBeat offers audiences the chance to experience and respond to the work they have just seen through live performance and guided conversations. HartBeat's original, full-length creative works, including the award-winning Flipside, the critically acclaimed Jimmy & Lorraine, and the sold-out hit Pegao by Ensemble member Cin Martinez. HartBeat continues to inspire the next generation of leaders to create change for a better world through its Youth Play Institute. To learn more, please visit HartBeatEnsemble.org.

Major support for this programming season is provided by the Department of Economic and Community Development, CT Office of the Arts, CT Humanities, Greater Hartford Arts Council's United Arts Campaign, National Endowment for the Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts Resilience Fund and Travelers.

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