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A PLAY FOR VOICES to Premiere at 2022 FRIGID Festival


This pandemic-born theatrical event is part sound immersion, part sensory deprivation tank, part Beckettian experiment. 

A PLAY FOR VOICES to Premiere at 2022 FRIGID Festival

Award-winning playwright-performer and indie theatre darling Melody Bates joins a powerhouse international company of artists to present A PLAY FOR VOICES as part of the 2022 FRIGID Festival. Directed by Gulshan Mia and David Bennett, with music by Fumio Tashiro and projections by Miho Morita, and performed by Bates and Julia Cavagna, this experimental event will take place at UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, New York, NY 10003) on Wednesday, February 16 at 7pm, Sunday, February 20 at 1:45pm, Wednesday, February 23 at 8:45pm, Thursday, March 2 at 10:30pm, and Saturday, March 5 at 5:15pm. Tickets ($20) are available for advance purchase at The performance will run approximately 40 minutes.

A PLAY FOR VOICES takes place in the dark, with sparks. Written in March 2020, this pandemic-born theatrical event is part sound immersion, part sensory deprivation tank, part Beckettian experiment.

"We're all living through something so dire," says writer/performer Melody Bates. "As artists, part of our job is to tell stories in a way that can be shared. But here we are alone in the dark, desperate to connect. A PLAY FOR VOICES is a soft wail in the darkness, an attempt to find sense in a senseless moment. It is a non-linear lament, with jokes and magic. And cake."

Co-director Gulshan Mia echoes Bates' sentiment. "These past few years have been hard on all of us, especially artists and creatives. But it has also been an awakening and we've had to learn to adapt - to this time, to this moment we're all in. A PLAY FOR VOICES isn't just a performance, it's an experience."

Co-director David Bennett adds, "Another thing artists do is make limitations into opportunities. We're sensitive to the challenges live theatre faces in this pandemic, and we're striving to create an equally immersive experience for both the live and streaming audiences. We'll be using some tricks we've honed in the past two years and experimenting with new methods as well." "However you join us, we hope the experience transports you, surprises you, delights you," Mia concludes.

The cast will feature Bates and dynamic Argentinian performing artist Julia Cavagna as two voices losing and finding each other in a visionless velvet nowhere. The creative team is rounded out by gifted composer and musician Fumio Tashiro and prolific visual and graphic artist Miho Morita, whose collaborations include Waterbrain and the Gowanus Mirror series.

Melody Bates is a native Oregonian actor and writer based in Brooklyn. She is a queer femme creatrix who brings people together to make radical and wildly entertaining art. The NYIT Awards have recognized her work with 11 nominations and 3 awards, including Outstanding Lead Actress, Ensemble, Full-length play, and Original Music. As an actor she has appeared on NBC, PBS, and in numerous films, and has performed at The Public Theater, BAM, Boston's A.R.T., and the Metropolitan Opera, where she has acted alongside co-star Cavagna and is currently appearing in Rigoletto with co-director Gulshan Mia. Melody's play R & J & Z was heralded by the New York Times as "boisterous and splendid" and enjoyed a sold-out run at the New Ohio Theatre. It is now published by Original Works Publishing and continues to be produced around the country. She was featured in Necessary Exposure: the Female Playwright Project, and was a finalist for the Doric Wilson Independent Playwright award. Her other plays include THE CABARET AT THE END OF THE WORLD and AVALON, which won the state of Maine's 2020 Innovation & Creativity Award. She holds an MFA in Acting from Columbia University and is the heart of the Dragonfire Makers Collective.

Gulshan Mia is a multi-disciplinary theatre artist - an actor, writer and director - from the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Having grown up in a segregated community during apartheid, her art and activism center around social justice and the representation of historically excluded voices. Some of her NYC projects include: Rigoletto (Performer, Met Opera) Acquittal (Performer, Pan Asian Rep), Unveiled (Solo Performer), Voyage Theater), Letters of Suresh (Assistant Director, Second Stage Theatre), Fires in the Mirror (Assistant Director, Signature Theatre), and staged readings of experimental new works by Black and Brown playwrights.

David Bennett is a New York City-based actor and director. Directing credits include: Mike Gorman's If Colorado Had an Ocean, The Poet and the Lumberjack, and How and Why I Robbed My First Cheesestore (all at LaMaMa ETC); the 2020 live-streamed online performance of R & J & Z by Melody Bates, produced by Opera House Arts, and Biffing Mussels by Mike Gorman (Stonington Opera House), Acting credits include Balthazar in R & J & Z (world and NYC premieres), Paul Orsino in Conni's Avant Garde Restaurant's Illyria, and James N. Kienitz-Wilkins' film Mediums, which was featured in the Whitney Biennial, Curtocircuito Festival, and the Tate Modern Artists' Cinema.

FRIGID Festival is an open and uncensored theatre festival that gives artists an opportunity to let their ingenuity thrive in a venue that values freedom of expression and artistic determination. In true support of the Indie Theater Community, 100% of box office proceeds go directly to the artists whose work is being presented. FRIGID is here to chill out the New York independent theatre scene's ideas of what a theatre festival can be!

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