Cast Set for Tectonic Theater Project's UNCOMMON SENSE, A New Play About Living with Autism

Cast Set for Tectonic Theater Project's UNCOMMON SENSE, A New Play About Living with Autism

Tectonic Theater Project has announced casting for The New York premiere of Uncommon Sense, a new play about living on the autism spectrum, which the Sheen Center for Thought & Culture presents for five weeks only, October 25 to November 26, at The Sheen Center's Loreto Theater (18 Bleecker Street, NYC). The work is written by Anushka Paris-Carter and Andy Paris and directed by Andy Paris under the artistic direction of Tectonic's founder, Moisés Kaufman.

Inspired by true stories of people living on the spectrum, Uncommon Sense delves into the mysteries of the brain. This multimeaaadia production weaves together the four personal journeys of Dan, Jess, Moose, and Lali-as well as their families and friends-as it reveals our universal challenges with "difference," our desire to connect, and the lengths to which we go for the people we love. Uncommon Sense embraces all audiences, from those finally seeing their experiences reflected on the stage, to those peering into the autism world for the very first time.

The cast features Oberon K.A. Adjepong (Party People, Pericles); Jessica Almasy (A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes, Enjoy), co-founder of beloved theater company the TEAM; Michi Barall (writer of Peer Gynt and the Norwegian Hapa Band); longtime Tectonic collaborator Scott Barrow (33 Variations, The Laramie Project, The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later, The Dead Man's Curve); Purva Bedi (Idiot, Veil'd); Andrew Duff (Where Are We Now); the TEAM co-founder Jill Frutkin (Crush); and Brian Hastert (Of Good Stock, A Future Perfect), also a co-founder of the TEAM.

Performances of Uncommon Sense take place October 25-30, November 1, 3-4, 7-11, 14-18, 21, 24 & 25 at 8pm; November 2 & 19 at 7pm; November 5, 12, 19 & 26 at 3pm; and November 4, 11, 18, 22, 24 & 25 at 2pm. Critics are welcome October 30 and November 1 at 8pm for an official opening November 2 at 7pm.

Tickets ($69-$89) are available online at www.sheencenter.org, by phone 212.925.2812, or in person at The Sheen Center. Box office hours are Monday through Friday, 11am - 5pm, and an hour before performances. Student rush tickets, which cannot be purchased in advance, are available for $25 at the box office 30 minutes prior to each performance (with a valid student ID).

The shows November 11 at 2pm and November 19 at 3pm are Relaxed Performances, intended to attract and accommodate individuals who may not be able to comply with traditional theater etiquette. At these performances, all noises, movements and behaviors are welcomed and supported. Additionally, there are slight modifications to technical elements, such as light and sound, to make the performance more comfortable for individuals with sensory sensitivities. In advance of Relaxed Performances, preparatory materials such as an Uncommon Sense Social Narrative and Character Guide will be made available to those attending.

Uncommon Sense will be presented in an inclusive, judgment-free environment. In addition to offering scheduled Relaxed Performances, Tectonic and The Sheen Center welcome audience members of all abilities to all performances. At no point will anyone be shushed or asked to leave due to noises or movement.

Mainspring Arts Cooperative is Executive Producer of Uncommon Sense. The work made its world premiere at Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center (GBPAC) at the University of Northern Iowa, which commissioned it, in January 2017. Reviewing the production, local newspaper The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier said, "Uncommon Sense is relevant. It's also funny, tragic, important and gorgeous."

With Uncommon Sense, Tectonic returns to New York City with a full production for the first time since Daniel Beaty's The Tallest Tree in the Forest, at BAM in 2015.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS:

Anushka Paris-Carter started working as an actor on television at age 11. She studied devising at Australia's National Theater and the Swinburne Institute of Technology. While at Swinburne, she studied with Phillip Gaullier. Her other work in Australia includes St. Feets for St. Martins, Library Stories at The Malt House, Hiroshima for the Melbourne Spoletto Festival, and Janus for the Australian Broadcasting Commission. Paris-Carter's New York credits include Carson Krietzer's Self Defense, Valerie Shoots' Andy, Kirk Bromely's Icarus and Aria, Bocca for Target Margin, Basil Twist's Symphonie Fantastique, Mephisto for Reverie, Lucie Tiberghein's The Quiet Room, Gwen John directed by Leigh Fondakowski, Family Running For Mr. Whippy directed by Elyse Singer, and Marcia Jean Kurtz's Between Two Worlds. Her New York film and TV credits include Ed Bowe's Picture Book and hosting X-Games for ESPN. She is a graduate of both the Public's Shakespeare Lab and the Naraopa Summer Writing Program. Her first play is Fan Makers Inquistion, also written with Andy Paris.

Andy Paris has made a career of developing new works for the stage and screen, including The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later, The Laramie Project (Emmy nomination), Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, by Moisés Kaufman, Or, by Liz Duffy Adams, Lucie Tiberghien's The Quiet Room, Innocents by Rachel Dickstein, The Talking Band's The Necklace, Matthew Maguire's Phaedre and Deb Margolin's Indelible Flesh. As a writer/director: Laramie: 10, Going Public, an original play about our education system; The American Family at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival; The Fanmaker's Inquisition, co-adapted with his lovely wife Anushka Paris-Carter from the novel by Rikki Ducornet; Goldstar Ohio, which he directed at The Cleveland Public Theatre; Migration at the Experimental Theatre Wing at NYU; Faith Pilger's The Stages of Burning; and The Corporate Carnival, for The Women's Project, in which he also performed at the Winter Garden in the World Financial Center. Andy has performed in countless other plays in New York, regionally, and in Europe. Regionally, he has been seen at Denver Center, The Huntington, Playmaker's Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse, Rep. Theatre of St. Louis, Hartford Stage, Theatre Virginia, Berkeley Rep and La Jolla Playhouse. Favorite roles include Berowne in Love's Labours Lost, Keppler in Richard Goodwin's Two Men of Florence, directed by Edward Hall, and all of the male roles in A Sleeping Country by Melanie Marnich, directed by Mark Rucker. Film and TV credits include Laramie (HBO) and "Law & Order" (NBC). He has also been the recipient of two AUDIE Awards and a Voice Arts Award for his audiobook narrations. Andy was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and is a graduate of NYU.

Oberon K.A. Adjepong's (Jake) New York Theater credits include Measure for Measure (TFANA); Party People (Public Theater); Pericles (TFANA); 12 Angry Men (Billie Holiday); Tamburlaine 1&2 (TFANA); Like I Say, Cellophane (Flea); Mother Courage, The Blacks (Classic Stage, CTH); Wabenzi (New Ohio); Hamlet Project (La MaMa); and Sango (Audelco nomination/NBT). Regional theater includes Civil War Christmas (Centerstage); Electric Baby (Two Rivers); Good Goods (Yale Rep); Ruined (La Jolla Playhouse, Huntington Theatre/IRNE Award, Berkeley Rep); Timon of Athens, Coriolanus (Shakespeare Theatre); Rhyme Deferred (Kennedy Center). His TV and film credits include "Blacklist," "The Knick," "Louie," Tallulah, Freedom, Crazy Famous and Colin Warner. He trained at B.A.D.A. and Howard University.

Jessica Almasy (Jess) is an actress, director, teacher, and writer. Select New York Theater credits include writing and directing tiger tiger (on the nature of violence), commissioned by Dixon Place; A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes, by Kate Benson, with New Georges and the Women's Project; Enjoy, by Toshiki Okada, with The Play Company; War Lesbian and Memory Retrograde, by Kristine Haruna Lee; Danger Signals, by Nina Segal, with Sanaz Ghajarahimmi and Built for Collapse; and Small Mouth Sounds, by Bess Wohl, at Ars Nova and the Signature. Almasy is a board member and cofounder of the TEAM, coauthor and performer in Architecting, Particularly in the Heartland, Give Up! Start Over! (In the darkest of times I look to Richard Nixon for hope), Mission Drift, Primer for a Failed Superpower and Anything That Gives Off Light, which premiered last summer at the Edinburgh International Festival. Almasy's plays have received development at Dixon Place, Jack, Little Theatre, Unnameable Books, the Bushwick Starr Reading Series, IRT, NYU, 7X7 at the Tank and the LALA Fest. She has given voice to hundreds of audiobooks, most of which are by women. Film credits include Noise with Tim Robbins and Unconscious with Peter Friedman. Current works include BAD ACTRESSES, a psuedoautobiographical webseries/video diary with longtime best friend and collaborator Jill Frutkin; continued art-making with writing performance group the wook taut majesty; Enter Porter, a poor adaptation of a drunken Macbeth with Built for Collapse; a trilogy of Facebook Plays, and a Spalding Gray-meets-VR-esque alien feminist séance, in cahoots with The Box Factory, Minneapolis, called The Woman Destroyed, or, How (Not) To Get Punched in the Face.

Michi Barall (Emily) is a New York City-based actor, playwright and academic. As an actor, Barall has appeared in new plays by Julia Cho, Philip Kan Gotanda, A.R. Gurney, John Guare, Naomi Iizuka, Han Ong, Jose Rivera, Paul Rudnick, Charles Mee, Sarah Schulman, Anna Deavere Smith, Diana Son, Lloyd Suh, ReGina Taylor, Doug Wright and Chay Yew, among others. Her adaptation, Peer Gynt and The Norwegian Hapa Band, premiered in 2107 at the ART/NY Theatre. Ma-Yi produced Barall's dance-theatre piece Rescue Me at the Ohio Theatre in 2010. A graduate of Stanford University and NYU's graduate acting program, Barall is a graduate fellow (ABD) in Theatre/English & Comparative Literature at Columbia University.

Scott Barrow (Dan) has been working with Tectonic Theatre Project since 2005, as an actor in 33 Variations (starring Jane Fonda), The Laramie Project, The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later and The Dead Man's Curve; as a collaborator creating new works (including the above and this play); and as a certified teacher of Tectonic's and Moisés Kaufman's Moment Work technique. Elsewhere as an actor, Barrow has also played major roles Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop (Valhalla), Urban Stages (Honky), The Acorn (Embraceable Me) and The Mint (Dr. Knock), and regionally at The Arden Theatre, Arkansas Repertory, Commonwealth Shakespeare, Hartford Stage, The Wilma Theater, Nevada Shakespeare in the Park, DC's Studio Theatre, New Repertory, The Geva, The Olney, the Metropolitan Playhouse, Portland Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse, New Jersey Shakespeare, Arena Stage and Trinity Rep, among others. Barrow works for Tectonic around the country, training and introducing people to the company's methodology for devising theatre. He is part of the team writing Tectonic's 'Moment Work' book due to be published this coming year. He received his MFA from Brandeis University.

Purva Bedi (Ajalaa) is an actress of film, television and stage, and also a deviser of new work. Her theater credits include Idiot (HERE), Veil'd (Women's Project), There or Here (Hypothetical Theater), Parts & Parts of Stitches (MTWorks), The Rise of Dorothy Hale (St. Luke's) and East is East (Manhattan Theater Club & New Group). As an Associate Artist with Target Margin Theatre: Reread Another, The Tempest, Second Language, Ten Blocks on the Camino Real, Old Comedy, These Very Serious Jokes, The 5 Hysterical Girls Theorem, The Seagull and Sonoma. Film & TV: Sully, Equity, "Person of Interest," "Nurse Jackie," "The Good Wife," Unforgettable, Kumare, Cosmopolitan, Green Card Fever and American Desi. Bedi hosted "Natural Reboot" for ZeeLiving and co-created the upcoming web series Shrinkage. She is a member of the Actor's Center Workshop Company, a founding member of Disha Theatre and currently teaches at the Anthony Meindl Actors Workshop. She studied at Williams College, The British American Drama Academy and The Public Theatre Shakespeare Lab.

Andrew Duff (Moose) is a graduate of Bennington College who has performed in classics such as Angels in America and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. He has also written and collaborated on original works such as Where Are We Now, a one-man show exploring autism, innocence and hope. As an individual on the autism spectrum and a longtime videographer for the non-profit Autism Speaks,hehopes to continue the dialogue surrounding autism and its place in society for years to come. Duff wants to give a special shout out to his family and grandparents, who have supported and inspired him to pursue not what makes him comfortable, but what makes him happy. Andrew currently resides in Brooklyn and plans on continuing to act and work for the autism community as a whole.

Jill Frutkin (Sarah) is an actor, writer and educator. She completed her undergraduate degree at NYU Tisch and was an NYC Teaching Fellow, earning her Masters at Pace. Frutkin taught 6:1:1 classes for students with autism in the NYC DOE and also works for NYCTF training new Fellows to be Special Education teachers. She is currently a Teaching Artist with Stages on The Sound and The Engaging Educator. She is a founding member of The TEAM and has devised and performed works with the company in NYC (The Public, PS122, The Ohio), nationally (The Walker, ART) and abroad (The Barbican, The Almeida, The Traverse, Culturegest). Most recently, Frutkin appeared in the TEAM's Primer for a Failed Superpower, in the independent feature Feast of The Epiphany, inthe world premiere of Uncommon Sense in Iowa, and as the voice of many excellent heroines in audiobooks.

Brian Hastert's (Adam, Alex) recent theater credits include Of Good Stock (Manhattan Theatre Club), A Future Perfect (SpeakEasy Stage, world premiere) and The Ragged Claws (Cherry Lane). Hastert is a founding member of Brooklyn-based theatre company The TEAM, with whom he created roles in Mission Drift (The National Theatre, London) and Particularly in the Heartland. He has appeared on TV in "The Good Wife," "The Vampire Leland" (pilot), "Allegiance," "Flesh and Bone" and "I Love You...But I Lied." Hastert is a professor of acting at Pace University's School of Performing Arts, where he created and headed the BFA in Acting for Film, Television, Voice Overs and Commercials (FTVC) program, whose first graduating class was 2017. He earned his MFA from the Yale School of Drama.

About Tectonic Theater Project - Tectonic Theater Project is a not-for-profit theater company based in New York City. Guided by founder and artistic director Moisés Kaufman, Tectonic's work has been seen by millions worldwide. In its twenty-five-year history the company has created and staged over twenty plays and musicals, including Kaufman's Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, The Laramie Project (written by Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project company), Doug Wright's Pulitzer Prize-winning I Am My Own Wife, and Kaufman's Tony Award-winning 33 Variations, which starred Jane Fonda. Mr. Kaufman also co-wrote and directed the HBO film adaptation of The Laramie Project, for which he received Emmy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Writer.

Tectonic Theater Project is a company of storytellers with a unique method of creating theater, striving to bridge the gap between art and life. All too often, the lives and stories of people impacted by inequality are invisible to those whose are not. Tectonic develops and produces plays that amplify the voices of underrepresented communities; by shining a light on these communities, the company fosters conversations leading to a more just society. As Kaufman states, "Art is a great prism through which we can understand history and current events." Tectonic crafts plays using the company's trademarked theater-making method, Moment Work, and through a rigorous process of research, writing, workshops, and collaboration in a laboratory environment.

In 2009 President Obama invited the company to witness the signing of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act at the White House, recognizing Tectonic's contribution to the national dialogue around LGBTQ hate crimes. President Obama awardEd Kaufman the National Medal of Arts for "his powerful contributions to American Theater," and with appreciation for how the company "continues to move audiences with its bold portrayals of contemporary social issues."

For more information, visit tectonictheaterproject.org.

About the Sheen Center for Thought & Culture - The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture is a forum to showcase works highlighting the true, the good, and the beautiful. Located downtown on historic Bleecker Street, the Sheen Center is a vibrant new arts organization that focuses on theater, music, film, and talk. A project of the Archdiocese of New York, the state-of-the-art complex encompasses the 270-seat Loreto Theater, equipped with five-camera high-definition livestream capability and a multi-track recording studio; the 80-seat Black Box Theater; four rehearsal studios; and an art gallery. It was named after the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, best known for his popular, inspirational radio and TV ministry in the 1950s and 60s.

Helmed by Executive Director William Spencer Reilly and Managing Director Andrew Levine, The Sheen Center has presented hundreds of performances since opening in fall 2015. Production highlights include The New York premiere of Bill Cain's drama 9 Circles; the annual Justice Film Festival; red carpet film premieres including Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge, Captive with David Oyelowo, and Risen with Joseph Fiennes; interviews with luminaries such as John Lithgow, Brian Dennehy, John Patrick Shanley, and David Mamet; talks by NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, comedian Jim Gaffigan, former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Det. Steven McDonald, and Bishop Robert Barron; concerts by Norah Jones, Michael Cerveris, Kate Baldwin; and more.

For more information, visit www.sheencenter.org.

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