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Cast and Creative Team Announced for US Premiere of WILL YOU COME WITH ME?

Will You Come With Me? explores the chaos and complexities of living through an uprising with generosity, love, and tenderness.

Cast and Creative Team Announced for US Premiere of WILL YOU COME WITH ME?

PlayCo today announced the cast and creative team for its first in-person production since the fall before the pandemic: the U.S. premiere of Ebru Nihan Celkan's Will You Come With Me?, directed by Keenan Tyler Oliphant, May 4-June 5 at MITU580. Layla Khoshnoudi (Men on Boats, Georgia Mertching Is Dead) and Maribel Martinez (Vanity Fair, Rip Van Winkle) will play Umut and Janina, who meet and fall in love in 2013 in Istanbul, where rebellion simmers amongst the queer and displaced youth. Umut is caught between the momentum of sociopolitical change at home and the promise of a quieter life in Berlin with Janina. By turns explosive and intimate, Will You Come With Me? explores the chaos and complexities of living through an uprising with generosity, love, and tenderness.

While bearing the specifics of Istanbul and Berlin, Will You Come With Me? resonates anywhere activist movements have been met with force and setbacks-and among anyone who has found love tested by a profound gap in experience. Subverting the tendency for stories surrounding authoritarianism to center, or even name, those who wield power, the play gives voice to those who resist, even after vast swaths of a movement have been suppressed or disappointed into submission. It examines the emotional toll relentless struggle takes, and the sense of unity it brings to those whose bodies, sexualities, and gender presentations have been made into battle grounds.

The Will You Come With Me? creative team includes set designer Afsoon Pajoufar, costume designer Enver Chakartash, lighting designer Reza Behjat, sound designer Avi Amon, projections designers Stefania Bulbarella and Dee Lamar Mills, and casting dIrector Victor Vasquez of X Casting. Christina M. Woolard is the production stage manager, and Babz Law is the production manager.

Performance Schedule and Location

Performances will take place Wednesdays - Saturdays at 7:30pm, Sundays at 3pm, and Mondays at 7:30pm.

The production opens officially on Sunday, May 15 at 7pm.

MITU580 is located at 580 Sackett St Unit A - Ground Fl, Brooklyn.

New Artist Compensation Model

As part of their return to in-person production, PlayCo is resetting their organizational practices to better reflect the mission and lead with people-centered values, including a reimagined compensation model for artists that creates equity between staff and artist compensation and is based on estimates of a liveable wage in New York City. Artist fees are based on a calculation of PlayCo's share of an artist's annual salary, according to the time they spend working on a project. Salary estimates align with comparable PlayCo staff compensation. For example, a director's fee aligns with a pro rata share of a staff leadership position salary.

PlayCo is also adding time to the production process to create rehearsal and tech schedules that center the well being of artists, crew, and technicians. This includes eliminating the prior 10 out of 12 hour technical rehearsal structure, implementing a 5-day rehearsal week instead of 6, and adding one week of rehearsal and one week of venue rental to the process to compensate for this new structure.

Please visit the PlayCo website for more details.

Ticketing

Tickets are on sale today. PlayCo is committed to maintaining affordable access to all of its artistic programming as a core component of its mission, to create a more expansive and inclusive vision of the American theatre. The company has recently revised its ticketing structure to align even more closely with its values and ensure that price is not a barrier for the diverse communities it serves to participate in its work. PlayCo's new ticketing structure is as follows:

  • Theatre For Everyone (TFE), $10: PlayCo created its TFE program in 2017, to extend a heartfelt welcome to audience members for whom access to the theatre has not historically been guaranteed, whether due to financial barriers or cultural exclusion. These audience members may include (but are not limited to) those who have been historically marginalized and excluded from the theater, first-time theatergoers, students, teachers, artists, and service workers. Previously, TFE tickets were only sold for a limited period of time. Now, a block of TFE tickets has been reserved for each performance throughout the run of the show with no time limit for purchase (subject to availability).
  • Preview Special, 2 for $40: Special preview pricing encourages audience members to invite a friend to attend a PlayCo show during any pre-opening night performance.
  • General Admission, $28: General Admission tickets are calibrated to be at an accessible rate for most theatergoers, and the price includes a $3 processing fee which helps underwrite the TFE tickets. PlayCo encourages attendees who are consistently able to meet their day-to-day needs to pay the General Admission price, in order to allow those who cannot equitable access to TFE tickets. Previously, the price of general admission was $35, not including the processing fee.
  • Pay-It-Forward, $65: Pay-It-Forward tickets are for audience members who are consistently able to meet all of their day-to-day needs and wish to enable PlayCo to maintain accessible ticket prices across the board. All PlayCo tickets are subsidized to some extent, as admission prices do not reflect the actual economics of producing a show and providing a living wage to artists and crew. Purchasing tickets at this rate helps PlayCo continue to prioritize equity and inclusion in its ticketing model. The cost of this ticket includes a processing fee which helps underwrite the TFE tickets.

PlayCo's OpenHouse program has also been reconceived to focus on strengthening PlayCo's relationships with artists, peer theatre organizations, NYC schools, and community partners, led by PlayCo's Community Engagement Associate Carolina Do. For each production, complimentary and subsidized tickets will be distributed to community partners, and to encourage opportunities for different members of PlayCo's community to gather and connect via related programming. To optimize attendance, the PlayCo team will work with individual partners throughout the run to ensure that their community's specific access needs are addressed to the best of PlayCo's ability.

As part of its 2022 OpenHouse program, PlayCo's COVID Ticketing Initiative will offer at minimum fifty complimentary tickets to members of the theater community who have lost work during this pandemic or find cost a barrier to attending in-person shows. PlayCo hopes that the tickets made available through this initiative will help fortify and inspire its community. Sign up here: https://bit.ly/3KH11rx

COVID-19 Safety Policy

Until further notice, all ticket holders will be required to show proof of a complete COVID-19 vaccination AND proof of a booster dose (for those eligible in accordance with CDC guidelines) at the door.

All ticket holders must present a photo ID for verification. No refunds or exchanges will be granted to unvaccinated, unboosted (who are eligible), or nonexempt ticket buyers.

Ticket buyers with a medical or religious exemption must send official documentation of the exemption no later than 3 days prior to the performance date and show proof or a negative COVID-19 test administered by a certified medical professional upon arrival at the theatre.

All patrons will also be required to wear N95, KF94 or KN95 masks. Masks must be worn at all times in the facility regardless of vaccination or exemption status.

Please visit the PlayCo website for the company's full COVID-19 safety policy.

About the Cast

Layla Khoshnoudi (Umut): MFA, Brooklyn College. Select Theater: Men on Boats (Clubbed Thumb/Playwrights Horizons); Dance Nation (Playwrights Horizons); Bull in a China Shop (LCT3); Dido of Idaho (Ensemble Studio Theater); Wyoming (Lesser America); I am Gordafarid (Noor Theater). TV: Instinct (CBS); FBI (CBS); All Hail Beth (BricTV), My Ex is Trending (YouTube). FILM: Long Nights, Short Mornings; Bad at Birthdays, Nadia Jaan; Androgen; Bookends.

Maribel Martinez (Janina, she/ella) is a Black-Latinx actor/storyteller based in New York City with Dominican and Puerto Rican roots. A few of her favorite projects over the last few years have been Black Joy Project with JAG Productions, workshops of Rosa Fernandez's play A Skeptic and A Bruja, and Cin Martinez's Moonlighters; She has played at Shakespeare Theatre Company, American Conservatory Theater; Folger Theatre; Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Hudson Valley Shakespeare, amongst others. TV credits: Evil, New Amsterdam, The Watcher. She is in community with the Latinx Playwrights Circle and with Dominican Artists Collective as a part of the Artistic Producing Team.

About the Creative Team

Ebru Nihan Celkan (Playwright; she/her) has been writing and directing plays since 2009. Celkan became one of the 4 playwrights selected from around the world within the scope of the KIF (Krieg Im Frieden - Piece by Piece War) project designed by the Maxim Gorki Theater in 2017. In 2019, she was awarded the Jean-Jacques-Rousseau scholarship given to writers who opened up freedom of expression in works of culture and art by Schloss Solitude. In 2020, she wrote the text "Der Weltschmerz," which focuses on Cultural Diversity and Gender, as part of the Stuttgart - Ludwigsburg City authorship scholarship.

Since 2013 she has been one of the instructors for the Sabancı University's Purple Certificate program which aims to enable high school teachers from 11 pilot cities to develop a critical gender perspective as part of the "UN Joint Program for Promoting the Human Rights of Women." Since 2015, Celkan has been running performative story writing and narration workshops for the tour-guides of Sabanci University's Gender and Women's Studies Forum's "Curious Steps: Gender and Memory Tours" program. In 2016 she established Y+O, a platform dedicated to developing emotional intelligence. She creates projects, game-based learning workshops and contents such as gender mainstreaming, diversity, team work, power of "we," ethic management, trust building, and creating innovative approaches. Ebru Nihan Celkan consults and works with multinational corporations and also with local holdings.

Published works include Complete Plays I: After The Day Nobody Died & Where Were We?, Complete Plays II: Home! Sweet Home! & 17:31, Complete Plays III: Babel Towers & Triggerman, and Complete Plays IV: Tilt & A Prince from Outer Space.

She has directed Nora: A Doll's House at Nilüfer City Theatre, rewritten by Stef Smith; A Little Bit of Me A Little Bit Of You at the Emek Sahnesi written by Ciyil Kurtulus; Babel at the Emek Sahnesi; Home! Sweet Home! at the besincikat Theatre; and The Triggerman at the ikincikat.

Keenan Tyler Oliphant (Director, he/him) is a theatre-maker and director from South Africa whose work is in the lineage of the communal theatre-making and storytelling traditions of South Africa. He recalls this traditional Southern African storytelling lineage by simultaneously exchanging with histories and futures to create spaces of healing, investigation, mourning, and celebration through performance. Keenan endeavors to create work that is powerful in its relation to contemporary experience, and that challenges social and political conventions while engaging with performance as a ritual expression of the spiritual. Keenan is the Associate Director of Hadestown (Broadway), Oratorio for Living Things (Ars Nova), and was the assistant director for The Bengsons' work The Broken Ear Set-list (St Ann's Warehouse). Keenan is a Clubbed Thumb Directing Fellow, a Drama League Directing Fellow, and an Alumnus of the Columbia MFA Directing for Theatre program.

Afsoon Pajoufar (Set Designer, she/her) is an Iranian, NYC-based designer of stage and environment for play, opera, and live performance. Pajoufar's artistic practice is often focused on the intersection of space, the human body, and new technologies including XR and live video. Her work has been presented in venues and festivals including Theatre for a New Audience, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), New Ohio Theatre, Bard Fisher Center, Harvard TDM, MIT, Kitchen Theatre, and the PRELUDE festival. She received her MFA in Scene Design from Boston University and is a proud member of USA829. Afsoonpajoufar.com

Reza Behjat (Lighting Designer, he/him) was born and raised in Iran, where he worked with some of the prominent directors for several years before moving to the United States in 2014. Off-Broadway: Wish You Were Here (Playwrights Horizons); The Vagrant Trilogy (The Public); Out of Time (The Public/NAATCO); English (Atlantic); P.S. (Ars Nova); Disclaimer (The Public's UTR); Henry VI (NAATCO); Hamlet (Waterwell). Regional and others: Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Guthrie Theater, PlayMakers Rep, Actors Theater of Louisville, Baltimore Center Stage, Geva Theatre, Alabama Shakespeare, New Georges, Long Wharf Theater, etc. Awards: Knight of Illumination Award (Nina Simone: Four Women, 2019)

Enver Chakartash (Costume Designer, they/them) is a British-born Turkish Cypriot costume designer. Their work has been presented internationally at numerous venues including: BAM, The Public Theater, Steppenwolf, Centre Pompidou, the Barbican, and the Sydney Opera House. Most recently, Chakartash has designed for English (Atlantic Theater Company/Roundabout Theatre Company); Wolf Play (Soho Rep), and Tina Satter's Is This A Room on Broadway. Other recent works include Tina Satter/Half Straddle's Ghost Rings; The Wooster Group's A Pink Chair, The B-side, The Town Hall Affair, and Early Shaker Spirituals; Young Jean Lee's Straight White Men; and Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group's POWER.

Avi Amon (Sound Designer, he/him) is an award-winning Turkish-American composer, sound artist, and educator. His multi-genre work has been developed or presented by HBO Films, Spotify, Tribeca Film Festival, New York Theater Workshop, Page73, The Civilians, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Danspace, Actors Theater Of Louisville, St. Louis REP, Target Margin, The O'Neill, Edinburgh Fringe, and Spoleto Festival USA, among others. Amon is the resident composer at the 52nd Street Project, an inaugural fellow with THE WORKSHOP at the Hendel Center for Justice & Ethics, and teaches at NYU Tisch. www.aviamon.com.

Stefania Bulbarella (Projections Designer, she/her) is a Brooklyn-based video and projections designer from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her Off Broadway credits include Space Dogs (MCC), Turtle on a Fence Post (Theatre 555), Semblance (New York Theatre Workshop), and The Watering Hole (Signature Theatre). www.stefaniabulbarella.com

Dee Lamar Mills (Projections Designer, they/she) is a lens-based artist and motion designer with their eyes on a bright star somewhere far beyond the perimeter of this universe. Recent: New York Hall of Science, The Shed (Open Call), Clubbed Thumb, Interior Design, MAP (Adidas, Collina Strada, GQ). dddiiiooonnn.com. For Mom - in vivid memory.



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