EST/Youngblood Premieres Paul Cameron Hardy's MOPE Tonight

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Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST), along with EST's YOUNGBLOOD, whose past plays include the Tony Award-nominated Hand to God, will present the premiere of MOPE.

Written by Paul Cameron Hardy (feeling) and directed by RJ Tolan (Five Times in One Night), MOPE begins performances at EST's Studio Theatre (545 W. 52nd Street, 6th Floor) tonight, January 11, with an opening night set for Saturday, January 14 for a limited run through Saturday, February 4.

"MOPE - like Hand to God, Year of the Rooster, and Kentucky before it - represents the mission of Youngblood: developing a play all the way from its first readings onto the EST mainstage, and an early-career writer fully coming into his own." says RJ Tolan, Director and Co-Artistic Director of Youngblood. "Paul's voice is funny and disturbing. He's vivisecting crucial issues with these tiny, subtle incisions: the limits of our empathy, the curdling of masculinity and the pursuit of gratification without context. But it's also a very funny play where a couple of bros talk about their dicks a lot."

Artistic Director William Carden added, "I think this is a daring play venturing into places where we don't usually go. Paul Hardy's approach is original and revealing and as funny as it is unsparing. He is taking us into the culture of porn to experience the lives of the humans who perform it to earn their keep. With humor and truth he is showing us the ways in which porn is a microcosm of the society that has created it. He is giving us a brave glimpse into an alien world that is our own.

"MOPE": /m?p/ (noun): The lowest-level male performer in the adult film industry. An anonymous stunt-penis. The guy in that porno you watched who was wearing sunglasses and socks. A dreamer. Example: "Trevor is a mope."

The cast will feature J. Stephen Brantley (Pirira), RJ Brown ("The Carrie Diaries"), Hollye Hudson (Restrain Yourself, Please), Eric Miller (rogerandtom), Jennifer Tsay (The Mysteries), and Megan Tusing (Year of the Rooster).

Tickets are $15 and are on sale now at www.ensemblestudiotheatre.org. The performance schedule for is as follows: Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7pm. Exceptions: There will be 10:30pm performances on Saturday, January 21 and Saturday, January 28.

EST celebrates the 2016/17 season's new members of Youngblood, the OBIE-winning collective of emerging professional playwrights under the age of 30. Founded in 1993, Youngblood serves as a creative home for the next generation of theater artists. Youngblood provides artistic guidance, peer support, regular feedback and a fertile production environment, which allows our member playwrights to hone their skills and explore their craft. We also provide exposure to the public and the press, professional outreach to the industry, and opportunities for production and publication.

As artists graduate, the Youngblood program welcomes new playwrights into their midst. This year's new members are Will Arbery, Bleu Beckford-Burrell, Stephen Brown, Gina Femia, Dan Giles, Mara Nelson-Greenberg, Stacy Osei-Kuffour, and Edessa Tailo.

EST's 2016/17 season also includes Youngblood's UNFILTERED workshop series, featuring A DEAL, by Zhu Yi and directed by John Giampietro. A DEAL will run from Wednesday, March 1 through Saturday, March 4 and feature Michi Barall, Helen Coxe, Sasha Diamond, Alex Grubbs, and Wei-Yi Lin. RETREAT by Amanda Keating and directed by Molly Clifford ran from Wednesday, December 14 through Saturday, December 17. All UNFILTERED shows take place at Ensemble Studio Theatre (545 W. 52nd St.) in the company's 6th floor studio space, with tickets ranging from $20-25.

Youngblood will continue to offer their monthly brunch series, where artists have the opportunity to perform new work over food, mimosas, and bloody marys. These brunches take place on the first Sunday of every month, and tickets range from $18-20.

Ensemble Studio Theatre - commonly known as EST- was founded in 1968 by Curt Dempster on the belief that extraordinary support yields extraordinary work. We are a dynamic and expanding family of member artists committed to the discovery and nurturing of new voices and the continued support and growth of artists throughout their creative lives. Through our unique collaborative process we develop and produce original, provocative, and authentic new plays that engage and challenge our audience and audiences across the country.

Now with over 600 ensemble artists, EST has been under the artistic direction of William Carden since 2007. The company received two 2013 Drama Desk Award nominations for Finks by Joe Gilford and one 2014 Drama Desk nomination for Bobby Moreno in Year Of The Rooster by Olivia Dufault, who won the 2014 NY Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award for a new playwright debut. Hand To God, originated at EST, was nominated for five Tony Awards for its Broadway run. EST received a special Drama Desk Award for its "unwavering commitment to producing new works" in May of 2015.

Youngblood is Ensemble Studio Theatre's OBIE-winning collective of emerging professional playwrights under the age of 30. Founded in 1993, Youngblood serves as a creative home for the next generation of theater artists. Youngblood provides artistic guidance, peer support, regular feedback and a fertile production environment, which allows our member playwrights to hone their skills and explore their craft. We also provide exposure to the public and the press, professional outreach to the industry, and opportunities for production and publication.

Plays by current and former Youngblood playwrights have been performed on Broadway and in London's West End (Robert Askins' TONY-nominated Hand to God, which premiered at EST/Youngblood), at The Royal Court Theatre, Lincoln Center, Playwrights Horizons, Second Stage, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Mark Taper Forum, the Vineyard Theater, the Atlantic Theater Company, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and many others, including award winners such as Annie Baker's John, The Flick and The Aliens and Amy Herzog's 4000 Miles, and have been adapted by film and television companies, including alumna Lucy Alibar's Juicy and Delicious which was adapted into the Cannes Caméra d'Or-winning film Beasts of The Southern Wild.



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