New Georges Kicks Off Their 20th Anniversary Season With NIGHTLANDS, 10/10
New Georges (Susan Bernfield, Artistic Director; Sarah Cameron Sunde, Associate Director; Jaynie Saunders Tiller, Managing Director) will present the World Premiere of Sylvan Oswald's Nightlands. This Off-Broadway limited engagement, kicking off their 20th Anniversary season, will be at HERE (145 6th Avenue; entrance on Dominick, 1 block south of Spring Street) starting October 10 and continues through October 29th only.
Tamilla Woodard directs a cast that includes Rachel Leslie, Annie McNamara (Gatz, The Sound and the Fury, God's Ear), Michael Milligan (La Bete, August: Osage County), Hubert Point-Du Jour (The Brother/Sister Plays, Angels In America, Target Margin's The Tempest), and Linda Marie Larson.
In Nightlands' uniquely imagined memory of North Philadelphia, five actors fluidly trade races and genders to play a community of characters. The protagonists are loosely based on Sylvan's Jewish grandmother and the African-American woman who taught her astrology in the mid-1970s. In Sylvan's hands, the action is placed against the 1964 Philadelphia race riots, adding gravity to the already-tense circumstances of the two women's emerging friendship. Unsatisfied at home and in her job selling wigs, Netta Klein seeks out Ivy Silver for an astrological reading. Soon Netta wants more, and asks Ivy to teach her astrology. Unable to deny their mutual attraction, Ivy agrees. Unfazed by the taboos of the era, their secret relationship grows. Ivy begins to employ Netta on her public-access astrology radio show, and the two women envision stealing away together. When race violence ignites the city, the women confront the fragility of their dream.
Sylvan Oswald's plays include Sun Ra, Profanity, Pony (About Face Theatre, Chicago), Vendetta Chrome (Clubbed Thumb), and Painful Adventures (St. Ann's Puppet Lab; Bryant Lake Bowl). Sylvan recently collaborated on Dan Hurlin's Disfarmer (St. Ann's Warehouse) and is at work on Zoetrope, a music-theater piece with Alec Duffy and Mimi Lien. Sylvan is a resident playwright at New Dramatists, a Six Points Fellow for 2010-‘12 and the Dorothy B. Strelsin Playwriting Fellow at Soho Rep for 2010-‘11. Sylvan's plays have been developed and presented at The Foundry Theater, The Hangar Theater, The McCarter Theater, New York Theater Workshop, Portland Center Stage, Soho Rep's Writer/Director Lab, and P73's I73 Writing Group among others. Sylvan is a transgender playwright who uses the pronoun "he." www.sylvanoswald.com.
Tamilla Woodard has directed at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Culture Project, Urban Stages, Dance Theatre Workshop, The Kitchen, MCC Theater, Lark Play Development Center, HERE, PS122 and for festivals in the United States and internationally. Most recently, she directed Saviana Stanescu's POLANSKI POLANSKI at the Sibiu International Theater Festival in Romania, after runs in TerraNova Collective's SoloNOVA Festival and at HERE Arts Center. She holds an MFA from Yale School of Drama, where she was artistic director of the Yale Cabaret, is a winner of New Dramatists' Charles Bowden Award and the League of Professional Theatre Women's Josephine Abady Award, and is a founding member of The Internationalists - a collective of directors from around the world creating an interactive global theater community.
"Sylvan is a vivid, exuberant writer, and we've been fans a long time. We first read Nightlands two years ago when we were invited to participate in Full Stage NYC, which pairs a New Dramatists resident playwright with a producing theater. So we've had a good long time to develop it toward production, during which our collaborators have found a minimalist performance style and design context which respond really powerfully to the eloquent language and structure of the play," said Artistic Director Susan Bernfield.
New Georges has premiered 35 new full-length plays and 10 festivals of new work; hundreds of original works have passed through New Georges' workspace, The Room, on their way to venues in New York City and beyond. Plays premiered at New Georges have been published by Faber & Faber, Samuel French, Dramatists Play Service, Playscripts, Smith & Kraus, Seagull Books and Vintage, and have received Susan Smith Blackburn and Kesselring Prizes. Their production of Eisa Davis' Angela's Mixtape was one of The New Yorker's "Best Off-Broadway Shows of 2009;" and Jenny Schwartz's God's Ear was a Time Out New York "Top Ten of 2007" and transferred to the Vineyard Theatre in 2008. In addition, New Georges produced early works by many notable playwrights, including Lisa D'Amour, Tracey Scott Wilson, Diana Son, Cusi Cram, Sheila Callaghan, Heidi Schreck, Leigh Fondakowski, Catherine Filloux, Kate Moira Ryan and Carson Kreitzer. Honors include an OBIE Award as well as awards from New York Women's Agenda, Princess Grace Foundation/USA, Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation, Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays and FringeNYC. In 2009, The L Magazine named New Georges among its "Best of NYC;" and in a study published by TDF, OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE: The Life and Times of the New American Play, New Georges is named one of the top 10 theaters nationwide by playwrights as a leading producer of their plays.
Nightlands was developed with New Dramatists through Full Stage NYC, supported by funds from the City of New York Theater Subdistrict Council, LDC, the City of New York, and Time Warner. This production is a part of HEREstay, HERE's curated rental program, which provides artists with subsidized space and equipment, as well as technical and administrative support. Programs at New Georges are made possible in part with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; and the offices of City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and State Senator Thomas K. Duane. Additionally, we are grateful for funding provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Time Warner (providing leadership support for new play development at New Georges), Emma A. Sheafer Charitable Trust, Beech Street Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, Greenwall Foundation, New York Community Trust, The Fund for Small Theatres (a project of ART/NY), The Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Axe-Houghton Foundation, Tony Randall Theatrical Fund, Off Broadway Angels, the John Golden Fund, the Dramatists Guild Fund, Barbara Bell Cumming Foundation, and the Edith Meiser Foundation.
Performances will be at HERE (145 6th Avenue; entrance on Dominick, 1 block south of Spring Street) and will play Wednesday through Monday evenings at 8:30PM, beginning Wednesday, October 5th through Saturday, October 29th. Tickets are $25; Sundays are "Pay-what-you-will" (in-person, at the box office, cash only).
To purchase tickets or for more information, visit www.here.org or call 212/352-3101.
For more information, visit www.newgeorges.org