Rattlestick Playwrights Theater Will Continue 25th Anniversary Season with Ren Dara Santiago's THE SIBLINGS PLAY
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and piece by piece productions, in association with Rising Phoenix Repertory, will present the world premiere of Ren Dara Santiago's The Siblings Play, which marks the professional debut of the Fila-Rican playwright. Directed by Jenna Worsham (Agnes), The Siblings Play gives voice to multicultural New Yorkers, rarely seen on the stage, with breathtaking theatricality, stinging poignancy, biting humor, and deep empathy. The Siblings Play runs March 4-April 5, 2020, at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (224 Waverly Place) with an opening night of March 18.
Set inside a rent-stabilized Harlem apartment in 2014, The Siblings Play delves deep into the psyche of a teenage girl and her two brothers left to raise each other in their parents' absence. The play looks at the ways these three teenagers protect, love, fight, and diminish in the wake of their family history and the complexity of growing up with parents who are too young to be parents in the first place.
Ren Dara Santiago, the 2019-2020 Tow Playwright-in-Residence at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, has had an untraditional path to playwriting and a long history with Rattlestick. A self-taught playwright, she first came to Rattlestick with MCC Youth to see the Rattlestick production of Annie Baker's Aliens. Shortly thereafter, Santiago worked with Lucy Thurber and other theater makers to form Middle Voice, Rattlestick's apprentice company. Over the past seven years working with Middle Voice, Santiago has developed many of her own projects as well as performed in projects written by her peers. In 2014, she became Middle Voice's co-Artistic Director.
"I like subverting familiar narratives; focusing on heroes adjacent to the ones we know. The Siblings Play is a coming-of-age tale most don't see," said playwright Santiago. "I grew up with kids who did the parenting in their families. We cooked the meals for our siblings. We innovated ways to generate income. We did so at the expense of our education. We rose earlier and fell to bed last, so we were often tired in class. I know those kids. And for them, I want to be a resource. With this production of The Siblings Play, I want them to hear: you are visible, and your value can never be wasted.
Santiago's mentor, the award-winning playwright Lucy Thurber, writes, "Ren is truthful, kind, generous, hard-working and fierce. Her characters move me, and I find her ability to be lyrical with her language one minute and brutal the next, gorgeous. She is brave. She handles ugly, hard subjects with real humanity. She has a wonderful sense of humor. She writes work that is generous to her actors. I think she is going to be a brilliant force in American theater and beyond."
"The Siblings Play is a love letter to one's home, written with blood and sweat and touched by Ren's wild imagination," said director Jenna Worsham. "Ren loves where she comes from, but she is also not afraid to challenge her own communities - a fairness you can sense in all of her plays. And she has that rare ability of the playwright: to capture the voice of her people, in both their beauty and their violence."
The creative team for The Siblings Play includes Angelica Borrero (set designer), Zach Blane (lighting designer), Michael Costagliola (sound designer), Andy Jean (costume designer), Rhys Roffey (props master), Gerardo Rodriguez and Sean Griffin (fight choreographers), Ludmila "ludji" Brito (assistant director) and P. Tyler Britt (production stage manager).
Performances of The Siblings Play will take place March 4 - April 5, 2020 (see schedule above) at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, 224 Waverly Place, Manhattan. Critics are welcome as of March 12 for an official opening on March 18. Ticketsa??-priced $45 general admission, $60 premium reserved seats, $30 for seniors, artists, and $20 for students- will go on sale February 4. For group sales, please call 212-627-2556.
The Siblings Play is working with five Community Partners (Counseling in the Schools, The Drama Club, Healing Tree, New York Foundling and Student Leadership Network) on a series of post-show conversations and student matinees along with involving young ambassadors with lived experience into the production process.
The Siblings Play was funded in part with a grant from the NYC & Company Foundation; with additional funding by William Holtzman and the Axe-Houghton Foundation. It has been developed through Cherry Lane's Mentor Project and the Ojai Conference.
About the Artists
Ren Dara Santiago is a Fila-Rican playwright from Yonkers and Harlem. She is the 2019-2020 Tow Playwright-in-Residence at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. Something in the Balete Tree, a 2019 Finalist in the National Playwrights Conference, was written with the support of Gingold Theatrical Group, Clubbed Thumb, and SPACE on Ryder Farm. The Siblings Play has had development at The Cherry Lane Theatre (Mentor Project), Labyrinth Theater, MCC Theater, and Ojai Playwrights Conference. Other plays include Battle; Come to Starr Street; The Gods Play; Little Stories; Big World; Love + Animation. She is a teaching artist with The National Theater Institute, The Young Women's Leadership School, and the Playwriting Lab at MCC Youth Company; guest artist in Playgrounds at The Lark; member of Rising Phoenix Rep; founding member & former Artistic Producer of Middle Voice at Rattlestick; & an eternal member of The Baldwin Project by Lucy Thurber. Santiago is the proud recipient of the MCC Alumni Award and the inaugural recipient of Rising Phoenix Rep's Cornelia Street American Playwriting Award.
Jenna Worsham (Director). Stage Director, Activist. Broadway: The Parisian Woman, Picnic, The Heidi Chronicles (Associate Director). Off-Broadway/Regional: The Man in the Mountain by Boo Killebrew (upcoming at Williamstown Theatre Festival); The Climb by C.A. Johnson (Cherry Lane); Agnes by Catya McMullen (59E59/Lesser America, NY Times Critics' Pick); Belleville by Amy Herzog (Pasadena Playhouse); Carlo at the Wedding by Bryna Turner (ACT); Wonder Boi by Jacob Jarrett (NYMF); Dear by Lily Houghton (MCC); Blue Ridge by Abby Rosebrock (Williamstown); Street Children by Pia Scala-Zankel (Vertigo Theater, NY Times Critics' Pick); Gun Country (A.R.T/New York); The First Immigrant by Martyna Majok (Williamstown); Invincible Ones by Samantha Cooper (Signature Center); Here to Be Seen (Commissioned by the Brooklyn District Attorney); The Vagina Monologues (Taconic Prison & Cherry Lane, for the Women's Prison Association). Jenna has developed new work at The Public, Labyrinth, ACT, Playwrights Horizons, The Women's Project, MTC, EST/Youngblood, MCC, Primary Stages, among others. She is a 2019 National Directing Fellow at The O'Neill Theater Center, as well as the recipient of a Jonathan Alper Award (MTC), two SDCF Observerships and The Drama League/ Williamstown Sagal Directing Fellowship. Jenna is the founding Artistic Director of Middle Voice at Rattlestick, and the Co-Founder of Creative Solutions at SPACE on Ryder Farm, a residency program for human rights advocates.
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