Tectonic Theater Project's Play About Autism UNCOMMON SENSE Set for Sheen Center

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

Inspired by true stories of people living on the spectrum, Uncommon Sense delves into the mysteries of the brain. This multimedia 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.

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.

The shows November 11 at 2pm and November 19 at 3pm will be 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, movements or behaviors related to a cognitive or developmental disability.

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.

Tectonic will announce casting, creative team and an official opening date for Uncommon Sense at a later date. Tickets are available online at www.sheencenter.org, by phone 212-925-2812, or in person at The Sheen Center. Box office hours are Monday to Friday, 11am to 5pm and an hour before performances at The Sheen Center.

About the Writers and Director:

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 Inquisition, 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 Moises Kaufman, Or,, by Liz Duffy Adams, Lucie Tiberghien's The Quiet Room, Innocents, by Rachel Dickstein, The Talking Band's The Neckalce, 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/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.

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.

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 Theatre, equipped with five-camera high-definition livestream capability and a multi-track recording studio; the 80-seat Black Box Theatre; 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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