Ben Gassman's INDEPENDENT STUDY To Premiere At The Tank

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The Tank (Meghan Finn and Rosalind Grush, Artistic Directors) will present the World Premiere of Independent Study, written by Ben Gassman (Sam's Tea Shack) and directed by Ran Xia(Echo) at The Tank (312 West 36th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues), November 1-17. Performances will be on Thursday, November 1 at 7pm, Friday, November 2 at 7pm, Saturday, November 3 at 7pm, Sunday, November 4 at 3pm, Wednesday, November 7 at 7pm, Thursday, November 8 at 7pm, Friday, November 9 at 7pm, Saturday, November 10 at 7pm, Sunday, November 11 at 3pm, Wednesday, November 14 at 7pm, Thursday, November 15 at 7pm, Friday, November 16 at 7pm, and Saturday, November 17 at 7pm. Tickets ($25) are available for advance purchase at The performance will run approximately 80 minutes, with no intermission.

INDEPENDENT STUDY traces the unlikely friendship of a first-generation college student and her former professor, each struggling privately with a brother's radical choice and the onslaught of the internet's opinions. The play grapples with tribal allegiance and tribal violence and with digital hate and its repercussions in physical space. Simultaneously it explores the limits of teaching and the burning insistence of the best students to make classroom ideas manifest in the world.

The cast will feature Kelly Bartnik (Sleep No More, original cast), Yair Ben-Dor (We Live in Cairo with New York Theatre Workshop), Sean Hinkcle (Beneath the Gavel at 59E59), Finn Kilgore (Old Names for Wildflowers at The Tank), Andrea Negrete (Saints Go Marching with Signature Theatre), Sharlee J. Taylor (The Maids with Bad Neighbor Theatre), Gareth Tidball, and Alphonso Walker Jr. with Production Design by An-lin Dauber (Seven Guitars at Yale Rep), Lighting Design by Elizabeth M. Stewart (The Diana Tapes at HERE) and Sound Design by Ran Xia (Echo). The production Stage Manager will by Gabby Giacomo. The producer is Elizabeth Ng (Salesman with Gung Ho Projects).

Ben Gassman (Playwright) is a playwright from Queens. SAM'S TEA SHACK, a solo piece he co-wrote with the actor Sam Soghor (dir. Meghan Finn) was the inaugural production in The Tank's new 56-seat theater in Sept. 2017 and was reprised two months later at the Atwater Village Theater in Los Angeles. Other recent productions include 40s & CHESTNUTS (dir. Tara Elliott) at Brooklyn College and GOOD CITIZENS IN PUBLIC SPACE (dir. Dev. Bondarin) at APAC and Museum of The Moving Image. Currently, Culinary Theater, a company Ben formed with Brandon Woolf in 2017, is at work crafting the perfect neighborhood sandwich and deconstructing it as lunch-theater. There will be a work-in-progress showing at the Prelude Festival this October. Ben's previous work has been produced at 3LD, the Bushwick Starr, Dixon Place, Silent Barn, and 13th St. Rep and has been supported with residencies and grants from Yaddo, NYU Florence, Casa Zia Lina, the Yiddish Book Center, LMCC, and The Jewish Plays Project.

Ran Xia (Director/Sound Designer) is an interdisciplinary theatre artist originally from Shanghai, China. Her works have been produced at IRT (Pomegrenade), HERE, Dixon Place, The Brick ([ai]), The Wild Project, and of course, The Tank (previously Echo; Tao at Dark Fest 2018). A frequent collaborator of Exquisite Corpse Co. (audio/visual installation Echo at the Memory House, on Governors Island), a current Resident Director at The Flea, and a resident artist at Access Theater. Assistant Directing credits include: The Great Leap (by Lauren Yee, Dir. Taibi Magar at the Atlantic Theater), and Refrigerated Dreams by Carrie Mae Weems, Nona Hendryx, Francesca Harper, and Niegel Smith at Joe's Pub. A contributing writer at Theatre Is Easy and Exuent. |

Elisabeth Ng (Producing Manager) is a New York based theater artist. She was awarded the International Centre for Women Playwrights 50/50 award in 2016 for her commitment to diversity. Elisabeth is a current Artistic Associate with the Playwriting Collective, a theater company dedicated to promoting plays from working class artists.

The Tank is a non-profit arts presenter serving emerging artists engaged in the pursuit of new ideas and forms of expression. We serve over 2,000 artists every year in over 400 performances, and work across all disciplines, including theater, comedy, dance, film, music, public affairs, and storytelling. Our goal is to foster an environment of inclusiveness and remove the burden of cost from the creation of new work for artists launching their careers and experimenting within their art form. The heart of our services is providing free performance space in our 98-seat proscenium and 56-seat blackbox that we operate in Manhattan, and we also offer a suite of other services such as free rehearsal space, promotional support, artist fees, and much more. We keep ticket prices affordable and view our work as democratic, opening up both the creation and attendance of the arts to all.

Past Tank produced-work includes Drama Desk-nominated productions Ada/Ava (2016), youarenowhere (2016), The Paper Hat Game (2017), the ephemera trilogy (2017), and The Hunger Artist (2018), as well as New York Times Critics' Pick's The Offending Gesture by Mac Wellman, directed by Meghan Finn (2016) and Red Emma & The Mad Monk by Alexis Roblan, directed by Katie Lindsay (2018). Since its founding in 2003, artists who have come through The Tank include Alex Timbers, Amy Herzog, Lucy Alibar, Reggie Watts, Kyle Abraham, Andrew Bujalski, We Are Scientists, and tens of thousands of others.


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