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Corkscrew Theater Festival Launches Workshop Series CORKSCREW DOWNSTAIRS

Corkscrew Theater Festival Launches Workshop Series CORKSCREW DOWNSTAIRS

Corkscrew Theater Festival, which runs July 10-August 3, inaugurates its Corkscrew Downstairs series of workshop productions this summer in the lower level theater at the Paradise Factory (64 East 4th Street, Manhattan). The four projects all take classic texts as a starting point, including A Doll's House, Twelfth Night, the poetry of Walt Whitman, and Leslie Feinberg's 1993 novel Stone Butch Blues. The Downstairs series shares one team of designers -Dan Daly (sets), Christina Tang (lights), and Cinthia Chen (props)-and one flexible repertory set, deepening the festival's focus on exploring collaboration in different forms.

Producing Director Alexandra Cadena, who spearheads Corkscrew Downstairs, said "What's most exciting about the Downstairs series is that it's furthering the festival's mission of absolute collaboration. We are taking early-career artists, who are presenting very different workshop productions, and having them all inhabit a shared living space-where they can create, risk, and fail together. I can't wait to see how the Downstairs designers realize their visions in conjunction with each of the four projects."

All performances as part of Corkscrew Theater Festival will take place at the Paradise Factory (64 East 4th Street, Manhattan). Tickets are now on sale for the mainstage and downstairs productions. Tickets to the downstairs series are $20, with discount passes available to those seeing more than one show. Visit to learn more or call 347.954.9125 for more information.

Corkscrew Downstairs

A Doll's House: A New Opera (July 11-21)

Written and Composed by Grace Oberhofer, Directed by Allison Benko, Produced by Alexandra Cadena

July 11, 12, 18, 19 at 8:45pm; July 13, 20 at 6:15pm; July 14, 21 at 3pm

Featuring Elijah Graham, Maria Lacey, Antoni Mendezona, Amy Weintraub, Scott McCreary*, Yessenia Rivas, and Kristin Renee Young

Inspired by the echoes of Nora's plight that persist in today's world, A Doll's House: A New Opera follows the structure of Henrik Ibsen's original play but extends its heroine's gilded cage through music. Nora's domestic life with Torvald honors manipulation over authenticity, but she is forced to find her own voice when the masquerade ends.

In Oberhofer's words, "I chose to score A Doll's House: A New Opera because the character Nora Helmer embodied behaviors that I often had to conform to in order to function as a young woman in society: staying quiet unless it was something charming; telling one person something and one person something else in order to quiet their discomfort; feeling that each step had to be placed neatly in front of the other, each laugh had to be regulated, and each piece of candy carefully rationed. I needed to understand the mechanisms that so often confine women in our modern world, and I sought this understanding through music. I'm honored to help Nora find her voice and to strip away the gilded cage that prevented her from flying for so long."

Grace Oberhofer - A Tacoma, WA native and a Tufts graduate (s.c.l.), Grace works as a composer, performer, and sound designer. Her dystopian bunny musical with Julia Izumi, Hot Cross Buns, originated at Corkscrew and was recently workshopped at Brown/Trinity, and her choral play tetralogy with Colette Robert and Helen Banner, ICONS/IDOLS, has garnered support from New Georges, OPERA America, The Tank, and New Ohio/IRT Archive Residency.

Allison Benko is excited to return to Corkscrew Festival, having directed last season's world premiere of The End of Mermaids. Other directing includes Single Rider (Players Theatre), Twelfth Night (Alchemical), What Happened That Night (Project Y), Rebels v. Tories (Fairfield Museum), and She Loves Me (Balch Arena). Benko has worked extensively as an assistant director, most notably on Lincoln Center's Tony-Award winning production of Oslo. Benko is a member of the Lincoln Center Directors' Lab and a former guest artist at the Tholpavakootu Puppet Centre in Kerala, India.

Alexandra Cadena is a graduate of Yale University and has worked extensively as a producer/manager in the theatre with the Yale School of Drama and the Yale Cabaret. Her work as a theatre producer includes the New York International Fringe Festival, Corkscrew Theatre Festival, The 24 Hour Plays, #HealMeToo Festival and more. She has vast experience in film and her production company, AC Pictures, has several awarded winning shorts that have premiered at the Next International Film Festival, Worldfest-Houston, and SENE film festivals. Upcoming producer work: White Flags (film), Anna May Wong, The Actress Who Died a Thousand Deaths (SUITE/Space Mabou Mines).

Hootenanny Twelfth Night (July 13-28)
Adapted and Directed by Tom Kapusta
July 16, 23, 24 at 8:45pm; July 14, 21 at 6:15pm; July 13, 28 at 3pm; July 13, 20, 27 at 10pm

Featuring Tora Alexander, Theo Maltz, Matthew McShane, Trace Pope*, Taylor Marie Rasmussen*, Jill Shackner*, Sarah Suzuki, and Maggie Thompson*

Célébrons ce beau jour... In this "hootenanny" Twelfth Night, Director Thomas Kapusta reimagines Shakespeare's wistful play of festivity and loss via his French-Canadian heritage, transporting the ensemble comedy to a kitchen parlor in Hardwick, Vermont. This Twelfth Night invites its audience to join in fifty years of LeCours family music-making tradition, inspired by the American folk revival, their Québécois roots, and the joy derived from performing together for each other. When words fail, it's music that lets us love in mourning, mourn while celebrating, and celebrate being in love.

Per Kapusta, "Hootenanny Twelfth Night is an opportunity for me to explore the setting where I first discovered performance: with my sprawling French Canadian family. Though never formally theatrical, the singing, dancing, and festive atmosphere of our "hootenannies" up in Vermont taught me the joy of ensemble and the magic of family - characteristics I try to manifest in everything I make. Bringing this sensibility to Twelfth Night - which is already so infused with festivity - feels like a perfect match. I can't wait to see where this exceedingly talented group of actors and designers takes it."

Thomas Kapusta is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Corkscrew Theater Festival. He has developed, directed, and produced work throughout New York City. In 2016, he was assistant director on the world premiere of Linda Alper and Penny Metropulos' adaptation of Great Expectations at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Tom holds a BA from Columbia University, and is currently pursuing a Master's in Arts Administration from the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences at Baruch College.

Walt Whitman BodyJolt ™ (July 17-August 3)
Written and Directed by Alex Hare, based on the words of Walt Whitman; Choreographed by Katie Rose McLaughlin and Natalie Michelle Hratko; music by Ben Brodie and Charlie Danner

July 17, 22, 25, 31 at 8:45pm; July 19, August 2 at 6pm; July 27 at 6:15pm; July 20 at 3pm; July 28 at 11am; August 3 at 5:30pm

Featuring Alex Stein* as Walt Whitman, Hassiem Muhammad* as Devin, and Ashley Jones as Thayden

Walt Whitman BodyJolt™ is a play in the form of an audience participatory exercise class led by Walt Whitman, the esteemed poet and, now, the creator of a new fitness regimen for 21st-century Americans seeking a dynamic physical, intellectual, and moral workout. Loosely inspired by a series of self-help articles written by Whitman in 1858 and only unearthed in 2016, the play encourages audience members to follow Walt and Devin as they work through their own obstacles and insecurities.

As the class progresses through aerobics, boxing, Zumba, interval training, and meditation, Walt's gentle and inclusive leadership style gives way to something more unsettling, leaving Devin to wrestle with the philosophy behind the BodyJolt regimen, the legacy of Whitman in today's America, and the process of self-improvement in and of itself. Movers of all levels are welcome for this sweaty exploration of how we train to be better - as people, as citizens, and as a country.

"With Walt Whitman's 200th birthday having just passed on May 31 of this year, I'm reflecting on the poet's many contradictions, especially the disconnect between the beauty of his poetic vision for humanity and the sometimes ugly and exclusionary views he expressed in his life," said Hare. "Bringing audiences in to work out with Walt can hopefully offer them a space to consider the trust we put our leaders and forbearers, as well as the unique ritual found in fitness classes (and in theaters): a group of strangers reflecting on themselves while alongside each other, or in other words, the feeling of being singular together."

Alex Hare is a director of new musicals (mostly) and the associate artistic director of Corkscrew Theater Festival. He previously developed Walt Whitman BodyJolt at Barn Arts Collective and the New Masculinities Festival. Other current projects include A Burning Church, a musical tracing the history of an Alabama church over the last thirty years (New Ohio workshop; co-director with Zhailon Levingston). Assistant credits: School of Rock (Broadway), Side Show (Broadway, Kennedy Center). Frequently an assistant to film director Bill Condon, Alex studied American Studies at Columbia University.

Stone (July 26-August 3)
Written and Created by Morgaine Gooding-Silverwood, Co-directed by Katherine Wilkinson

July 26, 29, 30, August 1, 2 at 8:45pm; July 27 at 3pm; July 28 at 6:15pm; August 3 at 1:45pm

A collaborative play inspired by Leslie Feinberg's seminal novel Stone Butch Blues, Morgaine Gooding-Silverwood's Stone honors Leslie and other overlooked butch heroes of the 1960s. The inter-generational piece is a devised work of historical fiction based on the very real legacy of butch solidarity and gay community organizing that took place as a response to the police violence and anti-crossdressing ordinances of the era. Stone is an homage, a celebration, a love letter and a reflection.

"Leslie Feinberg's Stone Butch Blues was a seminal text for a lot of dykes from the generation above us, but today there seems to be a lot less understanding of the way that butch lesbians and masculine-of-center queers have made history," said Gooding-Silverwood. "In doing research on Leslie Feinberg's life and era, I uncovered so many stories of butches who were leaders in their communities. Who loved deeply. Who fought the law tactfully, outsmarted the cops, threw punches when they could and held back to survive...and who knew how to have a damn good party, on their "home turf," even when that sacred space was under siege.

This show is about them, and about us. Stone is a place for butches to celebrate their pride and softness, and to acknowledge their long-standing insecurities and challenging relationship to masculinity alongside the beautiful things about themselves. The most beautiful being the way they, the way we love and support ourselves and other women. We always have and always will."

Morgaine (Mo) Gooding-Silverwood is a theatre artist and activist based in New York City. They are currently pursuing their Masters in Text and Performance from The University of London and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. As an activist, Mo works as an educator in Theatre of the Oppressed, feminism, and philosophy at state and federal prisons in New York. Mo has trained as a performer and maker with Anne Bogart's Siti Company, and their work has been produced in the inaugural 2017 season of the Corkscrew Festival, at The University of Denver (where they served as an Artist in Residence) and at The Oklahoma Contemporary Museum.

Katherine Wilkinson is a director and producer based in New York City. Katherine has spent the last decade creating new ensemble-driven performance throughout the US and abroad. Katherine has worked with The Magic Theatre, Playmakers, Siti Company, Suzuki Company of Toga, Zen Zen Zo, Rude Mechs, Classical Theatre of Harlem, Deborah Hay, GenEnCo, RADA, Movement Research, and The Watermill Center, among others. Katherine has assisted Anne Bogart, Sam Gold, Robert Wilson, and Rosemary Andress.

*Appearing courtesy of Actors Equity Association.

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