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La MaMa Presents OYSTERS ORGASMS OBITUARIES, Begins 12/1

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La MaMa has announced that the world premiere of Oysters Orgasms Obituaries, written and performed by Raïna von Waldenburg, and designed and directed by Zishan Ugurlu, will begin performances Thursday, December 1 at 7:30pm, with a press opening set for Sunday, December 4, at 3pm, in La MaMa's First Floor Theatre, 74A East 4 Street, between Bowery and Second Avenue. Oysters Orgasms Obituaries is part of La MaMa's 50th anniversary season.

In Oysters Orgasms Obituaries-a tour de force play about motherhood in three acts-writer/performer Raïna von Waldenburg examines the true stories of three very different women. With dignity, audacity, altruism, and humor, Oysters Orgasms Obituaries brings flesh to the bones of taboo, while examining the true essence of what it means to forgive.

First she's Hildegard, an elderly German organic goat farmer who has strong opinions about processed and food and drugs. A World War II survivor who suffers from narcolepsy, Hildegard reveals one of her life's great secrets-her husband's pedophilia.

Then she becomes social worker MariLyn Robertson who teaches a YMCA workshop in anger management. While making French toast she reenacts the story of her friend-the real-life Andrea Yates-who drowned her five children in the bathtub.

And finally, there's a burlesque performer named Raïna who eats live oysters, falls madly in love with a Cuban pirate, and reenacts the orgasmic birth of her child.

Raïna von Waldenburg is an actor, playwright, director, and teacher whose original solo works include East Coast Artists' production of My Friend Andrea (Loewe Theatre), Sexy Beasts Speak and Move (BAX), burlesque acts in Crones, Ducks, and Babes (BAX, Dixon Place), and I Am One Who Is Wild As the Wind (St. Mark's Church, Movement Research International Festival Fall 2011). Her acting credits include MUD The Musical (Grand Theatre), 15 Seconds of Silence (American Place Theatre), The Life of Spiders (The Culture Project), Roberto Zucco (OHIO Theatre), Girl (Living Theatre), Not I (NYU, dir. Moises Kaufman), Erostratus (Gene Frankel Theatre), Just the Boys (Painted Bride), and Medea (Movement Theatre International). Raïna has worked closely with director Zishan Ugurlu as principal actor in productions such as: The Father (La Mama E.T.C.), Request Programme (La Mama E.T.C.), The Last Supper (La MaMa), and Enescu and Youth (WFMT Live Radio Network/Romanian Culture Institute). Feature movie credits include Bass Ackwards, The (mostly) Mundane Life of Murphy from PA; and shorts include "Kaleidoscope," "Wartime." Raïna will perform a new solo work for Movement Research International's Festival Fall 2011 on November 28, 2011. She is the recipient of a Distracted Globe grant. She received her MFA in creative writing from Goddard College and her BFA in acting from New York University; she trained under Ryszard Cieslak, Jerzy Grotowski's principal actor and protégée, and Stephen Wangh, Master Teacher and author of An Acrobat of the Heart. Raïna teaches numerous workshops in physical acting, both nationally and internationally. Full-time faculty at NYU, she has been teaching a physical approach to acting based on the work of Grotowski at Tisch School of the Arts' Experimental Theatre Wing since 1995. Raïna's directing credits include NYU's production of her full-length play Das Kaspar Theatre, Safiya Henderson-Holmes' Testimony (New Federal Theatre), Sarah Schulman's Promenade (PS122), and Killer in Love (Goddard College), as well as assistant directing Stephen Wangh in NYU's productions of Dream Farm, Troilus and Cressida, and The Merchant of Venice. Raïna is also a published poet, visual artist, and mother.

Zishan Ugurlu has been working in New York as a theater artist since 1995. She is a resident actress and director at La MaMa and member of the Great Jones Repertory Company. She has performed in numerous productions including the The Trojan Women directed by Andrei Serban and composed by Elizabeth Swados, in which she was featured as Helen of Troy and extensively toured in Europe and Asia. She is the founding artistic director of "Actors without Borders-ITONY" and upholds its mission to introduce international writers to American audiences. The companies' works involve plays which are well known and highly regarded but rarely produced in the United States, including Lars Norèn's The Last Supper, Franz Xavier Kroetz's Request Programme, August Strindberg's The Father, all starring Raina von Waldenburg. Zishan's directing credits include The Law of Remains by Reza Abdoh, Purge by Sofi Oksanen, Kebap by Gianina Carbunariu, The Realm of Darkness by Leo Tolstoy, Baghdadi Bath by Jawad Al Assadi, Temptation by Vaclav Havel, Blood on the Cat's Neck by R.W.Fassbinder, Operetta by Witold Gombrowicz, Big Love by Charles Mee, Blood Wedding by Lorca, Watershed and Serious at Allby Tom Soper, and Until the Next Whirl by Rumi. She graduated from Columbia University with an MFA degree and holds a PhD in Theater. She is an Associate Professor at Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts. Zishan is recipient of the prestigious Fox Foundation Fellowship bestowed by Theater Communication Group.

Oysters Orgasms Obituaries is designed by Zichan Ugurlu; lighting design is by Tsubasa Kamei; sound design is by Tim Schellenbaum. The assistant director and production manager is Scott Rodrigue; the production stage manager is Paola Di Tolla.

Oysters Orgasms Obituaries performs Thursday through Saturday at 7:30pm and Sunday at 3pm through Sunday, December 18 at La MaMa, First Floor Theatre, 74A East 4 Street, between Bowery and Second Avenue. Tickets are $20 ($15 for students/seniors) and available by phoning La Mama at 212 475-7710 or by visiting the website www.LaMaMa.org.
For more information about Oysters Orgasms Obituaries, visit www.LaMaMa.org.


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