Planet Connections Theatre Festivity Annouces Full Lineup for 2016

Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, the country's premier socially-conscious, eco-friendly arts festival, is proud to announce its eighth season of plays, musicals & staged readings, with all shows taking place at The Paradise Factory, 64 East 4th St, between 2nd Avenue & Bowery.

Tickets for Full Production shows are $18, with general admission seating. Tickets for the Staged Reading Series are free, but a ticket is required for entry. Tickets are available for purchase online at https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/27385 or by calling OvationTix at 866-811-4111.

This year's Festivity selections encompass the worlds of classic literature with a modern spin, American history and American historical figures, personal stories of triumph over tragedy, and some of the most pressing and controversial social issues of our time. Artists returning to this year's Festivity include Rising Sun Performance Company (Helvetica), CAGE Theater Company (The Renaissance Dueling Plays) and Ego Actus (Say Hello, Wave Goodbye: 3 Plays of Verbal Bondage).

Highlights of this year's Festivity include Ambition, a musical about three female American serial killers; Lonely Pilgrim, a solo show about a young man who begins a correspondence with a man on death row; The Chaplin Plays, two one-act works about the many faces of the man who created the Little Tramp; Nix, a mash-up of Shakespeare's Hamlet and Erin Brockovich as a war widow uncovers a waste water conspiracy - complete with rap, Latin and rock musical styles; and Gideon, where two young women in a Los Angeles apartment are stuck, seemingly forever as they wait for the cable guy to arrive.

Among the offerings in the Festivity's Staged Readings Series this year is Hedy! The Life and Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, shining a long-overdue light on a woman who was far more than just an icon of the silver screen; Ocean in a Teacup, about a young soldier who can't bring himself to return home when the war is over in light of the things he did in battle; Red Emma, about the life and passions of Emma Goldman, an immigrant in the early 20th century who believed in all the promises American had to offer and wanted everyone to get their fair share; and Digna, based on the life of Digna Ochoa, a Mexican human rights attorney who the government claims committed suicide, though evidence points elsewhere.

With over two dozen full-length productions, 11 staged readings, a two-night film festival (held on July 2 and July 9) as well as various special events, this year's Festivity touches on subjects ranging from the truly hilarious to the ultimately tragic. As part of the Festivity's mission, each production has partnered with charitable organizations such as Food Bank NYC, Hospice of New York, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Women in Need, The New York Public Library and The World Wildlife Foundation, to raise money and awareness for their important causes.

Planet Connections Theatre Festivity is designed to invoke the power of art in motivating philanthropy, community outreach and social change. Within the Festivity are multiple theater, film and music festivals. The Festivity is also the country's first eco-friendly arts festivity as their participating artists work to create eco-conscious art by revising their marketing, design and rehearsal techniques. Planet Connections artists are introduced to a community of like-minded theater makers, film makers and music makers as they raise awareness for an organization or cause of their own selection. The relationships formed during the Festivity allow artists to find new audiences and forge new partnerships. www.planetconnections.org.

The 2016 Planet Connections Theatre Festivity lineup is as follows:

A Light In the Dark

Benefiting: KittyKind

Written by Wendy Mae Shelton

Featuring: Lucas Beck*, Jill Bianchini*, Amber Crawford*, Marilyn O'Connell*, Randall Rodriguez*, Al Foote, Terrance Murphy

Upstairs Theater, 80 Minutes

What seems to be the beginning of a tragic period piece is quickly revealed to be so much more. On the most important evening of her life, a self-involved, troubled young woman finds herself examining her choices, behavior, and relationships with the help of a benevolent porter.

Thursday, 6/16/16, 8:45pm

Saturday, 6/18/16, 1:30pm

Sunday, 6/19/16, 8pm

Thursday, 6/23/16, 7:20pm

Saturday, 7/12/16, 12:45pm

A Madness of Short Plays

Benefitting: The Ali Forney Center

Some Dreams written by Cecilia Copeland

Bowery Street Blues written by Penny Jackson

Featuring: Eric Percival, Imran Sheikh

Superstars written by Glory Kadigan

Featuring: Mariel Matero, Parker Pogue*, David Triacca*

Directed by Melissa Skirboll

Presented by NY Madness

*An AEA-Approved Showcase

Upstairs Theater, 60 Minutes

A raw and unpredictable performance of short plays by an ensemble of emerging playwrights.

Sunday, 6/26/16, 2:30pm

Monday, 6/27/16, 6:30pm

Friday, 7/1/16, 5:30pm

Saturday, 7/9/16, 9:15pm

Sunday, 7/10/16, 1:30pm

A Stopping Place

Benefiting: MCCNY Homeless Youth Service

Written by Stephen Powell

Directed by Clara Pagone

Produced by Leonie Ettinger

Downstairs Theater, 60 Minutes

Midway through the journey of life, a man finds himself in a dark room. He is lost, but he has a plan. If he can overcome what brought him to this point, a way forward might open up. It's a simple task. And then there's the red ball.

Friday, 6/17/16, 7pm

Wednesday, 6/22/16, 7pm

Thursday, 6/30/16, 7:30pm

Wednesday, June 22 at 7pm

Saturday, 7/2/16, 9pm

Sunday, 7/3/16, 1pm

Ambition

Written by Kaela Mei-Shing Garvin

Presented by Undiscovered Countries

Downstairs Theater, 90 minutes

Ambition is a musical about female American serial killers Nannie Doss, Jane Toppan, and Belle Gunness. Centering around three historical women who each face the burden of a sexist and restrictive society, Ambition explores the psychological ramifications of legal subjugation.

Friday, 6/17/16, 8:30pm

Saturday, 6/25/16, 3pm

Monday, 6/27/16, 7:30pm

Saturday, 7/2/16, 7pm

Sunday, 7/3/16, 2:30pm

Thursday, 7/7/16, 7pm

Antigone

Benefiting: Lower East Side Girls Club

Written by Sophocles, adapted by Melody Efrani and music composed by J.P. Makowski

Presented by LES Shakespeare Co.

Upstairs Theater, 80 Minutes

Antigone pits her beliefs against those of her uncle, the king, in a bloody test of will that leaves few unharmed. She challenges his decree that her traitorous brother should go unburied thereby condemning his soul to eternal unrest. Antigone attacks issues of law and ethics. In your darkest moment, would you act with your heart or your mind?

Thursday, 6/30/16, 5pm

Wednesday, 7/6/16, 6:30pm

Friday, 7/8/16, 7:40pm

Saturday, 7/9/16, 3:15pm

Sunday, 7/10/16, 11:30am

Blankets and Bedtime: 3 Restless Plays

Benefiting: RAINN

Written by Erik Champney

Presented by Pixie Theory Productions

Downstairs Theater, 80 Minutes

This anthology of one-acts showcases a corrupt Hollywood star system, the dirtiest secret of World War II, and the darkest delusions of an unsalvageable mind. Each play is bound to the next by the theme of inescapable confinement, wrapped into 80 minutes of electrifying theatre you won't soon forget.

Wednesday, 6/15/16, 9pm

Sunday, 6/19/16, 7pm

Thursday, 6/23/16, 9pm

Monday, 6/27/16, 9:30pm

The Chaplin Plays: A Double Feature

Tramp on Tightrope with Monkeys

and

Charlie and the Siberian Monkey Goddess

Benefiting: The Trevor Project

Written by Don Nigro

Presented by Nylon Fusion Theatre Company

Downstairs Theater, 90 Minutes

Strip away the masks and make up, the remarkable number of personas under the face of Charlie Chaplin - cockney orphan, music hall vagabond, beloved tramp, movie star, director, genius, lover, abuser, dictator, murderer, traitor, exile, recluse - all of them inventions on of one who knew they were not at all real, and who is left? Who is the person under the pretense? Does the fiction of the image, the celebrity, all the various roles become reality? This double-feature explores two versions of Chaplin, inside whom many others are layered, muddled and mixed, and we witness a relentless Siberian Monkey Goddess attack and an attempt to peel away the façade to see what, if anything, is left lying beneath.

Tuesday, 6/28/16, 7:30pm

Friday, 7/1/16, 7pm

Saturday, 7/2/16, 5pm

Sunday, 7/3/16, 6:30pm

Tuesday, 7/5/16, 8:30pm

Saturday, 7/9/16, 4pm

Conservation Theater: Rated R for Recycling

Benefiting: Fundacion Para La Tierra

Written by Bricken Sparacino and others

Presented by Conservation Theater

Downstairs Theater, 80 Minutes

Conservation Theater: Rated R for Recycling: a one-night-only variety show. Leave the kids at home! Sometimes science can seem stuffy, but not tonight. Enjoy new plays by some of indie theater's best, storytelling from the Amazon by Bricken Sparacino, songs, and surprises.

Saturday, 6/18/16, 2pm

Disability

Benefiting: WIN (Women In Need)

Adapted by Ivan Faute from the novella by Cris Mazza

Presented by Ivan Faute, Portsmouth Theater Lab

Featuring: Charlotte Arnoux, Jathina Campos, Victoria Giambalvo, Lorraine Tai

Upstairs Theater, 65 Minutes

Teri and Cleo, minimum-wage nurse-aides for severely handicapped children, must implement results-based therapy or lose their jobs. When a child dies as a result of the therapy, Teri and Cleo face their own powerlessness and must wonder: who really should be considered disabled?

Tuesday, 6/21/16, 5:15pm

Thursday, 6/23/16, 5:45pm

Friday, 6/24/16, 9:30pm

Saturday, 6/25/16, 6:30pm

Saturday, 7/2/16, 11am

Tuesday, 7/5/16, 8:45pm

Drones

Benefiting: Food Bank NYC

Written by Anthony P. Pennino

Presented by Core Creative Productions

Featuring: Barry Lee Sheppard, Vinny Eden Ortega, Jamison Monella, Francesco Andolfi, William Hochman, Karl Knapp

Downstairs Theater, 80 Minutes

The war between Greece and Troy has lasted centuries. Now all that perhaps remains of civilization is one small desperate squad of soldiers.

Saturday, 6/18/16, 12pm

Tuesday, 6/21/16, 8pm

Sunday, 6/26/16, 5:30pm

Saturday, 7/2/16, 3pm

Wednesday, 7/6/16, 9pm

Saturday, 7/9/16, 6pm

Father-Daughter

Benefiting: Hospice of New York

Written by: Joshua D. Young

Presented by The Playwriting Collective

Featuring: Phillip Christian* and Briana Femia

Downstairs Theater, 65 Minutes

*An AEA-Approved Showcase

Saturday, 6/18/16, 8pm

Amidst the chaos of a mass public shooting, a daughter calls her father. She's been shot and she worries this will be the last time the two can ever speak. In a real time conversation he tries his best to help her survive, while she does her best to say goodbye.

Flow

Benefiting: The Indie Theater Fund

Written, designed and directed by Roi Escudero

Company/Artists: ETdC Projects' Lab, Roi Escudero, Tatyana Kot, Cesar Valderrama, Richard Stevens, Valentin Ewan, Eddy Rimada, Jack Placity, James Ewan, Horacio Gerpe, Ruben Celiberti, La Banda Argentina, Mrs. Mind and The Bubulinos. More participants to be announced.

Upstairs Theater: 90 Minutes

A science fiction-vérité tale in pursuit of happiness. An existential voyage by The Superheroes of Light, The Bubulinos. These intangible clones crash into the daring reality of an alienated world dominated by its mass hysteria and its media phenomena - a world ruled by Mrs. Mind, the greedy pig of this story. This experience is contained in a performance-art-retrospective piece where magic realism meets with the absurd, cinema and plenty of dada. (From the performance-art cinema ECO-Series: The Bubulinos.)

Saturday, 6/25/16, 8pm

Sunday, 7/3/16, 3:30pm

Gideon

Benefiting: NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

Written by Judith Leora

Directed by Joan Kane

Presented by: Ego Actus

Featuring: Phoebe Torres, Rachel Cora Wood*, Connie Castanzo*, Mary Monahan and Amy Gaipa*

*An AEA-Approved Showcase

Upstairs Theater, 70 Minutes

In Gideon, the existential questions of John-Paul Sartre meet the absurdity of Samuel Beckett in the L.A. apartment of two young women. Aria and Zoe are just a couple of girls trying to get by and reach out, but there is no exit when you are waiting for the cable guy.

Friday, 7/1/16, 7:05pm

Saturday, 7/2/16, 5:30pm

Sunday, 7/3/16, 1:30pm

Thursday, 7/7/16, 7:30pm

Friday, 7/8/16, 9:30pm

Saturday, 7/9/16, 1:30pm

The Golden Smile

Written by Yaakov Bressler

Company/Artists: The Golden Smile

Featuring: Andy McCain, Amanda Mason, JeVon Todd Blackwell, Flynn Harne, Jody Doo, Robert DiDomenico, Jody Hinkley, Yasmin Schancer

Upstairs Theater, 85 Minutes

When five mental patients get in trouble for misusing their rec room, they decide making a play will prevent them from getting kicked out. Set in the 1950s, The Golden Smile delves into absurdism, vulgarity, music, and the treatment of mental health.

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