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The Play Company Presents Mini-Commissions by Katie Brook & Trish Harnetiaux, William Burke and More

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The Play Company Presents Mini-Commissions by Katie Brook & Trish Harnetiaux, William Burke and More

The Play Company today shared the series of Mini-Commissions they initiated in April, offering audiences digital access to exciting new works by artists creatively navigating the constraints of our times. Part of PlayCo's #PlayFrom6FeetAway programming-a series of experimental new works and stimulating conversations that can be experienced together, even as we hunker down and shelter in place-the Mini-Commissions include work from KATIE BROOK & Trish Harnetiaux, Ana Graham & Antonio Vega, María Fernanda Videla Urra, and Lauren Worsham & Kyle Jarrow. A Mini-Commission by William Burke will be shared as live Zoom performances, August 10th, 11th, and 12th at 7:30pm.

With Mini-Commissions, PlayCo aims to help to keep creativity flowing as so much around us remains on pause, while continuing to bring artists money for their work. These works offer audiences access, from within their homes, to exciting artists creatively navigating the constraints of our times. Commissioned works shared today include The MS Phoenix Rising, a serial podcast from director KATIE BROOK and writer Trish Harnetiaux, about a cruise ship conglomerate using avant-garde theatre to rebrand on their latest voyage; Django in Pain, by theatre artists Ana Graham & Antonio Vega from Por Piedad Teatro, following the misfortunes and adventures of a man and a three-legged dog in a "table-top theatre" piece; an experimental short film, La Vida Normal, by María Fernanda Videla Urra, following a drawing mannequin's journey toward its own material identity; and Inside Voice, a new song and animated musical short film from singer/actress Lauren Worsham and her musician/writer husband Kyle Jarrow, created with members of their band, Sky-Pony, and other artists across the globe. William Burke's upcoming, live online work Is it Supposed to Last? is a meditation on when the fun gets spoiled and the nurturing gets toxic, in which two actors (Carolina Do and Jehan O. Young) wrap themselves in streamers and ask, "What happens when we can't take care of you?" See below for longer descriptions of these works.

#PlayFrom6FeetAway also includes PlayClub, virtual gatherings to talk about contemporary plays with an intimate group and a rotating slate of special hosts. PlayClub is similar to a book club, with participants reading a designated play each week and then coming together via Zoom for a one hour discussion. Each gathering features a different host who will lend their own perspective in leading the conversation. PlayCo draws from a treasure trove of contemporary playwriting as a way to continue its mission of introducing audiences, in a meaningful way, to a worldwide variety of new plays. Upcoming PlayClubs include two meetings hosted by Charlene Adhiambo (July 30, discussing Bintou by Koffi Kwahulé, translated by Chantal Bilodeau; & August 13 TBD), PlayCo's current Literary Intern, a playwright and screenwriter who recently, in light of the movement for anti-racist change in the theatre industry, revisited August Wilson's essay "The Ground on Which I Stand" in a post on PlayCo's The Hub; lighting designer Tyler Micoleau leading a discussion of The Attic by Yōji Sakate, translated by Leon Ingulsrud and Keiko Tsuneda (August 2 at 3pm); and producer/director/translator/designer Ana Graham leading a discussion of Winter Solstice by Roland Schimmelpfennig, translated by David Tushingham (August 6 at 5:30pm). Admission is free but space is limited: spots are limited to the first 20 people to sign up via PlayCo's website so keep an eye out for the announcements.

PlayCo is also collaborating with community partner Bronx Defenders and the team behind Sarah Einspanier's Lunch Bunch (a play inspired by the Bronx Defenders' own lunch bunches) to create a podcast. Lunch Bunch was initially scheduled to be performed in March & April, in a production presented with Clubbed Thumb and directed by Tara Ahmadinejad, but has been postponed. More info on the podcast will be released in August.

#PlayFrom6FeetAway programming resumed for the Summer this week, after a pause, beginning in June, during which PlayCo suspended online programming to dedicate their platform to amplifying Black voices and anti-racism. Their internal work to examine their privilege and undo systemic racism at PlayCo is ongoing, and they to share anti-racism resources, as they recommence programming to complete the work artists undertook when #PlayFrom6FeetAway began in Spring 2020.

Mini-Commissions

The MS Phoenix Rising

Created by KATIE BROOK and Trish Harnetiaux

Written by Trish Harnetiaux

Directed by KATIE BROOK

Produced by KATIE BROOK and Ben Williams

Sounds design and audio engineering by Ben Williams

Performed by Anthony Arkin, Eric Berryman, Susan Blommaert, Johnny Gasper, April Matthis, Emily McDonnell, Keilly McQuail, Danielle Skraastad, Nidra Sous La Terre, and Jacob A. Ware

A serial podcast

It's 2022 and in six short weeks The MS Phoenix Rising will set sail, marking the relaunch of the cruise ship industry after a prolonged shutdown. Tensions are high as the front office desperately races to pull it all together. Whose idea was it again to hype the new route by touting a recreation of Christopher Columbus' voyage through the Bahamas? There's hardly time to dwell on that now, as the team finds themselves in uncharted waters when they hear the on-board entertainment plan is to mount an avant-garde theatre production of Ionesco's The Chairs.

The PlayCo commission features Episode One of six.

Is it Supposed to Last?

by William Burke

Featuring Carolina Do and Jehan O. Young

Is it ok...if we just sit in the room by ourselves???????

no..

Ok. Then...let's...at least decorate.

In this meditation on when the fun gets spoiled and the nurturing gets toxic,

two actors will wrap themselves in streamers and ask "What happens when we can't take care of you?"

Live Zoom Performances August 10,11 and 12 @ 7:30pm. RSVP required - visit playco.org for more info

Django in Pain

Created by Ana Graham & Antonio Vega

from Por Piedad Teatro

Original music by Cristóbal MarYán

A playwright is commissioned to write Django, a happy story. Unfortunately, his main character wants to die.

Exploring the possibilities of creation limited by the constraints of depression and self-isolation, the playwright uses objects found in his home to create a "table-top" show about the misfortunes and adventures of a man and a three-legged dog. The PlayCo commission showcases a few scenes from a work in progress that Ana Graham & Antonio Vega will later develop into a neat, one-hour charming little play the size of a drafting desk.

La Vida Normal

Created by María Fernanda Videla Urra

The life of an ideal beauty.

La Vida Normal is an experimental short film about a drawing mannequin who enjoys high status as the ideal human figure, but must brave a journey through its own material identity when its experience of the physical world is called into question.

Inside Voice

Written by Kyle Jarrow and Sky-Pony

Director and filmmaker: Aleksei Postnikov

Animator: Sasha Vodolazhchenko

Vocals: Lauren Worsham

Guitar: Kevin Wunderlich

Cello: Dave Blasher

Bass: Eric Day

Percussion: Jeremy Yaddaw

We are all stuck at home during the pandemic, but one little girl discovers how to fight the despair and make her way back to hope.

An international collaboration between director Aleksei Postnikov, animator Sasha Vodolazhchenko and the band Sky-Pony results in an animated musical short film snapshotting this historic moment in time. The film brings together the talents of eight artists scattered across the globe, all working from home


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