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The Tank & Full Circle Theatre Present PUBLIC DOMAIN, Voting Closes 7/6


Beginning in September, The Tank and Full Circle Theatre Company are producing a monthly staged reading series featuring plays in the public domain with no copyright restrictions. Once a play has entered public domain, it belongs to everyone. It becomes ours to do with as we please. As such, we thought it'd be cool if we offered up some of the creative decision-making to our audiences.
We've selected our first seven plays, and seven directors with very different approaches. We'd like our audiences to assign a play to each director. Perhaps you think the early science fiction piece should be directed by the former soap opera producer, or the early American romance would be fascinating if handled by the mask theater company. Whatevsies! Go crazy! We want to see interesting things happen, and we want you to help make them happen. Voting closes on July 6, 2010.

To vote, visit

The Directors
Garrett Zuercher (September):

A deaf actor, director and playwright based in New York City, Garrett Zuercher's work has been seen around the world on stages and screens, both big and small. As a director and playwright, his primary goal is to develop new and innovative methods of combining spoken English and American Sign Language in theatrical works accessible to both hearing and deaf audiences. His play, Quid Pro Quo, which he wrote and directed for his senior thesis in college, won national playwriting awards and performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. As an actor, notable roles include the lead part of Huckleberry Finn in the Broadway national tour of Deaf West's Big River and a murderer on television's Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Hailing from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he graduated magna cum laude from Marquette University with degrees in English and theatre arts.

Andrew Scoville (October):

Andrew Scoville is a Brooklyn based theater director, installation artist and video designer. For the past couple of years he has been fostering his relationship with technology in his theatrical work. After completing a six-month internship with The Wooster Group, he now works and travels with Temporary Distortion Theater Corporation as a Technician and Administrative Assistant. His passion lies in devising original work where actors write the words they say and musicians write the music they play. He most recently utilized this passion to direct The Office and the Metal Blob in the 2009 International New York Fringe Festival. He is most inspired by the manifestations of order and chaos in the world and people around him. His favorite example of chaos is cream in coffee and his favorite example of order is the grid system of Midtown Manhattan. He is fascinated by consistent trends towards automation and robotics and uses these themes often in his work. He also finds inspiration in looking to the future and the sciences for insight on the current human condition. Artistically he has relied heavily on movement, music and media, but still finds fascination in the complexities of human language. He strongly believes that theater is ultimate collaborative art and the most effective way to engage with artists of every medium at the same time. That is why he does it.

Andrew Neisler (November):

Andrew Neisler is an Atlanta-raised, now Brooklyn-based theatre artist and director. Since graduating from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, he has worked in the development of many new plays and projects. He is the co-director and founder of Fresh Ground Pepper, a monthly new-work series devoted to providing theatre artists a space for experimentation, feedback, and growth. Under Fresh Ground Pepper he has curated and presented works-in-development from over a hundred New York City writers, directors, actors, dancers, musicians, and more in just over one year. Andrew has a strong belief in collaborative development and a conviction that an impassioned community is at the core of art and the process of making it. As a director, often using well-known and classic source texts, he seeks to find the narrative thread that runs deepest in the human condition. He often works with a writer and ensemble of actors to develop new scripts from old stories. With a childlike imagination, and a sensibility for play, he strives to bring epic stories to life with an energetic innocence and personal freshness. Heavily influenced by fairy tales, myths, fables, and classic literature, some of his most recently directed new plays were developed from such sources as Peter Pan, ghost towns of the old West, and Animal Farm, with a Cinderella project in the works. In addition, Andrew has directed numerous readings and showings of brand new one-act and full-length plays from up and coming writers, as well as children's theatre, sketch comedy and cabaret. He is the director of Political Subversities, a re-occurring cabaret of darkly funny political songs and sketches, devised entirely by the company. Other than theatre, Andrew also reads a lot, spends time with the people he loves, and eats chocolate.

Homunculus Mask Theater Company (December):

Homunculus Mask Theater Company is dedicated to creating entirely original, image based, physical theater that re-examines mask work from a modern, more relevant perspective. Our shows incorporate hand crafted, grotesque character masks with music, movement, and non verbal story telling to explore the dark beauty that exists within and between all of us. While retaining the basic fundamentals of traditional mask theater, Homunculus strives to breathe new life into the form by introducing elements of hip hop, optical illusion, and rock and roll. The result is a brand new style of theater unlike anything else being produced today.

Michael Laibson (February):

Michael Laibson is an Emmy winning Producer of Daytime Dramas. Over the past twenty years, he has led the creative teams at All My Children, As the World Turns, Guiding Light, and Another World. He started in the business as an actor, working at many theatres in Los Angeles and New York, in productions ranging from classical to musical. He directed productions of Loveliest Afternoon of the Year, Thieves, and Loneliest Game in Town before moving into Television Production. He directed the award winning production of The Savior of Fenway for Full Circle Theatre Company at the New York International Fringe Festival and then in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is a Director for the Garage Theatre Group in Teaneck, New Jersey, and an Adjunct Professor teaching Acting for the Camera and Directing Actors at conservatories in New York City and at Montclair State University in New Jersey. Michael's love for Performance Arts comes from his zealous need to communicate how and why passionate relationships are what make life ... livable.

Zoe Farmingdale (March):

"Theatre that I most enjoy happens when the energy from the stage simply harnesses my attention, leaving no need for questions, no space for doubt. I can see the whole and the parts, and I am being told something important. Even if I walk away and can't name what that thing is, I have no qualm, because I have felt connected to the performers, or the characters, or the story, or the images, or whatever. In my approach to art, the following things are of utmost importance: SENSE OF HUMOR, awareness (of space, self, and theatre as a construction); voice and body control; listening; economy/brevity My taste includes: beauty + sadnesss, honesty, clear purpose, humility, ensemble work, funny that becomes dangerous My background makes me keenly aware of: feminism (in particular, opportunities for women performers); transitions as part of the performance; the space being used I have lots of training/experience with: dance + movement, improv comedy, music, voice I am looking forward to the unique challenge of collaborating with a partner that is chosen for me: a work from the Public Domain. I hope to be matched with a work that I can help honor and one that compliments my aesthetic."

Rafael Gallegos (April):

Rafael Gallegos is a theatre and opera director based in Bushwick, Brooklyn. He is the Artistic Leadership Fellow at New York Theatre Workshop, apprenticing under Artistic Director James Nicola. Rafael is Team Captain/Artistic Director of Conspiracy Laboratory, aka ConLab, an interdisciplinary arts team that creates new work. For ConLab he created the original works IT'S IN THE GAME, a series of sports plays, SONGS OUR MOTHERS TAUGHT US, SOLDIERZ TALE: AGENT ZERO and GOING, GOING, GONE! Opera and music theatre work includes Matt Marks' THE LITTLE DEATH VOLUME 1 (Galapagos Artspace/New Amsterdam Records), THE COTERIE LAUNCH PARTY (Joe's Pub), CENDRILLON (assistant to Chuck Hudson at Manhattan School of Music), Harry Partch's DELUSION OF THE FURY (assistant to John Jesurun at The Japan Society), Alarm Will Sound's 1969 (tour director). Rafael is an Artist-in Residence at The Bushwick Starr and Resident Director for The Coterie, a new music theatre/opera company. Rafael currently serves as Theatre Curator for The Tank and directs the FRESH OUT THE BOX series of new experimental theatre. Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, NYTW Directing Fellowship, Univeristy of New Mexico. The two main influences on his theatrical work are decidedly not theatre related. In his work he tries to approximate the liveness of a sporting event on the stage, and he works as if he were a dj remixing a track, sampling an original source and spinning it on its head. Follow him @rafaelgallegos,

The Plays
The Tragical Comedy of Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe, 1604, England

"Ugly Hell, gape not! Come not Lucifer! I'll burn my books!-O Mephistophilis!" So ends what is regarded as the first ever dramatization of the Faust legend and possibly the most notorious tale about the appeal of sin. True, Faustus meets a dismembered end, but for 24 years he was the most powerful magician on Earth. Sure, according to Marlowe, the Doctor regrets his fateful choice, but this is Public Domain! So, was the deal worth it? What's more important: your soul or your fun? We'll let you, and the director you select, decide.

Anna Christie by Eugene O'Neill, 1921, United States

Over 50 years before Neil Young sang about a "Heart of Gold," Eugene O'Neill wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning play about a prostitute who could make nuns weep with her pureness. If you liked this story when it was called Pretty Woman, then you're bound to love it when the dialogue is actually well written. But whereas Julia ends up with a millionaire, Anna lands a sailor. Some would say that love conquers all, others would call that a raw deal.

Ivanov by Anton Chekhov, 1889, Russia

In 1887, Anton Chekhov was commissioned to write a four-act comedy. Two months later, Ivanov premiered in Moscow. In typical Chekhovian style, the play centers on a debt-ridden, Russian landowner whose wife contracts Tuberculosis. Instead of taking care of her, Nikolai Ivanov falls in love with the daughter of his moneylender. Hilarity ensues. Come witness how Chekhov masterfully evokes pity for his philandering hero, and see if the director you choose will do the same.

Philoctetes by Sophocles, 409 BC, Greece

What do you get when you mix treachery, morality, wounds that won't heal, Heracles's bow and arrows, a chorus of sailors, and the fate of the Trojan War? The answer: a legend that three of the most celebrated Greek playwrights wrote about. After contracting an obnoxiously smelly snakebite on the way to Troy, Philoctetes finds himself abandoned by his shipmates en route. Ten years later, Odysseus returns with Neoptolemus to double down on his deceit by stealing Philoctetes's weapon, which Odysseus needs (according to prophecy) to win the never-ending war. Neoptolemus has a crisis of conscience, and we're left to ponder such ethical questions as: Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few? How do we treat chronically ill patients? And, How would this tragedy end without a deus ex machina?

Life is a Dream by Pedro Calderón de la Barca, 1635, Spain

"¿Qué es la vida? Un frenesí. ¿Qué es la vida? Una ilusión." Life is a Dream is Calderon's examination of the human experience and the conflict between free will and fate. In LIAD, A King imprisons his newborn son due to a prophecy that he'd grow up to ruin the country. When the prince is released as an adult, he kills a man and attacks a woman, and is quickly locked back up, drugged, and told the day's events were just a dream. When he is broken back out of prison by rebels, he must decide if he is in reality or just another dream, and if those labels even have any moral bearing.

RUR by Karel Capek, 1921, former Czechoslovakia

The Futurians are often credited with the popularization and development of what we today call science fiction, somewhere around 1940. Almost 20 years earlier, the word "robot" made its premiere in Karel ?apek's play, Rossum's Universal Robots. RUR is the first story of robot revolution, and we think it's really cool that it happened to be in play form. The robots in RUR are written to be played by actors, and are almost undetectable as robots to characters in the play. We think that since we full-on live in the future right now (seriously, I'm typing this on a magical box that I carry in my pocket), the director you choose has a myriad of creative options available to them in presenting robot life on stage.

Demetrius by Frederich Schiller, 1805, Germany

Demetrius is Schiller's unfinished work based on the ephemeral Russian czar between 1604 and 1605. Demetrius was one of three impostors who claimed to be the son of Ivan the Terrible. Only the first act was completed, in which Demetrius, who believes himself to be the assumed murdered, rightful heir to the throne of the Czars, initiates a war between Poland and Moscow. The act ends when his mother, banished by the seated Czar, receives the news that her son is not dead. Schiller died of Tuberculosis before he could finish the play. He dictated the action for the rest of the play, but we're leaving interpretation of it up to the director you choose. Schiller, with his friend Johann Wolfgang Goethe, was a major player in the Weimar Classicism literary movement, which introduced the aesthetic concept of Gestalt.

About The Tank
Founded in 2003, The Tank is a non-profit arts presenter whose mission is to provide a welcoming, creative, collaborative, and affordable environment for artists and activists engaged in the pursuit of new ideas. Through a wide range of low-cost, high-concept arts and public affairs programming, The Tank seeks to cultivate a new generation of audience for live performance, civic discourse, and the work of emerging artists.



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