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SELKIE Makes World Premiere at Z Space Tonight

Weathervane Productions and Rising Phoenix Repertory are pleased to present the world premiere of SELKIE, or When I Look at the Ocean, I Feel Like I Belong, a new play inspired by Selkie mythology, written by Sarah Shaefer.

Directed by Bay Area native Daniel Talbott, (last seen on stage here in Eurydice at Berkeley Rep and 3F, 4F at The Magic), SELKIE takes place in a fictional northern California coastal town in a bygone era. As the play opens, a body floats at the edge of land and sea. It is the selkie Adele, an immortal being stripped of her memory and magic, wasting away as a result of her estrangement from the ocean. Unable to return to the sea without the sealskin pelt that has been stolen from her, she finds herself in a town in which she can never belong, amongst people who by turns care for and shun her. Adele is drawn into the desires and dark secrets of the townspeople who are inextricably bound to her story. She dives into a furious search to remember and uncover the trauma of her history and reclaim her identity and freedom.

SELKIE runs February 9-24, 2016 at Z Space (450 Florida Street) in San Francisco. Press night is Friday, February 12, 2016. Tickets will go on sale in early December and will be available at and at 866.811.4111.

Z Space's Main Stage will be completely transformed for this work, transporting audiences into an immersive and singular world. The set, designed around three pools of recycled gray water on stage, evokes the meeting of land and sea.

The cast of SELKIE features Wendy vanden Heuvel, Addie Johnson Talbott, Julie Kline, MacLeod Andrews, Jelena Stupljanin and Jimi Stanton. Directed by Daniel Talbott, the creative team incudes scenic design by Deb O, costume design by Tristan Raines, lighting design by Kia Rogers, sound design by Jake Rodriguez, and fight choreography by Unkle Dave's Fight House.

SELKIE is one of three plays, written by female playwrights and commissioned by Rising Phoenix Repertory (Daniel Talbott and Addie Johnson Talbott, both Bay Area natives) and Weathervane Productions (Wendy vanden Heuvel, who moved to San Francisco from New York City in 2013). Rising Phoenix and Weathervane are interested in establishing rare long form collaborations - from commission to production - with a firm commitment to mount the plays before having read a word. Each play is directed by Rising Phoenix Repertory's artistic director, Daniel Talbott, and features actors from Rising Phoenix Repertory's company. The other two commissions include Charlotte Miller's Thieves, which premiered in Los Angeles at the Monroe Forum Theatre at El Portal in March 2015 and a new work by Jessica Dickey, which will receive its world premiere in New York City in 2016.


Sarah Shaefer is a playwright, actor and producer. Writing credits include The Gin Baby (Mermaid Sand Productions/Kid Brooklyn Productions, six NYIT nominations including best play), I Can't Explain It Better Than That (Rising Phoenix Rep), Mermaid (Rising Phoenix Rep), Fuck (Fresh Produced), The Blow Job Injury (Barrow Group Core Ensemble/Fresh Produced), The Queen and the Pawn's Ballsack (Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival/Abingdon Theatre Company), Shitfuck Rip-Ups (Sarah/Leah Productions), Pornologues (Mermaid Sand Productions/Breezy Productions), Deliver Us Some Email (Primary Stages ESPA), K-Hole (Primary Stages ESPA), Totally Preggers(Primary Stages ESPA), Five Tiny Little Minutes (Primary Stages ESPA/Fresh Produced). Sunk Like A Ship On Fire was a 2012 ESPA*Drills finalist. All's Well That Ends Happy was a part of the Rattlestick's Theater Jam V. She is the artistic director of the NYIT award winning company Mermaid Sand Productions and a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, Rising Phoenix Rep and Actors' Equity.

Daniel Talbott is an actor, director, writer, artistic associate of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, and the artistic director of the Lucille Lortel and NYIT Award-winning Rising Phoenix Rep. His plays include Slipping (Rattlestick, The Side Project), Yosemite (Rattlestick), Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, America, Kuwait (Rattlestick/piece by piece, Encore), What Happened When (Rattlestick West, Rising Phoenix Rep/HERE), Someone Brought Me (Quince Productions), Mike and Seth (Quince, Encore, The Side Project), Extraordinary Things (RPR), Gray (Your Name Here, Rattlestick), andF**king Immaculate (RPR). Recent directing work includes Thieves (Weathervane/RPR/Rattlestick),A Fable (piece by piece/RPR/Rattlestick), Gin Baby (IRT), Scarcity (Rattlestick/Hill Town Plays),Lake Water (Neighborhood Productions), Eightythree Down (Hard Sparks), Much Ado About Nothing (Boomerang), Squealer (Lesser America), and The Umbrella Plays (the teacup company/FringeNYC - Overall Excellence Award: Outstanding Play). Upcoming productions include his play Gray at Rattlestick, and directing the world premiere of a new play by Lyle Kessler at the Actors Studio. He received a 2011 Theater Hall of Fame Fellowship, a 2007 New York Innovative Theatre Award for directing, a Drama-Logue Award, two Dean Goodman Choice Awards and a Judy Award for acting, and was also named one of the 15 People of the Year 2006 He is a graduate of Juilliard and teaches at NYU Strasberg and Primary Stages/ESPA. He is a proud member of {Your Name Here}, Lesser America, and a member of the Actors Studio.

Rising Phoenix Repertory was founded in 1999 by Artistic Director Daniel Talbott, and produces both in the Indie Theatre and Off-Broadway, in traditional spaces and site-specifically around New York City. It is the recipient of the Caffe Cino Fellowship and New York Innovative Theatre Award. Recent productions include Thieves (co-produced with Weathervane and Rattlestick), A Fable (co-produced with piece by piece productions and Rattlestick), the Lucille Lortel Award winning Off-Broadway run of All the Rage (co-produced with piece by piece and The Barrow Group), 3C (co-produced with piece by piece and Rattlestick), Elective Affinities (co-produced site-specifically with piece by piece and Soho Rep), Slipping (produced with piece by piece and Rattlestick), and Too Much Memory (also with piece by piece), which transferred to the New York Theatre Workshop's Fourth Street Theatre after winning the FringeNYC award for Outstanding Play in 2008. RPR produces an ongoing series called Cino Nights, inspired by Joe Cino and his Caffe Cino-one of the original birthplaces of Off-Off-Broadway theatre-for which the company commissioned over twenty playwrights to write new, full-length plays which are fully produced site-specifically in the intimate back room of East Village restaurant Jimmy's No. 43 on a shoestring budget. Two volumes of Cino Nights plays have been published by The New York Theatre Experience and are available in stores and online at Indie Theater Now. Other recent productions include Extraordinary Things, Ceremony, Afterclap, Birthday, and Don't Pet the Zookeeper (Seventh Street Small Stage); 365 Days/365 Plays (Jimmy's No. 43 and The Public Theater); What Happened When (HERE Arts Center); Fall Forward (part of the Sitelines/River to River festival produced by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council); The Telling Trilogy (including The Ride, 2006 NYIT Award Nominee - Outstanding Original Short Script/Crystal Skillman), Rules of the Universe (Winner, 2007 NYIT Awards for Outstanding Original Short Script/Daniel Reitz and Director/Daniel Talbott), and Three Sisters(Seventh Street Small Stage); Gift by Mark Schultz and Ponies by Mike Batistick (FringeNYC). Rising Phoenix Rep serves as a home base for a company of theatre professionals that encourages an open exchange of work and ideas within the greater theatre community.

Weathervane Productions, created in 2014 by Wendy vanden Heuvel, is dedicated to nurturing and supporting playwrights and their work from development to production, and it also supports and develops devised and collaborative theater. Together with Rising Phoenix Repertory, Weathervane has commissioned three plays by three female playwrights, with a commitment to produce each play. The first play, Charlotte Miller's Thieves, was presented in Los Angeles in 2015 at The Monroe Forum Theatre at El Portal. Sarah Shaefer's SELKIE will be presented in San Francisco in early 2016 at Z Space. The final play will be written by Jessica Dickey and presented in New York City in the summer of 2016. Ms. vanden Heuvel is also the artistic director of piece by piece productions,a not for profit organization whose productions have included Medea directed by Deborah Warner with Fiona Shaw on Broadway (associate producer, Wendy vanden Heuvel), The Tricky Part (2004 Obie Awardand 2 Drama Desk nominations including Best Play) and All The Rage (Lucille Lortel Award, Outstanding Solo Show 2013) by Martin Moran; The Walworth Farce by Enda Walsh,Mabou Mines DollHouse, and Emma Rice's Brief Encounter, and Red Velvet all in association with St Ann's Warehouse; My Name is Rachel Corrie in association with The Royal Court Theatre;Slipping by Daniel Talbott and 3C by David Adjmi, co-produced with Rising Phoenix Repertory and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater; Elective Affinities, featuring Zoe Caldwell, with Rising Phoenix Repertory and Soho Rep. Since 2010 piece by piece has been a producer on The Lake Lucille Chekhov Project (Ivanov, Seagull), which was created by Brian Mertes + Melissa Kievmann. In the Winter of 2013, piece by piece co-produced Lee Breuer's La Divina Caricatura in association with St. Ann's Warehouse, La Mama ETC, Mabou Mines, and Dovetail Productions. Since moving to San Francisco, piece by piece has developed a producing and presenting relationship with Z Space, co-producing 100 Days, conceived by the indie rock couple The Bengsons (TBA Outstanding New Musical), and co-presenting The Wooster Group's production of Early Shaker Spirituals. Films supported include The Rest I Make Up: Documenting Irene by Michelle Memran, a documentary about the life and work of the playwright Maria Irene Fornes.

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