foolsFURY to Premiere Double Bill of One-Woman Plays with ROLE CALL
FoolsFURY Theater Company has announced its fall program, ROLE CALL, a world premiere double bill about self-discovery and claiming hard truths. The featured one-woman plays are written and performed by veteran company members Debórah Eliezer and Michelle Haner, and directed by foolsFURY founder and co-artistic director Ben Yalom.
In (dis)Placed[d], Eliezer unravels her identity as the daughter of an Iraqi Jew, refugee and spy. In Sheryl, Hamlet and Me, Haner examines her life ambitions and career choices through the lens of her Harvard dormmate Sheryl Sandberg - of Facebook fame - and Shakespeare's tragic Prince of Denmark.
Role Call opens in previews on Thursday, October 5 and runs through October 22. Opening night is Saturday, October 7 at 8 p.m. The press opening will take place the following Monday, October 9 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 - $30, and may be purchased online at foolsfury.org/fury/rolecall.
"Role Call features brave and imaginative performances by two powerhouse artists who have been working together for years," said Yalom. "Michelle and Debórah use the space of the theater to delve through deeply personal material. Each in her own way asks, What are the roles I claim for myself, and what are the roles that have been thrust upon me? How do I stand up and be counted and heard?"
Debórah Eliezer brings 25 years of experience as an acclaimed physical performer and voiceover artist to her first solo show, (dis)Place[d], that tells her story as the child of a first-generation immigrant to America "caught between cultures." "It's not uncommon for first-generation immigrants to hide elements from their past," explained Eliezer. "But the children are then caught between cultures with fewer resources to express their complex identity."
It was not until Eliezer's father had begun his descent into dementia that she began in haste to put together the missing pieces of his past - an Arab Jew, born in a once cosmopolitan Iraq, member of the Zionist underground in the aftermath of World War II, fugitive to America. In the process, Eliezer comes to a fuller understanding of her own identity: American, Arab and Jew.
Sheryl, Hamlet and Me
Michelle Haner is an accomplished stage and screen actor, having performed numerous roles from Steve Morgan Haskell's how blue the sky was (Roland Barthes is dead) and All You Can Eat to CSI and Deadwood. She is currently the artistic director of the performing arts program at the French-American International School in San Francisco.
In Sheryl, Hamlet and Me, Haner explores the costs of ambition in the digital era. The play centers on a production of Hamlet that Haner is directing, and the tragic hero's meditations trigger some soul-searching of her own: "To be or not to be - what must an ambitious 40-something-year-old woman do to get ahead? In an era of digital dominance what is the value of live theater and live education?" asks Haner.
As a foil for her career choices, Haner invokes the spirit of her Freshman-year dormmate at Harvard, Sheryl Sandberg, who went on to achieve the pinnacle of success in her own career as Chief Operating Officer of one of the most valuable technology companies in the world. Over the course of Haner's ruminations, a few other famous women make cameo appearances including Kim Kardashian and Amazon's Alexa. Sheryl, Hamlet and Me pokes a finger at the sticky center of money, status and power, as it weighs the choice of the artist's path.
To learn more about Haner, Eliezer and their solo shows, visit foolsFURY.org/fury/rolecall.
The development of Role Call was supported in part by The Kenneth Rainin Foundation and the Bernard Osher Foundation.
Debórah Eliezer is foolsFURY's Co-Artistic Director in charge of producing new work, a national festival, internship opportunities and public educational programs. She has been a company member since 2005. With foolsFURY, Eliezer has created and performed in the world premieres of The Unheard of World by Fabrice Melquiot, Faulted by Angela Santillo, Port Out Starboard Home by Sheila Callaghan, Monster in the Dark by Doug Dorst, The Devil on All Sides by Fabrice Melquiot, All You Can Eatby Steven Morgan Haskell and The Jensen Files by Ben Yalom. Eliezer directed and choreographed The Seeing Place for which she also shares a writing credit with Elizabeth Spreen. FoolsFURY choreographic credits include Port Out, Starboard Home, Monster in the Dark, Charles Mee's Big Love, Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, and foolsFURY's adaptation of Don DeLillo's novel Valparaiso. Eliezer has also worked with a number of other theater companies including Golden Thread, Woman's Will, The Puppet Players, Marin Shakespeare, Antenna Theater, Eclipse Dance Theater and Traveling Jewish Theatre. As a professional voiceover, Eliezer has recorded for Leapfrog Toys, The Sims video games and numerous radio ads. She also runs a 33-acre artist retreat center in Sonoma County. For more information, visit deboraheliezer.com.
Since 2007, Michelle Haner has been a member of foolsFURY where she oversees the company's French Plays Project dedicated to the translation and production of new French contemporary theater. Haner studied and trained at Harvard, the Sorbonne, UCLA and L'Ecole Jacques LeCoq in Paris. Favorite projects as a director include Fabrice Melquiot's The Unheard of World, Shakespeare's Hamlet, Sarah Kane's Crave, Charles Mee's Trojan Women, Sheila Callaghan's Kate Crackernuts and Dan Harder's Killer Story. As an actress, favorite performances include Steve Morgan Haskell's how blue the sky was (Roland Barthes is dead) and All You Can Eat. Haner's television and film credits include CSI, Dragnet, Deadwood, One on One and a number of independent films. Haner is also the Artistic Director of the performing arts program at the French-American International School in San Francisco, where she has also helmed a number of ambitious multi-year collaborative projects with French company Les Inachevés. More about her work as a theater artist and educator can be found at michellehaner.com.
Ben Yalom is Founder and Co-Artistic Director of foolsFURY, and has directed many foolsFURY productions including the world premiere of Sheila Callaghan's Port Out, Starboard Home, Monster in the Dark, the U.S. premiere of Fabrice Melquiot's The Devil on All Sides (which he also translated), Don DeLillo's Valparaiso, the West Coast premiere of Martin Crimp's seminal avant-garde work Attempts on Her Life, among others. He directed the controversial musical Bangers' Flopera with Inverse Theater in the New York Fringe Festival and the New York Musicals Festival. Yalom has also worked with A.C.T., the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, the Magic Theatre, Playground, Aurora Theatre, Encore Theatre, The Cell and Théâtre Ange Magnétique.
Yalom has taught at Stanford University, California College of the Arts, the Lee Strasberg Institute (NYU/Tisch), UC Riverside, the La Mama Umbria Director's Symposium, the National Theater Institute, Vassar College, the Berkeley Rep School of Theater, among other fine institutions. He recently designed a new theater program at the United Nations International School in New York, and is currently teaching at CSU Fresno. Yalom holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and his fiction and essays have appeared in magazines nationwide. His translations of Fabrice Melquiot's The Devil on all Sides and Albatross were recently published by Exit Press. He proudly serves on the board of the Network of Ensemble Theaters.
FoolsFURY, founded in 1998 by Ben Yalom, is a physically oriented theater ensemble based in San Francisco. Under Yalom's leadership, foolsFURY has been hailed as San Francisco's "Best Theater Company" (SF Weekly), "one of the brightest stars of the San Francisco experimental theater scene" (SF Arts Monthly) and given a Goldie award for theater by the San Francisco Bay Guardian. FoolsFURY strives to innovate constantly, focusing on inspired uses of the body in creating narrative, and offering visceral experiences for audiences that cannot be replicated on film or television. In addition to creating and touring new works, foolsFURY produces FURY Factory, a festival of ensemble theater presenting diverse works from companies across the U.S.
Pictured: Michelle Haner and Debórah Eliezer. Photo by Ben Yalom.