Third Annual Women Playwrights Initiative 2019

PASSION POWER PROSE 2019

Our mission is to Inspire, Empower, Validate, and Celebrate women playwrights.

The Women Playwrights Initiative at the Ivoryton Playhouse develops new one-act plays by and about women, and the issues that shape their lives. Friendship, political and economic advocacy, sexual satisfaction, aging, gender equality, racial issues, marriage, singlehood, motherhood, careers, and power. The Initiative provides a safe, nurturing environment for play development, including a week of intensive rehearsal with the playwrights, directors, and actors. The workshopping week culminates in a staged reading festival, featuring interactive talkbacks with the playwrights, directors, actors, and audience.

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Performance times are 7:00pm.

Ticket prices are:
$20 adult; $15 senior; $10 student

Single tickets are available to purchase on line by clicking on this link.

Buy tickets for Friday and Saturday night performances and save:
$30 adult; $25 senior; $10 student. Please call the box office to purchase these ticket packages – 860.767.7318

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WPI 2019 PLAY SYNOPSES

Friday March 1:

HOW TO BE A WIDOW
by Tori Keenan-Zelt
Directed by: Susan Einhorn
As the Civil War draws to a close, cholera and Gettysburg have claimed the lives of two husbands. In this wickedly funny play, two young women grapple with the freedom and power of their new widowhood. If they had the chance to have their husbands back, would they take it?

WATER WITHOUT BERRIES
by Waltrudis Buck
Directed by: Todd Underwood
Two brothers—a school teacher and Shakespearean actor—return to Harlem to persuade their infirm grandma to leave the tenement where they grew up. In this bittersweet drama, yearning, art, rivalry, and hope struggle against the relentless forces of reality.

Saturday March 2:

PARTNER OF –
by Rachael Carnes
Directed by: Leslie Snow
What can her grandmother and mother teach young Sally about agency, expectation, and the roles society permit women? Through the lens of three enslaved women, the property of Thomas Jefferson, we face what it means to be the “partner of –”

THE ROBERTASSEY
by Kathleen Cahill
Directed by: Hannah Simms
Roberta’s trip to Ireland becomes a surreal odyssey when the airlines lose her suitcase containing her father’s ashes. The dialogue is sharp, and the tone is magical, in a comedy that explores the universe’s indifference, filial obligation, forgiveness, and the power of love.

Generously sponsored by:

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHTS

Waltrudis Buck  (Water Without Berries) is thrilled to make her playwright’s debut at Ivoryton. She has worked in film, TV, and theatre as an actor, appearing opposite De Niro, Julia Roberts, and Woody Allen, among others. She has published poetry and short stories, and her novel The Berlin Girl can be found here: amazon.com/author/waltrudisbuck but this is her first foray into playwriting. Thank you so much Ivoryton! She just finished a full-length comedy titled Real Estate inspired by the current political situation, excerpts of which have had readings at “Naked Angels Tuesdays@9.” Any producers out there? It’s a very funny play, if it weren’t so sad (waltrudisb@gmail.com).

 

Kathleen Cahill (The Robertassey) Kathleen’s awards include three Edgerton Foundation Awards, the Jane Chambers Playwrighting Award and Commission on the Arts Playwrighting Awards, a Massachusetts Artists Foundation Award, a Rockefeller Grant, a National Endowment for the Arts New American Works Grant, and a Drama League Award. Her play Charm (NNPN Showcase) was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and has been produced around the country, upcoming at the New Hampshire Theatre Project. Her play/dance/romance, Silent Dancer, premieres at the Salt Lake Acting Company in April 2019, and at BStreet Theatre in Sacramento in August, 2019. She is Playwright-in-Residence at the Salt Lake Acting Company, and Dramatists Guild Fund Master Teacher. Her play Henry, Louise, and Henri was part of the Women’s Playwrights Initiative at Ivoryton Playhouse in 2018.

 

Rachael Carnes (Partner of -) as an arts nonprofit founder and educator, Rachael has spent her career developing inclusive performing arts experiences for people of all ages and abilities. She discovered playwriting in 2016 and is humbled by her many productions since, with performances across the country and throughout the U.K. Recent highlights include invitations to the Inge Festival, the Midwest Dramatists Center Conference and the Mid-America Theatre Conference. Rachael’s work has been published by the Coachella Review, she is a Bechdel Group workshop semi-finalist, and her full-length play, Canopy, will receive a staged reading at the WriteON Festival, in Cambridge, U.K. in 2019. A community builder, Rachael founded #CodeRed, a playwrights’ collective dedicated to writing, and sharing, plays in response to gun violence. Rachael is beyond grateful for the opportunity to be in residence at the Ivoryton Playhouse. And she thanks her many playwriting mentors, and her husband and kids, for their continuing support.

 

Tori Keenan-Zelt (How to be a Widow) Originally and proudly from Pittsburgh, Tori writes curiosity-chasing plays that sniff out in-between spaces in big theatre to change the world. Many of them decide to be comedies. She has developed and presented work around the country and abroad. Recent plays include How the Baby Died (Ingram New Works), Seph (Araca Project, Princess Grace Finalist), Air Space (Kilroys 5 Most Recommended Plays, Ingram New Works Lab, Princess Grace Finalist), Truth/Dare (Project Y Theatre, Best Ensemble Pittsburgh Fringe, Kilroys List, Princess Grace Finalist), Egypt Play (InterAct 20/20 Finalist), Episode #121: Catfight! (Yale Cabaret), and others. Having written for Colonial Williamsburg’s Emmy Award-winning PBS education series, Tori has been named an Emmy Nominee, Kilroys Lister, Jerome Finalist, Princess Grace Finalist, Playwrights of New York Nominee. She is an affiliated writer with The Lark, The Playwrights’ Center, Ingram New Works Lab, Ensemble Studio Theatre Playwrights’ Unit, Fresh Ground Pepper, & the Dramatists Guild. Several of her short plays are published by Next Stage Press. AB, Harvard. MFA, NYU Tisch Asia (Singapore).

HOW TO BE A WIDOW
by Tori Keenan-Zelt
Directed by: Susan Einhorn

 

 

SUSAN EINHORN (Director) is a free-lance director of over 85 productions of international and American classics and premieres of new plays, musicals, and operas at NYC theatres such as: Promenade, Circle in the Square, Westside, Primary Stages, Playwrights Horizons, Vineyard, LaMama, Open Space, Theater for the New City, and St. Clement’s (New York Musical Theatre Festival, Director’s Choice Award), as well as at prominent regional theatres such as: Pittsburgh Public, Syracuse Stage, Arena Stage, Milwaukee Rep, Studio Theatre, and the Whole Theatre. At Queens College she has headed the Acting program in the Drama, Theatre, and Dance department for 36 years and served a term as Department Chair. She is the recipient of several awards, among them an NEA grant, the SDC Award for Exceptional Service, and the QC President’s Innovative Teaching award (twice).

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WATER WITHOUT BERRIES
by Waltrudis Buck
Directed by: Todd Underwood

 

Todd L. Underwood (Director) is an award-nominated director/choreographer whose work has been seen on stages and in film all over the world. Past productions include, A Chorus Line, Grease, The Color Purple, Man of La Mancha, West Side Story, Saturday Night Fever (Connecticut Critics Circle Award nomination). Rent, Chicago, La Cage aux Folles, Dreamgirls, Chicago, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, AIDA, The Princess and the Black-Eyed Pea (NAACP Theater Award nomination), independent film, Were the World Mine (Astaire Award nomination), Memphis (Bay Area Circle Critics Award and Connecticut Critics Circle Award nominations), Ain’t We Got Fun (London Concert). His work is featured in the movie musical Hello Again starring Audra McDonald, Cheyenne Jackson, and Martha Plimpton, also receiving a Chita Rivera Award nomination for Best Choreography in Film. He wants to thank Ivoryton Playhouse and the Women’s Playwright Initiative for creating a space where theater thrives.

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PARTNER OF –
by Rachael Carnes
Directed by: Leslie Snow

 

LESLIE SNOW (Director) a native Los Angeles, California, toured in HELLO DOLLY with Mary Martin and Betty Grable, Loring Smith, and Peter Walker, among others. She studied acting in New York with Sanford Meisner, worked with the producers on GODSPELL, and performed on the Straw Hat circuit. She founded the Connecticut Young Artists, a theatre and dance school, preparing students for careers in the theater.  For the past six years she has been the founder and director of the American Classics Repertory Company, producing classic American plays in Connecticut. Productions include I Never Sang for my Father, Come Back, Little Sheba, Private Wars, A Member of the Wedding, The Price, The Dresser, The House of Blue Leaves, and A Raisin in the Sun.   It is a privilege to be included in the Women Playwrights’ Initiative.

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THE ROBERTASSEY
by Kathleen Cahill
Directed by: Hannah Simms

 

HANNAH SIMMS (Director) is a director, teacher, and playwright based in Hartford. She is a graduate of the Dell’Arte School of Physical Theatre and NTI at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. She is an ensemble member at HartBeat Ensemble, and lead facilitator of their Youth Play Institute. Directing: Lest We Forget, Frog Hollow State of Mind, and Asylum Hill: Meet Us Where We Are (HartBeat Ensemble), To Kill A Mockingbird (CCSU), Guenevere and To Fall In Love With Anyone, Do This (Women Playwrights’ Initiative at Ivoryton Playhouse),  Eurydice, (PVPA Charter High School),  Winter’s TaleTwelfth Night, and Julius Caesar (Hampshire Shakespeare), Write On! festival (Hartford Stage), New In November festival (Hartford Opera Theater).  Assistant Directing: The City That Cried Wolf (59E59).  Her next project will be Cin Martinez’s new play Pegao, coming to HartBeat Ensemble in the spring.

 

ART AND THEATER: WOMEN’S VOICES
Sponsored by Ivoryton Playhouse, Kehler Liddell Gallery, and ArtEcon Initiative

A panel discussion among four artists and four playwrights

Tuesday, February 26 at 6:30 PM at Kehler Liddell Gallery
873 Whalley Ave, New Haven, CT 06515 (203) 389-9555
Free and open to the public

Joining Waltrudis Buck, Kathleen Cahill, Rachael Carnes, and Tori Keenan-Zelt will be:

Kehler Liddell Gallery Artists:

Penrhyn (Penny) Cook’s early work was shot with film and processed as toned, silver gelatin prints. She now works digitally. Her photography documents the overlooked, the serendipitous, the presentation of contradictions, innocence, and humor. Her family, personal history, and ideology are an important part of her story telling. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibits in numerous venues, including the Summer McKnight Crosby Jr. Gallery, New Haven, CT, City Lights Gallery, Bridgeport, CT.  Cook has self-published three books and co-authored an additional three with her photographer husband Rod Cook under the name of PenRod. Her work is in many private collections. penrodcook@gmail.com

Kate Henderson’s work depicts a sense of place and energy, exploring the space between an idea and the physical world. Working primarily in pastel, a combination of gestural and contour line translate elements of the natural world into a place of abstraction. Line becomes a metaphor for how we experience our internal spiritual world in this world of “Form”; the essences of all things. Kate received her MFA in painting and printmaking from Yale University, where she was awarded the Old Holland Classic Oil Color Prize. Her work has been shown at Creative Tech week NY, The Lumen Prize global tour at The Auditorium on Broadway NY, Degas Society in New Orleans, and New Haven Lawn Club, among others. kate@katehenderson.art


Ana Henriques’s
 works, on handmade paper, or wall hangings, explore the spaces women fill and create, asking how the metaphysical or spiritual is used to elevate/explore the female narrative. She also explores destruction and regeneration, and the socio-political history of women. Aiming to disrupt the prevailing view of fine art, she uses elements of South American quilts and weaving as a means to subtlety subvert the notion that craft is used functionally and traditionally by women. Ana received a BFA in Visual Arts at York University, after a gap year teaching in Hong Kong. She then trained as an art teacher in Oxford, UK. The breadth of experience and perspective gleaned from traveling and teaching in myriad countries continues to inform her art and practice. Anachenriques1@gmail.com

Kim Weston’s work Layers of the Soul is a new series of her latest years photographing Native American dancers from various tribes at pow wows on the East coast. It focuses on capturing the essence of spirit in movement. The large scale photographs allow the viewer to become one with the image. This process stems from her direct connection to her Native heritage. To take the pictures, she places herself on the ground near the drum and shoots in rhythm with the drum, the singers, and the dancers. Kimweston22@gmail.com

  

This event is made possible with support from:

 

 

 

 

Press Release

February 10, 2019

Third Annual Festival of Women’s Plays Opens Season at the Ivoryton Playhouse

Ivoryton, CT: The Ivoryton Playhouse is thrilled to announce the dates of its Third Annual Women Playwrights Initiative – Passion, Power and Prose 2019.

The Initiative includes the Ellie Award and a $500 stipend for each of the four women playwrights chosen and provides a safe, nurturing environment for the development of new, one-act plays by and about women and the issues that shape their live, including a week of intensive rehearsal with the playwrights, directors, and actors. The weeklong workshop culminates in two evenings of staged readings which will take place on Friday, March 1 and Saturday, March 2, 2019 at the Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street, Ivoryton, CT, followed by discussions with playwrights, actors and directors.

Friday, March 1, at 7pm, there will be two readings presented. How to Be A Widow by Tori Keenan-Zelt and directed by Susan Einhorm. In this wickedly funny play, two young women grapple with the freedom and power of their new widowhood.

Water Without Berries by Waltrudis Buck and directed by Todd Underwood. Two brothers—a school teacher and Shakespearean actor—return to Harlem to persuade their infirm grandma to leave the tenement where they grew up. In this bittersweet drama, yearning, art, rivalry, and hope struggle against the relentless forces of reality.

Saturday, March 2, at 7pm there will be two readings presented. Partner of – by Rachael Carnes and directed by Leslie Snow. What can her grandmother and mother teach young Sally about agency, expectation, and the roles society permit women? Through the lens of three enslaved women, the property of Thomas Jefferson, we face what it means to be the “partner of –”

The Robertassey by Kathleen Cahill and directed by Hannah Simms. Roberta’s trip to Ireland becomes a surreal odyssey when the airlines lose her suitcase containing her father’s ashes. The dialogue is sharp, and the tone is magical, in a comedy that explores the universe’s indifference, filial obligation, forgiveness, and the power of love.

To purchase tickets for the Friday, March 1st or Saturday, March 2nd readings – each start at 7pm – please call 860.767.7318 or go to www.ivorytonplayhouse.org

Tickets:  $20 adult each night; $15 senior each night; $10 student. Buy tickets for Friday and Saturday night performances for $30.00 adult; $25 senior; $10 student – call box office 860.767.7318 to book 2-day package.

The Ivoryton Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street, Ivoryton, CT  06442.

For more information about the Women Playwrights Initiative and to read bios of the playwrights visit our website www.ivorytonplayhouse.org

 

ct-logo-2012_for_largeLooking for something to do? Ivoryton Playhouse has been voted best place to see live theatre by readers of The Shoreline Times for three years in a row. Come to Essex and visit our historic, professional theatre – a Connecticut treasure!

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