CULTURE PROJECT'S WOMEN CENTER STAGE

Genre: Festival
©Vanessa Vargas
Directed by Allan Bachman

Women Center Stage 2011 will feature performances by two-time Tony nominee Daphne Rubin-Vega, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Angela McCluskey, and Hold Music, a devised play by playwright/director Calla Videt. The festival also includes new projects by playwright/performers Leila Buck (Aftermath), Monica HunkenJane Bussmann, and Chelsea M. Gregory, a weekend spotlighting 16 women directors, and a new piece by viBe Theater Experience, a performing arts non-profit that empowers urban teenage girls to create their own theater and music. Also featured at Women Center Stage 2011 is a tribute to Judith Malina performed by The Living Theatre ensemble, as well as late night performances of the company’s 1973 play, Seven Meditations on Political Sado-Masochism, written following Malina and company’s imprisonment in Brazil.

Presenting over 30 performances created by more than 40 female artists in 29 days, the festival is a dynamic and diverse laboratory for new works in progress by both established and emerging women artists—a demographic that continues to be underrepresented on stages in New York and throughout the country. 

Culture Project Founding Artistic Director Allan Buchman says, “For me personally, the thrill of committing Culture Project resources to provide opportunities for women artists, and to see those artists pursuing their creative dreams with utter abandon, compensates for the lack of those same opportunities that my own daughters experienced. I feel this year’s festival embodies the goals of our vision: not only is it thoroughly satisfying artistically, but the spirit and sense of community with which the participants and those behind the scenes are approaching this work is infectious, inspired, and transformative.”

Women Center Stage 2011 also marks the beginning of a new partnership between Culture Project and The Living Theatre, Judith Malina and Julian Beck’s revolutionary anarchist theater company. Culture Project will be in residence at the company’s Clinton Street theater for several months each year for the next two years.

Launched in 1996 by Buchman in memory of his daughter, Women Center Stage is the Culture Project’s longest-running initiative, dedicated to supporting and vigorously promoting the work of women playwrights, directors, and performing artists. An important launching pad for new work, WCS has presented early iterations of Heather Raffo's Nine Parts of Desire (2003), Sarah Jones’ bridge and tunnel(2004), which went on to a sold-out Broadway run and special Tony Award; the world premiere of Staceyann Chin’s Border/Clash (2005); Lynn Redgrave's Nightingale (2005); and most recently the world premiere of Lenelle Moïse’s critically-acclaimed Expatriate (2008).

Culture Project is New York's premier destination for artistic work that investigates urgent social and political issues. By fostering innovative collaboration between human rights organizations and theatre, music and film artists, Culture Project aims to inspire and impact public dialogue and policy, encouraging democratic participation in the most urgent matters of our time.

 

Culture Project has premiered celebrated shows including The Exonerated, Sarah Jones' Bridge & Tunnel,Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend FreedomLawrence Wright's My Trip To Al-QaedaTings Dey Happen, the Lucille Lortel Award-winning world premiere of George Packer's Betrayed and Lemon Andersen’s County of Kings at the Public TheaterMost recently, Culture Project presented The Citizens Band’s The Past is a Foreign Country, a cabaret tackling the issue of displaced people, in partnership with USA for UNHCR. For more information, visit cultureproject.org.

 

Festival Schedule:

*All events and times are subject to change, up-to-the-minute information can be found atwww.womenscenterstage.org.

March 5 – 6, 3pm and 7pm

DIRECTORS WEEKEND

Over one weekend, in a series of 15 minute pieces, 16 female directors will answer the question “What is political theater?”  With Kathleen Amshoff, Suzana Berger, Mallory Catlett, Mikhael Garver, Noelle Ghoussaini, Jessi Hill, Rebecca Holderness, Alex Mallory, Anna Jones, Sarah Rasmussen, Alice Reagan, Colette Robert, Mia Rovegno, Tina Satter, Gaye Taylor Upchurch, and Nicole A. Watson. 

March 7, 7:30pm

viBeGirlsInCharge!

Created by an ensemble of teenage girls, this uniquely dazzling performance weaves together stories of urban girls' experiences and uses poetry, dance, video, and original songs to ask, “Why does the world need us to lead?”

March 8, 7:30pm

TRIBUTE TO JUDITH MALINA 
The Living Theatre Ensemble, Hosted by Culture Project

Judith Malina’s revolutionary career with The Living Theatre has spanned six decades, traversed the globe and inspired generations of political theater artists. Members of the ensemble—aged 7 to 70—host an evening of performances and stories from Malina’s history.

March 9 - 31, 10:30pm

SEVEN MEDITATIONS ON POLITICAL SADOMASOCHISM
The Living Theatre Ensemble, Directed by Judith Malina

A visceral examination of the social contract between the governed and the government, Seven Meditations was written after Malina and members of the company were imprisoned--and some tortured--by the Médici dictatorship in Brazil in 1973, and hasn’t been performed since its debut. Considered one of the company’s most significant pieces, the play explores Sacher-Masoch’s Six Houses of Bondage: Love, Money, Property, State, War and Death, with a seventh meditation on Revolutionary Change. (Tickets available at LivingTheatre.org)

March 10 – 11, 7:30pm

THE WILD FINISH
Written and Performed by Monica Hunken, Directed by Melissa Chambers

Follow your bewildered hostess, Monica, through her bicycle journey across Poland in search of the man who haunts her--a man of power, genius, fame and violence--her grandfather. 

March 11, 16, 18, Wed at 7:30pm, Fri at 10pm

BUSSMANN’S HOLIDAY: THE WORST DATE EVER
Written and Performed by Jane Bussmann

A darkly hysterical true story of quitting Hollywood celebrities for Ugandan war criminals. The Guardiancalled it "one of the most passionate, smart, hilarious hours on the Fringe, packed with so many brilliant one-liners it's impossible to stop laughing, even as your brain buzzes with fury at the tale she relates."  Reuters called it "so funny you almost feel guilty laughing," and South Park's Matt Stone said, "very funny - Jane’s got a death wish.” 

March 12 – 28, Mon and Sat at 8pm, Sun at 7pm

HOLD MUSIC
Written by Calla Videt and Benjamin Sampson, Directed by Calla Videt

With Merrie Jane Brackin, Arlo Hill, Josh Odsess-Rubin, Avery Pearson, Aya Tucker

 

A symphonic story about the way people listen to each other and to the world around them, Hold Musictakes us on a journey into the musical world of speech and memory, language and thought. Why and how does music make us feel? How do things get stuck in our head?


 

March 17 – 20, Thur and Fri at 7:30pm, Sat and Sun at 3pm

IN THE CROSSING
Written and Performed by Leila Buck, Directed and Developed by Shana Gold
With Adam Green, Kathryn Kates, and Maya Serhan

Leila, a Lebanese-American writer/performer, and her husband Adam, an artist from a Jewish family, have been invited to a conference by Adam’s aunt Joan to present their experiences in Lebanon during the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah war. But as the evening unfolds in unexpectedly humorous and dangerous ways, the biggest conflict this family must face is the one between them. An interactive dialogue about the personal in the political, and how this intersection shapes who we are.

March 22 & 24, 8pm

FUQs: FREQUENTLY UNANSWERED QUESTIONS
Written by Daphne Rubin-Vega with Winter Miller, Directed by John Gould Rubin

Daphne Rubin-Vega's solo show, FUQ's: Frequently Unanswered Questions, is a rock and roll infused odyssey about the bonds of a family separated not just by the gulf of the Caribbean but an even wider gulf--unspoken love and longing--and the loneliness of being the last one standing.  Intimate, tender and hilarious, Ms. Rubin-Vega's semi-autobiography is written with playwright Winter Miller and directed by John Gould Rubin.


March 23, 7:30pm

OVERCOMING SPEECHLESSNESS

Adapted from the essay by Alice Walker by Dana Balicki, Directed by Tamilla Woodard

 

In partnership with CODEPINK Women for Peace, Culture Project is developing an adaptation of Alice Walker's essay “Overcoming Speechlessness,” a reflection on her travels through Gaza. A meditation on the indomitability of the human spirit and the struggle to overcome the speechlessness that engulfs us in the wake of violence and brutality, WCS will present a staged reading of this work in progress, adapted by Dana Balicki and directed by Tamilla Woodard.

March 25 – 27, Fri at 7:30pm, Sat and Sun at 3pm

THE 6 PROJECT
Written, Choreographed and Performed by Chelsea M. Gregory
Directed by Ira-Sharay Kip

After a series of racial conflicts between high school students in Jena, Louisiana, some sought reconciliation while others gathered for a white supremacist rally on Martin Luther King Day. Portraying a surprising and evocative range of perspectives, including her own experience growing up in the Deep South, Chelsea M. Gregory explores race and identity through dance, poetry and documentary theatre.


March 30 - April 2, 8pm

CATCH A FALLING STAR
Written and Performed by Angela McCluskey
With Ian Buchanan and Paul Cantelon

Hailed by Vanity Fair as a “chortling, cussing, room-dominating force of nature,“ Scottish singer/songwriter Angela McCluskey performs her new autobiographical musical, featuring Ian Buchanan (Nip/Tuck), and Angela's husband, film composer Paul Cantelon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Oliver Stone's W). 

April 2, 2pm

THE 20-SOMETHING PROJECT
Presented by The Lost Theatre

With the mission of cultivating new, exciting work by early-career artists, The 20-Something Project gives emerging playwrights the opportunity to build their plays and their professional relationships through productions by their peers. The Lost Theatre presents developmental readings of Chloe Carter Brown's Beautiful Somewhere and Molly Hagan's The Swing of the Sea.

 

 

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About the Company: Culture Project

Blending prize-winning theater with urgent moral drama, Culture Project brings the national political conversation to life on the New York Stage.

For more than a decade, Culture Project has told stories as timely as the morning's newspaper in a way that news articles and editorials can never match.

Through brilliantly conceived, expertly staged dramas, Culture Project sparks conversation, lifts the human heart and incites political action.

A venue for acclaimed, prize-winning performance, Culture Project is also a magnet for today's best talent including Meryl Streep, Danny Glover, Mary J. Blige, Robin Williams, Marisa Tomei, Bob Balaban, Rinde Eckhert, Montel Williams, Frank McCourt, Staceyann Chin, Lynn Redgrave, Sarah Silverman, and other artists who share a passion for theater and public justice.

Open:   03/05/11
Close:   04/02/11

Schedule:
March 5th to April 2nd, 2011
Theater:   Living Theatre
Address:   21 Clinton Street
New York,
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Directions
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Houston Street Bus M21 Avenue B bus M9 Subway: F train to "2nd Avenue" (exit front of train on 1st Ave; walk east along Houston) or F train to "Delancey Street"

Cost:0-$25
Buy Tickets Online or Call: Ovation Tickets at 866-811-4111
Company: Culture Project         Official Web Site: www.cultureproject.org