Rori Nogee’s Aftershocks at the NY Winterfest is well written and deals with a subject that is rarely dealt with in a real context. It is a hard show to take because it is so brutally honest, much like Veronica’s Room or Blackbird. Aftershocks reminds me of the Natalie Portman film “Closer”.
We first meet Angie (Rori Nogee) at a strip club giving a lap dance to Jimmy a regular customer (Troy Acree). As he departs Elliot enters (Trevor Van Uden), who only wants to talk and does not want to be touched. Angie is stunned by this behavior and tells Ben (Frank Winters) the man who loves her, but whom she only sees as a friend with benefits. Elliot returns and the two get to know each other without touching. On one occasion Jimmy bursts in and demands a dance with Angie and threatens her. Elliot goes ballistic, almost killing him. As Angie and Elliot grow closer we learn that Angie had been raped in college. After her boyfriend Kyle (Eric Graves) dumped her she felt worthless and became what we see today. Elliot was also raped from the ages of 9 – 15 and can not be touched. He lives with night terrors and more. Despite her love for Elliot, one fateful night Angie is forced to leave. Time goes by and Angie is engaged to Ben. On her birthday Elliot arrives with his new girlfriend Bethany (Szalene Anthony) and suddenly he can kiss and touch, which drives Angie insane. Their chemistry is still intact and nothing will ever be the same again.
To give much more of the plot away would be to spoil the effects. Needless to say for the first time I was caught off guard.
The cast lead by the playwright was believable, each having a moment to shine. This non-equity cast stepped up to the bar and I give director Justine Lambert the credit for that.
The lighting by Joe D’Emilo was well done.
Ms. Nogee is a playwright and an actress to watch. She understands dialogue and her description of how different people react to abuse is dead on. No one really ever states with accuracy the long term effect abuse can have on an individual and how each person reacts. No two act the same. In Aftershocks we get two contrasting reactions and both are sadly valid. If you have been abused this play may be extremely hard for you to take. The sexual content is explicated, but this is a worthy play if you can handle it and I recommend it highly.
You can see Aftershocks at the NY Winterfest at the Hudson Guild, 441 West 26th St. January 9th @ 9pm, and January 12th @6pm
New York Theater Festival Announces The Winners of Best of Fest
After a season of 82 plays and 16 musical showcasing their work from December 26th to March 10th the NY Winterfest announced their nominees and winners. The play The Tenants by Dave Hanson, the musical The Circle of Eyes by Katy Mikelle and Carolina Garcia Ordonez From The Solo Play/Musical – Where Art Thou, Freddy Mac were the big winners. The Tenants was about two ghosts who haunt an old New York apartment, unable to remember much of who they were or why they’re there. But when a young couple move in, the two spirits begin to remember vicariously through the living. A dark comedy that explores regret and life after the human condition.
BEST PLAY OR MUSICAL WINNER ($3,000): The Tenants by Dave Hansen
Sand In Memphis Glass, or The Grace of a Good Woman by Brandon Thomas Sabatino
The Circle of Eyes Story, Music and Lyrics by Katy Mikelle
Jokey: A Sexual Unboxing Music and Lyrics by Jack Fortin Book by Jacob Rosen, Charlie Towle and Jack Fortin.
Spilled Milk by Khalif Gillett
The Middleman by Marlin Thomas
Southern Boys: Sons of Sharecroppers by Kathy D. Harrison
Burning House by Joseph Nelms
A Measure of Doubt by Paul Schwartz
BEST SHORT ($200.00): These Walls Book and Lyrics by Caitlin Collins Music by Matthew Lowy
Bunny Funeral by Morgan Hammel
Molotov Cocktail by Edward J Fee
BEST DIRECTOR ($500): Mark Bell From the Play – The Tenants
Sarah Green From Play – Spilled Milk
Katy MikelleI From The Musical – The Circle of Eyes
Jacob Rosen From The Musical – Jockey: A Sexual Unboxing
Carlo Moreno From The Play – Love /Sick
BEST ACTRESS ($500): Carolina Garcia Ordonez From The Solo Play – Where Art Thou, Freddy Mac
Vaness Lee From the play – Les Boites Noires
Lucia Bellini From the play – Love/Sick
Kathleen Simmons From the play – A Measure Of Doubt
Morgan Hammel From the play – Bunny Funeral
BEST ACTOR ($500): A tie… Beau Allen From the play – The Middleman and Ross DeGraw From the play – The Tenants
Papa Jean From the Play – Les Boites Noires
Steve Blachard From the Play – A Measure Of Doubt?
Christopher Pio From the play The Myth Of Forgiveness
BEST SINGER ($500): A tie… Keith Weiss From The Musical – A Yaqui Spring Musical and Carolina Garcia Ordonez From The Solo Play/Musical – Where Art Thou, Freddy Mac
Sam Swinnerton From the Musical- Jokey: A Sexual Unboxing
Daniel Scott Walton, Hilary Ekwall, Renee Bergeron and Drew McVetyFrom the Musical – These Walls
Marcus Beckett, Jermaine N. Sellers and Lawrence Dandridge From the Musical – Southern Boys
BEST MUSIC SCORE ($300.00): A tie… Jack Fortin From the Musical – Jockey: A sexual Unboxing and Katy Mikelle From the Musical – Circle Of Eyes
BEST CREATIVE PLAY OR MUSICAL ($200.00): Katy Mikelle From the Musical – Circle Of Eyes
Best Costume Design ($200.00): Katy Mikelle From the Musical – Circle Of Eyes
BEST LIGHTING DESIGN ($200.00): Katherine R Mitchell From the Play – Girl
BEST SET DESIGNER ($200.00): Katy Mikelle From the Musical – Circle Of Eyes
BEST CHOREOGRAPHY ($200.00): Katy Mikelle From the Musical – Circle Of Eyes
BEST STAGE MANAGER ($200.00): Woodjinie Francois Perre From the Play – Les Boites Noires
Submissions are open for the NY SummerFest which runs from June 1 – Sept 20
New York Theater Festival Meet The Playwrights: Reyna de Jesús Defies The Odds
Reyna de Jesús is proud to be Latina, a brain injury survivor, deaf/hard of hearing, educator, performer, writer and friend. Her main purpose is to show representation through her pieces. She is internationally known for her work on and off stage.
Her first play “Stillness of July” is a cumulation of everything she needs or needed to see in her life. It encompasses everything from women owning their lives and bodies, to three educated Latina leads, powerful women of color creating magic, supportive men and an epic story about women supporting women, love, life, and death.
Stillness of July follows the story of Sara and Lamar. Two soul mates who are separated by time. Lamar is 15 years older than Sara. They can’t be together, but can’t help but fall in love. It’s like whenever they are together times stands still. This story explores immigration reform, women supporting women, equal rights, love, life, and death. For this production, the entire creative team is made up of WOMEN OF COLOR.
Stillness of July: plays at the NY Winterfest at the Hudson Guild Theatre, 441 West 26th St. March 3rd @ 6:15 pm, March 6th @ 4:00pm – and March 7th @ 9:00pm
New York Theater Festival Meet The Playwrights: Gavino Villapiano A Computer Wiz Who Studied at Julliard
Gavino Villapiano (Pop, playwright, director, producer) – is thrilled to have his first stage play presented in front of a live audience. Although he is the author of 4 screenplays, this is his first opus on the boards. He has always had a need to write, while pursuing a “day job”, a career in the computer industry. What motivates people, what drives people, it what has always interested him and the characters he writes about, in fiction and performance – from searches for identity, to striving for acceptance, to longings to put closure on the past, including unresolved grief and loss. He was a triple major (Mathematics/Physics/English) as an undergrad, the first two being “practical”, the love being poetry, fiction and drama being the motivation for the third. He studied film at New York University and music composition at Juilliard. He has written three novels, several non-fiction tomes, a viola concerto, a requiem mass and a string quartet. The practicality of a career was driven by the fact that he is the father of 5 children, ranging in age from 22 to 43. They are truly his life’s work. (Obviously, he ain’t afraid of work…).
In Backyard, a middle aged man drops by to visit his father in the backyard of his childhood home. The two men have a superficial conversation, appointed by flashbacks that illuminate the references they make. Ultimately, the real reason for the visit is revealed, leading to a flash forward to the old man’s wake. In the end, however, they part ways for the day, a little richer in understanding of each other.
Backyard: plays at the NY Winterfest at the Hudson Guild Theatre, 441 West 26th St. Feb. 20, 2020 @ 9pm, Feb. 22, 2020 @ 2:15pm – Sat. and Feb. 23, 2020 @ 6pm
The New York Theater Festival Meet The Playwrights: Omar Bakry A Playwright With An International Flare
Omar Bakry is a multi faceted artist/ writer/ director that is not defined by any one culture. Born, 1976 in Sweden, raised in Egypt, he attended Faculty of Fine Arts, (Helwan University) in Cairo. In 2007, he moved to New York to pursue theater and film, studying directing in School of Visual Arts and New York Film Academy. Attended “The Roger Simon Hendricks studio” as a writer and director, he took Dr. Alaa Alswany’s “Fiction and Short story writing course” 2019. Bakry brings a global fusion to history, the nature of conflict, and a hard earned awareness of the fragility and toughness of the human condition.
His first play The way of the family in 1998, led to a 2004 production at the American University in Cairo and a publication with Marz, in Toronto, Canada. He has also written Delightful, 2006, Black was the day kind were the heartbeats, in 2013, which led to a reading at Lincoln Center in 2017. All I see… 2015 and now Superman and Serena, 2019 was selected for New York Theater 2020 Winterfest.
Superman and Serena deals with the long repressed childhood traumas of a white male psychiatrist and his female Middle Eastern patient. Feelings surge violently into the present during their sessions, triggering a conflict that spins out of control and into tragedy.
The plays stars Egyptian actress Inji El Gammmal his wife. Growing up in Paris, France, Inji graduated from the American University in Cairo where she met her husband. Her credits include the stage play Under the tree, played and performed in the Howard theatre of the American University in Cairo and in the Egyptian opera. She did the stage play Bismillah performed in NYC for which she won the all arts award of best feature performance in 2019. Other credits include the independent film 3 Deeds, His man, Hello aurevoir, Postcards of the orient, Abdou and Saneya. El Gammal, along with her husband launch Timewormz a New York based Production Company.
Superman and Serena: plays at the NY Winterfest at the Hudson Guild Theatre, 441 West 26th St. Feb. 10th at 6:15pm, 14th at 9:00pm and 16th at 3:30 pm
The New York Theater Festival Meet The Playwrights: Lauren Fleishman Brings Sexuality, Power and Spirituality To The Stage
Lauren Fleishman first entered theatre by way of politics, working for Annie’s List, a Political Action Committee in Texas electing females to political office. It was here, writing campaign speeches, she learned the power of storytelling. Fascinated by storytelling’s ability to change people’s perceptions, Lauren moved to Los Angeles and entered the film industry. She worked in Post Production at Westwind Media, then under Tammy Ann Casper and Shonda Rhimes for three years on the hit television show, Grey’s Anatomy.
Enamored of film making, and seeking additional female mentors, Lauren took tutelage under Margo Weathers. Since, Lauren has written, produced and directed over a dozen commercials and indie short films. Lauren’s paved her own path and during lulls in her career, funded her art and life through her own exploration in sex work. Fascinated with the underbelly of society and determined to break the taboo, Lauren brings raw and profound insights into a world largely misunderstood. Her work aims to focus honestly on themes such as sexuality, power and spirituality.
She resides in New York City writing for theatre, screen and select commercial projects. She is currently inspired by Anaïs Nin, Sarah Ruhl, David Mamet, David Lynch, David Fincher, Bret Easton Ellis, old good things, eccentric strangers and her own droll life experiences”
Lauren’s play Used follows Mick a rich privileged banker with no consequences in life who hires Amanda, a high end escort for the weekend. What they have in common is, they’re both getting used… Used dives into the philosophy of relationship- with self, others and environment. Can we survive in the world using transactional relationships to our benefit without it personally costing us
Used plays at the NY Winterfest at the Hudson Guild Theatre, 441 West 26th St. Feb. 18th at 9:00pm, 19th at 6:30pm and 22nd at 4:30 pm
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