Posted in #classism, #critique, #dystopia, #immersive-theater, #pointofview, activists, adaptation, Aditya Rawal, allegory, avant garde, Baruch Performing Arts Center, based on a novel, Brandon Walker, dark drama, drama, dysfunction, ensemble acting, equality, Erin Cronican, Ethan E. Litwin, experiments in theater, farce, George Bernard Shaw, Gingold Theatrical Group, Gwynn MacDonald, issue play, Jay O. Sanders, Kinding Sindaw Melayu, LaMama, Maryann Plunkett, off Broadway, opinion, play, political drama, politically inspired, politics, Potri Ranka Manis, premieres, refugees, riff, Siachen, storytelling, theater, theater for the common good, theatron or The Seeing Place, timely drama

All creatures, large and small

Theater can be distanced, ie by not breaking the fourth wall. It can be immersive, like Tamara at the Park Avenue Armory back in the day, or the McKittrick Hotel programs, Sleep No More or Woman in Black happening now. Audiences sit in the round, or follow the players from room to room, or sit in front of the proscenium, or on stage.

Form and presentation may contribute to the experimental nature of a play. Subject matters in making theater a relevant comment on our times.

These times need a healthy dose of cynical analysis and profound soul-searching. “All animals are equal,” George Orwell says in Animal Farm, “but some are more equal than others.” The Seeing Place, a ten year old theater collective, kicks off the season with a modern adaptation by Brandon Walker of Orwell’s novel.

The theme for this year is the Body Politic, and its Animal Farm focuses on drawing out the ways in which we are susceptible to the collective power of a group. The line between community and a folie à tous is subtle.

Executive Artistic Director, Erin Cronican says of TSP’s production; “By creating this play for just four actors playing 28 characters, we shine a spotlight on the malleability of people’s opinions and desires, which often depend upon who is in charge and what is promised to them.”

Another exploration of present day politics can be found in the works-in-process Siachen at Baruch Performing Arts Center, from April 30 through May 2. This anti-war play, written by Aditya Rawal, takes us to India’s disputed Kashmir region where a group of soldiers awaits rescue. Gwynn MacDonald directs.

George Bernard Shaw was a principled man, whose ideals of humanitarianism and universal human rights were a creed underpinning everything he wrote. His politics were always in evidence in his dramas. The Gingold Theatrical Group’s annual party, the Golden Shamrock Gala 2020, takes place on Monday, March 16th; they will be honoring Maryann Plunkett, Jay O. Sanders, and Ethan E. Litwin. The Gingold Theatrical Group creates theater in the activist spirit of GBS with regularly scheduled events through the year.

Kinding Sindaw – Photos by Josef Pinlac

LaMaMa, the mother of experimental theater, hosts a play appropriate for our time. Pananadem (Remembering) is about refugees brought to these shores by the Filipino troupe Kinding Sindaw. Potri Ranka Manis, the Founder and Artistic Director of Kinding Sindaw is the creative and choreographer behind this production, running from March 12th through March 15th in a New York premiere. The work uses the tradition of myth to capture the experience of the displaced.

Posted in equality, gender equality, women directors, women playwrights

Women’s work

This “Seal of Approval” is being raised for equality.


In industry and big business, women are obliged to break the glass ceiling to reach the top ranks. In theater, the League of Professional Theatre Women is looking at not-for-profit companies who are helping women burst through the glass curtain.

On February 23rd, LPTW awarded theaters in which 50% of playwrights or directors are women with a Seal of Approval for promoting gender parity in their productions. 4 of the 12 New York theater companies honored have gotten the Gold Seal for their efforts and hiring practices over the past 5 seasons.

These include Playwrights Horizons for its hiring of women playwrights, Ensemble Studio Theatre (playwrights and directors parity), and Soho Rep and LAByrinth Theatre Company (directors).

The remaining 8 awards, simple Seals, are for equality in hiring practices for the 2014-15 season. Those being so honored are  Lincoln Center Theater (playwright and director parity); MCC Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club (playwrights); The Flea, The New Group, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre; Roundabout Theatre Company, Signature Theatre Company (directors).

LPTW is a not-for-profit organization promoting visibility and increased opportunities for women in the field which celebrates and encourages the hiring of women in the theatre and the producing of work by women. LPTW’Seal of Approval is designed to be a recognizable symbol that its recipients may display in all their promotional materials and point to with pride for putting gender equality into practice.