News and reviews from New York City's off-Broadway and independent theater scene
News: Blessed Unrest and Teatri ODA of Kosovo present "Refuge," April 29-May 11
Photo Credit: Maria Baranova
Baruch Performing Arts Center, in conjunction with Teatri ODA of Kosovo and the consistently excellent Blessed Unrest present the world premiere of Refuge, a devised physical-theater piece based on events in Albania during the Second World War, a time in which Albanian families, many of them Muslim, took in thousands of Jewish refugees. Refuge follows the journey of a young Jewish woman to a remote Albanian village, where she discovers truths about her family history.
Refuge, with text by Matt Opatrny and Florent Mehmeti and music by the Metropolitan Klezmer, and co-directed by Jessica Burr and Florent Mehmeti, plays at Baruch Performing Arts Center (55 Lexington Ave [25th St. between Lexington and Third], Manhattan, NYC) from April 29 through May 11, 2019.
The Slave Who Loved Caviar Written by Ishmael Reed Directed by Carla Blank Presented by Theater for the New City 155 1st Ave., Manhattan, NYC December 23, 2021-January 9, 2022 L-R: vampire Baron De Whit (Raul Diaz) and the Baron's agent, Antonio Wolfe (Jesse Bueno). Photo by Jonathan Slaff. Karl Marx famously compared the workings of capitalism to vampirism, and The Slave Who Loved Caviar , bringing the metaphor of vampirism to bear specifically on the capitalism of the art world, and even more specifically, on the relationship between artists Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Making its world premiere at Theater for the New City, The Slave Who Loved Caviar is the latest play from storied novelist, essayist, critic, playwright, musician, songwriter, professor, publisher, and more Ishmael Reed. Directed by frequent Reed collaborator Carla Blank, herself a director, dramaturge, writer, and editor, and featuring original music composed and performed by Reed, The Slave Who Loved C
The newly-minted Spokehouse Productions has announced announce its premiere production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet (co-produced by Marissa Ferrara and Joey Nasta), opening in early November at the Upper East Side’s House of the Redeemer. Hamlet is helmed by director Amanda Whiteley, Spokehouse’s founder and Artistic Director, who marks her return to the House of the Redeemer after staging Romeo and Juliet in its courtyard this past summer. Spokehouse Productions is a new theater company, associated with the House of the Redeemer, that is dedicated to site-specific theatre that reimagines and revitalizes new and classic works. Spokehouse reimagines Hamlet as a two-hour, site-specific piece presented in the library of the House of the Redeemer and featuring a gender-inclusive cast. Set against the backdrop of the Cold War, this production's Hamlet grapples with purpose, appearances, and secrecy as he contemplates his duty as a son and heir. Performances run November 5, 6, 12 and 13
And What Happens if I Don't Written by Iva Brdar Translated by Ana Brdar Presented by The Cherry Artists' Collective at The Cherry Artspace 102 Cherry St., Ithaca, NY December 3-12, 2021 Clockwise from farthest left: Adar aAlston, RJ Lavine, Elizabeth Mozer, Elizah Knight, Amoreena Wade, and Barbara Geary Cherry Arts' production of And What Happens if I Don't marks not only the world premiere of the play itself but also the premiere of the theater company's Hybrid Show System, which provides live streaming in addition to in-person seating (as non-driving NYC-folk, we attended via the former option). The play, by Berlin-based Serbian playwright Iva Brdar and winner of the 2021 Eurodram English-language Award, uses maternal advice as a series of windows onto life as a woman, vignettes that are at once fascinatingly particular in their details and widely relatable in their broader contours. Barbara Geary, Elizah Knight, RJ Lavine, and Naandi Jamison Staged in the rou