Epic Theatre Ensemble has announced post-performance forums lead by scholars, authors, and thinkers, which also includes members of the cast and creative team, immediately following every performance of DISPATCHES FROM (A)MENDED AMERICA, directed by Ron Russell, and HOLD THESE TRUTHS, directed by Lisa Rothe. These Off-Broadway productions are playing in repertory at the Theater at the 14th Street Y (344 East 14th Street). Post Show talk-backs are sponsored by the New York City Council on the Humanities.
This years forums will include special guests Neal Katyal (former U.S. Solicitor General) on Monday, October 22nd at 7pm; Julian Zelizer (Author of Governing America: The Revival of Political History) on Wednesday, October 17th at 8pm; Jeanne Sakata (Playwright of HOLD THESE TRUTHS) and Linda Greenhouse (Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter) on Sunday, October 28th at 3pm. These forums will review and discuss the issues raised by the plays. Additional guest speakers will be announced soon.
DISPATCHES FROM (A)MENDED AMERICA began as a conversation between Godfrey L. Simmons Jr., a 42-year-old black man, and Brandt Adams, a 25-year-old white man. It was post-election 2008 and both men discovered they were nagged by the “race question”. In the month leading up to the 2009 Presidential Inauguration, Simmons and Adams travelled throughout the South conducting 100 interviews in an attempt to better understand the significance of the election of America’s first African-American President. DISPATCHES FROM (A)MENDED AMERICA uses live theatre, audience participation and interactive social media to challenge assumptions about race through the words of the writers, the interviewees and the audience. Ron Russell directs this production, written and performed by Brandt Adams and Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr. The ensemble includes Jacob Ming-Trent, Lori E. Parquet, James Wallert and Sarah Winkler. DISPATCHES FROM (A)MENDED AMERICA begins previews on Wednesday, October 10 and runs through November 17. The performance schedule for DISPATCHES FROM (A)MENDED AMERICA is Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 p.m., with matinees on Saturdays at 3:00 p.m.
Joel de la Fuente stars in HOLD THESE TRUTHS, Jeanne Sakata’s one-man show inspired by the true story of first generation Japanese-American Gordon Hirabayashi, a college student during WWII. Agonizing over the forcible removal of all people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast. Gordon journeys toward a greater understanding of America’s triumphs—and a confrontation with its failures. Gordon Hirabayashi was posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in May of 2012 by President Obama. Lisa Rothe directs this production. HOLD THESE TRUTHS begins previews on Friday, October 12 and runs through November 18. The performance schedule for HOLD THESE TRUTHS is Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays at 7:00 p.m., with matinees on Sundays at 3:00 p.m.
Tickets (which include post show discussions) are $40 and are available by visiting www.epictheatreensemble.org or by calling 866-811-4111.
Both plays are produced by Epic Theatre Ensemble, Ron Russell (Executive Director), Melissa Friedman (Artistic Director), Robert Chelimsky (Managing Director) and James Wallert (Assoc. Artistic Director).
Founded in 2001, Epic Theatre Ensemble is a company of artists and activists dedicated to creating socially minded Off-Broadway productions, and to connecting these theatrical events to NYC Public Schools through rigorous in-school and after-school residencies. Epic aims to inspire vital dialogue about social, ethical, and political issues and to build thoughtful citizenship in local communities. Epic’s past productions include: the critically acclaimed New York premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play; Nilaja Sun’s No Child… (commissioned, developed and premiered by Epic prior to its commercial transfer and national tour); the premieres of Beauty on the Vine by Zak Berkman (featuring Epic associates David Strathairn and Olivia Wilde), Hannah and Martin by Kate Fodor (featuring David Strathairn), Einstein’s Gift by Vern Thiessen (featuring Aasif Mandvi and Shawn Elliott), Habitat by Judith Thompson; and the revivals of George Bernard Shaw’s Widowers’ Houses (with Peter Jay Fernandez), Henrik Ibsen’s Little Eyolf, and J.B. Priestley’s Time and the Conways. Epic Theatre Ensemble was founded by Zak Berkman, Melissa Friedman, Teri Lamm, Ron Russell and James Wallert, and the founding team has since been joined by additional Producing Artists Godfrey L. Simmons Jr. and Sarah Winkler. Epic is the proud recipient of OBIE, Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics and OTTO Awards, the 2009 “Coming Up Taller” Award from the President’s Council for the Arts and Humanities for their flagship educational program, Shakespeare Remix, as well as citations from Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg.