Theater for the New City, Crystal Field
, Executive Director, presents OPEN UP as part of the Dream Up Festival, tonight, August 28 through September 2, 2012. Written by Kimberly Pau and directed by Eric Mercado, the production features designs by Rachel R. Blackwell and production stage management and additional designs by Jeromy Hunt. The cast includes Melissa Chambers, Lauren Cipriano, David Fernandez, Aaron McDaniel, Amanda Peters and Elizabeth Spano. Meet the cast in the photos below!
In an age of celebrity pop stars, hyper-social networking, and an intrusive media culture, the psychological hysteria of teenage lust hits home when child performers Dwayne and Shantee meet. Counseled by Medusa and avoiding Death, Dwayne and Shantee must cope with the stresses of marriage and pregnancy at the young ages of 12 and 13. This play is wild.
Kimberly Pau’s (playwright) plays have been produced and developed at 45 Bleecker (Baby Plays the Banjo, published on Indie Theater Now), Theater for the New City (Deactivated), The Gene Frankel Theatre (Bomb Shelter, published on Indie Theater Now), Ensemble Studio Theatre (Long Island Bores Me), Blue Heron Arts Center (Casualty of Lovely), The Stella Adler Conservatory for Acting (Chew), Tisch School of the Arts: Department of Dramatic Writing (Casualty of Lovely) and Experimental Theatre Wing (Young Woman) and The Green Building (Deactivated). Kimberly studied Dramatic Writing and Drama at Tisch School for the Arts at NYU and has developed work at the International Experimental Theater Workshops in Amsterdam, the International Film & Television Workshops in Rockport, ME and the Play Development Collective in NYC. Acknowledgements include: Named one of the Top Ten Off-Off Broadway Theatre Professionals of 2011 by reviewfix.com; Baby Plays the Banjo, Outstanding Playwriting Award, Planet Connections Theatre Festivity 2012, Bomb Shelter, 8 Award Nominations, Planet Connections Theatre Festivity 2011 and finalist for the TrapDoor Ensemble Playwright Competition; Fredrick & Imanuel, finalist for the SPF Festival; Shithead, semi-finalist for Eugene O’Neill Playwright’s Conference. Kimberly is also Artistic and Producing Associate at Aquila Theatre and a member playwright at Sanctuary: Playwright’s Theatre.
Eric Mercado (director) Eric Mercado is a Brooklyn based director and lighting designer. He holds a BFA from NYU Tisch where he studied creating original work. Previous directing/devised theatre credits include: The Ape and the Child at the Wings Theater, Ach Du Lieber Himmel and Wine and Spirits, both at New York Theater Workshop with Theater In Asylum, Baby Plays the Banjo at 45 Bleecker and Bomb Shelter at the Gene Frankel, both received Planet Connections Award nominations for Best Director, and EBE Ensemble’s reading of Choking the Butterfly at the Fourth Street Theatre. He assisted director Jean Randich on A World Apart at the Flea , Annie Tippe on The First Ladies Project at the Robert Moss Theater, and Johnua Gelb on Sometimes in Prague at The Tank. Lighting design credits include: The Flitch at the Robert Moss Theatre, The Death/Memory Project at New York Theater Workshop, Yo Girl! at both 59E59 and Surgeon’s Hall at the Edinburgh Fringe, and DK Display’s showroom in Chelsea. Eric recently served as Staff Director for Aquila Theatre’s national tour of Macbeth and The Importance of Being Earnest and Associate Director and Lighting Designer of Julia Locascio’s stage adaptation of the novel The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.
Rachel R. Blackwell (designer) is a visual artist working in video, collage, and installation. Her work centers on universal human experience - birth, death, consciousness, and fear - tapping into currents that are present in all art and spiritual cultures. Blackwell studied New Genres at the San Francisco Art Institute under Sharon Grace. There she filmed improvised shorts and started creating architectural video installations for bands and theatrical performances She also began experimenting with rerecording footage to create new visual effects through multiple (de) generations. The next step was rerecording found footage to create new emotional video landscapes. This video collage technique has been evolving for the last 10 years. The work has been used as projections and installations in Haunted Houses, fashion shows and in independent films. She works on theatrical and commercial productions as a set dresser and prop stylist, and won Outstanding Scenic Design for the staging of the play Bomb Shelter, written by Kimberly Pau and directed by Eric Mercado. Blackwell designed an obese puppet and a video of Justin Beiber mandalas for Pau's production of Baby Plays the Banjo and also filmed a short entitled Shithead, and has made music videos for the bands Dirty Churches and Room of Love, among many other projects. Since meeting her partner Jesse Gelaznik, Blackwell has further evolved to use music to mark the movements in a video collage. The couple alternatively starts from the music or image to develop landscapes/ themed visions. The collaboration exists as a video and also a performance. They have presented these collaborations at the 92YTribeca, Galapagos, St Cecilia’s, Theater Lab, Diverse Works and other music and art venues in New York, Texas, Miami and internationally.
Melissa Chambers (Medusa) studied at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne and has since worked as a performer and director on both sides of the equator. In Melbourne she appeared for the Melbourne Theatre Company, Hothouse Theatre, Red Stitch and The Black Lung and in New York for 59E59 Theatres, International WOW and in new writing development for EST, Ontological Hysteric, P73, The Lark, the Dramatist Guild and Rattlestick to name a few. She has trained in physical theatre with The Awake Project in South France where she also accidently rode a 5 speed through a mountain range. She is the director of “The Wild Finish” by Monica Hunken which toured to festivals Amsterdam and Norway and is a literary associate to The Play Company. As a book narrator Melissa has recorded over 50 titles for Bolinda Audio and Vision Australia.
Lauren Cipriani (Death) is a recent graduate of Hartwick College. She has a BA in theatre arts and a concentration is political science. Lauren recently became a member of the Complete Theatre company. She has had the opportunity to perform in various styles of theatre, ranging from Shakespeare to Tennessee Williams. She was last seen on her campus stage in the production of Moliere's The Imaginary Invalid.
David Fernandez (Belleesha/Executive) is a recent graduate from Marymount Manhattan College. This is his second time on the New York stage. He was born in Los Angeles and grew up between Los Angeles and Mexico, where he began acting at the age of 15.
Aaron McDaniel (Dwayne) - Off Broadway: Harold in Studio 42's Miss Lilly Gets Boned (New Ohio Ice Factory Festival), Malcolm in Aquila Theater's Macbeth (Gym at Judson). International Tour: Malcolm in Aquila Theater's Macbeth. Other credits include: Tartuffe in Tartuffe, Solyony in Three Sisters, and Danny Zuko in Grease. Along with Aaron's acting work he was also the Assistant Fight Choreographer for Newsies! The musical at the Paper Mill Playhouse. The work he did there was translated to the show's new home at the Nederlander Theater on Broadway.
Amanda Peters (Shantee) was born and raised in Austin, Texas, Amanda has a BFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. She has performed as an actress, singer, dancer, burlesque performer and was co-founder and artistic director of Bow and Arrow Productions. Some of her favorite roles to date include 'Linda Rotunda' in Savage in Limbo (Manhattan Theatre Source) and 'Carol' in Oleanna (International Theater Workshop, Amsterdam). Amanda can be seen in the soon to be internationally released Hirokin as'Concubine One' and as 'Corissa' in Happy Ending which is currently making it's way around the festival circuit.
Elizabeth Spano (Tiny Marie/Other Mother) is delighted to be reprising her role as Tiny Marie in Kimberly's second piece this summer. This is project number 6 that Elizabeth has trusted Eric Mercado, her future husband, to direct her in. Elizabeth is a grad of NYU's Tisch program.
Photos courtesy Theater for the New City.
Lauren Cipriani as Death
Aaron McDaniel as Dwayne
Aaron McDaniel as Dwayne
David Fernandez as Belleesha
Amanda Peters as Shantee
Melissa Chambers as Medusa
Elizabeth Spano as Tiny Marie