1812 Productions is pleased to announce the residents of the 2019 Jilline Ringle Solo Performance Program. The summer residencies provide essential time and space for artists to continue development of original solo works. This year, 1812 Productions and the Advisory Board of the Jilline Ringle Solo Performance Program are pleased to award residencies to Brett Robinson, Jessica Johnson, TS Hawkins, and Gwendolyn Rice. The summer residencies will take place from Saturday, July 6th through Sunday, July 14th at 1812 Productions’ rehearsal studio in South Philadelphia.
Brett Robinson will work on as yet untitled piece exploring Performative Goodness. Robinson questions, “Why Performative Goodness? I have theories: It feels good to have people see us do the ‘right thing,’ performing goodness as a woman is considered incredibly virtuous, performing goodness is a way to ensure we protect ourselves from criticism, performing goodness is a way to distance ourselves from our privilege, performing goodness is easier than doing the right thing, performing goodness feels good, even if it isn’t helping—or worse if it is actually causing harm.” Robinson has appeared locally at Arden Theatre Company, Lightning Rod Special, and InterAct Theatre Company, among others. She is an Associate Artist at Applied Mechanics and a member of the Wilma Theater’s resident company, HotHouse. Working with collaborator and fellow art-maker Bastion Cabroni, Robinson will craft a new work featuring her original clown character Patricia! who has appeared locally at the performance art cabaret Agitated!.
Jessica Johnson will continue work on her solo cabaret-style piece Hey Girl, which uses comedy to explore the many faces and functions of black women in the media. In Hey Girl, a Master of Ceremonies named HT is run through a gamut of personal and public confrontations against the unseen Powers that Be, a figure/collective that controls HT’s environment and, ultimately, her image. Appearing on a stage she cannot control, HT opens the performance using her “black girl magic” and a musical medley to explain why magic is necessary to the survival of black women as mothers, friends, and co-workers. Johnson will spend her residency working on a complete score and will explore ways of incorporating an audience into the action of the piece. Johnson has most recently appeared at Walnut Street Theatre, Gretna Stage, Revolution Shakespeare, and as Celie at Theatre Horizon in an acclaimed production of The Color Purple.
TS Hawkins will continue work on her choreopoem They’ll Neglect to Tell You, a piece that Hawkins first performed in 2015 as part of Painted Bride Art Center’s The Souls of Black Folk Project. Hawkins will work with cultural historian and artist Lois Moses to grow They’ll Neglect to Tell You into a full-length solo work with movement and multimedia elements. They’ll Neglect to Tell You is a Philadelphia-rooted piece that explores and details the city’s history, marginalized populations, and gentrification. Hawkins says the piece, “…artistically details the comedy and tragedy of having to learn how to thrive within the margins.” Hawkins is an internationally recognized author, performance poet, activist, and playwright whose work #SuiteReality received the 2017 Surya Bonaly Award and debuted at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre during the Black Lives, Black Words International Theatre Festival, and her work Cartons of Ultrasounds has enjoyed multiple Off-Broadway engagements.
Gwendolyn Rice is a Wisconsin playwright who joins the residencies to continue work on her one-woman play Miss American Pie. Miss American Pie takes place on the evening of the 2016 Presidential election. Amidst all the exit polls and red and blue maps on TV, Maggie gets an urgent phone call from her friend Saiyna, a young photographer she works with at the local newspaper. Rattled by the panic in Saiyna’s message, Maggie decides to distract herself with a comforting ritual; she makes a pie, while recalling specific moments from their friendship that revolve around food. As Maggie leads the audience through each step of making a great apple pie, she also traces the history of America’s hostility toward immigrants. Then she wonders what will become of her talented friend under the new administration, since Saiyna is a Muslim from Pakistan, working towards citizenship. Miss American Pie weaves together divergent pieces of American history and is designed to be performed in home kitchens as well as traditional theatre spaces. With a first draft already completed, Rice will work with fellow playwright Jen Plants on making the piece performance ready.
The Jilline Ringle Solo Performance Program is dedicated to supporting the creation, development and production of work by female solo artists across a variety of disciplines—theater, performance art, and cabaret.
1812 Productions was founded in 1997 and is the only professional theatre company in the country dedicated to comedy. Their education program, 1812 Outreach, has been awarded the Barrymore Award for Excellence in Theatre Education and Community Service and The Victory Foundation Award. 1812 Productions is the recipient of an honorary citation from the City of Philadelphia for outstanding work and commitment to the Philadelphia arts community. In 2010 and 2016, 1812 was among a select group of regional theatre companies to receive a National Theatre Company grant from the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards. With a focus on devised and original works, 1812 Productions’ mission is to produce theatrical works of comedy and comedic works of theatre that explore and celebrate our sense of community, our history, and our humanity.