PHILADELPHIA THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS NEWLY COMMISSIONED PLAY CYCLE – THE DAYS OF RE-CREATION

Company will announce the 2020-21 Season prior to the broadcast on September 30th

Philadelphia Theatre Company begins its 46th season with the rolling world premiere of The Days of Re-Creation: A Virtual Play on September 30th at 7pm. The play cycle is the brainchild of Devenand Janki, Artistic Director of the company Live & In Color, which commissioned seven prolific playwrights of color, including B.D. Wong (Tony award winning actor), Lauren Yee (Signature Theatre resident and writer of Cambodian Rock Band and The Big Leap), and Masi Asare (winner of the Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award), AriDy Nox, SEVAN, Nandita Shenoy, and Philadelphia playwright Erlina Ortiz, who contributed the play La Egoista. Directed by Rebecca Aparacio, the play features seven 10-minute plays relating to the seven days of creation from the Book of Genesis. Tickets for the play are free, but patrons must register for a link at philatheatreco.org, or by calling 215-985-0420.  All performances are performed virtually and are able to be viewed on any streaming device, including YouTube.

Immediately prior to the broadcast, at 6:45 pm, Producing Artistic Director Paige Price will announce the Company’s plans for the 2020-21 Season and new Resident Artist Jeffrey L. Page will be introduced.. Price and PTC Managing Director Emily Zeck are focused on shifting programming to the virtual space for the 2020-21 Season. PTC is excited to meet the challenges of the current moment in two ways — creating opportunities for artists and addressing racial inequity in American theatre with direct action.  At 6:45 pm on Wednesday, September 30th, the Season’s offerings will be announced,

“We’re very excited to kick off the season with something brand new,” said PTC Artistic Director Paige Price. When my colleague Dev Janki came to see if PTC would be interested in participating in a national rolling premiere, I saw that Erlina Ortiz (co-artistic director of Power Street Theatre Company) was one of the commissioned playwrights.  Immediately, I agreed.  The piece also appeals to me because it’s very of-the-moment. Many of these short plays deal with storylines inspired by this time of isolation and questioning. Live & In Color commissioned these wonderful playwrights of color, and it’s a wonderful way to bring a variety of new writers to our audience’s attention.  Finally, it allows us to offer work to artists, which is going to be a main focus of our season.”

We live in a time of incredible upheaval. Our daily lives are unrecognizable from a year ago. As a country, we are undergoing a deep reexamination of our institutions. Each day it feels like we are recreating ourselves as individuals and rebuilding in new and better ways what has been corroded or purposefully torn down.  So, 2020 will be seen as a pivotal year in the history of mankind. While it is a year full of fear, exhaustion, conflict, and death, it also has the potential to be a year of revolution, rebirth, and re-creation. The Days of Re-Creation: A Virtual Play is seven 10-minute plays on this theme of re-creation which relate in some way to one of the seven days of creation from the Book of Genesis. These plays were written to be performed specifically on a virtual platform with a run time of 80 minutes.

They include:

Light and dark… by BD Wong (The Three Karens)

Sky and water… by Masi Asare (The Strong Friend, and Company)

Land and plants… by SEVAN (Soilmates)

Planets and stars… by Nandita Shenoy (To the Stars With Love)

Fish and birds … by Lauren Yee (The Nerd)

Land animals and humans…by AriDy Nox (S.C.R.I.)

Rest… by Erlina Ortiz (La Egoista)

The Day of Re-Creation: A Virtual Play is directed by Rebecca Aparicio (she/her), who makes her Philadelphia debut. Aparicio is an NYC-based director and writer of new work, dedicated to telling stories rooted in social and human justice. Recent projects include: In The Heights (Live Arts), award-winning production of Radical by Nelson Diaz-Marcano (HERE),  and Morir Sonyando by Erlina Ortiz (Parsnip Ship). The cast is made up of local favorites, returning PTC favorites, and actors making their PTC debuts. The cast includes:  Kimberly S. Fairbanks (she/her), who appeared in Sweat in 2018, J. Hernandez (he/him), who returns to PTC after performing in Sweat as well as Everything is Wonderful this past season. He is a multiple-Barrymore nominee and nominee for the F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Artist.  Suli Holum, who also appeared in PTC’s Sweat, returns for this performance.   Making their PTC debuts are Guadalís Del Carmen (she/her) also a playwright whose play Bees and Honey was on the 2019 Kilroys List, Iraisa Ann Reilly (she/her), Christine Toy Johnson (she/her) from the National Tour of Come From Away, and Ang Bey (they/them) who is a co-artistic director of Shoe Box Theatre Collective.

“I am so deeply honored to be able to work on The Days of Re-Creation with Philadelphia Theatre Company,” said Aparicio. “When Paige approached me about this project, it was an immediate YES (!) because of the incredible team of writers that Live & In Color has commissioned for this, especially my dear friend and Philadelphia’s own Erlina Ortiz. As a Latina theatre maker, the fact that all of the stories are written by BIPOC artists is especially meaningful. As we know, Black and Brown communities are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic in America, while simultaneously fighting the pandemic of systemic racism and violence against Black and Brown people. What I find most fascinating about LIVE & IN COLOR’s approach is how they have framed these stories through the Book of Genesis. The idea that amidst all the current destruction, devastation, and loss there is the opportunity for a new birth. We are being forced as a collective to re-examine the systems that we have put in place and acknowledge that we have collective power to decide whether these systems still work for us. While this work is painful, there is the ability to re-create a world that is better for all of us. And I think these stories invite us to ask these questions of ourselves and of our communities.”

The playwrights were facing an exciting challenge with this piece. They had to turn their typical writing into something that worked on screen and was quick. “I think the 10-minute medium was more outside my comfort zone than the virtual medium actually,” said Ortiz, the Co-Artistic Director and Resident Playwright at Power Street Theatre. “I’m used to writing longer plays and spending more time getting to know characters. This was a fun challenge because I had to dive right into what these characters wanted from each other. Also the other prompts like Recreation and Rest gave me parameters to work in that got my creative juices flowing. I think if I would have been told ’10-minute Zoom play Go!’ without the other parameters it would have felt like an arduous task.  I was feeling very anti-zoom play until about a week before getting contacted about this commission so it was good timing. “

This virtual performance is stage managed  by Jamel Baker. The PTC team responsible for the company’s Virtual Play Brawl Fundraiser will handle the digital duties for this production.

“This fits right in with our longstanding mission,” said Price. “We also want to be more proactive in producing contemporary theatre that represents the American experience in a way that tells stories about what is happening right now.  The American experience can be found in all cultures – that sounds obvious, right? But we have more work to do to shine light on the many communities that make up this city. While we can’t wait to get back into the theatre just yet, these plays were actually written FOR this digital space, so the stories will play out in what seems like the perfect platform. We’re also really trying to find ways to be responsive to a tectonic shift that is occurring in our field right now. Theatres are being asked to look at how their institutions reflect their communities (or not) and to take meaningful steps toward equity.  We are a predominantly white organization, but Philadelphia is such a culturally diverse city. This play is just one small step we can take (albeit during a shutdown) to support BIPOC artists.”

Tickets are free for this event.  You can register to receive your link to the performance at philatheatreco.org, at the box-office, or by calling 215-985-0420.  The production will become available at 7 pm on September 30th, but will be available for viewing until October 3rd.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

Rebecca Aparicio Rebecca Aparicio is a NYC-based director and writer of new work, dedicated to telling stories rooted in social and human justice. Recent projects include: In The Heights (Live Arts), award-winning production of Radical by Nelson Diaz-Marcano (HERE), and Morir Sonyando by Erlina Ortiz (Parsnip Ship). As an associate/assistant director, recent credits include: Gloria: A Life (dir. Diane Paulus, A.R.T. and dir. Emily Mann, McCarter Theatre), Evita (dir. Sammi Cannold, NY City Center), The Fre (dir. Niegel Smith, The Flea). She’s developed work with Classical Theatre of Harlem, Musical Theatre Factory, The Tank, Ars Nova, HERE, FringeNYC, The Flea, and more. She is an inaugural member of Roundabout Theatre’s Directing Group 2019-20, an MTC Jonathan Alper Directing Fellow, a two-time SDCF Observership Award recipient, and a Resident Director at the Flea.  As a writer, her award-winning musical Pedro Pan was developed by New York Musical Festival, Musical Theatre Factory, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, and FringeNYC. Additional writing credits: Legacy (Prospect Theatre), Nora Saves The World (Barn Arts), and The Garcia Sisters (Red Mountain Theatre). Rebecca is a Steering Committee member of the Latinx Theatre Commons, Latinx Playwrights Circle, and a founding member of Magic Forest Theatre, dedicated to creating new musicals for young audiences. www.RebeccaAparicio.com

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHTS

Masi Asare (she/her) – Masi is a composer, lyricist, and playwright. Shows include: The Family Resemblance (book/music/lyrics; developed at Live and In Color/ Bingham Camp and Eugene O’Neill Center); the new musical adaptation of Mira Nair’s film Monsoon Wedding (lyrics), to open at Leeds Playhouse and London’s The Roundhouse in summer 2021; spy musical Sympathy Jones (music/lyrics/concept; NYMF; Playscripts); and a one-act play about teen superhero Ms. Marvel, Mirror of Most Value (Marvel/Samuel French). Commissions: Theatre Royal Stratford East, Barbara Whitman/Grove Entertainment, Victory Gardens/ Toulmin Foundation. A past Dramatists Guild Fellow, Masi won the Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award for a woman composer of musicals, awards for composition and lyrics from the O’Neill, a Theater Hall of Fame Emerging Artist Grant, and the Stacey Mindich “Go Write A Musical” Lilly Award. An advisory board member for MAESTRA, she holds degrees from Harvard and NYU Tisch and is on the Theatre department faculty at Northwestern University.

AriDy Nox (she/they) – is a multi-disciplinary black femme storyteller and social activist with a variety of forward-thinking creative works under her/their belt including the sci-fi operetta Project Tiresias (2018), the ancestral reckoning play A Walless Church (2019), the afrofuturist ecopocalypse musical Metropolis (2019), and many others. AriDy creates out of the vehement belief that creating a future in which marginalized peoples are free requires a radical imagination. Their tales are offerings intended to function as small parts of an ancient, expansive, awe-inspiring tradition of world-shaping, created by and for black femmes. As a graduate of the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at Tisch School of the Performing Arts at NYU and a beneficiary of the Emerging Writer’s Group at the Public Theatre, she has been inordinately privileged to share the workings of her imagination among a vast array of inspiring and supportive artists of various radical backgrounds throughout the city.

Erlina Ortiz (she, her) – Erlina Ortiz is a Dominican-American playwright, performer, and theatre maker from Reading, PAbased in Philadelphia. Her heartfelt and timely plays on gentrification, domestic violence, and cultural preservation have been produced with Power Street Theatre where she is proud to be Co-Artistic Director and Resident Playwright. In2018 Her play Las Mujeres received The Bonaly Award for Creation of Community Joy and in Spring 2019 her play Morir Sonyando was nominated for six Barrymore Awards including Outstanding New Play. Erlina has received the Amtrak Writer’s residency, the Signal Fire Outpost Residency, in 2019 she gave the Keynote Address at the Delaware Writer’s Conference, and she is a 2020 recipient of the Leeway Art and Change Grant. Erlina has taught playwriting with the University of the Arts, Power Street Theatre, and Blue Stoop phl. Erlina believes being an artist is a superpower, she believes in using her powers for good.

SEVAN (he/him) – SEVAN’s work has been seen in London and New York at The Public Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, The Flea Theatre, The Sheen Center, The Bush Theatre, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Theatre503, Rich Mix, The Old Red Lion, The Space, and Access Theatre. Member of the Bush Theatre inaugural 2015 Emerging Writers Group; The Public Theater 2011 Emerging Writers Group; NYTW Usual Suspect; Rising Circle Theatre Collective 2010 InkTANK Writer’s Lab. NYTW 2011/2012 Teaching Artist. 2017 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference Finalist. 2016 Kondazian Playwriting Award for Armenian Stories. 2016 Arch and Bruce Foundation Playwriting Prize. 2014/2015/2016 Princess Grace Award Semi-Finalist. 2014 Papatango Playwriting Prize Shortlist. 2014 Saroyan Social Justice/Human Rights Playwriting Award Finalist. 2010/2012 William Saroyan Playwriting Prize Finalist. Currently under commission by Noor Theatre for the inaugural Theatre Row Kitchen Sink Residency.

Nandita Shenoy (she/her) – Nandita is a New York-based writer-actor. Her Rage Play, was recently named to the Kilroys List 2020. Washer/ Dryer was produced multiple times nationally after its world premiere at LA’s East West Players and an Off-Broadway production in which she also starred. Her first full-length, Lyme Park: An Austonian Romance of an Indian Nature, was produced by theHegira in Washington, DC. Her one-acts have been produced in New York City and regionally. Nandita won the 2014 Father Hamblin Award in Playwriting and a 2018 Mellon Creative Research Fellowship at the University of Washington School of Drama in partnership with Ma- Yi Theater Company. She is a proud member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, the Dorset Theatre Festival’s Women Artists Working Group, and the Dramatists Guild. Nandita holds a BA in English literature from Yale University. www.nanditashenoy.com

BD Wong (he/him) – BD won a Tony Award for his performance as Song Liling in M. Butterfly, becoming the only actor in Broadway history to receive the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Clarence Derwent Award, and Theatre World Award for the same role. He was nominated for a Critic’s Choice Television Award for his role as Whiterose in Mr. Robot, also earning an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series.

Lauren Yee (she/her) – Lauren’s plays include Cambodian Rock Band (South Coast Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, City Theatre, Merrimack Rep) and The Great Leap (Denver Center, Seattle Repertory, Atlantic Theatre, Guthrie Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, Arts Club, InterAct Theatre, Steppenwolf). Honors: Doris Duke Artists Award, Steinberg Playwright Award, Whiting Award, Steinberg/ATCA Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters literature award, Horton Foote Prize, Kesselring Prize, Primus Prize, Hodder Fellowship, #1 and #2 plays on 2017 Kilroys List. New Dramatists, Ma-Yi Writers’ Lab, Playwrights Realm alum. TV: Pachinko (Apple), Soundtrack (Netflix). BA: Yale. MFA: UCSD. www.laurenyee.com

ABOUT THE ACTORS

Ang Bey (they/them) is a Black, queer storyteller from Southwest Philadelphia. They are the co-artistic director of Shoe Box Theatre Collective and the co-creative director of Wings of Paper Theatre Company.
Acting: Paul (Shoe Box Theatre Collective), Field Calls (Lupine Performance Cooperative), Candles (Philadelphia Young Playwrights), Our Ouija Board… (On the Rocks), Twelfth Night (Shakespeare in Clark Park), LP (AE Film), & Actors Ensemble (Sundance Directors Lab) Upcoming: exx….statis, exxx…hale (Villanova Theatre), 154 Revisited: Sonnet 43 (Revolution Shakespeare), The American Revolution (Theatre Unspeakable), & The Niceties (InterAct). Playwriting: The Medusa Play (Shoe Box Theatre Collective; Barrymore Recommended). Ang is in the inaugural cohort of Jouska PlayWorks (Simpatico Theatre) Upcoming: Everyman (Shakespeare in Clark Park); virtual presentations – Twenty-Six (Jouska PlayWorks), Walk the Line (Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival), The Utopia Project (Friends Select School), and Dandelion: A Zoom Play (Revolution Shakespeare). Directing: The Medusa Play (co-director; Shoe Box Theatre Company) Upcoming:  Everyman (co-director; Shakespeare in Clark Park), The Utopia Project (Friends Select School), and Mt. Vernon Park Play (assistant-director; SCP). Instagram: @theangbee angbey.com

Guadalís Del Carmen (she/her) Currently based in NYC, Guadalís Del Carmen was born and raised in Chicago. She’s an Ars Nova Resident Artist and a Dramatist Guild member. Her plays include Bees and Honey (The Kilroys List 2019), Not For Sale (UrbanTheater Commission/World Premier 2018, Jeff Award Nominee for Best New Play 2019), My Father’s Keeper (Steppenwolf Theater’s The Mix List 2018, The Kilroys Honorable Mention 2019),

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