The Reviews are in for HUNTER JOHN AND JANE. They’re not terrible!

The New York Times calls it a “bull’s eye”.

The Village Voice calls it “funny and strange”, “generous and surprising.”

https://www.villagevoice.com/2018/08/08/hunter-john-and-jane-boasts-frights-imagination-and-uh-squirrel-guts/

 

 

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Hunter John and Jane opens tomorrow!

My #metoo #blacklivesmatter ghost story with songs (and a puppet) opens tomorrow at JACK. Come see!

Performers:

Erin Cherry*

Bob Jaffe*

Madelyn McCray*

Jenson Smith*

Daniel Kublick*

Carolyn Holding*

Ugo Chukwu*

Jane Bradley

(*indicates member of Actors Equity Association)

Director: Sash Bischoff

Stage Management: Joel Andrew Cote

Set Design: Brett J Banakis

Lighting Design: Jamie Roderick

Costume Design: David Crowley

Sound Design: Andy Evan Cohen

Composer: Jared Saltiel

Musician: Jack Dentinger

Puppet Master: James Ortiz

Fight Choreographer: Esco Jouley

DATES/TIMES

August 2 – 4 at 8pm

August 8 – 11 at 8 pm

August 15 – 18 at 8 pm

LOCATION

JACK

505 1/2 WAVERLY AVE., BROOKLYN, NY 11238  |  BETWEEN FULTON ST. AND ATLANTIC AVE. IN CLINTON HILL  |  C OR G TRAIN TO CLINTON-WASHINGTON

https://ci.ovationtix.com/35022/production/993338?performanceId=10292012

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Tickets for Hunter John and Jane are on sale now!

HUNTER JOHN AND JANE
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Hunter John and Jane will haunt you.

Written by Amina Henry
Directed by Sash Bischoff

In her third production at JACK, playwright Amina Henry shares a ghost story, with songs, about a homeless man who is approached in the park by the ghost of a murdered prostitute. The ghost enlists him on a quest to find her remains so that her grieving mother can finally bury her and move past her mourning. Hunter John and Jane approaches trauma, mental illness and violence towards women in a whimsical way, giving the audience the opportunity to engage with difficult topics through poetic language as well as through a rich musical and visual landscape. With this play, Henry re-imagines what a love story can be, re-imagines what a musical can be, and proposes a world in which all lost or missing individuals are worthy of being found.

Featuring
Erin Cherry
Bob Jaffe
Madeline McCray
Jenson Smith
Dan Kublick
Carolyn Holding
Ugo Chukwu
Jane Bradley

Stage Manager Joel Andrew Cote
Scenic Designer Brett Banakis
Lighting Designer Jamie Roderick
Sound Designer Andy Evan Cohen
Composer Jared Saltiel

Puppet Master James Ortiz

at
JACK
505 1/2 Waverly Ave, Brooklyn, NY
btwn Fulton St. and Atlantic Ave.
Take the C or G to Clinton-Washington or enjoy a 15-minute walk from BAM or Barclay Center.

Wed-Sat, August 2-18, 2018 @ 8 pm

Tickets: $18
www.jackny.org/hunter-john-and-jane.html

DATES/TIMES
August 2 at 8 pm
August 3 at 8 pm
August 4 at 8 pm
August 8 at 8 pm
August 9 at 8 pm
August 10 at 8 pm
August 11 at 8 pm
August 15 at 8 pm
August 16 at 8 pm
August 17 at 8 pm
August 18 at 8 pm

Noor Theatre 48 Hour Forum

 

 

I was honored to be asked to participate in Noor Theatre’s 48 Hour Forum and I wrote a 15-minute play for it called, Paint Me a Picture, Sing Me a Song, about Yazite women taking refuge in shelters after being used by ISIS as sex slaves. Heavy stuff. There are four other amazing plays that my play is in conversation with. We opened last night and we have two more performances – tonight and tomorrow.

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News is Fast. Theatre is Slow. Not this Time!

Noor Theatre is New York’s only theatre representing voices of the Middle Eastern diaspora. They are often asked to respond to the barrage of news related to the Middle East and beyond. Often, news breaks and it is several years before we see something on stage about it. Such is the nature of theatre making.

In response, Noor created 48 Hour Forum, where a diverse roster of artists rise to the challenge of spinning our most talked about news events into humorous, incisive “theatrical op-eds.” Five playwrights, five directors, and a company of New York’s hottest actors gather over 48 hours in a race to create theater as fast as a news cycle. 

Tickets can be purchased here: http://www.noortheatre.org/

The Facebook event is here:  https://www.facebook.com/events/570191883358738/48hr-wLogo.png

HUNTER JOHN AND JANE is coming to JACK in 2018.

I’m excited to announce that my play with songs, HUNTER JOHN AND JANE, will premiere at JACK (Brooklyn, NY), August 2-18, 2018. The production will be directed by Sash Bischoff. HUNTER JOHN AND JANE is a #metoo play, focusing on the relationship between an alcoholic homeless man and the ghost of a murdered prostitute. After Jane enlists John to find her remains in the city park, the two embark on a spiritual journey that, in the end, makes them less alone. The play is a call for social justice, an attempt to shine a light on the marginalized and to explore the ways in which they are seen and not seen in society. More soon!

PS If you’d like to make a donation towards this production, you can go to my Fractured Atlas page at HUNTER JOHN AND JANE.

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New York Theatre Review gives DUCKLINGS a nice review

clockwise from left Victoria Wallace

Clockwise: Victoria Wallace, Cristina Pitter, Quilan Arnold, Katchana Agama, Khalia Davis (Photo Credit: Ed Forti)

I didn’t have any preconceived notions going into Ducklings.  I just knew I wanted to see Amina Henry’s work because I heard she was amazing. And by God, Ducklings delivered.

Ducklings follows four women in a competing in a YouTube reality show to become Dancehall Queen of Pittsburgh.  I have a weakness for reality competitions a la America’s Next Top Model, not just for the ridiculous drama, but also the raw emotion that shines thorough, the bare-faced humanity heightened to a fever pitch. As articulated by the host Spider, “It’s a fuckin’ jungle out there. We’re hungry. Thirsty. We’re lonely. We need shit. Life is about filling needs.”

Like many reality show contestants, the women at the center of Henry’s play don’t have a lot of power in their lives, politically, financially, romantically—but the televised forum allows them the promise of escaping what they have been dealt. When they manipulate their bodies to the pulsating rhythm, they are transformed and transported, regaining a measure of autonomy s often denied them.

What distinguishes all of the women is a sense of resilience in the face of impossible odds.  Henry’s script sketches their lives in hilariously tragic detail, but they soldier on with rugged bravado and refuse to be pitied, trading throwing shade and trading Instagram posts like sniper fire.  There’s Rihanna P (Khalia Davis), who dreams of buying an industrial copy machine so she and her backwater boyfriend Lester can overturn the corporate hegemony from rural Michigan.  Bunny (Katchana Agama), the “good girl” works at a Walmart to support her son with cancer and previously appeared on Maury.  Rihanna T (Victoria Wallace) doesn’t give a shit about anything but launching her lip gloss line.  Donna (Cristina Pitter) is an assistant librarian whose family kicked her out and shows up for her interview not with a picture of her boyfriend, but the house she wants to buy with the prize money.

Director Christopher Burris has a ton of fun with the circumstances Henry has provided, and the actors fully commit to the wacky ride. There is a frenetic, giddy, energy to the staging, and choreographer Joya Powell manages to make every woman’s movement incredibly distinct and revealing.  Davis’s revolutionary Rihanna P punctuates her final routine with finger guns that would make Pam Grier proud, while Wallace’s Rihanna T completes hilariously unspeakable acts with a tablet computer.

One of the quirks of visiting Jack is the foil-covered walls, and Jason Folk’s lighting design of magentas and blues reflects against the silver to bathe everything in a funkadelic flair.  Set designer Christiana Teng and Andy Evan Cohen design pepper the production with whimsical touches—like Spider’s ringtone being the “Greed is good” mantra from the movie Wall St. Sabrina Bianca Guillaume costumes precisely reveal each character and her worldview, from Donna’s regal turban to Bunny’s feminine bob to Rihanna P’s bright gold body suit and voluminous curls and Rihanna T’s frosty pixie and stringy neon leotard.

On a personal level, it’s also a thrill to see a story that is not my story and to enter into a world that is not mine but fully alive and accessible.  It’s important as theatre makers to continue to diversify the stories that we see and put ourselves into unfamiliar situations.  For a rare occasion as a theatre-goer, I was very much in the minority as a white person, which was an educational and important experience not just as a critic, but as a theatre maker and educator.

I don’t know whether Henry began this play before this political moment, or how much of it was rewritten afterward, but there is a familiar sense of desperation, bewilderment, and seething rage that undercuts every interaction.  They’re all in survival mode, but with wildly different strategies.  For some it’s political anger, for some it’s spiteful apathy, for others it is a Pollyanna-ish cheeriness. This desperation is embodied most soulfully in Pitter’s Donna, a returning competitor from the previous year, who becomes dismayed as she learns the contest orchestrated by Cole Taylor’s oily host Spider may be less than fair:  “All of my dreams, everything I want out of life, is wrapped up in this competition,” she cries. “And now – my whole life is based on – what now?!”  I remember feeling similar sentiments in the months following the most recent election. When your life is upended by forces outside of your control, what is the appropriate, most ethical response? And what if there isn’t one and you have to accept the darker underbelly of the world, of your own nature?  Do you rage against the machine or do you resign yourself and strive to get as much as you can? “Whatever, America,” Rihanna T shrugs, “What fucking ever.”

Ducklings

By Amina Henry

Director: Christopher Burris
FEATURING: Katchana Agama,  Quilan Arnold, Khalia Davis, Cristina Pitter, Cole Taylor, Victoria Wallace
Choreographer: Joya Powell
Set Design: Christina Tang
Lighting Design: Jason Fok
Sound Design: Andy Evan Cohen

Costume Design: Sabrina Bianca Guillaume

Location:

JACK

505 1/2 Waverly Ave, Brooklyn NY 11238

Dates/Times:
Thursday, May 25-June 10

Wednesday-Saturday at 8 PM
Tickets: $18

 

http://www.jackny.org/ducklings.html

http://newyorktheatrereview.blogspot.com/2017/06/shaking-it-in-dancehall-like-nobodys.html?m=1