New Play with The 52nd Street Project

I've written a short play for the amazing 52nd Street Project here in NYC, which will be performed in August as part of their annual "One-on-Ones", where adult actors partner with 9- and 10-year-old kids from the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood to perform plays that were written for them. It's one of the many terrific programs they do at the Project to empower local young people.

The girl I'm writing for has a very quirky sense of humor; the play she wrote for their fall program is surreal and amazing. I tried to honor that spirit by having her play a genius mathematician-slash-jazz trumpeter who travels through space and time, facing such terrors as killer drones, velociraptor scientists, and even... smooth jazz. I'm looking forward to seeing her perform it!

The show is free, but tickets are required. You can reserve them here; the schedule is below:

Friday, August 18 @ 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 19 @ 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, August 20 @ 3:00 p.m.

The show is at the Project's performance space:

Five Angels Theater
789 Tenth Avenue
b/t 52nd & 53rd Sts.
2nd Floor

Hall Pass Back in NYC!

Hall Pass is being performed again at Grace Church School in NYC, and with it my short play True, as part of the Future of Storytelling Festival. I'm delighted to see its continued life. Most amazingly, the two young actors who performed the play last year will return to their roles, bringing a year and a half of high school experience to their performances. It's wonderful to see what's changed in their take on it and what's stayed the same.

To learn more about the show and to purchase tickets (performances are on Oct. 7 and 8), visit: http://www.blindspotcollective.org/hall-pass

True Lives On

My play True was again selected to be part of a new production of Hall Pass, this time in Oceanside, California at El Camino High School.

Hall Pass

My short play True will be featured as part of Hall Pass, a collection of short pieces written for, and performed by, teens. It's an immersive work staged in an actual high school; audience members choose their own experience and move around to view pieces staged and set (simultaneously) in different areas of the school. I'm very excited to be a part of the project!

Performances are at Grace Church School in Manhattan on the following dates and times:

Friday, April 24 at 7pm

Saturday, April 25 at 2pm

Saturday, April 25 at 7pm

To reserve tickets, visit http://gracetheatrecompany.ticketleap.com/nyuhallpass/

The show will also be performed in San Diego in May at Canyon Crest Academy and the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA). Each production of Hall Pass is customized, as the producers can choose from a number of short pieces to include. I am honored that True was chosen by the students at each venue so far. It was made for them, so that brings me a lot of joy.

New Project Coming This Spring

This winter I was commissioned to write a short play as part of a site-specific, immersive work called Hall Pass, created by Blake McCarty, who conceived the successful production Play/Date. Like Play/Date, it will be performed as an immersive experience, where the audience moves about the space and engages with the site and the performances as a "choose-your-own-adventure" experience-- but rather than a bar, the site will be a high school, and the pieces will be performed by teenagers. It's my first play written for teen actors, which was a fun challenge. It will be performed in NYC in April, followed by productions in Southern California later in the year. As Blake describes, "The project creates a tremendous opportunity for teachers and students to explore immersive, non-traditional theater while potentially adding a number of short plays to the canon of theatrical works for high school students featuring age-appropriate characters." I'm delighted to be a part of it.

The Show Has Aired

The episode of Wait for Me, the Russian reality show that reunited our long-separated family, aired this week in Russia. The segment can be viewed here. Watching it now still brings tears to my eyes. It was such a powerful experience.

 Uncle Vlad is very adamant about our coming back out there to visit and meet the rest of the family. (We've been emailing-- in Russian (courtesy of Google Translate)-- which is a whole other level of interesting...) I honestly can't wait to do so-- it's just a matter of working out the time and expense. Traveling to Russia ain't cheap, as we learned this last trip! But I'm going to save my rubles and make it work-- after all this time, it feels like a duty to meet them all. A duty that's fun and exciting.

Wait for Me

The trip to Moscow was more amazing than I could have hoped. And more emotional than I could have imagined. I hope to write more details when I have time (school is back in session, after all...), but for now, I've posted some photos and notes. 

Finding Dziadek

Hilary-AK.jpg

This is my grandfather, Hilary Gawlowski. Or Dziadek, in Polish, which is how I knew him. This is his photo when he was in the Polish Home Army (the Polish resistance in World War II)-- tell me he doesn't look like Gene Kelly. You can tell me that, but I'll just tell you he's handsomer. He died when I was four, but the memories I have are strong. And his shadow in my family is stronger.

Dan, my husband, and I went to Poland on our honeymoon to connect with my-- and now Dan's-- family heritage, and deeply ingrained throughout was the connection with this amazing man who has played such a role in my life, whether or not he's physically been around.

I'll tell you more about him in the coming days, as present events have prompted me to do so. You see, I'm going to Moscow in a week to meet Dziadek's long-lost half-brother, my great-uncle. 

Here's the short version: my great-grandfather, being a landowner (a farmer), was banished to Siberia during the Boshevik Revolution. After decades, having lost his wife, unable to go home, and thinking he lost everyone else, he started a new family in Siberia.

Dziadek found out about all of this in the 1950s, after he'd already come to the U.S. with my grandmother and dad. Via relatives in Poland, they exchanged family portraits, and he learned of his brother and sister across the globe. He was never able to meet them. 

I tried to find them before we went to Poland, but no luck. The contacts had died with my grandfather's generation; no one knew how to reach our family out there, and it seemed that all was lost to time. 

Then, a month ago, I received a message through this very website. A man named Timo Laakso asked if I knew Hilarj Gavlovskij. He said someone was trying to reach him, and he had further information to share. Naturally, I assumed he wanted my bank account number. But, for whatever reason, I wrote him back. He sent me a link to a Russian reality TV show, where a man named Vladislav Gavlovskij had posted a photo-- of my grandparents, my dad, and my aunt. A photo I've seen before. He wrote (says Google Translate) of how he is looking for his brother, who he's never met. The story checked out. Tears ensued.

So, long story short, Dan and I have booked tickets to fly to Moscow to appear on Russian reality TV to surprise my great-uncle, who thinks he's just there to announce his search and ask for clues. (I realize how surreal this sounds, and I'm not sure I can process it yet, either...) My brothers Andrew and Danny, and Danny's wife and son, will all be there, too. It's a family affair.

They also came to NYC to record my mom and dad and Dan and me, and my sister sent them a video of her family, too, at their request. These things help assure me that they won't be harvesting my organs.

I'll post updates, as I'm able. Kind of a story, yeah? More meaningful than I can say. 

Other Work

I thought I might post some updates about the other work I'm up to, as I've been pretty immersed in that lately. I'm wrapping up my coursework in my PhD in the program in Educational Theatre at New York University-- the fall will be my last semester of classes! It's very exciting for me. I'm looking forward to moving on to the dissertation, which will allow me to talk with a lot of folks whom I find fascinating. 

This year I've also had the honor of participating in the New York Foundation for the Arts' first year-long program for "Emerging Leaders" in arts administration. It's been such a gift to learn things that I can both bring back to my work at Lincoln Center and apply to my own career, as well.

I've also been tremendously enjoying my new role as Program Manager at Lincoln Center Education, where I'm overseeing partnerships with a whole slew of local partnering schools, plus some more in-depth emerging partnerships that I'm tremendously excited about. 

All of these items do limit my playwriting time, but I'm happy to say I am poking around at something new, which I think will be stretching me in some very new ways. It's fun work, and I look forward to getting some more empty space on my docket to fully dive in without any distractions. 

But all in all, it's happy stuff, however I may be engaging with the art. It's all headed toward the same greater goal, though I will look forward to having the space and time very soon to dig deeply into my art-making again.

 

 

The Cellar Performing in Columbus

O.G. Productions in Columbus, Ohio is producing my play The Cellar as part of their Halloween-themed festival titled "The Cellar and Other Places You Shouldn't Go." I'm incredibly flattered to read in the press release that my play was "kind of a jumping off point for where I [Stephen Woosley, the artistic director] wanted the show to go." I'm so honored to be a part of the production. Performances are at MadLab from Oct. 18th to Nov. 3rd and are available via the venue's website.

Spring Tides Monologue to be Published

More exciting news! A monologue from my play Spring Tides has been selected for publication in the Focus Publishing anthology, Best Monologues from the Last Frontier Theatre Conference, 2009-2012. I'm very honored to have been chosen from so many fine plays and playwrights over the years. There are some really terrific playwrights included in the anthology, so it will be worth checking out!

I attended the Last Frontier Theatre Conference last year (2011), and I highly recommend the experience to interested playwrights and actors. Dawson Moore, who runs the conference, is a warm and generous spirit, and that supportive energy imbues the festival. I met a number of wonderful artists in my week there who will remain long-term colleagues and friends. And Valdez, Alaska is just so gorgeous!

More details to come regarding the anthology, as further publication information becomes available.

Release Selected for the Samuel French Festival

My short play Release has been chosen as one of the "Final Forty" for the Samuel French One-Act Festival! They said there were over 900 submissions. I am so honored to be with such great company!

The wonderful Marmaduke Theatre Company is producing, and the play will star Helen McTernan and Ilana Seagull. The amazing and talented Michael Criscuolo will direct.

Performances are October 23rd-28th at the Samuel Beckett Theatre on Theatre Row. My play will perform on October 23rd at 6:30 p.m. If selected, it will move on to a final round on the 28th, where it could have the opportunity to be published by Samuel French.

I couldn't be more thrilled to take part in such a wonderful and esteemed festival.

Spring Tides Tickets Available!

It's a flurry of news, it's true! But Spring Tides opens in just a couple of weeks-- amazing how quickly time goes by. You can read more information about the production and buy tickets via Boomerang Theatre Company's website.

This show is a part of Boomerang's union with two other fantastic NYC theatre companies. Together, they've formed the BFG Collective to present all of their shows together at the Secret Theater in a six-month residency. Pretty amazing!