Poetic License 2015: subconscious
Poetic License is Poetic Theater Productions annual festival of new poetic theater, which has grown from five days to three weeks over its four years. The fourth annual Poetic License featured two fully realized productions of exciting new poetic plays written by company members, a reading series of six new works of poetic theater identified through an open submission process, and three special events: Breaking Our Silence, a celebration of LGBT voices; Love, Redefined, remixes, and re-imaginings of traditional love poems in celebration of non-commercial, non-traditional love; and Generation Now, a showcase of youth voices in poetic theater in partnership with Urban Word NYC, Girl Be Heard, Dare Tactic, viBe Theater Experience and Earsay Youth Voices.
The 2015 festival ran from February 5-22nd
at the Wild Project, located at 195 East 3rd Street in New York City’s East Village
The world premiere of:
A hustler desperate to get off the block, Ceez comes face to face with both his dreams and his fears one fateful night, giving him the power to change his life forever. Full of passionate love, hip-hop rhythms, and indicative of recent events, PARADOX OF THE URBAN CLICHÉ examines the strength it takes to withstand the Agents of Authority that trap us in the hood of our mind.
Paradox of the Urban Cliché draws on hip-hop inflections to map a struggling Harlem couple’s interior lives. Ceez (played with nuance and verve by Jaime Lincoln Smith) falls asleep watching footage of the Eric Garner case; he awakens when Authority and Agent of Authority (Morgan James Nichols and W. Tre Davis) drag him down to the station for an interrogation that turns out to be part criminal, part epistemological. – Tom Sellar,The Village Voice
Paradox acquires potent power, with thoughtfully drawn characters and some head- spinning turns into philosophy. Grant alludes to great themes power, race, justice without grandstanding, and he keeps the focus on the inner self in the inner city. – Tom Sellar,The Village Voice
Written by Craig ‘muMs’ Grant
Directed by Reginald L. Douglas
The world premiere of:
In the infancy of the war, Iraq is already filled with ghosts. The lives of four U.S Marines, a Frenchreporter and four Iraqis are forever changed after an errant mortar round kills a child duringthe rush to Baghdad. Phantoms haunt the people of a burning Baghdad, trying to prevent thebloodletting to come, and as Sadaams statue falls in Firdos Square, the Marines and Iraqis areforced together in a moment which will test their humanity, empathy and potential for forgiveness.
Decaul demonstrates immense compassion for everyone in the tragic conflict: soldiers, journalists, and conscripts-turned-insurgents… the impulse for poetic experiment thrives. -Tom Sellar,The Village Voice
The performances under Alex Mallorys direction are first-rate all around. – Howard Miller, Talkin Broadway
Embedded with the troops is a French journalist, Ines (a terrific Katie Zaffrann), who is tasked with observing interactions between the soldiers and the Iraqi civilian population. Some of the strongest emotional moments occur when Ines is on the scene. She is a tough one, with lots of experience as a war correspondent, but it is through her eyes that we see the pain and suffering of all of the willing and unwilling participants.- Howard Miller, Talkin Broadway
[email protected] Reading Series:
Monday, February 9th: Soldier Love: An Aerial Play by Helen Banner
Thursday, February 12th: Milk by Jacqueline Jones LaMon
Friday, February 13th: 39 Hours In the Soviet City of Roses by Dwayne Yancey
Tuesday, February 17th: The History of Pigtails by Aissa Martell
Wednesday, February 18th: Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt By Allison Zajac Batell
Thursday, February 19th: We Lost Ourselves by Ryan F. Johnson
The [email protected] Reading Series brings in six new poetic works from artists not only in New York, but throughout the country. The reading series allows playwrights the ability to have their work read and workshopped in the time leading up to the festival where they then have a lightly staged reading allowing the playwright to see how an audience reacts to their work. Readings that have been performed in previous festivals have been written by Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, Darian Dauchan, and Craig muMs Grant.
3rd Annual showcase of youth voices featuring new poetic work including coming-of-age stories & perspectives on the world as 2020 approaches by youth participating in viBe Theater Experience, Girl Be Heard, Dare Tactic, and Earsay Youth Voices.
About the Organizations:
viBe Theater Experience:
Original theater and music about real-life issues written and performed by New York City teenage girls. viBes intensive, free programs engage, inspire and empower girls (ages 13-19) to write, create, publish, direct and perform personal and truthful collaborative theater and music about the real-life issues they face daily. viBe provides a safe, creative space for girls to express their voices, take on challenges and gain the self-confidence necessary to succeed personally, artistically and academically. Since 2002, more than 60 viBe productions have brought free theater, live musical performances, music videos and radio plays to thousands of diverse audience members, changing their perceptions about the kind of art that young women can create.
Girl Be Heard:
Girl Be Heard uses theater as a vehicle to empower young women to become brave, confident, socially conscious leaders while exploring their own challenging circumstances. Girl Be Heard is a not-for-profit theater collective and educational program. Their curriculum develops and strengthens girls’ voices. They provide a safe environment to girls to write, direct, and perform theater productions under the guidance of professional directors, playwrights, actors, activists, and intellectuals. Girl Be Heard’s school and community-based programs engage company members – young women age 12-21- through a series of writing prompts, readings, theatre exercises and discussions addressing a variety of issues that have included identity (race, class, sexual orientation, ability), body image, suicide, teen pregnancy, substance abuse, gun violence, sex trafficking, forced child marriage, violence against women and girls, and civil and human rights. The Girl Be Heard philosophy is “If a girl can change her own life, she can change the lives of girls everywhere.”
The Dare Tactic is a creative group with the mission of cultivating creativity in all forms. We “dare” each other to do the work we want to see. We kicked off the year with sold out performances of our original production HOPELESS written and directed by Vinny Eden Ortega.
EarSay Youth Voices: Transforming Trauma Into Art:
EarSay Youth Voices is a non-profit arts organization based in Queens, NY. The program was founded by actress/writer/radio producer Judith Sloan, born out of EarSays partnership with the International High School at LaGuardia Community College where many teenagers have emigrated to the U.S. from war-zones and conflict-zones. The premise of their workshops is based on healing through artistic expression using a combination of music, movement, theatre, storytelling and radio production. This process helps release the stories and stressors that prevent peoplewho have been traumatized by war, economic or natural disastersfrom moving forward. This program brings an understanding of confronting obstacles through artistic expression to communities that are poor, displaced, or dont have access to artistic training, serving approximately 450 students. The project grows out of the commitment to creating artistic works that evolve out of individual experience and community. In this case, the community is immigrant and refugee teenagers attending school in New York City. At a time of war, global tension, and polarization, their program encourages a depth of scholarship and storytelling that shapes the experience of the participants, giving them tools to make connections between cultures, and shed light on the complexity and humanity of each individual, and deepen what it means or could mean to be part of a global community.
Urban Word NYC:
Urban Word NYC champions the voices of New York City youth by providing platforms for critical literacy, youth development and leadership through free and uncensored writing, college prep and performance opportunities. Urban Word presents literary arts education and youth programs in the areas of creative writing, spoken word, college prep, literature and hip-hop. They provide FREE, safe and uncensored writing workshops to teens year round. Our host of programs and artistic development opportunities expose more than 25,000 NYC teens to the art of spoken word poetry.
Saturday February 14th (Valentines Day) at 8PM
Poetic Theater Productions fifth annual celebration of non-commercial, non-traditional love featuring poetic and theatrical remixes, re-imaginings and riffs by more than ten incredible poets & playwrights responding to traditional sonnets and love poems. Inspiration poems and newly developed pieces are presented side-by-side. Previous years included inspiration pieces by William Shakespeare, Pablo Neruda, Ghandi, Audre Lorde, John Donne, George Herbert, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, e. e. cummings and more.
Featuring new work by Mahogany L. Browne, Everett Cox, Gina Femia, Reginald Flood, Nicole Goodwin, Dipika Guha, Ish Islam, Teniece Divya Johnson, Jacqueline Jones LaMon, Jenny Pacanowski, Yadira De La Riva, Keomi Tarver, Jeanann Verlee, Catherine Weingarten, and Tanaya Winder.
Live Music by The Mighty Third Rail
Breaking Our Silence
A celebration of LBGTQ voices sharing their experiences of coming out, finding love, breaking the silence and speaking out!
Director: Daniel Banks
“This year’s edition of Breaking Our Silence focuses on thriving. The performers have worked together durig a brief workshop period to link their narratives of how they got to the present moment and where they are going. While it is critical to acknowledge the struggles and oppressions we all face, we also celebrate our successes and the fact that we make the choice to thrive and survive! We hope our stories will inspire others.” -Daniel Banks, director