Month: March 2017

Excerpts from Morning in America: November 9, 2016, 9:00am

The week after the election, we reached out to playwrights across our community and asked them each to write a one-minute monologue from the point of view of a character reflecting on the results the morning after at 9:00am, November 9th. We received over 70 monologues from a diverse group of playwrights, which we presented in a staged reading on February 18 & 19, 2017. We are pleased to include a few here on the blog.

Fruit Loops

By Michele Lowe

(A WOMAN not unlike Huma Abedin, stands outside a door and talks to someone on the other side. She is dressed in work clothes, ready to go to her office.)

WOMAN: Open the door.
Please unlock the door.
There are people downstairs who want to talk to you. I’m not going to tell you who.
Of course you can wear sunglasses.
Because they want to make sure you’re all right.
They’re worried about you. We’re all worried.
Of course you’re going to feel better.
Soon.
And you’re going to do great things, important things. But you need to come out first.
Fine, don’t come downstairs. Just come out and be. Take a shower. Brush your hair. Let me give you some breakfast.
Please open the door.
(gaining speed as she speaks) Because I love you. And I’m so proud of you. Because the world needs people like you. America needs you. I need you. I need you to come out so I can take you to kindergarten. Because if you don’t go to kindergarten you won’t grow up smart and strong. And the smart and strong people are going to figure out a way to keep us all going.
I don’t have any Fruit Loops.  Because they’re pure crap. You can cry all your want.
Nope.
Nope.
Not.
Never.
You know what the President-Elect eats for breakfast? That’s right.
Because I know.
Now, let’s go.

Hungover

By Eljon Wardally

(Nicole, 30s, Black. The boss’s office. NICOLE, in leggings, slippers, and a t-shirt, stands in front of her boss. Her hair is mussed. She either just woke up or hasn’t slept at all.)

NICOLE: I’ve been drunk for two days now.
Wine. Red.
Not my first choice but once you start you don’t want to switch. That’s what makes you sick.
Wasn’t even planning on it.
I mean, I purposely went to the polls in the morning so my evening could be free to curl up on the couch with popcorn and soda to watch the show.
Went out with some cousins for some pre-celebratory tacos because… Taco Tuesday when results started to pour in.
And nerves started to pour in.
And then wine started to pour in…
But my cousins didn’t have the same reaction as me.
I think they were relieved to have a different passport, an escape plan in case this-
But I don’t and when I knew all hope was lost…
It felt like I died.
Like your heart breaking, your insides exploding and going deaf, all at the same time.
And I don’t have an escape plan. Because it’s not something I prepared for like a terrorist attack or a blackout…
We are lost and I am still drunk.
And my family says it won’t be so bad, and they pat me on the back but, no, you have a way out to another country.
I don’t.
So don’t tell me to calm down.
I know what could happen.
We’ve seen this before.
This man-
We know there are tyrants who started out, charming at first,
you know, those big talkers who could command a room?
We know the power they have over people who ache for change they think is right.
So don’t tell me it won’t happen again.
Don’t tell me they won’t put us on boats or planes or send us away or brand us because, we’ve seen this before.
Taco Tuesday…
History might repeat itself.
Again.
Again.
Again.
And I am still drunk.
Maybe the whole world is still drunk.
Maybe I’m in a nightmare like Leonardo DiCaprio was, in that movie Inception?
Because that is the only explanation that makes sense to me.
Except I have no totem.
My country was my totem.
And I can’t wake up.
…So yes, today I will wear my t-shirt, leggings, and slippers, because that’s all I can do right now.
Until I open my eyes tomorrow and hope that the world isn’t still drunk.
Can I go back to my desk now?

(more…)

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3 Ways You Can Help Save the NEA

If you’re reading this, there’s a fair chance you support the Arts. We don’t need to explain to you the deep importance of Art in America and the absolute necessity of a federal organization to champion our national artistic identity, as the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has done since 1965.

The current administration’s budget proposal eliminates the NEA and in the effort to combat rhetoric that increasingly undermines the values Primary Stages cares so deeply about, we wanted to share with you some things we know to be unequivocally true:

  • The NEA provides funding to all 50 states.
  • This funding helps provide theater (and other arts) access and arts education to communities large and small.
  • Every $1 of NEA funding is matched by almost $9 of private or other non-federal support.

These are just three reasons that the NEA is absolutely vital for the United States international leader in the Arts.

Additionally the NEA provides critical support to the Arts Market,  maintaining jobs and vital tax revenue.  Nationally, the arts generated $135.2 billion of economic activity. $61.1 billion of the overall revenue is stems from the nation’s nonprofit arts and culture organizations.  This economic activity supports 4.13 million full-time jobs and generates $86.68 billion in resident household income. The arts also generate $22.3 billion in revenue to local, state, and federal governments every year. 1

But beyond the dollars and cents the arts brings to our state, local, and federal economy, the arts has a deep, intrinsic impact on our identity as individuals and as a nation. The Arts foster empathy, community, and an expansion of our understanding as humans. As such, we must do everything we can do to protect this critical institution.

On March 21st, people from communities around the country visited Washington, D.C. or called their Congressional Representatives to express support for the NEA and other cultural agencies as part of National Arts Advocacy Day. It’s not too late to make your voices heard.  Here’s how:

  1. Call your Representatives, two Senators, and the White House. Tell them you are a constituent and that you support sustained funding for the NEA and other cultural agencies. 

    To find out your Congressperson’s phone number, go to www.house.gov.

    Locale senate phone numbers:
    Kirsten Gillibrand (D) New York – (202) 224-4451
    Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer  (D) New York – (202) 224-6542

    Cory A. Booker (D) New Jersey – (202) 224-3224
    Robert Menendez (D) New Jersey – (202) 224-4744

    Richard Blumenthal (D) Connecticut – (202) 224-2823
    Christopher Murphy (D) Connecticut – (202) 224-4041
     
  2. Share this information on Facebook and reach out to your friends. 
  3. Ask those small businesses with whom you work to make these calls as well. 

Primary Stages has devoted itself for 32 seasons to nurturing an artform that thrives on the support of a community of real people, like yourselves. We thank you in advance for everything you do to keep the Arts alive in America. We promise we’ll return the favor.

-The Staff of Primary Stages

1: http://www.americansforthearts.org/by-program/reports-and-data/research-studies-publications/arts-economic-prosperity-iv/national-findings

2: Advocacy cheat sheet courtesy of Art/NY

Daniel’s Husband: Suggested Reading

If you were intrigued by the topics addressed in Daniel’s Husband, you might also like these plays, movies, and articles:

Plays

  • Next Fall by Geoffrey Nauffts: Luke and Adam are two gay men in a committed relationship. There is just one complication– Luke is extremely religious and Adam is an atheist. The men make their relationship work despite their differences, but one accident will change everything for Adam and Luke.
  • Standing on Ceremony by Mo Gaffney and Jordan Harrison: This compilation of short plays explores the touching, heartbreaking, and sometimes ridiculous moments before same-sex couples say “I Do.”

Films

  • I Do by David W Ross: This 2012 American drama follows a gay man who marries his lesbian best friend in order to get his green card. When he meets the love of his life, he is forced to make a daunting decision and confront the inequality that same-sex couples in America face.
  • Whose Life is it Anyway? by Brian Clark: (It’s also a play!) Ken Harrison is a sculptor who is faced with difficult decisions and a harrowing journey when circumstances alter his life forever.

Documentaries

  • Bridegroom by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason: This 2013 documentary tells the story of Tom Bridegroom and Shane Bitney Crone, a gay couple that plan to marry when the gay marriage ban in California is lifted. When Tom dies in a tragic accident, his family bars Shane from attending the funeral.
  • The Case Against 8 by Ben Cotner and Ryan White: A look into the journey of the team of people who brought the first lawsuit to the Supreme Court on marriage equality, this documentary spans five years and shows how the same-sex marriage ban is overturned in California.
  • Limited Partnership by Kirk Marcolina and Thomas G Miller: After Richard Adams and Tony Sullivan become one of the first gay couples to be legally married, they face discrimination at the hands of Immigration and Australian born Tony faces the possibility of deportation.
  • State of Marriage by Jeff Kaufman: This documentary sheds light on Mary Bonauto and the two lawyers that helped make Vermont the first state to legalize gay marriage and marriage equality.

Articles

The Primary Stages production of Daniel’s Husband runs March 22 to April 28, 2017 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. For tickets and more information, visit our website.

Primary Stages Profile: Development Intern Christine Kullman

From time to time, we like to feature guest bloggers. This time around, Development Intern Christine Kullman shares her experience volunteering during our Free Student Matinee Program for NYC Public School Students.

IMG_2553Primary Stages Free Student Matinees allow the students to experience live theater, something that might be new or a rare occurrence, and they encourage discussion to expand past the classroom.

I love listening to the students as they first enter the theater. They comment on how cozy it is and how much warmer it is inside than the sidewalk where they have been waiting anxiously. The young people come in single file, backpacks on. A Primary Stages staff member leads the group to their seats and we go over a few house rules: cell phone off and no food in the theater.

Watching Fade with teenagers was definitely an exciting experience because they see things so differently from the evening audiences, which tend to be a bit quieter. There were scenes in the show where the students ALWAYS vocalize either their excitement or their disapproval of the characters’ actions.

In one particular scene, the character Abel opens up to the other person in the play, Lucia, about his past. Every time this part came during a Student Matinees, the students were very attentive. I think the reason why they were so engaged at this point is because Abel’s demeanor was challenged, and the students realized that there was so much more going on than met the eye.

When the shows end, our students always seem very eager for the talkback. They are fully engaged with the themes of the show and each one of the students has come to care for the characters.

Shows like Fade allow the next generation of young adults and theater-goers to become engaged not only in their communities but globally as well. Hopefully, these young people will take the lessons taught in Fade, honesty, challenging assumptions, and creating an environment of equity and inclusion, and apply them to the world around them.

Our Free Student Matinee Program for NYC Public School Students has been running for over twenty years, and is generously funded by Primary Stages supporters. In addition to this long-standing program, we also provide free tickets to every Primary Stages production to any NYC middle school, high school, YABC and Pathways to Education student through our TIXTEEN program.

Who Would Play You on TV?

Fade playwright Tanya Saracho has been a successful writer for both stage and screen. Keeping with the theme, we asked the staff of Primary Stages to choose who they would like to play them in a TV show. What follows might just be the greatest cast ever assembled. Without further adieu, we present to you the cast of Primary Stages: The TV Show.  

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