Blog30

Celebrating the members of the League of Professional Theatre Women

Archive for the month “May, 2012”

Asmaa Yehia Eltaher

Asmaa Yehia Eltaher, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenAssistant Lecturer / Actress
Cairo, Egypt and New York, New York USA (til Feb 2013)

I’m in love with performances. When I saw an experimental play on Hamlet in a festival in Sweden 1996 performed by one Canadian actor for all rules and with only some cubes as the set, I fell in love with extra-ordinary performances. Also when I attended a performance from Swaziland performed in Egypt 1999 about the Odessa performed by only two actors for the multiple characters in the epic, I felt the power of the Actor. And whenever I see the powerful popular or folkloric performances in Egypt I dream of using my body as an instrument to be the storyteller, the dancer, the musician and the dramatist. My ultimate feeling is when I tell a story to audiences to be the master of my own body and sound. My lovely escape is belly-dancing when I dance I read the words with my body I feel great and love being a woman. I believe in what Grotowski said “the important thing is not the words but what we do with these words…”. I dream of making a theatre experience in Egypt- as we are a body-languaged people- to release our bodies from borders and tell what we really want to tell about ourselves.

Asmaa Yehia Eltaher is an Egyptian Visiting Scholar at the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center/CUNY Graduate Center, and working on her Ph.D. thesis on African theatre. Assistant lecturer in Theatre at Egypt’s Helwan University. BAs insociology & drama and criticism, and MA in drama and criticism. Also an accomplished actor in Egyptian television, film, and theatre.

Advertisements

chandra thomas

chandra thomas, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenActor/Writer/Producer/Youth-Arts Advocate
New York, New York USA

What play or production changed your life?
i actually kind of bookmark my life by plays…

like BIG RIVER, the first play i ever saw when i was just a wee one. My mom took me to see a play at a “big theatre” (her way of describing a Broadway show). i remember it being one of the first times that i got to pick out my own outfit — my first step to what i perceived as womanhood.

There was THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES — the first play i ever performed in. After a year at a new school, it was my performance as Lady-In-Waiting #4 where i finally discovered a space and air and expanse that welcomed me just as i understood myself to be.

i learned how to balance embarrassment and purpose as i pranced around the stage in very little clothing in SWEET CHARITY in front of my Physics/Calculus teacher, Mr. Book (who was as by-the-book as his given name would indicate).

Of course, there’s THE LARAMIE PROJECT where i stepped onstage for opening night minutes after breaking up with a longtime boyfriend. Or A RHYME FOR THE UNDERGROUND where i gave myself permission to bring together all of the creative worlds that i so adore like multi-character performance, rapping, performance poetry, singing, dancing, writing, revising, producing & plain-ol’-makin’-it-happen.

But the game changer (or perhaps better called the “play changer”) was seeing the original Broadway production of RENT. This production was the first time i experienced people, stories, lives that i knew and recognized… and in a “big theatre” no less. Before my eyes and ignited in my spirit was a validation that what i had to say (and what people like me from where i called home had to say) had a place in the global discourse and in the professional theatre world. That what we had to say mattered.

Originally from New York, chandra thomas performs on stage and screens small & large, writes plays, performance poetry, screenplays and Twitter updates, produces performance and film projects and is continually inspired by the young women of viBe Theater Experience, the non-profit, arts-education organization she co-founded. www.chandrathomas.com

Paula D’Alessandris

Paula D'Alessandris, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenDirector/ Producer
New York, New York USA

What’s your favorite pop culture guilty pleasure?
My favorite guilty pleasure is that I can (and do) watch PRIDE & PREJUDICE every time it’s on. Which, thanks to cable, it always is.

What play or production changed your life?
When I directed my first show – Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter and it got a huge positive reaction that I wasn’t expecting. I knew that pursuing a directing career was the right path for me.

Is there anything you still dream of doing?
Directing at the Donmar and the Royal Court

What is your best escape?
I haven’t found one yet but I’m open to suggestions!

Paula D’Alessandris is the Artistic Director/Founder of Mind The Gap Theatre dedicated to producing new British plays in NYC and in fostering an exchange of new work between US/UK artists.

We’re taking Memorial Day Weekend off!

Phew! We’ve filled Blog30 with interesting League members every single day since 2012 kicked off – that’s 5 whole months of blog posts! So we’re thinking maybe it’s okay to take Memorial Day Weekend OFF. Hey, you shouldn’t be reading blogs now anyway, you should be at the beach! Summer’s almost here, Blog30 has made it this far, and we’re celebrating too.

Back atcha May 29, with bells on!

~Susan, Melanie, Lanie, Shaun

Week in Review, May 21-27, 2012


LPTW’s Blog30 was created to highlight the diversity, passion and brilliance of the individual members of the League of Professional Theatre Women in celebration of the organization’s 30th Anniversary. Every Sunday, the women featured in the previous six days, as well as three others from our first two months, receive a little more attention, a second chance for readers to learn about them. Sunday is often a day for reflection, offering the opportunity to catch up on the previous week’s activities. Now, the Week in Review gives our readers the opportunity to experience a week’s entries in one easy sitting. We hope you enjoy the latest addition to Blog30.

I never get tired of analyzing various forms of love. Saviana Stanescu, May 21

I had five lines, saw a big black box with levers offstage right, said “What’s that?”, was told it was the light board, ran the board for the next production and never set foot onstage again. – Judith Binus, May 22

I am a black belt in Judo. – Joyce Liao, May 23

Singing – no matter where, it makes me happy and calms all my stresses. – Marie Ann Chenevey, May 24

From the Archives:
The scope of my cultural umbrella widened and prompted me in later years to become an advocate, a cultural mender, a “cultural agitator” as Martha had called me.  – Joyce Maio, February 3

In fact, playing Amanda in Glass Menagerie at the wise old age of 15 helped me realize that I HAD to be in the theater for the rest of my life (saying the lines “deception, deception, deception” was one of the most divine moments of my young life). – Antoinette LaVecchia, February 9

What play or production changed your life?  Bruce Springsteen in concert with the E Street Band. – Caridad Svich, February 11

My work has been generated by listening, particularly to older people whose lives have been dramatic.  – Julia Pascal, February 17

My love of music covers a wide range–classical, new music (from Stravinsky to Steve Reich), fusion, folk, Latin, and I love country! – Joanne Pottlitzer, February 2

Marie Ann Chenevey

Marie Ann Chenevey, League of Professional Theatre WomenClassically Trained Operatic singer
New York, New York USA

Where do you look for inspiration?  
A still small voice – when I am very quiet

What’s your favorite line from a play?
“intermission” (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum)

Is there anything you still dream of doing?
Yes – performing the role of Carmen (I spent a summer learning it once and never got to do it)

I feel most like myself when I ….
Am singing – no matter where, it makes me happy and calms all my stresses.  Singing full out with a feeling deep in my being.

What’s the one thing nobody knows about you?
I was once a cantorial soloist in a synagogue – and I’m not Jewish.  Actually, I was asked three times to lead services (one was a community seder).

Marie Ann Chenevey is an opera and concert singer in the New York area.  Performances include Cherubino in Mozart’s “Le Nozze de Figaro,” Secretary in Menotti’s “The Consul” and a Lincoln Center debut in Mozart’s “Wegenhaus Messe”.  On radio: WQXR and WNYC.

Joyce Liao

Joyce Liao, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenLighting Designer
New York, New York USA

Where do you look for inspiration?
Nature

What’s your favorite book?
Open by Andre Agassi

What play or production changed your life?
None

Is there anything you still dream of doing?
Being a #1 tennis player

I feel most like myself when I …. am eating.

What is your best escape?
Photography

What’s the one thing nobody knows about you?
I am a black belt in Judo.

Joyce Liao won an Peggy Ezekiel Award for Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Design. Her lighting design helped Soul of Shaolin garner a Tony nomination in the category of Special Theatrical Event and a Drama Desk award, Unique Theatrical Experience.

Judith Binus

Stage Manager, Director-in-Training
New York, New York USA

What’s your favorite cocktail?
Brandy Alexander (my Aunt Dorothy’s recipe)

What play or production changed your life?
Louisville Children’s Theatre production of Tom Sawyer. I had five lines, saw a big black box with levers offstage right, said “What’s that?”, was told it was the light board, ran the board for the next production and never set foot onstage again.

Is there anything you still dream of doing?
Directing

I feel most like myself when …
…I’m working in a theatre

Where do you look for inspiration?
Smart directors; smart, well-written plays and smart, professional actors

What is your best escape?
Doing the New York Times crossword

Judith Binus: My original ambition was to be a lighting designer but fell in love with stage managing. To participate in the development of words on a page to a full-fledged, brilliant production brings me great joy. After a sabbatical, I am looking for plays to direct, beginning a new chapter.

Saviana Stanescu

Saviana Stanescu, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenPlaywright / Professor
New York, New York USA

Inspiration, perspiration, persuasion (with an accent)

Inspiration? In newspapers, magazines, TV/radio shows (yes, even reality shows), books, blogs, subways, trains, planes, streets, cafes, conversations, confessions, my own imagination, and that ambiguous and magic place of ideas floating around above streetcars named desire.

Guilty pleasure: I watch “American Idol”, “The Voice” and “Fashion Star” for the thrill and suspense of eliminations and the joy of seeing people in the process of becoming famous, before the celebrity veil obscures their genuine qualities.

6 main ideas that haunt me when writing (since I moved to NYC in 2001):

Immigration – I am obsessed with people living in that inbetween space between two worlds, having to negotiate permanently between the old culture and the new culture.

Power – I am fascinated by the ways in which people’s lives are shaped by the social, political and geographical circumstances of their birth and by the power dynamics between countries. I dramatize the convoluted relationships between the West and the East (if the dichotomy is still relevant) and the confrontations among people of various backgrounds. What is the root of violence? Almost always – the lack of love.

Love – I never get tired of analyzing various forms of love

Humor – All my plays walk a (hopefully meaningful) tightrope between comedy and drama.
“If you’re going to tell people the truth, you’d better make them laugh. Otherwise, they’ll kill you.” George Bernard Shaw

People – I find the human spectacle endlessly fascinating. Flawed human beings, the underdogs who dream of becoming topdogs, are my favorite characters. I never underestimate the discrete charm of losers and slackers.

I learn something from each person.
I’ll never cease learning.
I’ll never stop believing in creativity.
I’ll never stop believing in kindness.
(I’ll never depend on the kindness of strangers :))
I hope.

Women – Yes, women are people, I know. But I gotta close my notes on inspiration by re-emphasizing the need of complex women protagonists in our “small” plays and on their big stages. Let’s keep telling our hi/stories, describe our e-motions, and persuade/seduce/force male artistic directors to produce us! 🙂

Saviana Stanescu is a Romanian-born award-winning playwright. Plays include Aliens With Extraordinary Skills (Women’s Project, published by Samuel French), Waxing West (La MaMa, 2007 New York Innovative Theatre Award). Member of: LARK’s artistic cabinet, NYTW’s Usual Suspects, EST. Saviana teaches at NYU and ESPA – Primary Stages.  www.saviana.com

Week in Review, May 14 – 20, 2012


LPTW’s Blog30 was created to highlight the diversity, passion and brilliance of the individual members of the League of Professional Theatre Women in celebration of the organization’s 30th Anniversary. Every Sunday, the women featured in the previous six days, as well as three others from our first two months, receive a little more attention, a second chance for readers to learn about them. Sunday is often a day for reflection, offering the opportunity to catch up on the previous week’s activities. Now, the Week in Review gives our readers the opportunity to experience a week’s entries in one easy sitting. We hope you enjoy the latest addition to Blog30.

To live a long, happy, healthy, creative life and spend quality time with my family and friends and live a regret-free life. I’d also love to find time to organize all of my photos… – Stephanie Klapper, May 14

Not much of a drinker – but, sadly, I never turn down a chip or a cheese doodle.  – Elaine Smith, May 15

I never look for inspiration, it just happens. – Pat Addiss, May 16

I am writing a screenplay about horses and there is something extraordinary that happens when writing in the presence of horses who live in a world that is basically silent. – Sandra Nordgren, May 17

What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?  Plays by dead white men. – Martha Richards, May 18

From Stoppard’s Arcadia I learned what life was all about. – Wendy Barrie-Wilson, May 19

From the Archives:
The more I discovered about Edmonia the deeper my understanding became of myself as a woman and as an artist. – Michael angel Johnson, February 2

A book adventure always rested at my bedside waiting the resumption of conversations and relationships after I sank into bed, adjusted my pillow and pulled up the covers.  – Petronia Paley, February 7

The Lady Bird Grove is a remarkable circular, wheelchair-friendly hike that provides the visitor with gorgeous redwoods – many of which are twinned or triplets – that you can walk around, stand under, and marvel at. – Hilary Adams, February 14


Post Navigation