Pieter-Dirk Uys
Photo by Marc Stanes
Pieter-Dirk Uys as Evita

experimenta

First Floor Theatre

October 18 - November 4, 2007
Wednesday - Saturday at 7:30pm
Sunday at 2:00pm & 7:30pm

Tickets $18

*Buy a package at $50 to see all 6 plays!!
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Curated by George Ference
with six playwrights and their plays

Celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the La MaMa Experiments Series!

L-R: Jenne Vath, Peter McCabe, Sheila Dabney, Sonja Perryman, Will Rhys.
Photo by Mark Roussel



    
AUDITIONING ANGELS
by Pieter-Dirk Uys
Th, Oct 25 at 7:30 pm; F, Oct 26 at 7:30 pm;  Sat, Nov 3 at 7:30 pm; Sun, Nov 4 at 2:00 pm. (Runs two hours.)

"Auditioning Angels" is the latest play by Pieter-Dirk Uys, the satirist and "actor-vist" whom Time Out (London) deemed " the court jester of South Africa."  In this wise, satirical comedy--his first new play in eleven years--Uys takes on South Africa's national traumas of racism, AIDS and child rape.  In a vast public hospital, where celebrity face-lift facilities are more important than hallways crowded with AIDS patients, a prominent, powerful family must sort out the supposed rape of an eight year-old girl.  Working through a catharsis of pain and anger, they discover new compassion and learn to believe in angels. Uys has described the play as a drama about "things people don't want to confront, issues that are politically incorrect and often dangerous to exploit or explain."  It makes a stirring case for worldwide adoption of AIDS babies.  An American premiere performed by  Sheila Dabney, Peter McCabe, Sonja Perryman, Will Rhys and Jenne Vath.

ABOUT PIETER-DIRK UYS
Pieter-Dirk Uys offered "Auditioning Angels" to George Ferencz for La MaMa's reading series in 2003, during his last appearance at La MaMa.  He was then appearing in "Foreign Aids,"  a production which earned him a 2004 Obie Award and admiration among NY critics for his charming activism.  The New York Times (Margo Jefferson) commended Uys for daring to make the South African government acknowledge the extremity of the H.I.V.-AIDS epidemic there, writing, "Artists make people see and hear what institutions try to make invisible and inaudible. And since they rarely get a lot of money to do this, they need passion, imagination and craft. Mr. Uys (pronounced ACE) has all three."  The Village Voice (Tom Sellar) wrote, "Foreign Aids offers a healthy dose of indignation and a cry for decency. But Uys charms at least as well as he proselytizes; his pronouncements on everything from colonialism to condom couture make for potentially lifesaving satire."

Born to a Jewish-Berlin mother and an Afrikaner Calvinist father, Uys jokes that he belongs to both chosen (white) peoples. It is reputed that Uys is related to a 17th Century black Cape courtesan, thus making him a true local native. He was born in Cape Town in 1945 and has outlived the official apartheid, which ended in 1994. Upon returning from the London Film School in 1973, Uys began putting on plays of political/social commentary and skating on politically thin ice.  In 1975 he directed a trilogy that had one play that could be read but not seen, and another that could be seen and not read.  Having had six of his more "serious" plays banned in the seventies, he adapted by establishing himself as a comic and letting humor effectively make all the same points.  His most visible creation, Mrs. Evita Bezuidenhout, is known and accepted as the "most famous white woman in South Africa." 

Beside his stage comedies, Uys turned in 1981 to Barry Humphries-style solo shows.  Among the most popular (and naughty) of these was "P.W. Botha: In His Own Words" (1988), in which the only material was Botha's speeches and P.W. was skewered by his own ludicrous statements and Uys' gift for mimicry. He has performed his one-man shows all over the world. Most of his South African revues are available on video and have been seen by the majority of the people of his land. They were also seen in prison by the present South African government!

Uys runs his own small cabaret theater on the former railway station in the village of Darling, 55 minutes from Cape Town up the West Coast. (See: http://www.evita.co.za.)  The venue is famous as "Evita se Perron," 'perron' being the Afrikaans word for "platform.

George Ferencz, Curator of the Experiments Series, is New York's prime director of Uys' plays, having staged "Panorama" and "Paradise's Closing Down" for Africa Arts Theater Company in 1994 and 1996 respectively. Pieter-Dirk Uys' website can be found at http://www.evita.co.za.

 

THE WAR ZONE IS MY BED
by Yasmine Beverly Rana
Sat, Oct 20 at 7:30 pm; Sun, Oct 21 at 2:00 pm; Sun, Oct 28 at 7:30 pm; Fri, Nov 2 at 7:30 pm. (Runs 2:00.  A panel on victim-art will follow the Sunday, Oct 21 matinee performance.  Panel is in formation as of this writing.  For updates, please see La MaMa's website.)

"The War Zone Is My Bed" is a two-act play about love affairs and spiritual destruction in war-torn Sarajevo, Kabul and Dubrovnik.  Intimate and confessional in tone, it reveals the souls of journalists who make their careers going to conflict zones and the women whose plaintive stories make their careers.  Since Arlene Crose's 1994 essays in the New Yorker, "victim art" has been a flashpoint issue.  This play renews the issue by asserting that we are all profiting from it, financially and emotionally.  Its characters are individuals who can occasionally escape from the reality of war and governments' emotional handcuffs.  In one scene, an Afghan prostitute named Laila has an affair with a member of the Taliban religious police.  A poetic landscape covers her story much like black paint covers the windows in her prison-like apartment. 

In its three versions to-date, developed over time in the Experiments series (2006-2007), the play has stirred an inordinate amount of buzz.  The scene set in Kabul will be published in the Spring, 2008 issue of TDR: The Drama Review.  Performers are Alexander Alioto, Sheila Dabney, Jason Howard, John-Andrew Morrison, Candace Reid, and Jenne Vath.


photo by Mark Roussel

ABOUT YASMINE BEVERLY RANA
Yasmine Beverly Rana, born in New Orleans, is a playwright, drama therapist and educator. As a drama therapist, she has worked with refugees in Bosnia, The Republic of Georgia and Switzerland, where she instituted an arts and education program for refugee youth.  Her plays have been produced in England, Greece, New York, New Jersey, and Los Angeles. Excerpts have been published in "The Best Women's Stage Monologues," "The Best Stage Scenes," "The Alabama Literary Review" and "U.S. 1 Worksheets."  Recent productions and readings include Johns Hopkins University's production of "Returning" and the Looking Glass Theatre's production of "Extraotica."  Recent publications include The Kenyon Review and Blackbird.

 

PLAINS
by Stacia Saint Owens
Th, Oct 18 at 7:30 pm; Fri, Oct 19 at 7:30 pm; Sun, Oct 28 at 2:00 pm; Sun, Nov 4 at 7:30 pm.  (Runs :45.  Shares the program with "Waiting for Mert" by Michael Zettler)

In 1876, during the era of the Homestead Act, two characters manipulated by language--a Missouri born sod buster and his German born wife--set their own grit against the blazing heat, frigid cold, hunger and weird mirages of the Great Plains.  The American Experience is distilled into a jewel-box saga of starvation and survival.  The play fulfills the dictum of a historic homesteader, "Persons afraid of coyotes and work and loneliness had better let ranching alone."  Stacia Saint Owens calls it the story of the beginning of the American Dream.  The play was developed in the "Experiments" series in 2001.  It is performed by Nick Denning, Juliet O’Brien and Julie Rosier.


Photo by Mark Roussel

ABOUT STACIA SAINT OWENS
Now an LA resident, Stacia Saint Owens grew up in Leavenworth, Kansas and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Brown University and a BFA in Theatre with a Playwriting concentration from SMU. While at Brown, she was awarded the university’s Weston Prize in Writing and studied under Paula Vogel and Nilo Cruz.

Her writing awards include The Princess Grace Foundation Award in Film, George Burns and Gracie Allan Comedy Writing Award, and Slamdance Film Festival/ Sci-Fi Channel Horror Writing Award. Her plays have also been read and workshopped at The Working Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, and New Dramatists.  She has written two short films, "Out of Habit," which was broadcast on CBC Canada, and “Pelea de Gallos” (The Rooster Fight), which ran on Showtime and syndicated network TV.  These films have also been selected by many prestigious film festivals and been honored with awards including the DGA's Student Film Award and Best Short at four festivals.  Ms. Saint Owens teaches English, Literature, and Drama in colleges and conducts creative writing and theatre arts workshops for under-served communities in both the U.S. and England.

 

WAITING FOR MERT
by Michael Zettler
Th, Oct 18 at 7:30 pm; Fri, Oct 19 at 7:30 pm; Sun, Oct 28 at 2:00 pm; Sun, Nov 4 at 7:30 pm.  (Runs :45.  Shares the program with "Plains" by Stacia Saint Owens)

Two burglars lie dead on the new carpet with axes in their foreheads, and the pistol-wielding third intruder finds himself in a standoff with an ax-throwing homeowner.  The men are fearless toward each other, yet they find common ground--even friendship--in their shared fear of their own wives.  Zettler combines the macabre outrageousness of Joe Orton with the humor of Bruce Jay Friedman in this delightful one-act black comedy, developed in the Experiments Series in 2005.  Performed by Alexander Alioto and Peter McCabe.


Photo by Mark Roussel

ABOUT MICHAEL ZETTLER
Michael Zettler is an actor-turned-writer who is known for the range of his styles and topics.  His plays have been produced at The American Place Theatre, The Impossible Ragtime Theater, Soho Rep, and in commercial productions and numerous regional theaters.  Among them are: "Crossing The Bar," "Please Hang Up," "Stengelese," "Paris Lights" and "Illegal Use Of Hands."  He has had over 250 television projects (series, MOW and pilots) produced, including "Kate & Allie," "Spencer For Hire," "Counterstrike," "Katts & Dog," "The Thorns," "Truck One" and "Puttin’ On The Ritz." His feature films include "Sweet Loraine," "The Gnomes Great Adventure" and "Playing For Keeps."  His published books include "The Bowery" and "Johnny Carson (A Biography)."

 

TENTAGATNET
by Peter Dizozza
Sun, Oct 21 at 7:30 pm; Sat, Oct 27 at 7:30 pm; Wed, Oct 31 at 7:30 pm; Th, Nov 1 at 7:30 pm.  (Runs :45.  Shares the program with "Schrodinger's Cat" by Stan Kaplan)

A conservative married couple, living quietly on a mountainside in Connecticut, confront their "mirror radicals" -- a seemingly satanic couple-- when they accidentally cross the spikes of an old army surplus pup tent, turning it into a Tentagatnet.  The twist point of the tent--where the three dimensions fuse into a flat surface of two dimensions--allows each of the two couples to "cross over to the other side."  Not a horror story but a magical fantasy, it is also the most mysterious, musical and experimental play in the festival.  Performed by Leslie Ann Hendricks, John Andrew Morrison, Sonja Perryman and Chris Zorker.  (Tentagatnet is a palindrome, it can be read forwards and backwards.)

ABOUT PETER DIZOZZA
Peter Dizozza is a long-term songwriter/composer/playwright who can be found performing a monthly piano set at SideWalk in the East Village where he resides.  This play was originally written for La Mama's Experiments '05 series and later rewritten for five actors, cello, clarinet, guitar and flute.  Dizozza subsequently began writing plays with music for La MaMa's Experiments Series in 1997, introducing "Prepare to Meet Your Maker," "Coppelia," "The Golf Wars," "The Last Dodo" and "The Eleventh Hour (a ghost story)."  For the 2007 summer series at Manhattan Theatre Source, he helped create a wild new musical romp, "Hermaphroditism Through the Ages."  During this production he will be at the piano.  He is a member of the Dramatist Guild, The Lambs Club and The New York Composers Circle and Chair of the New York City Bar Association Entertainment Committee. 

 

SCHRODINGER’S CAT
by Stan Kaplan
Sun, Oct 21 at 7:30 pm; Sat, Oct 27 at 7:30 pm; Wed, Oct 31 at 7:30 pm; Th, Nov 1 at 7:30 pm.  (Runs :45.  Shares the program with "Tentagatnet" by Peter Dizozza)

The term "Schödinger's Cat" refers to a paradoxical (and theoretical) thought experiment by Erwin Schrödinger in which a scientist would have to open a steel chamber to see if a cat inside it has actually been poisoned by time-released radiation.  It illustrates a conundrum of quantum mechanics in which finding out (measuring the state) cannot be done without the observer interfering with the experiment. 

In this one-act horror story, a dentist on-the-run poses a similar question with his valise, which may or may not contain evidence of his being a ruthless family murderer.  It's an enigma play which challenges the notion that "We will never know what-if."  Notwithstanding the grizzly context, it is a simple, reflective and funny reminiscence piece with a beguiling and quirky outlook on life and the mind's role in what we do. 

This play originated in the Experiments '00 Series at La Galleria and was subsequently presented by La MaMa that year in a three-part evening of Stan Kaplan's plays titled "Three Valises."  Performed by Timothy Doyle, who returns in the part.

ABOUT STAN KAPLAN
Stan Kaplan is a native New Yorker whose work has been performed at numerous off-off Broadway theaters including Soho Repertory Theater, The Manhattan Theater Club, the Equity Library Theater at Lincoln Center and La Mama.  He was a co-founder of Dentures Art Club, an organization dedicated to bringing artist and non-artists together to do performance and conceptual work along progressive themes.  He now divides his time between his farmhouse in northern California and a 1961 50' singlewide trailer set in a ghost town in northeast Nevada.  He is married to Italian-American artist Joan Giannecchini.  He also performs a one-man show, "Tonkin," a tabletop re-creation of the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Incident which was catalytic to the Vietnam War.

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