My Heart is in the East is a theatre piece that uses history as a model for peace and conflict transformation. The play is a duet performed by two actors who play many roles; including 10 puppets, in present day conflict zones and 11thCentury Cordoba. The play brings wit and whimsy to circumstances of impossible paradox and invites the audience to imagine art as a vehicle for change.
Jessica Litwak is the Artistic Director of The H.E.A.T. Collective, an organization dedicated to Healing, Education, Activism and Theatre. The HEAT Collective creates performances of socially engaged theatre that provoke thought and conversation. At the intersection of theatre, drama therapy, research, and human rights, the collective offers workshops in performance and peacebuilding, playwriting, voice, ensemble building and puppet making.
The H.E.A.T. Collective uses healing, education, activism and theatre for personal and social change. www.heatcollective.org
Jessica Litwak is a playwright, educator, actor, and activist. She is a Registered Drama Therapist, a trained practitioner of Playback, Psychodrama, and Theatre of the Oppressed. She is the Artistic Director of The H.E.A.T. Collective and The New Generation Theatre Ensemble (www.ngte.org). Her collection of plays, Wider Than the Sky and Other Plays was published by No Passport Press. Other work has been published by Applause Books, Smith and Krause, and The New York Times. Plays include: The Emma Goldman Trilogy: Love Anarchy and Other Affairs, The Snake and The Falcon, and Nobody Is Sleeping, A Pirate’s Lullaby, (Rattlestick Theater and at The Goodman Theatre). The Promised Land, commissioned by The National Federation of Jewish Culture. Secret Agents and Victory Dance (The Renberg Theatre, and DR2 ). Terrible Virtue, (The Lark and The Culture Project), Wider Than The Sky (The Lark, UCONN, Boston Museum of Science, Epic Theatre). Her plays for youth: GRIM, Postcards from Canterbury, The Great Journey Home, Verona High, and War: An American Dream, written and directed by Litwak, have been produced in New York and Massachusetts. Her play The Moons Of Jupiter was produced in Massachusetts and Colorado. Her new play My Heart is in the East will be performed at La Mama in New York this spring. Litwak has performed on stages across the U.S., and in Europe. She received her BFA in acting from ETW at NYU and her MFA in playwriting from Columbia, and she is currently completing her PhD in Theatre for Social Change. Litwak has taught theatre at San Francisco State University, the Theatre Academy at Los Angeles City College, Stella Adler Academy, Marymount Manhattan College, Columbia, NYU, Lesley University, Whitman College, and Naropa University. She conducts workshops around the world in Peacebuilding and Performance. She has taught in Iraq, Lebanon, India, Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Turkey, and at La Mama Umbria. She has lead seminars in Socially Engaged Theatre for the Global Mobility Symposium, The World Economic Forum, Performing The World, and the International Peace and Reach Association. Litwak is a core member of Theatre Without Borders, and is a co-founder of Artist Safety Net. She is a Fulbright Specialist Scholar.
PRESS for Jessica Litwak
“A modern day Shaman, she spins a healing tale of the power and potency of womanhood… Litwak possesses a remarkable transformative power.”
– Los Angeles Times
“It’s exciting to see smart theater that shows the highs and lows of putting up a fight – of giving birth to a baby, a culture, and a self that we want to live with. Litwak shows us that we stand both alone and with our ancestors, chosen and imaginary; according to Anne Bonney, the struggle is to “steal what makes you happy…and then defend it with your life.”
– Chicago Reader
Saturday May 9th | Culture Club Event – Telepresence Dissertation Defense | 1 – 3pm
This is a unique event where Jessica Litwak presents a public performance-lecture about the artistic, theoretical and political implications of My Heart is in the East with people connected virtually from around the world. A Q&A session will follow. Dr. Carolyn Kenny, a Native American Musicologist from Vancouver, will chair the event
Sunday May 10th | Puppet workshop with Jessica Litwak | 12 – 5pm
Location: 47 Great Jones St – La MaMa Rehearsal Studios
Saturday May 16th | Poetry contest and community dialogue with special guest panel
This event will take place following the 3pm performance.
Sunday May 17th | Poetry contest and community dialogue with special guest panel
This event will take place following the 6pm performance.