Being color brave is the centerpiece of Scraps. This urgent way of talking about race is not only refreshing but it’s necessary—the absence of honesty is what prevents human beings from achieving growth.
Scraps is color brave by treating its characters, black people who have suffered immense trauma, with an empathy and understanding that they are often excluded from while indicting whiteness for its role in their suffering.
I chose the topic of police violence as a vehicle for my actual goal: to urge audiences to analyze trauma, to realize it doesn’t end after the event but instead reverberates throughout the lives of those implicated forever. We must acknowledge that Black Americans are starting from a place where trauma is inherited through ancestry and perpetuated through systematic conditions. That we are all complicit in institutionalized racism. And if we continue to only engage in surface-level conversations about race, that prevent us from feeling uncomfortable, we are only asking for things to stay the same.
Scraps is a provocative play that may cause discomfort, but I hope that it enables audiences to make a step forward, even if that means just making room to listen to my characters for 90-minutes.
David Prittie, the gifted designer, beloved colleague, dear friend and stalwart collaborator of The Flea passed away unexpectedly and untimely. This is an unadulterated song of praise for David who was the inspired, precise and inventive graphic visionary of The Flea Theater. Since our founding in 1996, David guided the graphic appearance of our theater down to the letter – establishing the font used in our stationary, designing and evolving our logo through the years , mastering the signage both inside and out of our building and perhaps most significantly and elegantly – interpreting most of our productions for poster and postcard art.
One of David’s most exceptional talents was his ability to give both visual display and graphic life to a play from just reading a script. His careful use of both font and design combined to create the illustrated explanation of our work. His careful graphic blueprints pushed The Flea to the design forefront and we are often noted for our clean and clear graphics. His poster art adorns every wall of The Flea. Each one is different and yet so unmistakably his.
David also designed and directed all of The Flea’s institutional promotional materials. He mastered gala invitations, reading announcements, seasonal brochures, Variety and New York Times advertisements, not to mention mugs, umbrellas, tee shirts, hats and tote bags. The Flea’s logo is instantly recognizable and our company members scrambled to possess a David Prittie Flea gift at our production opening night parties. Jim Simpson’s bike on our White Street logo, the red beanie at our groundbreaking, the Bat on our coffee mugs – all of these bear the imprint of David Prittie.
Finally, David was instrumental to the success of The Flea’s capital campaign – our project to build a three theater performing arts complex for Lower Manhattan. Since the inception of the idea, David has tackled all of the graphic and visual elements – including humanizing architectural drawings, envisioning donor walls, designing theater signage and tackling every fundraising brochure. His range was extraordinary.
We cannot fail to mention that David was exacting and that his intense attention to detail from proofing text to defining the color palette made his work that much more special. There was nothing too small to escape his scrutiny.
His winning smile and handsome face, his kind words for everything and everyone, his attendance at every production and his honest devotion and attention to our theatrical expression will not be replicated or replaced. We do not know how we will go on without him. We do know that he has set the bar for The Flea. He is deeply mourned and dearly missed.
Thursday, June 21st
12:30pm – 7pm
Outside of The Flea
20 Thomas Street
Clothes! Props! Theatrical Magic!
One theater’s trash is another person’s treasure –
and nothing’s being sold for more than $5.
Rain or shine, you won’t want to miss
these fabulous finds!
Performances begin May 31st for EPIC Players’ neuro-inclusive adaptation of The Tempest – and we’re bringing you inside of the rehearsal room!
All photos taken by Ric Sechrest
The Resident Directors Program is an intensive residency for a team of ambitious directors. This unique program offers a hands-on approach to directing and producing through the opportunity to work, train, and direct in support of a leading off-off-Broadway theater. Based on The Flea’s resident acting company, The Bats, the Resident Directors are at the core of our bold and inventive programming. All season long, Resident Directors helm readings, workshops and full-length productions as well as volunteer their time and talents as members of The Flea community.
Over the course of their open-ended tenure, Resident Directors will:
- Assist directors on productions
- Direct for SERIALS, The Flea’s late-night, episodic play competition
- Read and discuss plays in consideration for The Flea’s season
- Stage Manage a Flea production
- House Manage for Flea productions
- Develop, pitch and direct in our theaters
- Have the support and resources of The Flea staff to develop workshops, readings or new initiatives.
- Participate in a month of weekly scene study sessions.
- Be mentored in leadership by the Artistic and Producing Directors
To apply please submit the following:
- Headshot or Photo
- 1 page Artist Statement
- Strong applicants will articulate a compelling vision for their artistic practice and how they will benefit from residency at The Flea.
- List of projects and engagements from June 2018- June 2019
Applications are due Wednesday, June 13th. We will contact applicants for interviews and practical evaluations, which will take place on Wednesday, June 20th and Thursday, June 21st. All application materials should be sent to Niegel Smith, Artistic Director at niegels@
An interview with Show No Show creators Gabrielle Revlock & Aleksandr (Sasha) Frolov
By Lois Welk
Lois: Tell the story of how you met.
Gabrielle: We met at Art Omi. It’s an amazing artist residency near Hudson, NY. Their motto is “care and abundance.” We made work during the day, took swim breaks and every night there was a happy hour before dinner. Before we arrived we were sent the bios of the other artists. I’m pretty sure that when I read Sasha’s bio I rolled my eyes, it was very formal, but as soon as I saw him perform — something we did for each other the first week– I thought, I have to work with this person.
Sasha: I remember how busy you were, Gabi. And I was relaxed and that’s why I wanted to work with you. It’s good to work with hard workers [laughs].
Lois: What did you do in the first rehearsal?
Sasha: I don’t remember! [pause] I suppose the first time we worked together was not really a rehearsal, it was during an exercise that one of the other resident artists led during the first week. The assignment was to interact with a specific space and our space was a small shed with a table, and that’s still in the piece.
Gabrielle: [laughs] Yes, that was a weird first encounter. We still have an awkward moment with the table but now it’s a fantasy sex scene set in doctor’s office.
Lois: Describe some investigations you designed to generate movement?
Gabrielle: We worked with eye contact, first sitting and then moving. We have another score where we tease each other.
Sasha: Ah yes, we make fun of each other. There are a lot of silly moments in the piece. Awkward dance is another silly place but it’s in the body in a very different way.
Gabrielle: Yes, it takes some inspiration from contact improv but injects more idiosyncratic movements and irregular rhythms.
Lois: How differently do Russian and American audiences respond to your work?
Gabrielle: I’m not sure they are all that different. We’ve performed Show No Show in the US and Russia and in both places we’ve been lucky to have very engaged audiences. People seem to relate to the piece. I had one audience member, not a professional reviewer, send me a two page review.
Sasha: In Russia, people were surprised by your performance quality–your face. It’s not a typical way for Russian contemporary dancers. And my Russian peers were also surprised by me because they weren’t used to seeing me perform with this different quality of humor and lightness. They noticed that I was able to make fun of myself. Oftentimes people look like they are in a bad mood when they perform.
Lois: What comes next for your partnership?
Gabrielle: We are planning a project with Alex Tatarsky who will be leading a post performance activity after the Thursday night show. She’s an amazing clown and Russian scholar so it feels like a good fit. Will be working with language and practice surrounding anxiety treatment. We will also be touring Show No Show in 2019. Stay tuned for info!
Lois: Good luck with your show!
Gabrielle: Thank you. After each show we are inviting the audience to stick around and have drinks with us in the space. There’s a lovely outdoor area. We are also teaching three contemporary dance and improvisation classes at Gibney so I’m hoping people will come not only to see the show but hang out with us, talk with us, dance with us.
The Flea proudly announces the 11 selected playwrights for its newly created SERIALS Writers Room! Since its inception in 2011, the late night programming series for adventurous audiences has served as one of The Flea’s hallmarks. The inaugural SERIALS Writers Room playwrights were chosen from over 100 candidates and include Niccolo Aeed, Oscar A. L. Cabrera, Chloé Hayat, Lily Houghton, Brian Kettler, Yilong Liu, Matthew Minnicino, Liz Morgan, Jessica Moss, Madhuri Shekhar and Marina Tempelsman.Click Here to Buy Tickets to Cycle 45!
The Flea’s Artistic Director Niegel Smith says of the new initiative, “So many of New York’s talented early career actors and directors get started with a residency at The Flea, it only made sense that we begin to serve playwrights in the same way. From pitch to production these passionate and skilled playwrights will be actively writing the culture of today. We’re all in and can’t wait to share with audiences the compelling and diverse stories they are dreaming up.”
The SERIALS Writers’ Room will be a year-long commitment. Writers will be assigned to a SERIALS team, featuring a director and a group of Bats, The Flea’s resident acting company. Over the course of the year there will be eight cycles of SERIALS. Playwrights will write on a rotating basis: if your play is not voted back, you will get a few cycles off until it is your turn to launch another series with a new pilot.
SERIALS returns to The Flea for its 45th cycle from June 7-16. Performances are on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 11pm. Tickets cost $12 and include a free beer. Purchase tickets by calling 212-352-3101 or online at www.theflea.org.
Niccolo Aeed is a black/palestinian writer and director based in New York. He is half the comedy duo Marina & Nicco, whose sketches and short films have been featured on The New Yorker, Comedy Central, Funny or Die and many more. Marina & Nicco’s plays have been produced at HERE Arts Center, The People’s Improv Theater, New Ohio Theater and Ars Nova. Individually Nicco has written and directed plays for The New York Fringe Festival, the Philly Fringe Festival, NY Summerfest and 7×7. He has written and directed sketch comedy at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and The People’s Improv Theater and teaches storytelling with The Moth. For more of Marina & Nicco’s work check out www.MarinaAndNicco.com.
Oscar A. L. Cabrera is a New York-based actor/playwright born and bred in the panhandle of Texas. Both a son to parents who worked two jobs each and the brother of a sibling with autism, his upbringing has crafted a lens for finding the extraordinary out of the common place. His plays have been developed and produced by The Public Theater, INTAR Theater, Rising Circle, Creede Rep, BRIC, NY Madness, Black and Latino Playwrights Conference, and OMPF. He is a current member of EWG at the Public, company member of INTAR’s Unit52, and co-creator of the NYC Latinx Playwrighting Circle.
Chloé Hayat is a Lebanese-American playwright and dramaturg from Roosevelt Island, New York. She graduated from SUNY Purchase with a degree in Playwriting & Screenwriting and a minor in History. She is the co-founder of After-School Special Theatre, a company of scrappy young female-identifying writer/producers that values accessible, organic, and experimental theatre. She is passionate about finding new ways to make theatre possible with excited and challenging collaborators. Her work has been seen and developed as a part of Young Playwrights Inc., SUNY Purchase’s New Plays Now festival and most recently her first Paranormal Play Spirit Journeyz was performed as part of Clubbed Thumb’s Summerworks readings. She’s a professional makeup artist, an amateur baker, a perfectly fine belly dancer, and the owner of a piece of the Abraham Lincoln deathbed. Chloé is fascinated by ghosts, historical women, stories about delusion, and is currently engrossed by the theatricality of reality television.
Lily Houghton is a twenty-three-year-old playwright born and raised in Manhattan. She wrote her first play at age seventeen before completing her B.A. at Bennington College last May. Her plays have been developed at MCC Theater Company, The Flea, EST/Youngblood, Contemporary American Theater Festival/Shepherd University, NYU, 20% Theater Company Chicago, Yale University’s Writers’ Conference, Bennington College, University of Michigan Theater Conservatory, and the Jermyn Street Theatre in London. Her short someone/something/someone/something (EST/ Youngblood) just won a Sloan Foundation Grant. Lily’s play, Dear, received a PlayLab with MCC Theater in the fall of 2017 and a production at Shepherd University/CATF this April. She is a proud member of Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Youngblood. Just announced: Lily has received an Elizabeth George Foundation grant through a commission from Seattle Rep!
Brian Kettler is originally from Portland, Oregon. Like everyone from Portland, Brian enjoys coffee, beer and nature, is obsessed with the Blazers and plays bass in a rock band. He earned his MFA in Playwriting from the University of Texas-Austin, where he studied under Steven Dietz. He is a former recipient of the Oregon Literary Fellowship in Drama.
Last summer, Brian’s full-length play, Poor Boys’ Chorus, premiered in New York City as part of the Broadway Bound Theatre Festival. His short play, Clown Room, was selected for the Theater Masters National MFA Playwrights Festival, with productions in Aspen and New York City. He was recently commissioned by Orphic Theater Company to adapt Euripides’ Iphigenia Among the Taurians and his adaptation, Iphigenia 3.0, was featured in the 2017 Fertile Ground Festival. Brian has worked as a tutor, teaching artist and for the past three years, has coached high school Mock Trial.
Yilong Liu is a New York-based playwright, born and raised in Chongqing, a city in Southwest China. His work has been produced or developed at Stella Adler Studio of Acting, East West Players, Queens Theatre, SPACE on Ryder Farm, WildWind Performance Lab at Texas Tech, FringeNYC, Kumu Kahua Theatre, Living Room Theatre, MOJOAA Performing Arts, and others. Awards include Kennedy Center’s Paul Stephen Lim Playwriting Award (The Book of Mountains and Seas), Paula Vogel Playwriting Award (June is The First Fall, 2nd Place), National Partners of the American Theatre Award for Playwriting (Joker), Po’okela Award for Best New Play (Joker), and a APAFT playwright scholarship. He was a semi-finalist for Bay Area Playwrights Festival and O’Neill Playwrights Conference, a finalist for The New Harmony Project and Lark’s Van Lier New Voices Playwriting Fellowship. When he’s not writing, he’s usually netflixing, people watching, or liking cat posts on instagram. BA: BNU. MFA: UHM. www.YilongLiu.com
Matthew Minnicino is a Virginia-born, Manhattan-based playwright, adaptor, actor, director, teacher, and theatre-maker. He has been a resident with SPACE on Ryder Farm, Exquisite Corpse, Sugarglass Theatre at Trinity College in Dublin, the Barn Arts Collective, Letter of Marque, the box collective, and numerous others. He is a Jeffrey Melnick New Playwright Award Nominee, winner of the 2016 Arts & Letters Prize, and member of Pipeline Theatre’s PlayLab, Everday Inferno’s Writer/Director Lab, Joust Theatre’s Writers’ Round Table, and 2018 Great Plains Theatre Conference PlayLab. He has written for Serials@The Flea, Rule of 7×7, and the NYC Fringe, FauxReal, and Shenandoah Fringe Festivals. He has professionally adapted Chekhov, Strindberg, Ibsen, Gorky, Homer, Euripides, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Moliere, and more. His essays on theatre have been published by The Dramatist, Gathering of the Tribes, and HowlRound. In his spare time, he teaches kids about Shakespeare. MFA: Columbia.
Liz Morgan was raised on oxtail, peas & rice. As an artist raised by two Caribbean doctors, she has maintained a dedication to healing and a taste for all things spicy. She’s been published in HuffPo and developed new stage work with The Fire This Time Festival, The Lark, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Fresh Ground Pepper, Liberation Theatre Company, Judson Arts, Amios, Rising Circle, JACK, NY Madness, POTPOURRI! World Women Works Series, and National Black Theatre where she was named a finalist for the I AM SOUL Playwrights’ Residency. Other honors include the Torchbearer for Black Theatre Award, NYNW Theatre Festival (Finalist), Playwrights Realm Writing Fellowship (Semi-Finalist) and the New Works Lab at Stratford (Semi-Finalist). She holds a Bachelors degree and MFA from Brown University where she received the Davis Wickham Prize for Excellence in Playwriting and once twerked the toga off of a frat boy. www.LizMorganOnline.com
Jessica Moss is an actor, writer, and producer from Toronto, Canada. Her work has been developed or presented at Great Plains Theatre Conference, Roundabout Theatre, Premiere Stages, Kitchen Dog Theatre, the Juilliard School, the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, and the Canadian Stage Festival of New Ideas and Creation, among others. As an actor, she has appeared in shows with Necessary Angel/Luminato, Tarragon Theatre, SummerWorks, Sudbury Theatre Centre, the NAC, and many times at the Toronto Fringe.
Madhuri Shekar is a playwright from Chennai, India, currently based in New York. Productions include In Love and Warcraft (Alliance Theatre and others; 2013/14 Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Award), A Nice Indian Boy (East West Players and others), Queen (Victory Gardens; Kilroys List 2017) and two TYA shows at the Alliance Theatre. Her plays in development include House of Joy (most recently seen at the Pacific Playwrights Festival and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival) and new commissions from Victory Gardens, Audible and South Coast Repertory. Her work has been developed at the Center Theatre Group, the Old Globe, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Hedgebrook Playwrights Festival, the Kennedy Center, New York Stage and Film, and the Atlantic Theatre.
She is a member of the Ars Nova Playgroup and Ma-Yi Writers Lab, has an MFA in Dramatic Writing from USC, and is a 2016-2018 alum of the playwriting program at Juilliard.
Marina Tempelsman is a writer who was born and raised in New York (where she is still based). She is half the comedy duo Marina & Nicco, whose work has been featured by The New Yorker, Comedy Central, and Funny or Die. Their play Room 4 was a New York Times critic’s pick, and their work has also been featured at HERE Arts Center, Ars Nova, The New Ohio Theater, The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, and The Peoples Improv Theater. They recently co-wrote a sketch comedy pilot for Fusion, and wrote and produced a web pilot (Smüchr) for BRIC TV. In the summer of 2010, Marina was a Guest Artist at the Kennedy Center Summer Playwriting Intensive, where she studied with Theresa Rebeck, Marsha Norman, David Ives, Jason Robert Brown, Gary Garrison, and Heather McDonald, among others. She co-wrote the Comedy Central series At the Office Microwave, and currently teaches and directs for The UCB. www.marinaandnicco.com
We’re thrilled when The Bats also get attention off-stage, and we couldn’t be more excited for the lovely Raiane Cantisano!
You may have met her during our Faces of The Flea email series this past December, and seen her onstage in ms. estrada, Cereals, or Serials this season. And the talented Brazilian actress has more work cut out for her in the months ahead.
Click the link below to read Broadway World’s feature on Raiane!Read Article Here
We’re thrilled to share that one of The Flea’s Anchor Partners, EPIC Players, just had an “epic” week!
EPIC rang the Opening Bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, April 3rd in honor of Autism Awareness Month. In addition, EPIC’s Artistic Director, Aubrie Therrien, and EPIC Company Member and star of the feature film Keep the Change, Samantha Elisofon, spoke at The United Nations for World Autism Awareness on Thursday, April 5th.
ms. estrada written by the Q Brothers Collective and directed by Michelle Tattenbaum is now open in The Flea’s upstairs theater, the Sam. We sat down with members of the cast to hear about why they love this new hip-hop musical adaptation of the Greek classic, Lysistrata, and what The Flea means to them.
The work you’ve put into ms. estrada has been immense, what do you love the most about working on this production?
The raw energy in ms. estrada is addicting. It’s exciting it is to embody a story this large. And as a womyn, it’s a relief to have a temporary home for my rage (which isn’t always welcome in the spaces I inhabit). The writers, the Q Brother Collective and Director, Michelle Tattenbaum have done an incredible job creating an empowering rehearsal room. I hope the audience will feel that when they see the show.
Creating a safe space for actors to do great work is important. What’s your favorite aspect of working in this medium?
I love the sense of community that the theater offers (both from a performer and audience perspective). In an increasingly high-tech world, I’m grateful for the opportunity to sit in darkness with an audience who choose to lend their attention to one thing— the stage. I feel safe in the theater.
And beyond the shared experience with an audience, what lessons have you gained from working in the business?
Saying “Yes!” That has been a fundamental lesson for me. It is scary to take the first step but great things usually come out of taking a chance on something new.
What was the first acting gig you said “yes” to?
My first job in the theater was as a counselor at my childhood Shakespeare camp when I was 16-years old. Learning how to teach from my childhood mentors was one of the greatest artistic gifts I’ve ever received.
Are you working on anything other than ms. estrada?
Yes! I facilitate Contact Improv Jams (a movement form) each month and I recently finished the writing and performance of a cello accompaniment for a reading that was directed by fellow Bat, Jen Parkhill.
And before we go— Do you have any advice for actors who are just starting out?
Don’t take it all too seriously (it’s just pretend, after all). And please, remind me to do the same!