The Natasha Plays – two one-act, one-woman plays: I Won! and Natasha's Dream, which catapulted their young playwright, Yaroslava Pulinovich, to prominence in theater circles in Russia. They are compelling portraits that delve deep into the souls and the experience of two very different young women from one of Russia's provincial cities. Their inner and outer worlds seem almost polar opposites... until they drift, almost imperceptibly, towards an unexpected point of convergence...
When: TODAY!!! Saturday, 26 May 2012, from 4:00 pm to 6:00pm
Where: at the Little Times Square Theatre, part of The Times Square Arts Center (Roy Arias Theatre Center). Located at 300 West 43rd Street, New York, New York. On the Fourth Floor.
The NATASHA PLAYS are part of ALL FESTIVAL EVENTS ARE FREE. and ALL FESTIVAL EVENTS ARE FOR THE GENERAL ENGLISH-SPEAKING PUBLIC (Russian-speakers, too, of course, are especially welcome!)
Playwright Yaroslava Pulinovich Still only twenty-four, the native Siberian is already one of Russian's most prominent young playwrights, author of eleven plays and two screenplays. Her father was a journalist and, in search of work in the chaotic 1990s, the family trekked from city to city in the frozen north, in the taiga and the tundra, sometimes beyond the Arctic circle. With dreams of stage and screen, she sought admission to the Theater Institute in Ekaterinburg, but became a playwright instead. While she was still in her third year, studying with the famous theater teacher Nikolai Kolyada, her plays began to be staged in professional theaters.
Her works quickly caused a sensation, first in Ekaterinburg, then in Moscow with readings at events such as the New Drama Festival and productions at Moscow’s Playwright and Director Center and elsewhere. In 2008, Natasha's Dream won her the prestigious Debut Prize. Her plays are now frequently to be seen at theaters throughout Russia; they have also been staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company and other theaters in the UK and the US. Much of Pulinovich's work has focused on provincial youth and its subcultures in today's Russia, although more recent works have included an intriguingly folkloric play with an ironic adult voice and a well-orchestrated work that spans the past century of Russian history...
Director Tamilla Woodard Tamilla's career began as a director of solo work - she has developed and directed the solo shows of more than a dozen writer-performers. She has directed for theater companies and festivals around the US and internationally. Her work has won Best of Festival awards, audience favorite awards, Top 10 Shows to See citations, New York Innovative Theatre nominations and critical acclaim in The New York Times, Variety and other publications. She currently teaches solo performance an adjunct professor at City College's Center for Worker Education. Her current passion is creating site-impacted works of great theatricality. In July 2012, Tamilla will make a fourth installation of Hotel Project, an international, collaborative, site-specific theater piece for a single spectator at a time. Co-created with Ana Margineanu, it will be presented in Pamplona, Spain. Tamilla is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama, an alumnus of The Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and a founding member of The Internationalists, a collective of directors from around the world creating an interactive global theatrical community.
Actress Charlotte Purser A New Yorker by way of Texas, Charlotte has appeared in such roles as Sister James in Doubt for Arkansas Rep, Gertrude in Hamlet on the Globe stage in London, and Mrs. Darling and Smee in a US National Tour of Peter Pan. She took part in The Internationalists’ The Odyssey Project festival as an actor in O De Sea, directed by Tamilla Woodard. Charlotte trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (recently renamed the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), where she earned a Master of Arts in Classical and Contemporary Text Acting. While there, she studied acting with Tom Cornford at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, voice with Nadine George, and Lecoq movement with Lucien Lindsay MacDougall. She was part of a ten-month collaboration with Playwrights' Studio Scotland where she originated the role of Joleen in The Bends by Scottish playwright Iain Finley Macleod for a UK tour. Charlotte also studied the Stanislavsky system with teachers from the Moscow Art Theatre School in Boston, where she played Madame Kabonova in The Storm, directed by Alexandre Marine.
Actress Calaine Schafer Calaine Schafer grew up roaming the world with her family, from Arizona to New Zealand, and now pounds the streets of New York in pursuit of her dream of acting. She is a NYU Tisch graduate, where she studied at the Stella Adler Studio and RADA. She met Tamilla Woodard while acting in the one-of-a-kind site-specific show Hotel Project, Summit New Jersey. She is currently working on the inaugural production of Honest Liars, a new traveling theater collective, where she gets to explore the riot-inciting text of Waiting for Lefty through live music and movement. A Shakespearean enthusiast some of her favorite recent roles have been Holofernes Love Labour’s Lost, (Snorks and Pins), and Viola in Twelfth Night (Roundtable Ensemble/Lake George Theater Lab).
Translator John Freedman John Freedman is a writer, translator, critic and scholar of Russian drama and theater. He has spent the last twenty-five years working to introduce the world to Russian theater and drama. On occasion he has succeeded. His three dozen play translations have been produced in every English-speaking country on the planet. He has helped such American institutions as Double Edge Theatre (MA), Generous Company (MD), Breaking String Theater (TX) and First Stage (VA) bring Russian culture to American shores. His own play, Dancing, Not Dead won The Internationalists' new play competition in 2011 and was performed in staged readings in Berlin, Bucharest, Moscow, New York and Austin. How he has also found time in these two-plus decades to serve as the drama critic for The Moscow Times and to write and/or edit nine books on the topic of Russian drama he has no idea. The only explanation he can imagine is that once, many lives ago, he was a minor-league baseball player and, perhaps, that taught him something about discipline. More likely, however, he has been spurred on watching his incredible actress wife Oksana Mysina make Russian theater history and pull down a shelf full of theater and film awards, while recording two albums and touring with her rock band Oxy Rocks. He is more than happy being called "Mr. Mysina" in Russia.
Special Guest: Novelist and Debut Prize Director Olga Slavnikova Yaroslava Pulinovich won the Debut Prize for Natasha's Dream; it was the Debut Prize that created a place for her in the Russian literary world. As the coordinator of the Debut Prize, Olga Slavnikova occupies a unique position in Russian literature, forming a bridge between the generation that has currently taken its place at the helm of the Russian literary establishment and the new voices of the New Russian Literature. Olga Slavnikova grew up in Ekaterinburg in the Ural mountain region – the city which would later produce today's playwright. She was the only daughter of a preeminent nuclear engineer in one of the Soviet Union's secret military cities. As a child, she was a mathematical prodigy, but eventually turned to philology, becoming a professional journalist and editor. Ms. Slavnikova's most ambitious work to date, 2017, takes a loves story and places it in the context of a new Russian civil war which breaks out on the anniversary of the 1917 October Revolution. 2017 won Russia's most prestigious literary award, the Russian Booker Prize. The novel and has been translated into numerous languages, coming out in English in 2010. Other novels by Ms. Slanvikova include A Dragonfly Enlarged to the Size of a Dog, Alone in the Mirror and Immortal. Slavnikova describes her literary method as “realist fantasy,” inverting the mode associated with such writers as Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Her latest novel, Light Head, endows the main character with a fantastic and inexplicable physical peculiarity, only to make him an utterly ordinary representative of a new and troubling socio-psychological type that has recently emerged in the new Russia. The English translation of Light Head is expected early in 2013. The NATASHA PLAYS ARE brought to you by CAUSA ARTIUM, a NYC-based arts non-profit, with the support of the Russkiy Mir Foundation, and in cooperation with the Debut Prize Foundation.
The NATASHA PLAYS are part of The New Russian Literature, an ongoing joint program of Causa Artium and the Debut Prize Foundation to bring the best of the up-and-coming generation of Russian literature to the English-speaking world.
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