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Email: jeremy@alljewishtheatre.org

Theatremacher Events

2021 – Theatremacher Events

In 2014, AJT introduced the Theatremachers, a fellowship for young theatre makers ages 18-36. Seven attended and actively participated in the 2014 conference, expecting to continue to be active contributors to the Alliance longer after everyone flies home.

Applications for the 2021 Conference will be released around August 2021 and will be due in October 2021. To see 2020 application information click here.

 

Alliance for Jewish Theatre’s September 2021 Macher Lab 

What: AJT’s September 2021 Macher Lab

The Theatremacher cohort is a group of AJT theatre makers between the ages of 18-36. The Macher Lab is the newest feature of their programming. Each month the lab will focus on two projects where each playwright will be given 50-55 minutes to workshop their piece. The series runs from June to September, 2021. For more information about the Theatremacher Program, please contact AJT’s Theatremacher Program Director, Illana Stein at illanasteinb@gmail.com

WHEN: Sunday, September 26,  4-6 PM EDT (1-3 PM PDT, 2-4 MDT, 3-5 PM CDT).

We will be exploring projects of Lab Playwrights Mindy Escobar-Leanse and Shara Feit. Please read below about the specific projects being shared in the September Macher Lab and how you can be involved.  

Playwright: Mindy Escobar- Leanse

The Art

Paper puppet animation created with images from Terezin and Tornillo 

The Art is an exploration of visual artwork from two camps in history using common themes and the creation and breaking of images to see how that affects an audience.

Mindy is early on in her process but is eager to hear from Lab participants as they respond to her imagery and to see if this non-traditional story-telling inspires them to take action for those children who are still in camps.

Mindy’s play will not be read but we will be experiencing it as she guides us through the imagery and music that she has collected.

Playwright: Shara Feit 

The [Redacted] Yeshiva Day School for Girls Drama Society Presents S. Ansky’s The Dybbuk, a haunting

Adaption of The Dybbuk with high school students

Drama is underway as [Redacted] Yeshiva Day School for Girls prepare for their upcoming winter production of S. Ansky’s The Dybbuk, but as rehearsals progress stuff starts getting … haunted. So now everyone is wondering, is Leah just, like, weird, or actually possessed? A play about Modern Orthodox day school theatre, best friendship, grief, and doing Polish nobility / frum Jew drag as a sixteen-year-old girl.

Shara is in the beginning stages of her writing but is interested in hearing from a Jewish audience how they respond to her adaptation of The Dybbuk, such a well known Jewish story. 

6 Women 

_____________

The AJT Macher Lab is an exploratory lab designed to champion Theatremacher playwrights and their new work!


Past Events:

AJT's August 2021 Macher Lab

Alliance for Jewish Theatre’s August 2021 Macher Lab 

What: AJT’s August 2021 Macher Lab

The Theatremacher cohort is a group of AJT theatre makers between the ages of 18-36. The Macher Lab is the newest feature of their programming. Each month the lab will focus on two projects where each playwright will be given 50-55 minutes to workshop their piece. The series runs from June to September, 2021. For more information about the Theatremacher Program, please contact AJT’s Theatremacher Program Director, Illana Stein at illanasteinb@gmail.com

When: Monday, August 30, 6pm – 8pm EDT (3pm – 5pm PDT, 4pm – 6pm MDT, 5pm – 7pm CDT) 

I hope you will join us to explore the projects of Lab Playwrights Ariel-Martz Oberlander and Mindy Pfeffer.  Please read below about the specific projects being shared in the August Macher Lab and how you can be involved.  

Playwright: Ariel-Martz Oberlander

on behalf  

2-hander, concept-driven drama 

on behalf  is a play about a conversation between a young woman and an ancient goddess through the lens of sensory rituals such as hand washing, candle lighting, and challah braiding. The show explores living in a body that holds personal and inherited trauma and weaves together the intersectionality of sexual violence, diaspora, and separation from the self and the land.  Using laughter and movement to question our ideas of survival, this piece weaves across lifetimes and generations. 

Ariel is looking forward to hearing feedback from a Jewish audience of all experiences to see how they respond to the culturally specific rituals and stories in the play. Ariel thrives on collaboration and is eager to hear from an audience any additional Jewish songs, stories, or material that the play evokes for them.

2 actors to read for female characters

Content warning: This play mentions sexual violence.

 

Playwright: Mindy Pfeffer

A Suitcase of Memories

Drama with several interweaving timelines

A Suitcase of Memories  (working title) will be two separate but related stories – one starting during World War II with the story of a Polish Jewish woman named Maria Pfeffer (see her story here – https://tinyurl.com/4bkzaea8).  It will end with another story, set in the United States, sometime in the early 21st century, with issues/characters that relate to and amplify the first story.  It examines xenophobia, repressed memories, and the struggle to heal, ultimately setting the power of healing in the arts and in our connection to each other. Maria Peffer was a real person – born 1930, died 2009 – who became one of Poland’s leading family therapists in the late 20th century after a traumatic childhood experience during World War II.  Her father did not speak for a year, only reading Shakespeare, to heal the psychic wounds he received after a beating at the hands of the Nazis. A Suitcase of Memories starts with a fictionalized account of Ms. Pfeffer’s journey to become a therapist and her struggle to remember the past. It will end with another story – still undetermined – echoing/mirroring/relating to the themes and issues of the first part.

Mindy would love to brainstorm ideas about a contemporary historical counterpart to add into her piece as well as ideas on other themes that resonate for an audience other than labeling her project as solely a “Holocaust play.”  This would be an excellent Lab for dramaturgs to attend who like sharing insight about bringing clarity to complex interweaving timelines.

5 Females, 2 Males

AJT's July 2021 Macher Lab

Alliance for Jewish Theatre’s July 2021 Macher Lab 

What: AJT’s July 2021 Macher Lab

The Theatremacher cohort is a group of AJT theatre makers between the ages of 18-36. The Macher Lab is the newest feature of their programming. Each month the lab will focus on two projects where each playwright will be given 50-55 minutes to workshop their piece. The series runs from June to September, 2021. For more information about the Theatremacher Program, please contact AJT’s Theatremacher Program Director, Illana Stein at illanasteinb@gmail.com

When: Thursday, July 29, 5pm – 7pm, Eastern (2pm – 4pm Pacific, 3pm – 5pm Mountain, 4pm – 6pm Central)

Who:
AJT Theatremacher Program Director: Illana Stein
Playwrights – Alix Rosenfeld and Josh Hershfield

We are thrilled to hear the projects from presenting playwrights Alix Rosenfeld and Josh Hershfield. Our July playwrights are eager to hear feedback about their projects from the Theatremacher community. We are not pre-casting the readings but we are looking for Theatremachers to volunteer their time to read while also offering space to those who want to listen and share feedback. 

How:  We are looking for AJT members who want to be part of a volunteer actor pool for our AJT Macher Lab.  We invite you to join this community where we will nurture and support our emerging playwrights through their writing process as their plays continue to evolve.

Email jeremy@alljewishtheatre.org if you would like to be added into our volunteer actor pool for the AJT’s 2021 Macher Lab.

 

July Macher Lab Details:

Playwright: Alix Rosenfeld
What We Inherit
Solo Performance Play

What We Inherit is a solo performance piece (served with homemade cheesecake) that considers what it means to both love and fear what our families pass down through the generations and the hidden terrain of genetic legacy. In examining what we choose to inherit and what is out of our control, What We Inherit asks: Can we find acceptance and joy in what remains unknown? 

We will not be reading Alix’s piece but exploring her play through a brainstorming session.  Alix is looking for thought partners to brainstorm new dramatic elements, approaches, a new structure for the play…sky’s the limit. Folks who are interested in using principles of game-making to create theatre and are curious about finding a balance between drama and joy are especially encouraged to attend.

The play is performed with 1 female-bodied person (in this current iteration)

Playwright: Josh Hershfield
The Courier
a rock musical

The Courier is a rock musical that tells the story of a young Jewish woman during the Holocaust who becomes a courier for the Jewish resistance, joining a group of women fighters smuggling food, messages, and weapons into the ghettos as plans unfold for an uprising against the Nazi regime. The Courier recently won the Bela Zarhi prize from the Ghetto Fighters’ House.

Josh is looking to hear some book scenes of his musical read out loud to get dramaturgical feedback on the stakes of the scene and how it resonates with the rest of the musical. Josh would love to hear from anyone with musical theatre knowledge especially working with the rock musical format.  

The current excerpt being read calls for 2 Leading Women, 1 Man

AJT's June 2021 Macher Lab


Alliance for Jewish Theatre’s June 2021 Macher Lab 

What: AJT’s June 2021 Macher Lab

The Theatremacher cohort is a group of AJT theatre makers between the ages of 18-36. The Macher Lab is the newest feature of their programming. Each month the lab will focus on two projects where each playwright will be given 50-55 minutes to workshop their piece. The series runs from June to September, 2021. For more information about the Theatremacher Program, please contact AJT’s Theatremacher Program Director, Illana Stein at illanasteinb@gmail.com

When: Wednesday, June 30, 2pm – 4:30pm, Eastern (11am – 1:30pm Pacific, 12pm – 2:30pm Mountain, 1pm – 3:30pm Central)

Who:
AJT Theatremacher Program Director: Illana Stein
Playwrights – Audrey Lang and Rory Michelle Sullivan

We are thrilled to hear the projects from presenting playwrights, Audrey Lang and Rory Michelle Sullivan.  Our June playwrights are eager to hear feedback about their projects from the Theatremacher community.  We are not pre-casting the readings but we are looking for Theatremachers to volunteer their time to read while also offering space to those who want to listen and share feedback. 

How:  We are looking for AJT members who want to be part of a volunteer actor pool for our AJT Macher Lab.  We invite you to join this community where we will nurture and support our emerging playwrights through their writing process as their plays continue to evolve.

Email jeremy@alljewishtheatre.org if you would like to be added into our volunteer actor pool for the AJT’s 2021 Macher Lab.

Macher Lab Details:

The June Lab will be 2 ½ hours while the rest of the Macher Labs will normally be 2 hours. The first half-hour will be introductions by our Lab playwrights and a presentation by our special guest, Heather Helinsky, who will be speaking about upcoming playwriting and script reading opportunities. Many of you have worked with Heather before but for those who don’t know her, she is a freelance dramaturg based in Philadelphia and the current Literary Manager for Playwrights Foundation/Bay Area Playwrights Festival, as well as the Contest Dramaturg/Literary Manager for the 10th Annual Jewish Plays Project and will be for the upcoming season.  I will be sharing more about Heather Helinsky in the next email, but she is an excellent resource for our community, and I highly encourage you to get to know her.

June 2021 Macher Lab Projects Details:

Please read below about the specific projects being presented in the June Macher Lab and how you can be involved.

Playwright: Audrey Lang
The Shushan Middle School Student Council

(a contemporary adaptation of the Purim story)

The Purim story, but set in a middle school: complete with Student Council President and queen bee Rosh, her best friend and Vice President Tee, Secretary Esther, and Treasurer Cai. Plus the sixth grade class representatives everyone mostly ignores. But what happens when Tee is ousted from her position and a new Student Council member makes an appearance?

Audrey is in the early stages of writing but is hoping to discuss how the story and characters function in her contemporary interpretation of the Jewish Purim story.  Her play is intended to be performed by middle school-aged actors and she would love to hear feedback from educators on how the material resonates for them. 

7 Characters (6 Female characters, 1 Nonbinary character)

Playwright: Rory Michelle Sullivan

Rising in Love is a new Jewish musical that you’ll be falling for.  Interracial Millennial Jewish couple, Rosie and Scott, turn to family and friends to learn what it takes to rise in love. If you combine Cole Porter and couple’s therapy, you get this new sing-able musical that touches on relationships, compromise, and what it means to grow up and find love.

Rory Michelle is excited to hear perspectives from all makers of Jewish theater (actors, dramaturgs, directors, etc) as they respond to the protagonist and her fiancé as they navigate conflicts related to their upcoming inter-racial, millennial, Jewish marriage.

6 Characters (any gender)

For those who want to hear Rory Michelle’s work in its entirety, she is presenting a staged reading of it for the Cincinnati Fringe Festival, Thursday, June 17th at 8pm EST.  For Tickets: https://cincyfringe.com/rising-in-love/

The AJT Macher Lab is an exploratory lab designed to champion Theatremacher playwrights and their new work!

AJT’s Menschs & Mentors Q&A with Melia Bensussen

AJT’s Menschs & Mentors Q&A with Melia Bensussen

What: AJT’s June 2021 Menschs & Mentors Q&A with Melia Bensussen

This month, AJT is excited to bring Melia Bensussen, Artistic Director of Hartford Stage to a Q&A. We plan to cover advice for emerging theater artists, her leadership role in a large regional theater, approach to season planning during the pandemic and now as theaters return to live-performances, experiences growing up Jewish in Mexico City and how that has shaped her artistry throughout her career. We will open up the last part of the Q&A for Theatremachers to ask questions.

When: Thursday, June 10, 4:30PM – 5:45PM Eastern (1:30pm – 2:45pm Pacific)

Who: Melia Bensussen is a Jewish and Mexican award-winning director and the newly appointed Artistic Director of Hartford Stage.
Host: Illana Stein, AJT’s Theatremacher Coordinator, NYC based Director

Tickets: Free for AJT Members, $18 for Non-Members

How: via Zoom, email jeremy@alljewishtheatre.org for the link or more info

 

 

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