Athena Writes 2016

12888780_757130394387261_5267373325040111629_oAthena Writes 2016
Athena Theatre Company
Contemporary, Compelling, Provocative

Athena Writes 2016 year-end Staged Reading
of excerpts from all Athena Writes playwrights’ full-length plays written in residence. Athena Writes 2016 Theme:
“An Unseen Visitor.”

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016 at 7PM
Pearl Studios NYC, 500 8th Avenue, 12th Floor, Studio 414

Admission is Free. Reserve HERE.

Directed by Laura Pittenger

Simoné Elizabeth Bart
Keith Caram*
Jay Nickerson*
Veronique Ory*
Imran Sheikh*
Gabby Sherba
Sandra Williams

*Actors appearing courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association

Stage Manager: Kateryna Turkalo
Assistant Stage Manager: Virginia Chang
Assistant Producer: Francesca R. MacLaughlin

Developing world premiers of off-beat and irreverent psychological dramas and dark comedies that challenge traditional stereotypes. Athena produces theatre that entertains, informs, enlightens, questions and deepens audience awareness of vital modern issues.

Athena Theatre Playwright Group 2016

Nora Sørena Casey, Athena Theatre Playwright-in-Residence
Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich
Sari Caine
Veronica Cooper
Alex Hersler
Mateo Moreno
Lia Romeo

Kenzie Ross
Marianna Staroselsky
Xavier Toby

Playwriting Group and New Play Festival

Athena Theatre’s new playwriting group, Athena Writes, selected ten playwrights assembled for a one-year exploration of the theme: “An Unseen Visitor,” and centered on Athena Theatre’s commitment to supporting new work which pushes at the boundaries of live theatre.

Playwrights are asked to write a short, 10 minute play for production at the New Play Festival Spring 2016. Playwrights are also working on a full-length piece on this year’s theme. The play group is being facilitated by Athena Theatre Company’s 2016 playwright-in-residence, Nora Sørena Casey.

The playwrights will also be considered for full production by Athena Theatre Company in its next season. The play group will be meeting twice a month, beginning in mid-January, for two-three hours, to discuss the year’s theme, share new work, talk playwriting and the business of theatre. The meetings also comprise of discussion about individual playwrights’ projects, as well as readings of new work, where playwrights will cast (from the other writers) and hear their work read aloud. Athena Theatre believes that a play cannot be fully understood until the words hit the ear of an audience. This process allows playwrights to deepen their understanding of their own work, as well as glean ideas and approaches from their fellow playwrights.

In addition to closed sessions, some meetings will include dramaturg, directors and other industry professionals, to help deepen the understanding of specific works, as well as discuss industry concerns. Athena Theatre will also actively solicit opportunities for artists to submit their plays, to venues in New York City as well as around the country.

In December 2016 we will produce a staged reading of excerpts from the group’s full-length plays.

Guest Dramaturgs

Laura Pittenger has been the literary manager of Turn to Flesh Productions since 2014, curating 12 readings of new plays with the company in NYC. As a dramaturg, she has worked at the Indiana Repertory Theater, Ball State University (BSU) and the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF). As a playwright, Laura’s plays have been seen at FringeNYC, The Playwrights’ Center, the Last Frontier Theatre Conference, The Gallery Players (Brooklyn), KCACTF and BSU. Her play THE GOSPEL OF HUXLEY will appear in the upcoming Smith & Kraus Anthology 100 FIVE-MINUTE PLAYS FOR STUDY AND PERFORMANCE, while THE HVAC PLAYS (FringeNYC) is available on Indie Theatre Now. Laura has directed in NYC at The Tank and Project Y. Member: DG, NPX; proud graduate of BSU.

Kate Leary is a third-year Dramaturgy MFA at Columbia University focused on new-play development. She is currently the Assistant to the Director of the Safe Harbors Indigenous Collective at LaMama Experimental Theatre Company – an initiative focused on promoting and producing new works by Native American theatre artists. Additionally, she is a member of the Literary Wing at The Play Company. Favorite pass times include Schnauzer snuggling and settling Catan.

Cat Commander is an actor, writer and director from Perth, Australia. She graduated with a BA in English and Women’s Studies from the University of Western Australia and Masters of Writing for Performance from the Victorian College of the Arts. Her most recent play, The Last Time I Saw Richard, debuted in Adelaide 2016 and has been described as ‘the best in new Australian writing’. It was nominated for best show, Comedy by the Adelaide Theatre Guide. Cat has also written for webseries Ninja Panda, which screened at Brooklyn Webfest. She is an improviser, trained at iO in Chicago and UCB in Los Angeles. Improv credits include Soothplayers, completely improvised Shakespeare and Improv Against Humanity. She recently adapted best selling novel Biting The Big Apple to screenplay and has been accepted into an MFA in Film And Television at Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles.

Emily White is a freelance costume designer, costume technician, artist, and current MFA student in NYU’s Design for Stage & Film program. Recent work includes Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, with NYU’s Graduate Acting Department and directed by Tamilla Woodard, as well as Emily Dickinson, Paranormal Investigator for the Frigid festival, and Let’s Play Play as part of the Brick’s Game Play festival, both with PowerOut NYC. Assistant design work includes Awake & Sing (NAATCO & the Public Theater) and the new musical Hundred Days at Z Space in San Francisco. Regionally she has worked for The California Shakespeare Theater (Costume Design Assistant) and The American Conservatory Theater (Costume Shop Admin Assistant) and the Santa Fe Opera, among others.

Jacob Marx Rice’s plays have been produced at Actors Theatre of Louisville, La MaMa ETC, Nuyorican Poets Café, Soho Playhouse, Atlantic Theatre Stage 2, and others. His play Chemistry won the 2015 Producer’s Pick at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival and the 2014 Excellence in Playwriting Award at the New York International Fringe Festival. Jacob is the winner of the 2012 Seymour Brick Memorial Prize for Playwriting and a finalist for the 2015 Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center National Playwrights Conference. Education: Columbia University.

Nicholas Orvis is a dramaturg, director, stage manager, and all-around theatrical practitioner based in New York City. He is currently the Literary Assistant at Premiere Stages at Kean University, and has also worked in various capacities for Portland Stage Company, New Dramatists, and the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. His directing credits include Peach, or Pig Land (Tandem Theatre Collective/PortFringe Festival); The Cardioluthier (Kirkland Art Center); The Tempest (Wesleyan University Theater Dept.); and Under Milk Wood and Twelve Angry Men(Wesleyan University Second Stage). He has also directed readings and scene nights, and worked as assistant director or dramaturg, at Portland Stage Company and the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Nick is a co-founder and Artist-at-Large of the Tandem Theatre Collective, a geographically separated but aesthetically linked network of young artists dedicated to innovative methods of creating theatre and devising new works.

Christopher G. Ulloth is a New York City based dramaturg and playwright. Plays he has worked on include FOOTHILLS PARK and BAD HUSBAND by Dano Madden, CAPTIVE by Lauren M. Shover, WHISPERS by Phil Czeckner and more. He is a Literary Associate for Project Y Theatre and Co-Artistic Director of Elephant Room Productions.

Michael Puzzo is a writer, actor, producer and member of LAByrinth Theater Company since 1997. Productions of Mr. Puzzo’s plays include; SPIRITS OF EXIT ELEVEN ( The Lion Theater @ Theater Row), THE SLASHER’S LAMENT (The New Ohio), LYRIC IS WAITING (Irish Repertory Theater), MY SOUL THE PAVEMENT (Prithvi Theater in Mumbai) THE 11a.m GIRL SAYS “GOODNIGHT” (Access Theater) 5 SANDWICHES (Gene Frankel Theater) and THE DIRTY TALK (CSNY) His work has been published by Dramatist Play Service, Smith & Kraus, Indie Theater Now and New York Theater Experience . Acting includes: John Patrick Shanley’s PIRATE! (New York Stage & Film) & DIRTY STORY (Harold Clurman Theater), Stephen Adly Guigis’ IN ARABIA WE’D ALL BE KINGS (directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman, CSNY) and the Pulitzer prize winning BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY (Second Stage, u/s Michael Rispoli) THE BODY POLITIC (59E59), PHILIP ROTH IN KHARTOUM (The Public Theater) and as Father Sherman in the film DOUBT. As a producer he presented LAByrinth Theater Company’s Trail of Her Inner Thigh (CSNY) and Dear Darkness…Plays That Go Bump in the Night (New Ohio). He is currently assistant director on John Patrick Shanley’s new play Prodigal Son at Manhattan Theater Club.

Allison Scarlet Jaye is an actor, playwright, and teaching artist. Born in Southern California and raised bi-coastally, she holds her MFA in Acting from Penn State University, and is a certified Lila Yoga instructor through Yoga Alliance. Her professional theatre credits come from regional and off-Broadway production companies, and she has been a proud member of Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More since 2014. Allison’s work as a writer roots itself in domestic and social justice issues. Her one-woman play, Hurt People, which centers around gun-control, was commissioned as part of the Cultural Conversations Festival in 2014, and had it’s New York debut at the United Solo Theatre Festival in November 2014. After performances throughout 2015, Allison is laying plans to partner with local and national gun-control advocacy groups to use Hurt People as a piece to educate and involve audiences in the fight for common sense gun laws. A member of the Voice & Movement faculty at New York Film Academy, she is currently writing and conducting research for a web series and two new plays centering around relationship abuse and sexual assault, while performing, teaching, and generally living the dream.

Padraic Lillis
Writer: Two Thirds Home, published by Dramatists Play Services

“This consistently challenging play speaks not just to the issue at hand but as well to the human need to look at drama as a means of understanding and contextualizing experiences.” – Gay City News

Lake Effect, developed at Geva Theater as part of the Festival of New Works Lights Up on the Fade Out, top ten plays of 2011 in L.A. Entertainment Today Pooter McGraw is not Dead, commissioned by Clark University

“Rather than having to worry about some arbitrary plot, we instead get to know the characters as our own friends in a perfect example of the immersive quality of live theatre.” – The Patriot

Ronnie’s Mask, premiered at Steppenwolf Theater’s Performance Garage in Chicago How To Survive Crack Addiction, Solo play. Promotional video:
“How to Survive Crack Addiction is unsettling, often hilarious, and deeply tragic: amazing theater.” –

Lillian Meredith Born, bred, and currently based in New York City, Lillian is primarily a self-producer. Most of her work is site-specific, and explores the boundaries of performance and the role of the audience in live theater. She has developed new plays with playwrights, directors, and devising ensembles for a variety of companies and venues, including Soho Rep, Ars Nova, Dixon Place, Culture Project, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Columbia University, UglyRhino, Galapagos Art Space, Hunter College, The Secret Theater, and the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Festival, among many others. She is the Artistic Director of The Motor Company – a theater company dedicated to making accessible new work using public spaces as the impetus for story-telling and theatrical events; a founding member of The Living Room – an ensemble of eight female theater artists dedicated to making new plays about the contemporary American female, Epic Frame – creating new performance experiences through ensemble collaboration from concept to production, and FullStop Collective; and an associated artist of foolsFURY Theater Company in San Francisco. She is an alumna of Vassar College and the National Theater Institute, a former directing intern with Actors Theatre of Louisville, and a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, and the inaugural Clubbed Thumb Directors Fellowship. Although she is not a writer, she does occasionally pen plays, poems, and essays.