Sub-Basement at IRT

Athena Theatre’s current production is the World Premiere of Tom Block’s Sub-Basement! This unique and surreal dark comedy explores homelessness and the importance of art and finding your own path.
Tickets are now on sale HERE!

“Athena Theatre Company’s production has brought together a strong creative team to put up a challenging but worthwhile script. Given the nature of the play and its movement in fits and starts, the level of professional production is a boon.” –Will Jacobs, Theatre is Easy

“…the actors and designers capture the different personalities, personifications, moods, and theatrical genres”
—Deb Miller, DC Metro Theater Arts

“The set, sound design, lighting, costumes, and all technical elements of the production all worked together in tandem to create a palpable and ominous atmosphere.” –Danielle Beckmann,

“Sub-Basement” is another great production of Athena Theatre.” —Andrew Baumgarten,

“[The actors] were all very appealing and charismatic.” –Eva Heinemann / HI! DRAMA

Directed by Hunter Bird

Patrick K. Dooley, Veronique Ory*, Barry Phillips* and Zenon Zeleniuch*

World Premiere at IRT Theater in NYC!
March 24th-April 15th, 2017
Thurs-Sat at 8PM; Sun at 3PM
Added Shows: Monday, March 27 at 7pm (Opening Night) and Wednesday, April 12 at 8pm
RUN TIME: 80 minutes
At IRT:154 Christopher st. NYC #3B (third floor)

Special talk-back on Wednesday, April 12th with Craig A. Mayes, PhD – Chief Executive Officer, New York City Rescue Mission. More details below!

Since 2012, Dr. Mayes has served as Chief Executive Officer of the New York City Rescue Mission (NYCRM), America’s first homeless shelter. Committed to advocating for, and serving the poor and homeless in both local and global capacities, Dr. Mayes has taken the NYCRM through a re-branding and an $11 million dollar expansion at their facility in lower Manhattan, where they provide emergency shelter for hundreds of men and women daily, and a residential Recovery Program for homeless men struggling with addiction. Dr. Mayes also serves as the Chairperson of the Board of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM), which is comprised of more than 300 missions and shelters across the United States and Canada. In 2003 Dr. Mayes helped found Impact India 360, a non-profit helping impoverished communities in rural India. Impact India 360 has built orphanages, schools, an elderly care home, and most recently a hospital. He continues to serve on the board and spends time in India each year. Dr. Mayes has also worked in higher education, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics, counseling, psychology and theology. He served as a pastor at two churches in the Detroit, Michigan area and currently co-leads Communitas Church in NYC, a faith community for the homeless. Most recently Dr. Mayes co-founded the Make Them Visible Foundation (MTVF) – the first collaborative movement in the country representing non-profits fighting against homelessness. MTVF’s innovative approach is two-fold: secure funding for its network of non-profits providing deep programmatic impact, and partner with brands and media to create a cultural shift humanizing the homeless. MTVF received an Effie Award (Effies honor the most effective marketing communications ideas) for its short film ‘Make Them Visible’. Dr. Mayes holds a MA in Theology, a MA in Counseling, and a Ph.D. in Counseling.

The New York City Rescue Mission (NYCRM) exists to provide help and hope to the hungry, hurting and homeless men and women in New York City. As the oldest shelter in the United States, the Mission has provided food security and shelter to the rising chronic homeless population for over 145 years. In more recent years, while serving our neighbors in need, it has become increasingly apparent that current shelter systems aren’t equipped to meet the growing demands of working poor individuals who are homeless. In response to this increasingly insufficient support for the working poor homeless, the NYCRM developed our THRIVE Program (Emergency Food & Shelter, Workforce Readiness, and Workforce Development) to better meet their needs. In order to help our guests achieve long-term self-sufficiency, men and women staying in our house can receive financial knowledge, participate in work therapy, and develop life skills and learning behaviors to maintain employment, as well as establish independent living. Our guests are emboldened and equipped to not just survive, but thrive.

For the first time a play was written inspired by Athena Theatre’s mission statement.
What is the place of art and imagination in our increasingly Orwellian society? Sub-Basement follows Adrienne, a former poet now Royal Canadian Mounted Police trainee, on an absurdist odyssey to find her true purpose amidst the dark corners of New York City, the depths of the Drama Book Shop, and her muddled past. Her voyage is guided by Gustav (a one-time climatologist) and Arnaud (an erstwhile poet), all while being pursued by Simon, who (unbeknownst to her) is set on becoming her fiancé. Are we ever free of the disappointments of the past, and can we escape the expectation of our parents? Join on a voyage deep into Adrienne’s psyche — and try to discover what life’s really about.

Tom Block (Playwright) is a playwright, visual artist, writer and activist best known for the development and implementation an activist art theory, “Prophetic Activist Art,” which was published as an art/activist manifesto (Centre for Human Ecology, Scotland, 2014) and the founding of the Institute of Prophetic Activist Art (NY). Mr. Block has more than two decades of painting/activist work. Recently, Mr. Block has begun writing plays – and utilizing his artwork as part of the set. He has had his multi-media plays produced in Washington D.C. and New York. He received a LABA creative development fellowship for 2013-2014 at the 14th Street Y in New York’s East Village to produce a painting/theater collaboration, and was Athena Writes 2016 playwright-in-residence at Athena Theatre Company (NY), working toward the production of Sub-Basement.

Hunter Bird (Director) is Brooklyn based director with a focus on new work, particularly at the intersection of music, movement, and narrative. Recent and upcoming projects include The Laodamiad at Signature Theatre and coming to The Getty Villa, developed at Roundabout Theatre Company with Dramaturg Oskar Eustis. NYC: The Imaginary Menagerie (The McKittrick Hotel, Ars Nova, Joe’s Pub), The Crazy Ones (New Musicals @ 54 Below), Edward II (The Tank), Held Momentarily (NYC Fringe, Fringe Encore Series), Laodamiad (Columbia), Eversion (Ars Nova). Previous AD credits on Broadway and across the country with Des McAnuff, Lynne Meadow, Pam MacKinnon, Doug Hughes, Graciela Daniele, and Eve Ensler. Colony Coordinator of the Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals from 2014 – 2016, where he worked with over 120 writers of new musicals.

Brian Long (General Manager) served as the Managing Director of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, a not for profit producer of Off-Broadway Plays. During his nine years, Rattlestick has produced over 40 World Premieres by some of our nation’s most important playwrights, including Annie Baker, Sam Hunter, Jesse Eisenberg, Jose Rivera, Adam Rapp, Lucy Thurber, Craig Lucas and many others. Prior to joining Rattlestick, Brian spent 15 years as a music producer/consultant and represented songwriters, musicians, bands and recording artists with Universal Music Group, Warner Brothers Records, Sire/Reprise Records, EMI Records, PopTones Records, Alias Records and many more.

Patrick K. Dooley (Simon) is an actor, director, and improvisor. His work as a performer has been seen onstage at 59E59, SubCulture, The Annoyance Theatre, and in multiple productions with Less Than Rent Theatre with whom he works as Associate Artistic Director. He also performed Philadelphia, Here I Come! with New York/New Belfast for distinguished guest Liam Neeson. As a director he has developed several new works including for The 24 Hour Plays: Nationals. He has assisted at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and for New York City Center: Encores. Patrick has a BA in Theatre Performance from Fordham University.

Veronique Ory (Adrienne) Off-Broadway: The Man Under (Jennifer) by Paul Bomba at 59E59 Theaters; In LA: Metamorphoses (Eurydice), Pterodactyls (Emma), Slow Dance on the Killing Ground (Rosie), Wait Until Dark (Susy), A Lie of the Mind (Beth), Proof (Catherine), The Shape of Things (Evelyn), How I Learned to Drive (Li’l Bit), Waiting for Godot (Estragon), Beirut (Blue), Crimes of the 
Heart (Babe) and Birdbath (Velma). Awards: Top Ten Best Actress in Los Angeles by NoHo LA,, Entertainment Today and Metro LA. BA, Theatre from Russell Sage College. Co-Created/Co-stars in the YouTube comedy webseries, “Common Ground.”

Barry Phillips (Arnaud) is pleased to inhabit “Arnaud” in this wonderful new play. A graduate of Indiana University (2006 Distinguished Alumni Award) his New York Stage roles include “Jim” in MARK TWAIN’S BLUES (Daryl Roth 2), “Alec” in WHILE WE’RE YOUNG (Vineyard Theatre), “Gandhi” in GANDHI GOES FISHING (Vital Theatre), and the Samuel French 1-Act Finalist – A DOCTOR’S VISIT as “Moses Maimonides”, and Winner – TELLING THE LEAVES as “Paul”. Regional work includes “Bo” in HOW TO MAKE A ROPE SWING (Cape May Stage), “Mohammed” in FANNY (Goodspeed Opera House) and lead on-camera work includes ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, 30 ROCK, ART=LOVE(2) (DYK Films), and 79 PARTS (Brooklyn Films).

Zenon Zeleniuch (Gustav) is delighted to be part of this Production. He has appeared Off-Broadway as Creon in THE MEDEA, Lionel McCauley;PERFECT CRIME, Benjamin Franklin;BEDFELLOWS, Sir Tunbelly Clumsy;THE RELAPSE, Rev. Chasuble; THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST. Regional Theatre Productions of CORIOLANUS, 42ND STREET, THE IRISH QUESTION. Feature Films include Rico in the upcoming thriller PAULIE & JAKE, Frank Nixon; Dick & Jack, Mr. Geitner in DEAD MEN WORKING, Mr. Deans; PRIME EVIL. Television appearance include THE BLACKLIST on NBC, POWER;STARZ, THE KNICK; CINEMAX, THE AMERICANS; FX networks. He has studied at T.Schreiber Studio, Primary Stages & AADA.

Athena Theatre Company (ATC) was founded in 2002 with the intention of presenting contemporary, off-beat and irreverent psychological dramas and dark comedies. Of the seventeen shows since its inception, ATC has consistently garnered both audience and critical acclaim. Since gaining non-profit status, ATC has produced up to three shows per year. ATC is dedicated to producing first-rate theatre and also spearheaded a regular ongoing play reading series, Athena Reads. Dedicated to exploring original works, the ATC Play Reading Series has presented over 80 new plays in a lab format for the benefit of emerging writers on a monthly basis. In 2005 ATC produced a critically acclaimed production of PROOF by David Auburn; said, “Athena Theatre is more than fulfilling its mission of bringing quality theatre to a desert of mediocrity.” In 2006, ATC brought great storytelling to audiences with SLOW DANCE ON THE KILLING GROUND; “Athena Theatre Company decided to cinch its thespian belt another notch and go for it again.” Since 2004, ATC has received 16 Critics Pick from Los Angeles papers. Nine Actors/Actresses have made the “Top Ten Best Actor/Actress of the year list” from Metro LA and over seven productions. The 2007 production of PTERODACTYLS by Nicky Silver received four Critic’s Choice selections and was extended by popular demand. In 2009, ATC moved to NYC while continuing to produce productions in Los Angeles. The most recent full production was in NYC, a World Premiere Off-Broadway at 59E59 Theaters called THE MAN UNDER by Paul Bomba, February 2013; this marked ATC’s true transition to producing new works and supporting emerging playwrights. In 2014, Athena Writes, 8-10 playwrights assembled for a one-year exploration of the year’s theme, was created. Each playwright writes a ten-minute play as well as a full-length play while in residence. ATC’s upcoming world premiere production of SUB-BASEMENT by Tom Block was written inspired by ATC’s mission statement, developed through Athena Reads with two exciting productions scheduled for 2017! After opening in New York City at IRT, SUB-BASEMENT will move the same production to Silver Spring, MD. This production is supported by a grant from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, MD.

IRT Theater is a grassroots laboratory for independent theater and performance in New York City, providing space and support to a new generation of artists. Tucked away in the old Archive Building in Greenwich Village, IRT’s mission is to build a community of emerging and established artists by creating a home for the development and presentation of new work. Some of the artists we have supported include Young Jean Lee, Reggie Watts and Mike Daisey.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, Office of Council Member Corey Johnson and The Nancy Quinn Fund, a project of ART-NY.

Production Team
Publicity: Kampfire PR
Production Stage Manager: Kateryna Turkalo
Production Assistant: Anna Schultz
Social Media Intern: Alexa Puppo

Design Team
Jonathan Cottle (Set Designer and Properties) – Jonathan is a theatre artist working in multiple capacities. His lighting and scenic design, and original creative work has been seen at: Theatre Row, the Incubator Arts Project, Abrons Arts Center, The Flea Theater, The Irondale, The Cherry Lane, Dixon Place, New York University, Fordham University, Dean College, HERE, and the Bushwick Starr, as well as many many site specific locations around New York City. He has worked with the companies: Foundry Theatre, Object Collection, Live Source, MaYi and Theatre Reconstruction Ensemble. He enjoys building, creating and rehearsing in backyards in the summer, unheated church lofts in the winter and dusty basements and empty warehouses all year round. He is currently developing a number of cool projects. Check them out at:

Ross Graham (Lighting Designer) – Ross has spent the last 7 years living and working in Australia. Originally from Indianapolis, Ross moved to NYC in 2007 to pursue his design career. Off-Broadway; Beirut and True West (Athena Theatre Company). Australian Credits: I’ll Eat You Last (Melbourne Theatre Company); Boys Will Be Boys & Power Plays (Sydney Theatre Company); Title and Deed & Woyzeck (Belvoir Theatre); Little Shop of Horrors, Sweet Charity, Rent & Voilet (Hayes Theatre Company); An Index of Metals, Owen Wingrave & Climbing Towards Midnight (Sydney Chamber Opera); L’amant Jaloux (Pinchgut Opera); Edward II (Sport For Jove) ;Nothing Has Changed (Sydney Symphony Orchestra); Creature (Stalker Theatre); (A Steady Rain (Old Fitz Theatre); Gaybies & This House Is Mine (Darlinghurst Theater Company); The Mesh (Red Stitch Actors Theatre); Good People, Cruise Control, Seminar, and Skylight (Ensemble Theatre); Silent Disco, The Sea Project & Return to Earth (Griffin Theatre); (Voices Project (Australian Theatre for Young People); Fearless (Milk Crate Theatre); The Fremantle Candidate (Deck Chair); The Underpants &a The Olympians (NIDA Guest Artist); Cut Snake & Dirtyland (Arthur, a Theatre Company); Bill W and Dr. Bob (Carriage Works). As Associate Lighting Designer: Atomic The Musical (Off-Broadway); Angels in America at (Belvoir Theatre) Orlando (Sydney Theatre Company) In Australia Ross Also taught lighting design at the National Institute for Dramatic Art (NIDA) as well as mentored Student designers.

Patrick Lachance (Sound Designer) – Patrick is a New York City based sound designer. Past work includes Lonely, I’m Not (West of 10th), The Winter’s Tale (Amerinda), Macbeth and [gay] Cymbeline (Theatre Prometheus), The Plantation (Brave New World Rep), The Model American, Okay, and The Coming World (Williamstown Theatre Festival), and The Fantasticks, You Can’t Take It With You, and The 39 Steps (Cider Mill Playhouse). Patrick has also assistant designed a wide range of productions in NYC, most recently The Profane (Playwright’s Horizons) and Present Laughter.

Antonio Consuegra (Costume Designer) – Antonio is a freelance costume designer. Some credits include TV: CBS 70th Tony Awards (costume design crew) Broadway: Doctor Zhivago (costume design crew) Dames at Sea (costume design Intern) and Allegiance (costume design Intern). Off Broadway : Can Do Duck- The Musical (costume designer), Daddy Issues (costume designer), All Aboard- The Musical (costume designer), 1st National Tour of “The Bodyguard-The Musical (costume design assistant).

*Actors appearing courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association.

Sub-Basement reading
Photograph from Staged Reading
Special thanks to developmental cast: Stephen James Anthony*, Marc Geller*, Veronique Ory*, Jeorge Watson* and Perri Yaniv*