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Waterwell Announces 2016 New Works Lab Playwright Dael Orlandersmith


Rick Miramontez / Michael Jorgensen

rick@omdkc.com / michael@omdkc.com

(212) 695-7400

















New York, NY (January 5, 2016) – Waterwell, one of the Village Voice’s Best Arguments for Devised Theater and creators of GOODBAR and #9, continues its annual series of developmental workshop productions with a commission by Dael Orlandersmith (Forever, Yellowman, Beauty’s Daugther) for its senior Drama Class of 2016 at the Professional Performing Arts School (PPAS). The new play, Some of the Things Inside, will be directed by Allison Talis and will premiere at PPAS in April 2016.


Designed to stimulate the creation of high-quality new plays for young actors, Waterwell’s New Works Lab @ PPAS offers emerging and established playwrights the chance to develop their work with the support of professional directors and designers and a cast of exceptionally talented young artists. This annual workshop series presents stripped down, actor-centric productions that add to the canon of thematically rich, complex and original scripts and roles for student actors. Previous NWL playwrights have been Qui Nguyen (Begets: Fall of a High School Ronin, 2015), Nick Jones (Salomé of the Moon, 2014), A. Rey Pamatmat (A Spare Me, 2013), Bekah Brunstetter (Nothing Is The End Of The World (except for the end of the world), 2012) and Stephen Karam (Emma, 2011); the latter three are published by Playscripts and have gone on to dozens of productions worldwide.


“Imbalances of power affect all of us personally, politically and spiritually,” said Artistic Director Arian Moayed. “The dynamics between victims and aggressors can be complex, deceptive and contradictory, and the theater is uniquely positioned to be able to explore them in all their ambiguity and universality. In the American theater today no artist has been confronting those demons with more honesty and understanding than Dael Orlandersmith. What an absolute honor it is to have her work with our young artists.”


The cast will be comprised entirely of seniors in the Waterwell Drama Program at PPAS. Performances will take place April 13-16 at the Professional Performing Arts School. For more information, visit http://www.waterwell.org.





DAEL ORLANDERSMITH (Playwright) previously collaborated with the Goodman on Stoop Stories during the 2009/2010 Season. Ms. Orlandersmith first performed Stoop Stories in 2008 at The Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival and Apollo Theater’s Salon Series; Washington, DC’s Studio Theatre produced its world premiere in 2009. Black n’ Blue Boys/Broken Men was developed as a co-commission between the Goodman and Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where it was staged in May 2012. Her play Horsedreams was developed at New Dramatists and workshopped at New York Stage and Film Company in 2008, and was performed at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in 2011. Bones was commissioned by the Mark Taper Forum where it premiered in 2010. Ms. Orlandersmith premiered The Blue Album, in collaboration with David Cale, at Long Wharf Theatre in 2007. Yellowman was commissioned by and premiered at McCarter Theatre in a co-production with The Wilma Theater and Long Wharf Theatre. Ms. Orlandersmith was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and Drama Desk Award nominee for Outstanding Play and Outstanding Actress in a Play for Yellowman in 2002. The Gimmick, commissioned by McCarter Theatre, premiered in their Second Stage OnStage series in 1998 and went on to great acclaim at Long Wharf Theatre and New York Theatre Workshop; Ms. Orlandersmith won the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for The Gimmick in 1999. Her play Monster premiered at New York Theatre Workshop in November 1996. Ms. Orlandersmith has toured extensively with the Nuyorican Poets Café (Real Live Poetry) throughout the United States, Europe and Australia. Yellowman and a collection of her earlier works have been published by Vintage Books and Dramatists Play Service. Ms. Orlandersmith attended Sundance Institute Theatre Lab for four summers and is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant, The Helen Merrill Award for Emerging Playwrights, a Guggenheim and the 2005 PEN/Laura Pels Foundation Award for a playwright in mid-career. She is the recipient of a Lucille Lortel Foundation Playwrights Fellowship and an Obie Award for Beauty’s Daughter. Ms. Orlandersmith’s new play, Forever, is currently a solo play which was commissioned and performed at the Mark Taper Forum/Kirk Douglas Theatre  Fall of 2014, the Long Wharf Theatre Winter 2014/15, and is currently being performed at New York Theatre Workshop this Spring.


ALLISON TALIS (Director) was recently recognized as one of 2015 United States Presidential Scholar's, most influential teachers by the United States Secretary Department of Education. Allison served as the Department Head of Movement, Dance and Devising, where she also taught movement at the Professional Performing Arts School of New York City. She has taught intensive Meisner-technique acting courses for both The School of Cinema and Performing Arts and The National Theatre for the Handicapped and was a Teaching Artist with Urban Arts Partnership for 8 years. Allison is also a Theater Director and leads her Emotion in Motion workshops, both as a technique for devising multi-media theatre and as a therapeutic process. Allison has directed at numerous theatres in New York City, regionally and internationally, and received mentorship, as an Assistant Director at the Steppenwolf Theatre for several years. She is an on-going Resident Director with New York University’s First Look Theatre Company, a member of the Lincoln Center Theatre Directors' Lab and a 2004 SSDC Traube Fellowship nominee. In her role as National Healing & Wellness Consultant & Practitioner for the Joyful Heart Foundation, Allison develops and leads programs, classes, workshops and retreats for survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse and the healers working on the frontlines of trauma, addressing vicarious trauma. Allison is the Founder of Creative Seeds, a non-profit organization, which was focused on preventative and post-trauma healing work through creative arts, movement, yoga and wellness immersion projects and initiatives in both South Africa and the United States. Allison is a certified yoga teacher with specialized training in yoga for trauma. She teaches Vinyasa Yoga at Sonic Yoga in New York City, Bhakti Yoga Shala in Los Angeles, BODY of Santa Fe and was the resident yoga teacher for the Santa Fe Opera. Allison is currently in the process of her Kundalini Yoga Therapy Certification and recently completed her Level 1 Trauma Resiliency Model certification. Allison is currently developing a model of Trauma Informed, Yoga and Creative Arts Programs and collaborating on a Trauma Informed model that brings music and wellness to communities facing adversity. 

WATERWELL (Arian Moayed & Tom Ridgely, Artistic Directors; Heather Lanza, Director of Education) is a unique ensemble of theater artists dedicated to the creation of new work and the bold re-interpretation of classics. Founded in 2002 by Arian Moayed and Tom Ridgely, the company’s special blend of music, theater and social dialog has been nominated for three IT awards, a Drama Desk, a New York Magazine Culture Award and a Village Voice Best of NYC. The Voice calls them, “dynamic, resourceful and relentlessly entertaining.” And TheaterScene says, “There's no way a written description can do justice to their blazing energy and inventiveness.” The New York Times hails the work as, “brilliant, original and inspired. Alive enough to surprise even the performers themselves,” and Theatermania writes, “Waterwell has staked a claim on our collective conscience.” Since 2003, Waterwell has also offered structured classes in collaborative playmaking, or “devising”, the process by which the ensemble develops its material. By 2010 those educational activities had grown and coalesced into the Waterwell Drama Program, which now delivers – in partnership with the Professional Performing Arts School (PPAS) – top-quality, year-round, in-school theater training to over 200 NYC public school students. The program addresses the student-artist holistically and demands they develop both as an interpreter and as a creator. Voice and movement work connect with scene study and devising; classroom learning supports rehearsal and performance projects; and everything is designed to be in dialog with what's going on outside the classroom – in their homes, communities and the world at large.


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