Rubble Women

UMO Ensemble – David Smith Warehouse, Seattle March 2009

What gives women the ability to keep hearth and home together under significant duress; what is that energy, what is that endurance? Inspired by the actual Rubble Women of post World War II Berlin, this world premiere play, written by Martha Enson and directed by Intiman’s Associate Artistic Director, Sheila Daniels, will use this particular event as one framing device for the piece. Through winter, famine and frost, these women picked up rubble and remade the city of Berlin, quietly and with tremendous perseverance. Rubble Women uses text culled from a deconstructed Trojan Women and original song and music to demonstrate strength and endurance. Rubble Women will use the warehouse of David Smith Furniture for the performance space and David Smith chairs for audience. Original music written by Gretta Harley.

(photos by Michelle Bates & Rick Skillman)

El Dorado

UMO Ensemble – El Dorado (remount) @ ACT Theatre, Seattle November 2009

UMO created El Dorado in 1992 in the style of ‘Buffoon Theatre.’ Buffoons are fantastical, irreverent creatures, derived from the outcasts of medieval society. Much like the traditional court jester, buffoons play at humanity, mocking our follies, casting knowing glances at our obsession with power. El Dorado focuses on the Spanish conquistadors’ quest for the legendary “Kingdom of Gold” in the Americas. In the play, UMO’s buffoons direct their unbridled energies into a re-visitation of this quest, searching ruthlessly for the city of El Dorado, its secrets and treasures.† Marionne – original creator, Martha Enson

(photos by: Michelle Bates, John Cornicello)

Passages of MLK

Palestinian Natuional Theatre/ Al Hakawati, Jerusalem, Spring 2011

Passages of Martin Luther King – Director, Kamel elBasha invited me to return for another eight-week residency. This time for a play about Martin Luther King Jr. translated into Arabic, using an all-Palestinian cast, an American Gospel choir, and me. The text is by Stanford University scholar Clayborne Carson, who is also the editor and publisher of MLK’s papers. Kamel has decided to deconstruct the play by setting it as a rehearsal three days before the play’s opening in order to interject current issues that relate to the Palestinian’s particular circumstances. I play the role of the director inside the play, and will be the liaison for the other Americans joining us. There is a role of an assistant director who acts as my translator. http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2011/reports/passages-martin-luther-king-israel/flash.shtml

From Jerusalem with Love… Naji

Palestinian National Theatre/Al Hakawati – Jerusalem, Spring 2010

Four American artists were selected for a Palestinian/ American Cultural exchange partially sponsored by the US Consulate General in Jerusalem and conceived/directed by the Palestinian National Theatre/Al Hakwati. Through an on-line audition process, I was one of the four artists selected and got to work side by side with Palestinian theatre artists who live and work in Jerusalem. For two months I lived in East Jerusalem, improvising, scripting, creating then touring a show with four Palestinian actors, a Palestinian director, playwright and technical team with three American actors and an American set designer. The show, From Jerusalem with Love…Naji set out to illustrate the Palestinian American relations in human terms. We succeeded quite beautifully due to an amazing director and theatre. The lead actor, Jamal Said, was hysterically funny. He brought a warmth and humor to such serious topics that the audiences filled the theatres with full hard belly laughs. We toured to several cities in the West Bank, most to standing room only, including Nablus, Hebron, Ramallah, Jenin, Bethleham, (Nazareth) and Jerusalem with an additional encore performance. Throughout this extrodinary journey I kept a blog as a way of staying connected to family and friends who hear about the region only in regards to political conflict in the Middle East and not about the people, the artists, the culture.