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Performances

Visionary Futures — November Staged Readings


Image created by Tatiana Godfrey

Conceived and directed by Josh Glenn-Kayden
This project takes its inspiration from the Octavia’s Brood anthology, which explores the connections between radical speculative fiction and movements for social change. We are commissioning three professional playwrights to each write a 30-minute play of visionary fiction that confronts urgent issues of our time. Each writer will be paired with an activist whose work intersects with the play's subject matter. These writer/activist teams will collaborate to create work that is visionary in its approach while also grounded in contemporary activist thought.
The plays, written to be performed digitally, will be in conversation with each other and will present three different visions of future worlds.
Each performance will be followed by a post-show discussion with the creative team about the process.
Presented live online: Unity by Phaedra Scott on Nov. 12 at 7:30; Beyond Reform by Jaymes Sanchez on Nov. 15 at 7:30, Gender Experience TM by M. Sloth Levine on Nov. 19 at 7:30 pm
Register at https://fac.umass.edu/Online/article/TheaterDepartment

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About Visionary Futures

Director — Josh Glenn-Kayden
Dramaturg — Tatiana Godfrey
Stage Manager — Rebecca Cottrell
Assistant Stage Manager — Sena Yacteen

Unity
by Phaedra Scott
Performed Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m.

Cast
Companion — Darrow Sherman
Macaria — Carolyn Parker-Fairbain
Noe — Emma Perakis 

Stage Directions — Liz Diamond

***

Beyond Reform
by Jaymes Sanchez
Performed Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m.

Cast
Danielle — Carolyn Parker-Fairbain
Bo & The Jerkish One — Darrow Sherman
May & The Cool One — Kim Klasner 
Jill & The Nice One — Emma Perakis

Stage Directions — Liz Diamond

***

Gender Experience TM (workshop three)
by M. Sloth Levine
Performed Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m.

Cast
Carolyn Parker-Fairbain
Darrow Sherman
Emma Perakis

Stage Directions — Liz Diamond

Please note: The content and language in Gender ExperienceTM explore the various intersections of gender and sexual orientation. Text includes terms associated with homophobia, transphobia, and trans misogyny as well as sexually explicit language.

The Playwrights

Jaymes Sanchez is a Texan playwright, actor, director, and educator. Jaymes's plays have been developed with The Lark, Company One, Teatro Vivo, San Diego REP, and Artists' Theatre of Boston. His play THE CUCUY WILL FIND YOU received the 2020 Keene Prize for Literature. Jaymes has been a finalist for the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, SPACE on Ryder Farm, the Latinx Theatre Commons Carnaval, and the Kitchen Dog Theater New Works Festival, as well as a semifinalist for the Princess Grace Award. Jaymes was a 2019 Company One Playlab Fellow and a member of the 2018 Company One PlayLab Unit. He earned a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Brown University and taught English and Theatre at Milton High School (MA). Jaymes is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Playwriting at the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin.

Phaedra Michelle Scott is a playwright and dramaturg based in New York City. Her play, DIASPORA! was a commissioned work through SpeakEasy Stages’s The Boston Project. She is a past resident at SPACE on Ryder Farm for her play PLANTATION BLACK, and is currently a member of the obie-award winning playwriting ensemble, Youngblood at Ensemble Studio Theater and Pipeline Theater Company’s PlayLab. Currently, she is developing her newest play GOOD HAIR, recipient of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Grant.  She has been an arts and culture journalist for wbur, Boston’s NPR station; a content developer at the USS Constitution Museum where she made maritime history accessible through storytelling and media. She is the resident dramaturg of New Harmony Project. Scott has received a Bly Creative Capacity Grant for her work as dramaturg for Black Theater Commons as well as the recipient of the Frederick Douglass Fellowship for her research on August Wilson's Pittsburgh Cycle. She is a crocheter, horror fan and obscure history enthusiast. She/Her/Hers. www.phaedrascott.com

M Sloth Levine is a trans theatremaker who directs, writes plays, and designs in Brooklyn, NY, previously Boston, MA. Recent work has been seen at University of Massachusetts Amherst, Sparkhaven Theatre, Trans Theatre Ensemble, Company One, SpeakEasy Stage Company, Fresh Ink Theatre, Brown Box Theatre Project, and Milky Way Coffee Roasters. They have been involved with the Gender Explosion Initiative with StageSource, advocating for gender diversity in New England theatre. They are a proud alumnus of the Company One PlayLab Unit. Sloth's work often involves the fantastic, spooky, and queer. In 2016 they received a BA in Theatre Studies: Directing & Playwriting from Emerson College.

The Activists

Finn Lefevre is a dramaturg and facilitator whose work focuses on trans and queer communities. They facilitate applied theatre workshops on identity, naming, microaggressions, and community healing. Their recent projects include a traveling workshop called the Trans Naming Ritual, dramaturging and devising Queer & Now: Sync or Swim, and working on a new book on trans theatre. They have taught in the Theater Department at Keene State College and the Department of Ethnic and Gender Studies at Westfield State University. Their publications include "The Name (isn’t a) Game: New Explorations in Trans Applied Theatre" in Routledge Press' Diversity, Representation, and Inclusion, "Lip-Syncing for Our Lives: Queering Dissent in Queer & Now: a Lip-sync Spectacular" in the Palgrave Handbook of Queer and Trans Feminisms in Contemporary Performance, and "Schrödinger’s Dick: The Transgender Reveal Trope in Boy Meets Girl" in Beyond Binaries: Trans Identities in Contemporary Culture for Lexington Press. 

Before joining the English Department at UMass in 2008, TreaAndrea M. Russworm earned her B.A. from Brown University and M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Her areas of research and teaching specialization include: video games and new media, digital cultural studies, African American popular culture, digital humanities, comic books and visual representation, and postmodern and psychoanalytic theories. Professor Russworm is currently working on a fourth book, a scholarly monograph, on race and technology.
In her first book, Blackness is Burning: Civil Rights, Popular Culture, and the Problem of Recognition, Professor Russworm argues that humanizing, or trying to represent in narrative and popular culture that #BlackLivesMatter, has long been barely attainable and impossible to sustain cultural agenda. The book is one of the first to examine the ways race and psychological rhetoric collided in the public and popular culture of the civil rights era. In analyzing a range of media forms, including Sidney Poitier’s popular films, black mother and daughter family melodramas, Bill Cosby’s comedy routine and cartoon Fat Albert, pulpy black pimp narratives, and several aspects of post–civil rights black/American culture, Russworm identifies and problematizes the many ways in which psychoanalytic culture has functioned as a governing racial ideology that is built around a flawed understanding of trying to "recognize" the racial other as human.
Her other two books on popular media include the anticipated edited collections, Gaming Representation: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Video Games (co-edited with Jennifer Malkowski) and From Madea to Media Mogul: Theorizing Tyler Perry (co-edited with Samantha Sheppard and Karen Bowdre). Russworm’s contribution to both books continues her critique of the humanizing impulse in post-civil rights representational culture, from video games and other digital media to popular films and television shows.
An experienced teacher in team-based learning (TBL) pedagogies, Professor Russworm is also the advisor for the New Media and Digital Humanities specialization and a person of contact for the interdisciplinary IT Minor (2016-2017)

The Creative Team

Josh Glenn-Kayden is the Artistic Associate and Casting Director at Company One Theatre and a Boston based director and producer. Recent directing projects include Baltimore by Kirsten Greenidge (UMass Amherst), workshops of Walden by Amy Berryman and The Interrobangers by M Sloth Levine (UMass Play Lab), Greater Good by Kirsten Greenidge (A.R.T. & Company One, associate director), the world premiere of This Place/Displaced (Artists’ Theater of Boston, ArtsFuse Best Stage Productions of 2018), the New England premiere of Nicky Silver’s The Lyons (Titanic Theatre), and the world premiere of Laura Neill’s Don’t Give Up the Ship (Fresh Ink Theatre). Josh is also the director and co-producer of The Legion Tapes (thelegiontapes.com), a sci-fi podcast written by Erin Lerch. Josh has directed and developed new work for the A.R.T., Company One Theatre, Flat Earth Theatre, the Museum of Science, UMass Amherst, Open Theatre Project, the One Minute Play Festival, and TC Squared Theatre Company. Assistant directing credits include productions at the A.R.T. Company One Theatre and UMass Amherst. Josh holds a BA in Drama from Tufts University and is currently pursuing an MFA in Directing at UMass Amherst.

Tatiana Godfrey was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is a proud alumna of The School for Creative & Performing Arts and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Tatiana had a varied career in theater before discovering a passion for arts education. She served as the assistant director of the off-Broadway premier of No Dog’s Allowed by Sonia Manzano; she is a founding member of New York’s Pipeline Theatre Company and Atlanta’s Fabrefaction Theatre Company; she was featured in HBO’s David Mamet film Phil Spector. While serving as Fabrefaction’s Educational Director, Tatiana had the privilege of creating and launching a variety of educational initiatives that were focused on giving students practical skill sets to use both in theatre and in life. This approach to teaching led Tatiana to Ohio Career Technical Education, which focuses on teaching students to be ready for the workforce or secondary education. She is currently an MFA candidate in dramaturgy at the University of Massachusetts.

Department and Production Staff

Production Manager — Julie Fife
Assistants to the Production Manager — Josh Glenn-Kayden and Rudy Ramirez

Public Relations Director/House Manager — Anna-Maria Goossens
Public Relations Intern — Sofia Sallaway
Publicity Artist — Tatiana Godfrey
Business Manager — Joanne Corbeil-Harper
Administrative Assistant — Bethany Sherwood
General Manager — Willow Cohen
Department Chair — Harley Erdman

Fall 2020 Ushers —
Members of Theater 110: Backstage Practice: Alexandra Uzbay, Arianna Morales, Autumn Marchetto, Bridget Austin-Weiss, Brooke Morrison, Christopher Porcaro, Christopher Webber, Danial Cousins, Deborah Proulx, Eddie Pizzano, Eliza McCann, Emily Formato, Fleur Kuhta, Isabelle Giuttari, Ivy Linden-Dionne, Jesse Ball, Lisa Portier, Matthew Gover, McKenna Canty, Mei MacQuarrie, Mical Henriquez, Michael O’Malley, Michaela DeVos, Mingyan Zhu, Olivia Darling, Pedro Saravia-Castillo, Phoebe Bell, Roshan Kharbanda, Ryan Taylor, Samantha Beaulieu, Sergio Martinez-Krawiec, Sofia Cerciello, Uju Onochie, William Waisnor, Yi-Wei Wang, Yixuan Shi, Yuying Deng