2020 RESIDENT DIRECTORS
RACHEL GITA KARP makes rigorously-researched performances about politics and public policy. She has developed and directed new performances through Ars Nova, Irondale, Mabou Mines, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Flea, IRT, The Brick, Dixon Place, PlayPenn, New York Stage and Film, Women Center Stage, Barn Arts, and SPACE on Ryder Farm. Associate and assistant directing credits include productions on Broadway, Off-, and regionally, including the Tony-winning The Waverly Gallery and productions through Signature Theatre, The Mad Ones, Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company, 13P, Woodshed Collective, and the Humana Festival. Rachel is a 2020 Creative Fellow at Town Stages, an Avant Gardens Resident through Anonymous Ensemble, and a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab. BA, Columbia; MFA, Carnegie Mellon. At Carnegie Mellon, Rachel was a John Wells Directing Fellow, supporting her academics, and a Milton and Cynthia Friedman Fellow, supporting her work in women’s policy research.
How to Put On a Sock is an interactive sex-ed tour of the United States. Featuring actual, in-use curricula, How to Put On a Sock collides conflicting lessons about sex, relationships, consent, and choice. Interviews with people working across the sex-ed spectrum supplement the lessons, as the audience participates through a text-in polling network, sharing anonymously their experiences with sex education, pregnancies, and STIs. The U.S. has the highest rates of teen pregnancy and STI contraction in the industrialized world; How to Put On a Sock tries to understand why.
STEVEN SAPP is a co-founder and member of UNIVERSES, where he has served as a playwright, actor, and director since 1995. His playwriting and acting credits include Africantic, americUS, Unison, Party People, Ameriville, The Denver Project, On Shot in Lotus Position, Blue Suite, Slanguage, Rhythmicity, The Ride, and The Comedy of Errors (Oregon Shakespeare Festival). Directing credits include Pass Over by Antoinette Nwandu, Swopera (Carpetbag Theatre), Metamorphosis, The Seven (University of Iowa), and Ubu: Enchained (Poland). Awards and affiliations include the 2015 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award (Theatre); Oregon Shakespeare Festival Acting Company (2012-present); U.S. Cultural Ambassador with the U.S. State Department for Jazz at Lincoln Center Rhythm Road Tour (2008); Theatre Communications Group; Theatre National Directors Award (2002); National Theater Artist Residency Program Award (2002-2004 and 1999-2001); Peter Zeisler Award (2008); BRIO Awards (Bronx Recognizes Its Own — Performance, 1998 and 2002); Van Lier Fellowship (New Dramatists); The Point CDC (co-founder), and New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspects. His publications include UNIVERSES’ The Revolution will be Live! (2020 release through Theatre Communications Group Books); SLANGUAGE in The Fire This Time; BLUE SUITE (Goodman Theatre’s Festival Latino); PARTY PEOPLE (Manifesto Anthology); and he has been featured on the covers of American Theatre Magazine (2004) and The Source (2000). Steven is a member of the Actors’ Equity Association and holds a BA in Theatre from Bard College. www.universesonstage.com
Africantic is an audiovisual immersive theatrical experience by UNIVERSES which identifies, maps, deconstructs and reconstructs the musical DNA chains that bind us. From the complexities of spiritual ancestral rhythms and chant, across the middle passage into the Americas (where African deities entangle, to this day, in a delicate and vicious dance with Catholic Saints), from work songs and field hollers all the way to today’s music, Africantic explores the importance of music and the social movements that have shaped us. Africantic traces the African musical ancestry that remains, even as the Diaspora continues to evolve.
MOHAMMAD AGHEBATI is an award-winning theater director, educator, and actor. He has staged numerous dramas during his career, including commissions from the Japan Foundation and Marienbad Freiburg Theater Festival. A residency at Kennedy Center followed by a Special Research Fellowship at Yale School of Drama resulted in his immigration to the United States, where he has worked since 2013. His plays have been presented at the Public Theater’s Under the Radar and Seoul Performing Arts Festival. Aghebati has taught directing and acting around the world including Shanghai Theater Academy, Edinburgh Theater Festival, and Tehran University. As an actor, Aghebati’s films played at the Berlin Film Festival (“Modest Reception” 2012) and Cannes Film Festival (“They” 2017). He is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Maaa Theater that produces plays by/about immigrants. www.maaa.us
Rooftop is a black comedy that takes place in the Trump era in New York City, the story of an Iranian-American woman whose life turns upside down when she is diagnosed with a terminal illness on her 40th birthday. As Mitra faces the reality of her disease, she decides to reconnect with people from her past...a journey that leads her and those she meets to reevaluate their moral values, perceptions of social norms, and belief systems as it concerns sexuality, race, and gender.
LARISSA LURY is a director, an associate professor at New Mexico State University, a deviser, and a former acrobat. She has directed and workshopped plays for companies including Cherry Lane Theatre, The Playwrights’ Center, Urbanite, Dorset Theatre Festival, Portland Center Stage, Southern Rep, InterAct, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Clubbed Thumb, Ma-Yi, New Jersey Rep, Keen Company’s Keen Teens, McCarter Theatre’s Youth Ink!, Curious Theatre Company, ASTC, and Passage Theatre. She was a National Directing Fellow, an LMCC Process Space Resident, a New Georges Audrey Resident, and a Resident Director at Ensemble Studio Theatre. She is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, and a New Georges Affiliate Artist. She received a BS from Northwestern University and an MFA from UC San Diego. www.LarissaLury.com
An epic and muscular theatrical shakedown, the Untitled Mercury 13 Project intertwines imagined scenes with congressional transcripts to unearth the story of thirteen female pilots who might have, if the world had followed a different path, been among our earliest astronauts. Before any human had traveled to space, a program was launched to test female pilots for spaceflight. Thirteen of the best pilots in the country were selected; they sacrificed nearly everything for a vital, equitable opportunity. Commissioned by Ensemble Studio Theatre/Sloan Foundation, the piece asks what it takes – for women, people of color, queer folx, disadvantaged citizins – to get off the ground.
TRAVIS LEE RUSS Off-Broadway: The Gorgeous Nothings: In Concert (Joe’s Pub, Director; Playwright), America is Hard to See (HERE, Director, Playwright), Gorey: The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey (Sheen Center/HERE, Director; Playwright). International: America is Hard to See (Scotland - Edinburgh Festival Fringe / London - Arcola Theatre / Director; Playwright). Awards/Honors: three 2016 New York Innovative Theatre Award nominations. Residencies: Drama League, SPACE at Ryder Farm, the Tank, Make Room on Governors Island, One Company, and IRT. www.lifejackettheatre.org/travis-russ
Based on true events, The Gorgeous Nothings is a fantastical play that reconstructs the extraordinary, campy, and sometimes heartbreaking history of a group of homosexuals unjustly imprisoned and quarantined on New York City’s Welfare Island (later renamed Roosevelt Island) during the 1930s for committing “lewd and unnatural acts which offend the public decency.” Weaving a rich and complex historical tapestry based on interviews, archival documents, and prison records, these disparate artifacts tell the forgotten story of fearless pioneers who led a silent but fierce revolution, bravely building the foundation of the modern gay liberation movement — four decades before Stonewall.
2021 IMPACT RESIDENCY DIRECTOR
RACHEL DICKSTEIN founded the Obie-winning theatre company Ripe Time twenty years ago to develop and produce ensemble-based adaptations from literature. The company has received commissions from BAM, Center Theatre Group, Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and presented its most recent work at the BAM Next Wave Festival. Some of Ripe Time’s past work includes the critically acclaimed Sleep (BAM Next Wave Festival, Yale Rep, Annenberg Center), The World Is Round (BAM-Fisher), Septimus and Clarissa (Joe A. Calloway, Drama Desk, Drama League nominations, Baruch Performing Arts Center), Fire Throws at 3LD, Innocents and Betrothed at the Ohio Theatre. Opera and music-based theatre works include Blood Moon (BMP, Prototype), Desire (Miller Theatre, Columbia), Thumbprint (LA Opera, Prototype), and In What Language? (Asia Society, REDCAT, PICA TBA Festival). Rachel was the recipient of the 2015 LPTW Lucille Lortel Award and was nominated for the 2014 Alan Schneider Award, and the 2014 and 2015 Doris Duke Impact Award. Proud past recipient of the Drama League Fellowship, NEA-TCG Director’s Fellowship, and residencies at Berkeley Rep Ground Floor, LMCC, JCC in Manhattan, Watermill Center, and the Civilians R&D Group. BA, Yale College. Associate Professor, Theatre and Performance at Purchase College, SUNY.
Candidate X is a new theatre work that plunges inside the minds of womxn seeking power, both politically and personally, in America today. A dynamic cross between testimonial-based theatre and dance theatre, Candidate X celebrates risk-takers who challenge the gendered expectations our country has of those who lead. In 2019 America, there were more womxn candidates and elected officials (cisgender, transwomen, and feminine-identifying genderqueer folx) negotiating grass roots and political power in the face of gender discrimination, racial bias, and religious intolerance than ever before. Candidate X serves as an anthem to accompany this revolutionary movement.