Forever is a mighty long time…

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We’re back!  And we hope you’re as excited as we are.  Yes, we realize we’ve been away for what seems like forever, but we swear it’s for a good reason!  Despite our absence, thank you for remaining loyal and checking in with our team.  Nothing makes us happier than knowing we are part of an amazing, loyal and engaging community.

 

Our absence has not been in vain; we’ve been traveling, networking and making art magic with creatives all over the world. Theatres, movie sets, board meetings. New York, Paris, New Orleans–we’ve been busy little chicks.

2468C9291-ABBE-5B42-9191127EB0A6FC25Speaking of travel and (international) relationships, we’ve just returned from London, England, and had more than a fabulous time. From seeing the marvelous play Fabric written by the delightful Abi Zakarian (and we’re not just saying that because she’s our friend), to spending a majority of the trip at Women and War presented by the So and So Arts Club, Black Chick Media was all about empowerment, education and advocating for the arts.

Fabric, directed by Tom O’Brien and starring Nancy Sullivan, is a one woman play about Leah, “…who lost her friends, family, career, and dignity. Forced to move for a third time following a harrowing court case, she relives painful events in her past as she sorts through all the stuff that has accumulated in her spare room: clothes she doesn’t wear, books she doesn’t read, things she doesn’t need anymore. Leah desperately tries to unpick just where it all went wrong and who or what is really to blame.

FABRIC deals with the aftermath of a rape that isn’t believed and confronts the traditional roles still expected of women; questioning how much has changed since the sexual revolution of the 1960s.”

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L-R: Actress Nancy Sullivan, Writer Abi Zakarian, Director Tom O’Brien

It’s fierce, raw, powerful…a tour de force and just what is needed. Is it a feminist manifesto? Sure (is that even a bad thing?). But only in so much as it’s a story that highlights the patriarchal laws that oppress, regulate and condemn women’s bodies and rights… the standards set up by some omnipresent societal leaders who say how we should behave, who we should love, how we should look.

We’ve all been Leah at one time or another.  If it’s the cute plucky Leah who falls in love with a stranger in a bespoked suit, or if it’s the Leah depressed and trapped inside herself after a traumatic experience. This is a story that resonates and is more than familiar even if you’ve never personally experienced what Leah has; we all know someone. We’ve seen the news, read the papers, heard the conversations.  It’s a story that’s all too familiar and painful.  What we love most about Fabric is that the entire story is told from Leah’s perspective.  All characters, all action, all fear anger happiness and rage–seldom do we hear from women by women about women.  We love that the play is unpretentious; it meets you where you are, accepts who you are, and trusts you enough to take you on the journey.  If you learn nothing, if you leave this play unchanged, you should consider questioning your morals and basically your entire existence.

Thank you Abi for writing such a brilliant character and story that transcends all cultures, space and time. Leah is all women everywhere, and we can’t wait to see this piece stateside!

If you happen to be one of the lucky people heading to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival I highly recommend you see this unforgettable show (and also Mary Seacole but more about that tomorrow!).

We can’t wait to make magic with this fabulous creative.

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Keya Crenshaw & Abi Zakarian

Love

BCM

 

Inspiring Women: Abi Zakarian

Recently, we had the pleasure of interviewing our friend, London based playwright Abi Zakarian.  We met Abi whilst in London in December of 2013 for the So and So Arts Club Women in Art event, where her intricate and brilliantly written piece, LuLu 7 played to great acclaim.  Thank you Abi, for being this months Inspiring Woman.

Abi’s plays include: THE BEST PIES IN LONDON, produced by Rift Theatre and YourAreMine, as part of the immersive Shakespeare in Shoreditch Festival; THIS IS NOT AN EXIT, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company for The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon and transferred to the Royal Court; LULU7, produced by So&So Arts at the Tristan Bates Theatre, SWIFTER, HIGHER, STRONGER, produced by Roundpeg Theatre at The Roundhouse; LITTLE FURIES, commissioned by and rehearsed reading at Soho Theatre, and A THOUSAND YARDS, which was produced by Feast Theatre at Southwark Playhouse.

Previously a writer on attachment at Soho Theatre and a current member of the RSC’s writers group, she was also one of the writers involved in the playwright-in-residence Schoolwrights 2014 scheme in East London schools; the two plays created with the students were showcased at both Soho Theatre and Rich Mix.

Abi is currently under commission for theatre companies TREmers and YouAreMine.

Represented by www.alanbrodie.com


abizakarian hs5Tell us about yourself

I’m an Armenian-British writer living and working in London. Married to a theatre set designer and have a dog called Monty.

Tell us a bit about the work you do, both artistic and otherwise. What sort of projects do you work on?

I work on a combination of commissions and my own projects which my agent sends out on spec. I write plays mainly but am interested in musicals, TV and film writing too.

What have you written?

I’ve written seven full length plays (four produced), two produced short plays, two plays written as playwright-in-residence in two east London schools, and a TV comedy-drama series (as yet un-produced but fingers crossed).

                                                               Tell us about the best part of your work.

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This is Not an Exit

Writing. Writing. Writing. Then seeing it change and grow when other people get involved; and then seeing an audiences reaction. The tiny silence just after the last line of a play.

Is your work strictly local, or do you have a national/international reach?

Well, since I live in London that’s ‘local’ to my work; I am working on new commissions for a regional tour and Edinburgh festival and I hope to get my work on overseas soon too.

Tell us a bit (more) about what you stand for.

I am a feminist. I don’t write as a feminist however, writing has no gender as far as I’m concerned, but many of my plays do explore gender politics.

How do you manage your day and career?

With discipline. When I first started writing I was also working full time as a picture editor for a national newspaper. I would come home, have dinner, then go and write for at least one hour each night. It took me a year to write my first play, but it taught me to be disciplined. And to not talk too much about what you’re writing. The more you talk about it the less you write it.

What do you hope to achieve with your work?

To make people question their beliefs, their views. To provoke. As long as there is a abizakarian hs 2residue, a tiny thought that lingers, then I’ve done my job.

What is the long-term vision for your writing? Do you partner with other creatives/companies locally or in other areas?

I want to keep writing plays but also hope to develop TV and film scripts. And I’m really keen to get my musical projects up and running. I am a huge fan of musicals and love the work of Stephen Sondheim.

Who were you most excited about meeting/working with?

I’ve loved working with all the directors, actors, creatives and crews on each project. It’s all about collaboration and seeing what happens when you let your work go and be grown.

When you’re not busy acting as a fabulous writer, what is your daytime job? (If you have another)

I’m lucky enough to write full time. I occasionally contribute to a design and lifestyle blog (I love art, design, architecture) though.

For you, what is the hardest thing about writing? What is your favorite written piece of work?

Hmm. I think the hardest thing about writing is completing a piece; as in, I don’t know that anything I write is ever truly ‘finished’, if that makes sense? I can finish a play, but quite often, the thing I’m writing about is still changing, developing and playing out in a wider sense of the world. My favourite piece of written work is my first produced play ‘A Thousand Yards’; it was such a purely cathartic play for me to write and it feels the most honest and immediate still.

If you could meet anyone in the world dead, or alive, who would it be, and what would you say?

Oh man, this is difficult…I think I’m going to have to recreate the first act of Caryl Churchills Top Girls and have a dinner party with five women: Artemesia Gentileschi, bell hooks, Septima Zenobia, Emmeline Pankhurst and Mary Shelley. An eclectic bunch; I think we’d all drink a lot of fine wine into the early hours and set the world to rights. Or take it over.

Who is your inspiration/role model? What or who has inspired you to write? Do you have a

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Best Pies in London

favorite quote?

Many people inspire me: from my mother to friends to people I work with. I also take great inspiration from many writers and artists; I studied art history and architecture at university and love wandering around the National Gallery or the two Tate’s in London; art inspires me. In particular the painter Paula Rego – her work is very allegorical and dreamlike, the artist Louise Bourgeoise’s work is extraordinary and rich in visual metaphor, and I love Cindy Shermans self-portraits; the constant reinvention of the self is a particular fascination of mine. In terms of writers there’s just too many to list! But I am a huge fan of Samuel Beckett. In fact my favourite quote is from his prose piece ‘Worstword Ho’: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” I have this printed out above my desk and it never fails to keep me going if I’m blocked or doubting my work. It also reminds me that it’s OK to fail; that there’s no shame in it.

What are your upcoming projects? Where can we see you next?

I’m currently working on two new commissions; the first is a one woman show being produced for a regional tour of the UK during summer 2015, the second is a new play for Edinburgh Festival 2015. I’m also collaborating on a site specific immersive piece and developing a new musical.

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This is Not an Exit

What are your passions?

Working for change. Art.

Define yourself in one word.

Determined.

Thank you Abi. It has been both an honor and a privilege speaking with you.

Love

BCM

There’s Something about The Best Pies in London

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The Best Pies in London
by Abi Zakarian

Meet Tam Tribune. She runs the best pie shop in east London. She runs it with a fierce pride, an iron fist and a sharp tongue. But the street is changing and old times are giving way to the new; a long standing family dispute threatens Tam’s world so she responds with a Shakespearean force. Revenge, as she is often fond of saying, is a dish best served hot.

Exploring themes of family traditions, community and the rise of urban gentrification and staged in a real pie & mash shop on Hoxton Street, Abi’s new play is inspired by the character of Tamora, Queen of the Goths from Shakespeare’s early play Titus Andronicus.

See the play as part of the ‘Hoxton Path’ series of plays during the Shakespeare in Shoreditch festival.
October 1st – 12th.
7.30pm.
www.newdiorama.com/whats-on/shakespeare-in-shoreditch

Shakespeare in Shoreditch: The Best Pies in London

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Shakespeare in Shoreditch

Shakespeare in Shoreditch is a Festival which reconnects the Shoreditch that the young Shakespeare worked in with its vibrant 21st Century counterpart.

For 10 days, plays, films, talks and workshops will populate the streets of Shoreditch to celebrate how Shakespeare can inspire our busy lives today.

To purchase tickets select your preferred date and path. Book tickets for The Hoxton Path and The Pitfield Path over two different days to see all 10 newly written plays. The full tour of each path lasts 90 minutes.

The Hoxton Path
Three Loose Teeth by Thomas McMullan
Disnatured by Sabrina Mahfouz
*The Best Pies in London by Abi Zakarian
Community Payback by Ali Muriel
The Isle is Full of Noises by James Soldan and Katie Lambert

The Pitfield Path
A Pit of Clay by Brad Birch
We Two Alone by Rebecca Lenkiewicz
Heir to the Throne by Tobias Wright
Bobby D by Sebastian Baczkiewicz
The Strumpet’s Plague by Nick Coupe

Please note: Performances take place in venues across Shoreditch. Latecomers will not be permitted.

* Denotes a friend of Black Chick Media