To London & Back: Women and War

IMG_3595 2To know me is to know just how much I love the So & So Arts Club and its founder Sarah Jane Berger.  So & So is a professional development organization by actors for actors, and I cannot even begin to explain how my life has changed for the better because of this club.

Now, as I have absolutely no trouble in admitting I’m a snob (but in a good way!;) and wish So & So was still a very well kept secret; one that only the best sorts of people would be privy to (ahem).  But I commend Miss Berger for creating a global artists club, and I’m still advocating to be American Representatives and/or head a chapter here (Please oh please!).  If there’s one thing Sarah knows how to do (and let’s just be honest, the woman is a wonder as an Actor, Director, Producer), it’s put on a festival. From Women in Arts and Hopefull Rep, to Kick up the Arts and Women and War, So and So offers numerous opportunities for artists to connect, engage, learn and work.

This year, I was lucky to be in London during Women and War, which was held at the So & So space IMG_8166 2at 6 Fredrick’s Place.  While I did not have time to see everything I wanted, I was able to see my extremely talented friend Zelina Rebeiro and the lovely Isaura Barbé-Brown (who even fooled this Midwestern gal with her American Accent!) in Veils.

Written by Tom Coash, the play focuses on American University in Egypt roommates Intisar and Samar.  “Intisar, a veiled, African-American Muslim student, thinks she might finally fit in when she enrolls for a year abroad at the American Egyptian University in Cairo. However, the Arab Spring is about to explode across the Middle East, threatening to overwhelm the young American woman and her liberal Egyptian roommate, Samar.  In the struggle to find their footing in this political storm, the young women instead find themselves on opposite sides of a bitter and dangerous cultural divide. Will the violent events leading up to the revolution salvage their friendship or shatter it?” 

VeilIMG_0736 2s is a great two hander focusing not only on religious differences (and similarities), but also the bonds between women, the Arab Spring (and what that meant for Muslim Youth), displacement and cultural hybridity. Zelina Rebeiro is superb as Samar, the party loving, freedom fighting non-hijab wearing Egyptian Muslim; and Isaura Barbé-Brown dazzles as Intisar, the American born conservative Muslim student who hopes to finally be understood and respected in Cairo. The exuberant Samar enlists her new African-American roommate in helping her create a blog debating the practice of wearing veils, but when the revolution interrupts, it threatens to ruin their friendship.

After Veils, it was on to see The Marvellous Adventures of Mary Seacole, a one woman show starring actress andFullSizeRender 2 songstress Cleo Sylvestre. The title is a play on Mrs. Seacole’s autobiography, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands (1857), which is considered to be one of the first autobiographies by and about a mixed-race woman.

Who is Mary Seacole you ask?  I was wondering the very same; and was amazed to discover she was a Jamaican/Scottish/African entrepreneur, world traveler, hotelier, healer and self taught nurse who successfully tended to battlefield soldiers during the Crimean War.  It is widely believed that Florence Nightingale was the first woman to develop what we now know as modern nursing, but to hear Mary Seacole’s story puts all of that into question.  The viewer even learns Mary applied to the War Office to assist (and even spoke to Florence Nightingale herself), but was refused (no great surprise there…).

The play takes you on a journey from her early days learning about herbal healing from her mother, to her travels through Jamaica, London, Panama, her marriage, the Great Fire of Kingston, the Cholera Epidemic, and the war.  Throughout her life and career, Mary was held in the highest regard, and associated with such dignitaries as he Prince of Wales, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of Cambridge, and many other senior military officers.  Late in life, when she faced economic downturn, Mary was able to survive and live somewhat comfortably due to the fund and care of her illustrious patrons.

In 1991 she was posthumously awarded the Jamaican Order of Merit, and in 2004 was voted the greatest Black Briton.  More recently, a statue of her describing her as a Pioneer Nurse was erected at St Thomas’ Hospital in London on 30 June 2016.  The only known portrait of Mary Seacole resides in the National Portrait Gallery in London, England.

The final play on my agenda was Shrapnel, “A Collection of poetry, monologues and a play excerpt from the writers Chris Fogg, DHW Mildon and Rose Solari, ranging from a mother grieving the death of her son in the final minutes of WW1 to a mortician at Camp Bastian preparing for a date. Voices of women across class, generations and history [are heard].”  The featured shows and interwoven poems were Posting to Iraq by Chris Fogg, Coda, Go Firm, Shades and Prize Giving by DHW Mildon, and two Poems by Rose Solari.  I mostly had to see this show because, as long as I’ve known Sarah, I’ve never seen her act.  But now, I’m so happy I have! (secretly thinking of a show to in which to have her star…)

All in all, Women and War was an amazing festival, and I wish I had time to see more shows.  But, knowing Sarah and the So and So Arts Club, another festival isn’t far behind.

Love

BCM

 

And So It Goes…So and So On…

1966198_638023779650038_7358755985555218594_oOur dear friends with the So and So Arts Club, together with Roma Fringe, are putting on a brilliant theatre festival in just a few days. See below for the official press release.

PRESS RELEASE

International theatre festival comes to the heart of the City.

November 3-9th 2014 A pop up venue in the heart of the historic City of London, will host 14 shows from five different countries for a week-long international theatre festival of one act plays.

The So and So On Festival, in association with Italy’s Roma Fringe, will showcase some of the best new writing and performances from Britain, with guest performers from Canada, Italy, Australia and the USA.

Shows include an award-winning monologue from a confused Canadian lesbian, a hallucinatory dystopia based on Kafka’s “The Trial”, the story of a transsexual dad from Arkansas, and from Italy, an absurd and poetic re-imagining of Frederico Fellini’s classic film, La Strada.

Producer Sarah Berger says, “The idea behind the festival is to bring new theatrical experiences from across the world to the diverse London audience…which has always been an amazing melting pot. The festival has also tried hard to get so many artists from so far afield into one basement because that’s how great future collaborations come about. And the great thing about a festival of one-act plays is that it proves you can have an amazing experience in under an hour.”

The Festival will run at 6 Frederick’s Place, City of London, London, UK  EC2R 8AB from November 3rd – 9th 2015. Tickets are available here http://thesoandsoartsclub.ticketsource.co.uk/ or from the box office at 0207 923 9518.

The So and So Arts club, established by Sarah Berger in 2012, helps artists of all ages from across every discipline by encouraging them to network and collaborate. To date, the club has 1200 members in nine different countries, and has produced three festivals and eight productions.

The fourteen shows on offer are:

Pussy by Claire Rice

Pussy by Claire Rice

Pussy, a witty one woman show which follows the tangled heartaches of a confused Canadian lesbian, her wild British girlfriend, their Russian landlady and a highly opinionated cat. Maura Halloran won best actress at the United Solo Theatre festival for her performance.

Macbeth: Gore and Grief. Acclaimed actor David Keller and poet writer Simon Rae present this gripping one-man adaptation of Macbeth.

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Karren Winchester in DIVA

Diva: Australians Tiffany Barton, writer, and Helen Doig, director, bring their award winning one woman show about a washed up opera diva with British actress Karren Winchester who has appeared at the National and extensively in theatre and TV.

Walking: A new three hander winner of the Kenneth Branagh award by Tina Jay directed by Keith Myers.

Shurl: A delightful one-woman show nominated for the outstanding performance award at the Prague fringe festival. Written and performed by Sue Schilperoot.

The Orpheus Project: A new piece of writing by Jonathan Young and David Hermann, inspired by both the mythology of Orpheus and Kafka’s ‘The Trial’. Using original soundscapes, music, movement and multimedia, Nomanstime Automatics creates a dystopian future described by Public reviews as “a frightening, fragmentary experience for its residents and an exceptionally engaging piece of theatre for its audience”.

Double Bill:

Steve Hay What I Do

Steve Hay
What I Do

What I do by Daniel Davies whose last play “Is Anything Broken” transferred from Radio to the Camden Fringe, a wry commentary on homelessness starring Steve Hay.

Full Dress by Bronwen Denton Davis.
Two sisters meet for the first time in years at a memorial service. American director Paula D’Allessandris is flying over from New York to direct this vignette with two British actresses.

Out There!

Out There!

Out There Unsettling and surreal, evoking Hitchcock and psychological thrillers like Don’t Look Now & Barton Fink – Out There!” is a new play, weaving together classic gothic horror stories, Le Horla by Maupassant & The Yellow Wallpaper by C.P. Gilman. With Jill Crawford and Jeremie Korta.

The Drifts Live The novel on stage by Thom Vernon.
A trans-dad, a housewife, her husband, his lover and a calf fight their sex in a mean Arkansas blizzard.

The Bench written by and starring Tom Gutteridge and Liam Mansfield. Peter is stuck in a rut. He already feels his youth has passed him by, with no idea where he’s going or why he’s going there. In a desperate moment he finds himself embroiled in a conversation with a homeless man.

Stand By Your Man written and performed by Jenni Douglas.
Evil is real, evil walks this Earth like a natural man. And he’s found love. With songs and original music Jenni tells the story of four women who fell in love with serial killers.

Dare devised and performed by Claudia Errico with the collaboration of visual performer Riccardo Attanasio Matlakas. Told with a physical and sensual journey through improvised happenings, ecstatic dances and Visual Art; Dare inspires us to share that repressed feeling, and journey beyond boundaries to live a life made of Individual choices.

The White Room

The White Room

THE WHITE ROOM by Caterina Gramaglia The performance brings on stage interaction of live acts and multi-media material – videos, pictures, words, songs of these characters are played by the only artist on stage – an interaction between the absurd and poetic making the way to Fellini’s world La Strada powerfully incarnated by his muse and lead actress Giulietta Masina as the powerful Gelsomina. Winner of the Roma Fringe festival.

Each show has three performances across the week.

We are happy to arrange interviews with any of the casts or creative teams.

The producers are Davide Ambrogi, founder of the Rome Fringe festival, and Sarah Berger an actress, director and producer, and founder of The So and So Arts Club.

Link to The So and So On festival: www.thesoandsoartsclub.net

Link to the So and So Arts Club: www.thesoandsoartsclub.com

For further information or comps, please contact the festival organizers.

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1…2 Mic Check Mic Check 1…2…Mic Check

Happy Monday everyone!  As this lovely day draws to a close, we’d like to remind you to make sure you listen to our interview on ‘The Voice of Pink Pearl Magazine’ on Talktainmentradio.com this Wednesday at 4pm EST.  We are pleased to announce we will be joined by a  very special guest, Sarah Berger of the So & So Arts Club; a marvelous organization of which, we are a proud member. #WomeninArt #LookWhatsPossible

Love

BCM

LuLu7: She’s Everything You Want…And Then Some…

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Black Chick Media is delighted to announce Lulu 7, written by Abi Zakarian, and brilliantly directed by Sarah Berger, will have a two week run at the Drayton Arms in South Kensington, UK from Tuesday, March 11th. All shows are at 8pm. Tickets can be purchased here.

We were lucky enough to see the first presentation of this marvelous play whilst in London last December for Women in Arts. If you are able, do go and support this amazing play and all who are involved.

Love

BCM