|Piper’s SPOTLIGHT SERIES commissions playwrights to develop their work with a director, a cast, and a line producer. The culmination of this workshop is a staged reading, performed in front of a live audience. |
Programming for Piper’s SPOTLIGHT SERIES is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.
THE CHARIOTEER AND THE PRINCE
by Naren Weiss
June 10 @ 1:00 p.m.
Gallery Players Theatre
199 14th Street | Brooklyn, NY 11215
THE CHARIOTEER AND THE PRINCE by Naren Weiss reimagines the seminal Hindu text “The Bhagavad Gita.” On his way to war against his cousins, a prince develops the moral questioning of good versus evil. God (in the guise of his lowly charioteer) guides him in his most vulnerable moment, explaining why it is his sacred duty to slay his kin.
Naren Weiss is a South Asian, Indigenous (Kodava), and white American playwright whose pieces have been performed throughout India, Singapore, South Africa, and the U.S. As an actor, he has appeared onstage (Off-Broadway, Kennedy Center, Geffen Playhouse, international) and in TV series (ABC, NBC, CBS, Comedy Central). He will make his NYC playwriting debut over the next year with Two Brown Porters at 59E59 (Oct. ‘23) and The Sketchy Eastern European Show at The Players Theatre (Mar. ‘24).
LOVE LETTERS TO OUR PAST AND FUTURE SELVES
Curated by Carolina Đỗ in collaboration with playwrights: Garrett David Kim, Diana Ly and Gaven Trinidad
Featuring: Jose Gamo, Eileen Rivera & Yên Sen
December 16 & 17, 2021 @ 7:00 p.m.
Old Stone House
336 3rd Street | Brooklyn, NY 11215
In Love Letters to our Past and Future Selves, four playwrights: Carolina Đỗ, Garrett David Kim, Diana Ly, and Gaven Trinidad, in community with one another, are exploring the complicated, and oftentimes fraught, relationships that we have with family, and the food that nourishes and comforts us. What has to happen in order to build a better foundation for ourselves and future generations? What do we have to let go of and what do we take with us? Where do we go from here?
(Photo by Prisca Choe)
Carolina Đỗ (she/her) is an actor, playwright, producer, and community organizer. As a first generation Việt born in America, the child of refugees and descendant of freedom fighters, she believes strongly in the power of weaving new and de-colonizing narratives for new world building. She is a founding Artistic Leader of The Sống Collective whose mission is to nurture a community of artists whose work explores questions of identity, race, intersectionality, immigration, and the refugee experience. As an actor, she has worked on Broadway in back-to-back shows at Second Stage, collaborated with PlayCo, JACK, Yangtze Rep, Piper Theater, LoadingDock, CreativeTime. She’s had films screened at SXSW, Austin Film Festival, Outfest, AAIFF, among many others. TV: FBI: Most Wanted, Blue Bloods, Law & Order SVU. As a community organizer, she’s a founding member of Asians4Abolition and is the Community Engagement Associate at PlayCo. BFA Brooklyn College. She is very thankful to continue to deepen her relationship with John and Piper to build a space for playwrights to be in community with one another.
Garrett David Kim (he/him/his) is a theater-maker and educator based in New York City. His writing explores the queer, millennial, Asian-American/Hapa/brown experience. He’s developed and presented work at Pride Plays/Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Leviathan Lab, Irondale, Piper Theater Company, and The 24 Hour Plays. His play Are You There Truman? It’s Me, Just Another Guy Who Grew Up Secretly Worshiping Your Chiseled Porn Star Body Online, And Now I Think I Love You was awarded The Barbour Award in 2021. He’s currently embarking on a play cycle (which includes his plays Deliver Us and Kim’s Fine Food) about his Korean-American family’s 100+ history in the United States. He has also written for and directed original work created by the young people of Hell’s Kitchen at The 52nd Street Project, where he works as their Program Director. B.A. Fordham University.
Diana Ly is a Vietnamese-American screenwriter and playwright based in New York. She grew up as an expat in the Philippines before studying Computer Science at Stanford and subsequently working at Google and the YouTube Space LA. She’s currently a Women in Film|Black List Feature Resident and an upcoming Ragdale Artist Resident. She was previously a member of The Sống Collective’s Inaugural Việt Writers Lab (Playwriting), a Project Involve Fellow at Film Independent and a participant in DreamAgo’s Plume & Pellicule Screenwriting Workshop. She’s also been a finalist for the Hillman Grad Mentorship Lab, the CBS Writers Mentoring Program and was the runner-up for Nantucket Film Festival’s Feature Screenplay Competition. She recently worked as a features assistant to showrunner Karin Gist. She’s currently pursuing her MFA in Playwriting at Hunter College. Diana writes stories about dysfunctional families, immigrants, nerds, and women who defy stereotypes.
Gaven Trinidad (he/they/siya) is a first generation Filipinx American theatremaker, illustrator, and educator from NYC. His artistic work examines the intersections of race, language, immigration, queerness, ritual, community, and futurity. He taught undergraduate courses on the work of contemporary BIPOC playwrights at the University of Massachusetts Amherst under the mentorship of Dr. Priscilla Page. He continues to teach social justice and intergenerational theatre as a member of the Education Team at New York Theatre Workshop. He’s had the privilege to collaborate with folx in various positions at places such as The Juilliard Drama Division, Musical Theatre Factory, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and National Queer Theater. Selected dramaturgy credits: PreP Play, or Blue Parachute (National Queer Theater), June is the First Fall (Yantze Repertory Theater), Collidescope 2.0 (Ping Chong + Company, Umass Amherst). Selected directing credits: Joker (National Queer Theater), Are You There Truman? (Pride Plays, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater), Sa Aming Puso (Global Forms Theatre Festival, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, New York Theatre Salon), Broken English (IAMA Theatre Company). B.A. American Studies, Dickinson College; M.F.A. Dramaturgy + Graduate Certificate in Woman, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Proud former public-school teacher in Memphis, TN. His first full-length play Learning How to Read by Moonlight was recognized as a 2021 Bay Area Playwrights Festival Finalist. He is the Community Engagement Associate at New York Theatre Workshop. Theatre Communications Group recently named him as a member of the 2021 Rising Leaders of Color Cohort. https://www.gaventrinidadtheatre.com
Jose Gamo is a Filipino actor/director born and raised in Indonesia and a graduate of the Fordham University theater program. Acting: Cymbeline, Much Ado About Nothing, Richard II, The Heart of Robin Hood at Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival; Poor Boys’ Chorus at Broadway Bound Theater Festival; Forbidden Colors at LaMama; The Orphan of Zhao (dir. Ralph Peña), The Fork (dir. Will Davis), Measure for Measure (Claudio) at Fordham University. Direction: The Monster at Dinner at The Artists’ Coop, Intriguing Engagements at NYC Fringe, In the Heart of America, The Swan, Ugly Lies the Bone (AD) at Fordham University. www.jose-gamo.com
Eileen Rivera was last seen on stage in Men on Boats at Baltimore Center Stage, where she also performed in The White Snake and It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. Off-Broadway credits include: Beast (NYTW), Dogeaters (The Public), A Fable (Rattlestick), King Lear (Cherry Lane Mentor Project). Other regional credits include: Tiger Style! (Olney Theatre, Maryland), Vietgone (Studio Theatre, DC), The Hour of Great Mercy (Diversionary, San Diego), The Long Season (Perseverance; Juneau, Alaska), The Comfort Team (Virginia Stage Co.). Eileen has written, produced and starred in multiple short films. Co-founder of the OBIE-winning Asian American Performers Action Coalition. Learn more at www.eileenrivera.com
Yên Sen Aside from being a full-time Goddexx, Yên Sen is a proud 1st generation-Vietnamese-American Trans woman. She is also an actor and model with a mission to transcend and decolonize mainstream media and culture all while empowering and creating more space for their Trans and API siblings. They have been featured in Perfect Mag, ELLE, The Cut, Refinery29, Paper Magazine, Burdock and more. Yên is currently based in NYC although she low-key longs for the LA sun and is also a big advocate for afternoon naps.
Written by Annie Meek Montgomery; Directed by John P. McEneny
December 15, 2021 @ 7:00 p.m.
Old Stone House
336 3rd Street | Brooklyn, NY 11215
Featuring: Danielle Brissett, Emma Callahan, Dominic Cuskern, Rory Kelsch, Jack O’Brien, Caroline Ryburn & P. Adam Walsh
Musical Accompaniment by David Montgomery, Adam Armstrong and Jacob Hoye
PLAYWRIGHT STATEMENT: In Memory’s Kiss, we meet an older couple who are in the midst of learning how to adapt to the changes that come with the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. When the play begins, their only daughter, Liz, comes to stay with her mother so that her father can go on a brief overnight trip. The next 24 hours reveal truths about each of them that will change the course of their lives and each must examine what they need and what they can accept with grace. Through the lens of memory, transition, and change – two love stories are revealed. Skipping between past and present, a non-linear story unfolds in which dreams and plans come true in one breath and can die in the next, all leading the characters to question what lasting love is and what does family truly mean. ~ AM
Annie Meek Montgomery Working as a teaching artist in a variety of community settings for more than 25 years, Annie has directed, devised, structured and scripted countless performance pieces and plays with students of all ages across the city. This led to a passion for devised theatre inspired from true stories and universal human themes. Awarded the Department of Cultural Affairs SPARK grant, she wrote Memory for Spellbound Theatre Company devised with the members of St. Charles Jubilee Senior Center. In collaboration with A Space Between theatre company she wrote The Red Dress, performed at University Settlement and Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center. Additionally, over the pandemic, Annie collaborated with Piper Theatre Company and wrote and acted in the short film, Zoom with Me, which was accepted into 14 international film festivals and a finalist in 5, including: Toronto Indie Filmmakers, Seoul and Tokyo International Film Festivals, and Chicago Indie Film Awards among many others. As an actress, she has appeared in Walking Toward America at Springfield Contemporary Theatre and the United Solo Festival. Also in Off The Page’s, All American Boys which was featured on WNYC’s The Green Space. She has appeared in Piper Theatre Company’s production of Splitfoot at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and The Lincoln Dress at Siena College and the Old Stone House. Previous credits: That Ilk, Off-Broadway at the Hudson Guild Theatre and several regional theatre productions at George Street Playhouse, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Hangar Theatre, Wayside Theatre. She is the Director of Education for Lifetime Arts, a national service organization with the mission to make arts learning accessible and equitable for older adults across the county. She is also on faculty at the New School. Memory’s Kiss is the first full length play Annie has written, and it is the first time it has been read aloud by actors and to the public. She is very grateful for the support of Piper Theatre Company and John McEneny.
Danielle Brissett (STAGE DIRECTIONS) is an actress with a B.A. in acting from Pace University. Danielle first realized her love of acting when she was ten years old. She has been cast in plays and film. She had recently been cast in an upcoming film, as well. Danielle loves performing in projects that reflect today’s reality, as well as, the past. As they say art imitates life. Danielle Brissett is a force on the horizon.
Emma Callahan (YOUNGER JANE) is a multi-disciplinary performer, video artist, and writer, raised in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from NYU Gallatin, with a focus on historical narrative in performing mediums. In her practice, she is interested in how the past is repeated in and told through the present. She is a member of the media collective 90 Degree, 8 Ball Community, and recently worked with the Asian/Pacific/American Institute on their COVID-19 oral history project. She also performs comedy.
Dominic Cuskern (FRANK) was born in England and is the President of Gallery Players in Park Slope. A former social worker he started acting later in life and has performed in both plays and musicals. Favorite roles are Shylock in The Merchant of Venice and Fagin in Oliver. Mr. Cuskern teaches Shakespeare and enjoys directing when someone gives him the chance.
Rory Kelsch (LIZ) was most recently seen as Aunt Carol in Piper’s Yarn Barn and in Memoirs of a Painted Woman as American Gothic at The PIT. Other NY credits include Harper in Angels in America (Elmwood Playhouse), Maria in Twelfth Night (La Mama E.T.C.), and Susan in Yield Burning (3-Legged Dog Productions). As a writer and storyteller, Rory has also performed at the Woodstock Bookfest, Generation Women (Caveat, NYC), and with What’s Your Story? (IG: @whatsyourstory_nj), an evening of backyard storytelling she co-produces in Bergen County, NJ. She thanks John, Annie, and our lovely cast for this wonderful opportunity. She also thanks The Fam for their ever-loving support. Peace.
Jack O’Brien (YOUNGER FRANK) started his acting journey under the wing of John McEneny 18 years ago, and hasn’t looked back since. From studying theater at LaGuardia Arts High School and eventually Syracuse University, to film sets, the globe theater, sound designing, co-producing, fundraising, directing and every other theatrical role under the sun. He is thrilled to be back in one of the spaces that ignited his theatrical spirit many, many years ago.
Caroline Ryburn (JANE) Caroline has performed extensively on stage in everything from musicals to Shakespeare, American classics, and clown/sketch comedy. At Piper, she has appeared in Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, Frankenstein, and many readings. NYC credits include the Tony Award-nominated Largely New York with Bill Irwin, Letter to the World, No Song of An Ingenue, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Miser, The Glass Menagerie, The Plantation, Over and Above with Blair Brown, and many other productions at City Center, The Lambs, Abingdon Theatre, Atlantic Stage 2, and Brave New World Rep Theatre. She can be seen in the web series Lords of the Bowery and the mini-series sitcom, Life Sucks. Films include award-winning comedy short, Now You See Us, the dramatic short, Finding Jane, and the indie feature, Mouse, a psychological thriller. www.carolineryburn.com
P. Adam Walsh (NATHAN) Adam lives in Park Slope with his wife Caliopie and daughter Sadie. Thanks for coming. Enjoy.
GIRL IS MINE
Written by Jane Elias; Directed by Bettina Goolsby
November 17, 2021 @ 7:30 p.m.
Old Stone House
336 3rd Street | Brooklyn, NY 11215
Sixteen-year-old Amanda has been spending time with her English teacher after school. When her father, her boyfriend, and her guidance counselor grow suspicious of the relationship, she begins to question everyone’s motives – including her own. How can others know what’s best for you when you don’t yet know who you are?
PLAYWRIGHT STATEMENT: With Girl Is Mine, I am exploring the ways in which our identities emerge through the roles we play in relation to others, either in concert with or in opposition to their agendas. When does a relationship – in this case between father and daughter, boyfriend and girlfriend, teacher and student – cross the line from symbiotic to codependent? From complex to abusive? From mentorship to predation? Is it possible for a sixteen-year-old girl to have complete agency in her relationships with adults? Is it possible to heal an old wound by placing a bandage on a new one? For me so much in this play (as in the outside world) lives in a gray area: in what goes unsaid, in what’s almost said, and in what nearly happens. How much clarity and resolution is really necessary in order to move forward? I am grateful to Piper Theatre and this group of artists for working collaboratively to navigate these spaces as I continue to develop this play. ~ J. E.
JANE ELIAS is an actor and writer based in Brooklyn. Most recent: world premiere of Mark Medoff’s Time and Chance (Rio Grande Theatre, Las Cruces, NM). Other theater includes Do This One Thing for Me (solo play by JE: Estrogenius Fest, Access Theater, Secret Theatre, TBG Theater, & NY Fringe), Hamlet and As You Like It (Theater at Woodshill, Utica, NY), and the NYC premiere of Arlene Hutton’s Letters to Sala (Barrow Group). Jane’s play Baby Steps was a finalist for the City Theatre National Award for Short Playwriting and the Heideman Award; Girl Is Mine was a nominee for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and a semifinalist for the Austin Film Festival playwriting competition. Her short film Placeholders, which she wrote and co-directed, had its NYC premiere in the 2019 New York Short Film Festival. In 2020 she created #SonnetCoronaProject, a collaborative project in which for 328 days during the pandemic she wrote a sonnet a day for a different actor to perform. BA, English, Duke; MFA, poetry, NYU. Acting training: Michael Howard Studios; Larry Singer Studios; The Barrow Group. jane-elias.com.
BETTINA GOOLSBY (Director) trained at the William Esper Studio in their 2-year acting conservatory program as well as The People’s Improv Theater (The PIT), and other acting schools in New York City. Originally from Virginia Beach, VA, Bettina graduated with a business degree from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. She lives for travel, long walks, memorable moments spent with friends and family, kettle corn popcorn and adventures of all kinds. She is thankful to be a part of this production, and dedicates her work to her Aunt Jackie (“Auntie”). (Previously seen at Piper as Dorothy in the The Lincoln Dress) bettinagoolsby.com
GABRIEL HERNANDEZ (Amanda’s Dad) is an actor, emcee, voiceover artist, and educator who originally hails from Hoboken, NJ. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies and a master’s degree in Education, both from Yale University, he taught history and theater in middle schools and high schools in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut before transitioning full-time into the performing arts world. Recent theater credits include It’s a Wonderful Life (Mile Square Theatre), La Canción (Repertorio Español), El Coquí Espectacular and the Bottle of Doom (Two River Theater), CasablancaBox (HERE Arts) and ¡Guaracha! (PRTT). His solo show Quarter Rican is currently in development at Pregones Theater in the Bronx and has been featured at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, the podcast Bagels and Plantains, and most recently at Newark Symphony Hall. He lives in Jersey City Heights with his wife Rachel and their two young sons
AISHA LANGFORD (Carol Abel) PhD, MPH, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone Health. Broadly, she studies health communication and decision making across health conditions and contexts including high blood pressure management, cancer screening, vaccination, and clinical trial participation. Dr. Langford earned her BA in English from the University of Virginia, MPH in Behavioral Science from Saint Louis University, and PhD in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of Michigan.
ANUJ PARIKH (David Prince) is a happy guy originally from Vancouver. He is an NYC stage actor: classical, contemporary, indoors, outdoors. Anuj is also a nuclear astrophysicist. He has a PhD in experimental nuclear astrophysics from Yale and was a professor in Barcelona and expert on thermonuclear stellar explosions. He is particularly interested in developing theatre that explores the interface between physics and poetry. anujparikh.com
CELINA MYLENE SANTANA (Amanda) is excited to be involved in the reading of Girl Is Mine as the leading character, Amanda. Her most recent theater credits include The Man Goes Woo at the NYC Short Play Festival and Fine Young Assholes performed at Pete’s Candy Store. She can be seen in films such as Poet’s Are the Destroyers (feature film), New Boo (comedy short), and Purell Hotel (short western film). Celina recently expanded her horizons and co-wrote and produced the short film, Yes Mother. More of her recent work can be found at celinamylenesantana.com.
MAX TAMARKIN (Josh) is a New York based actor originally from New Jersey. He attended Pace University for acting and graduated in 2018. He sends much love to friends and family for their support and sends thanks to cast and crew for the opportunity to be a part of such a great piece.
by Modesto “Flako” Jimenez
February 5th, 2021 @ 7PM
Online Event – Click Here to Register
|Mercedes (work-in-progress) is a multidisciplinary work inspired by Modesto “Flako” Jimenez’s mother Margarita and grandmother Mercedes, and the legacy of Latinx individuals she helped migrate to the country. After immigrating to America as a kid, Flako was raised by his grandmother in Brooklyn. Now as an adult, he serves as her main caregiver as she battles dementia. In the process of taking care of his “mama”, he uncovered years of letters, receipts, and papers that documented her impact on the Latinx community.|
Mercedes is a new multidisciplinary theatrical work in which we explore our relationship to the matriarchy and our ancestors, familial bonds and inherited trauma, and how our own identity can impact our mental health.
Creator/Artist: Flako Jimenez
Director: Brisa Areli Muñoz
Projection Designer: Victor Morales
Production Manager: Carol Almonte
Director of Photography: Skye Morse-Hodsgon
Assistant Director: Cricket Brown
|Our Spotlight Series was honored to be the recipient of a 2019 Park Slope Civic Council Grant. |
“The Park Slope Civic Council awards community grants each year, funded by the Civic Council’s annual House Tour. The Council is delighted to support our local organizations, as they reflect the variety of active, creative groups in Park Slope and contribute greatly to our community’s diversity and vitality.”
April 27th, 2020 @ 7PM
The Old Stone House
336 3rd Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215
A staged reading of Nikkole Salter’s TBA
Directed by TBA
Line Producer TBA
Friday, January 17th, 2020 @ 8PM
The Old Stone House
336 3rd Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Saints Go Marching
Directed by Brisa Areli Muñoz
Featuring Cindy de la Cruz, Maria Fernanda Diez, Nanya-Akuki Goodrich, Gilbert Cruz, Dan Molina, John J Concado, Andres Santiago Pina
Produced by Rachel Wood
Jo’s grandfather—a decorated veteran—has died, leaving emotional wreckage and unpaid debts in his wake. As she prepares for the funeral, Jo’s heart is set on keeping grandpa’s burial flag; to get it, she’ll have to deal with her despondent mother, an attempted exorcism, and competition from a secret aunt young enough to be her little sister. It won’t be easy, but nothing an aspiring saint like Jo can’t handle.
Monday, October 28th, 2019 @ 8PM
BAX (Brooklyn Arts Exchange)
421 5th Avenue (Corner of 8th Street)
Brooklyn, NY 11215
|Are You There Truman? It’s Me, Just Another Guy Who Grew Up Secretly Worshipping Your Chiseled Porn Star Body Online And Now I Think I Love You.|
Directed by Justin Ivan Brown
Featuring Alton Alburo, Will Turner, Sam Dash, Kathleen Choe, and Diane Chen.
Produced by Carolina Do
“The heart wants what the heart wants…and sometimes, the heart wants the porn—*ahem*—adult film star you’ve been – *ahem* “admiring” since middle school. As Guy looks for love online & IRL, in the past & in the present, all roads lead to Truman Goetz-Harder. But how’s a Guy supposed to get off when the man he’s been conditioned to desire has gotten offline? Are You There Truman… explores how one queer person constructs, then deconstructs, then maybe reconstructs his sexuality and desire.”