I had the enormous pleasure to spend a week digging into Edward Precht's moving new play, Down South, culminating in a reading at the Drama Bookshop.
Shady Mae Beauford is a single mother raising her adult son with Down Syndrome in coastal Carolina. As America's Bicentennial approaches, a young couple with a radically-different parenting style moves in next door, and this tenuous mother-son bond begins to unravel as Shady Mae is forced to confront how much independence to give her only child. Meanwhile, a nest of loggerhead turtles hatch on the beach and Hub wonders: will they find their way?
Featuring: Wendy Rich Stetson as Shady Mae and Eddie Barbanell as Hub, with Becca Ballenger, David Jackson and Joshua Turchin.
Workshop Assistant: Marina Montesanti.
Design Collaborators: Emmie Finkel and Megan Lang.
Emily (Becca Ballenger) is torn between her entitled background and the lives of the "flesh and blood" workers. Ballenger is defiantly determined as her character yearns for the closeness of the families in the mill town. - Aisle Seat
Below, the cast with Monica Wood (far right) and director Brendan Burke (far left).
Director Melisa Annis has cast the show beautifully, navigating able actors through waves of humor and pathos… We see Charlotte and Jonny physically mature; a tribute to two fine actors. Ballenger brinks perkiness, passion, and fierce fervor to her role… [Kathy] McCafferty and Ballenger as mother and daughter are spot-on and share some stunning scene work.
- Aisle Seat by Lori Schneider
I was honored to play Sophie Scholl in NJ Rep's reading of David Meyers' WE WILL NOT BE SILENT
We Will Not Be Silent tells the true story of The White Rose and Sophie Scholl, a German college student who led the only act of public resistance to the Nazis during the Second World War. The play is not about the Holocaust, but examines the role that ordinary Germans played in the rise of Hitler. At a time when fascism is resurgent in Europe and across the world, We Will Not Be Silent examines the moral strength and clarity that led a group of German students to risk their lives for a righteous, but hopeless, cause.
I'm utterly thrilled to share that Pussy Sludge, the play I helped develop with Less Than Rent and playwright Gracie Gardner and performed at HERE in February 2017, has won the 2018 Relentless Award presented by the American Playwriting Foundation.
For the prize, established in honor of the actor Philip Seymour Hoffman after his death in 2014, Ms. Gardner will receive $45,000, and her play will be produced in a reading series across the United States and in Britain. “You read so many plays that are versions of things you’ve read before. This play is unique and fearless. And the undeniability of that struck all the judges,” Mr. Katz said. The prize seeks to promote new American plays, and Pussy Sludge was chosen from over 1,000 submissions and judged blindly by a group of playwrights and theater professionals. According to the foundation’s announcement, the piece is “a tender exploration of questioning authority, suspending shame through intimacy, and very bad advice.”
- New York Times
Village of the Damned
"Dryden's Dark Soul" on Tuesday, December 12 at 10/9c
"The Final Fall, Part 1" on Tuesday, December 19 at 10/9c
Learn more about the story and the episodes here.
Reading the lead role of Reggie in Gracie Gardner's newest play,
On a floor of the Sloan Kettering Outpatient Pavilion, a group of people are waiting to be called into a room one by one. Some of them have skin cancer, some of them are there to give support, but none of them want to be called into the room.
A play about doctors, and medicine, and the space in between the two.
It's always a joy to return to NJ Rep, especially when I get to play a precocious teenager with attitude.
New Jersey Rep Monday Night Salon Reading
Monday, July 17 @ 7pm
with Edward O'Blenis, Becca Ballenger, Michael Pollard, and Jared Delaney