THEATER IN QUARANTINE ANNOUNCES SPRING 2021 SEASON, MARCH 5 – MAY 20
Premieres by Liza Birkenmeier, Julia Izumi, and Centennial Adaptation of
Tristan Tzara’s THE GAS HEART
Partnerships With CultureHub, CulturalDC, La Mama, and New Georges
“Virtuosic… some of the new medium’s most imaginative work.” – Jesse Green, New York Times
“Makes confinement a virtue, a prompt to imagination.” – Helen Shaw, Vulture
“The closet in question contains astounding multitudes.” – Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker
Theater in Quarantine, a pandemic performance laboratory from writer, director, and performer Joshua William Gelb and choreographer Katie Rose McLaughlin, announces a new series of live-streamed performances that push the boundaries of live performance inside the digital space. Running March 5–May 20, the season features new work by playwrights Liza Birkenmeier and Julia Izumi as well as a new adaptation of Tristan Tzara’s The Gas Heart that marks the centennial of the Dada masterpiece. Theater in Quarantine’s Spring 2021 season also includes new and continued partnerships with CultureHub, CulturalDC, La Mama, and New Georges. New works premiere on Thursday at 7pm and 9pm ET every three weeks at www.youtube.com/theaterinquarantine.
Running March 5–April 5, CulturalDC’s Mobile Arts Program presents a video installation by Theater in Quarantine of four works projected onto the exterior lobby windows of CulturalDC’s Source Theatre, located at 1835 14th St. NW, Washington, DC, 20009.
Playwright Liza Birkenmeier, whose 2019 play, Dr. Ride’s American Beach House, was a New York Times critic’s pick, premieres Honestly Sincereon March 16. In 2002, a teenager accesses a supernatural Nokia; the erotic danger of humiliation might be the only thing more powerful than a phone.
On April 9, Gelb premieres his new adaptation of Tristan Tzara’s The Gas Heart. This Dada masterpiece is celebrating its centennial this year.
The venerable New Georges has commissioned a new work by Julia Izumi that premieres on April 29 in a co-production with Theater in Quarantine.
La MaMa and CultureHub have commissioned a new play as part of their Experiments in Digital Storytelling program which they will co-produce with Theatre in Quarantine. The commission premieres on May 20 and builds on the organizations’ previous collaborations and support of Pulitzer-prize finalist Madeleine George’s Mute Swan and Obie award-winner Scott R. Sheppard’s Blood Meal.
La Mama and CultureHub have commissioned a new play as part of their Experiments in Digital Storytelling program that they will co-produce with Theatre in Quarantine. The commission premieres on May 20 and builds on the organizations’ previous collaborations and support of Pulitzer-prize finalist Madeleine George’s Mute Swan and Obie award-winner Scott R. Sheppard’s Blood Meal,
About Theater in Quarantine
Shortly after the coronavirus pandemic closed all theaters, Joshua William Gelb transformed a 2’ x 4’ x 8’ closet inside his East Village apartment into a white-box theater. Starting on March 30, Gelb and his collaborators began releasing pre-recorded studies in movement, clown, camera orientation, and perspective, building towards more complex theatrical experiences. On April 23, they premiered Theater in Quarantine’s first live-stream performance: an adaptation of Kafka’s The Neighbor which was followed by an unauthorized edit of Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape and collaborations with artists like Scott R. Sheppard (Underground Railroad Game), Nehemiah Luckett (Jazz Singer), and Ellen Winter (36 Questions).
Theater in Quarantine’s productions of The 7th Voyage of Egon Tichy and Footnote for the End of Time were met with critical acclaim. Jesse Green in his New York Times critic’s pick review declared that Theater in Quarantine has produced “some of the new medium’s most imaginative work from some of its simplest materials.” Helen Shaw in Vulture wrote that Theater in Quarantine “makes confinement a virtue, a prompt to imagination.” Maya Phillips in The New York Times noted, “These small-scale, digitally savvy productions have matched the texts in their idiosyncratic approaches.”
Theater in Quarantine’s first musical, I Am Sending You the Sacred Face, by Obie award-winner Heather Cristian was one of Vulture‘s Best Theater Moments of 2020. Helen Shaw found it “as beautiful a cause for meditation as anything in the Book of Psalms — and as worthy an object for devotion.” Jesse Green in his New York Times critic’s pick review noted, “Theater in Quarantine turns the constraints of its odd conditions into a marvelous style.”
Theater in Quarantine’s work is generously supported by a Creative Residency with La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, as participants in LaMaMa and CultureHub’s Experiments in Digital Storytelling program, the Mental Insight Foundation, and by their many individual donors.
About the Artists
Joshua William Gelb is an East Village-based director, performer, and librettist currently building theater out of his converted closet christened the Theater in Quarantine. On its YouTube channel, Theater in Quarantine has presented nearly 20 different evenings of live digital performance with institutional supporters LaMama, CultureHub, Theater Mitu, and The Invisible Dog, as well as “a New York rogue’s gallery of experimental makers and designers” (Helen Shaw, Vulture). Prior to the pandemic, Gelb created both Jazz Singer and The Black Crook in residence at Abrons Arts Center, while his Drama Desk-nominated adaptation of A Hunger Artist, created with Sinking Ship, continues to tour. Gelb participated in the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, is an associate artist with Sinking Ship, teaches Theater Collaboration at Cooper Union, and is a 2021 artist in residence at LaMama and CultureHub’s Experiments in Digital Storytelling program.
Katie Rose McLaughlin is an NYC-based choreographer and director originally from Minneapolis, MN. Katie Rose is the Associate Choreographer of the Tony award-winning Broadway show Hadestown directed by Rachel Chavkin and choreographed by David Neumann. Recently she has been creating work as the co-Creative Director for Theater in Quarantine which has produced over 20 different evenings of work. Notable theater credits include Orlando (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Indecent (Weston Playhouse), Bear Slayer (Ars Nova), Triplight (Joes Pub), SEAGULLMACHINE(La Mama ETC), and The Black Crook (Abrons Arts Center). She was an artist-in-residence at LMCC’s Process Space, Dance Lab New York, Kaatsbaan International Dance Center, the Barn Arts Collective, and LMCC’s SPARC program and is a 2021 artist-in-residence at La Mama and CultureHub’s Experiments in Digital Storytelling program. In 2013, she co-founded and became the Artistic Director of Designated Movement Co., a dance/theater company interested in blurring the lines between forms. Visit Katierosemclaughlin.com for more information.
Liza Birkenmeier was recently the Tow Playwright-in-Residence at Ars Nova, where her play Dr. Ride’s American Beach House premiered in 2019. She is collaborating with director Katie Brook on Islander, a verbatim NHL piece, which has been postponed at NYTW Next Door. Her musical collaboration with Jill Sobule, F*ck7thGrade, is currently streaming online, produced by City Theatre. Her short performance piece/personality assessment, Please Welcome Our Guest, created specifically as a virtual experience and directed by Trish Harnetiaux, will premiere as part of MTC’s Snapshot Series this spring. She is a New Georges Resident Artist and a Millay, Yaddo, and Macdowell Fellow.
Julia Izumi is a writer and performer who makes plays, musicals, and other theatrical nonsense. Her work has been developed and presented at Manhattan Theatre Club, Clubbed Thumb, Bushwick Starr, WP Theater, Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ojai Playwrights Conference, Barn Arts Collective, NNPN/Kennedy Center MFA Playwrights’ Workshop, BMI’s Librettists Workshop, Great Plains Theatre Conference PlayLab, Williamstown Theatre Festival, CAATA’s National Asian-American Theatre ConFest, Pork Filled Productions, and San Francisco Playhouse. Honors for her work include O’Neill Theater Center’s NPC Finalist, Kilroys List Honorable Mention, and Theater Masters’ Take Ten. She has received KCACTF’s Darrell Ayers Playwriting Award, NY Society Library’s Emerging Women’s Artist Grant, and a Puffin Artists’ Grant. She is a 2020/2021 New Georges Audrey Resident, an upcoming New Dramatists resident, and member of the COOP’s Clusterf**k. MFA: Brown University. www.juliaizumi.com
CultureHub is a global art and technology community that was born out of decades of collaboration between La MaMa and the Seoul Institute of the Arts, Korea’s first contemporary performing arts school. These two pioneering institutions sought to explore how the internet and digital technologies could foster a more sustainable model for international exchange and creativity.
Now in its 11th year, CultureHub has grown into a global network with studios in New York, Los Angeles, Korea, Indonesia, and Italy, providing connected environments for artists to critically examine our evolving relationship to technology. Through residencies, live productions, and educational programming, CultureHub advances the work of artists experimenting with emerging technologies in search of new artistic forms. CultureHub builds new partnerships that expand our network and provide increased access to online and offline platforms that fuel artist mobility, create opportunities for cultural exchange, and broaden human understanding through the convergence of art, technology, and education.
About La MaMa
La MaMa is dedicated to the artist and all aspects of the theatre. La MaMa’s vision of nurturing new artists and new work remains as strong today as it was when Ellen Stewart first opened the doors in 1961. La MaMa has presented more than 5,000 productions by 150,000 artists of all nations, cultures, races and identities. Cultural pluralism and ethnic diversity are inherent in the work created on our stages. Here, artists find a supportive environment for artistic exploration, and audiences are part of the development of an artist’s work over time.
A recipient of the 2018 Regional Theater Tony Award, and more than 30 Obie Awards and dozens of Drama Desk, Bessie, and Villager Awards, La MaMa has been a creative home for thousands of artists, many of whom have made lasting contributions to the arts, including Blue Man Group, Ping Chong, André De Shields, Adrienne Kennedy, Harvey Fierstein, Diane Lane, Warren Leight, Michael Mayer, Tadeusz Kantor, Bette Midler, Meredith Monk, Peter Brook, David and Amy Sedaris, Julie Taymor, Kazuo Ohno, Marc Shaiman, and Scott Wittman.
About New Georges
At New Georges, founded in 1992, we launch and sustain artists of assertive imagination — individually, as collaborators, and as a community –and advance their exuberantly theatrical new plays. We serve the largest ongoing working community of women and tgnc theater artists in New York City with career-transforming productions; a diverse slate of development programs; and The Room, our indispensable workspace for women+ theater artists. New Georges has established a boundary-pushing, influential aesthetic through 48 premieres of new American plays and countless works in development. Honors for New Georges, its plays, and its people include the National Theatre Conference’s Outstanding Theatre Award, 3 Obie Awards, The Lilly Award, the Susan Smith Blackburn, and Kesselring prizes.