Burnished By Grief – A Romantic Comedy

January 22 - February 07, 2016


First Floor Theatre | 74A E 4th Street; 1st Floor

Wednesday to Saturday at 7:30pm; Sunday at 2pm; Additional perf. Monday 1/25 at 7pm.

Adult: $25; Student/Senior: $20

85 Minutes

"an exuberant celebration of color and quirk, with a tune or two to underscore its sentiments...This production, directed by Paul Zimet, from the venerable downtown troupe Talking Band, grew out of Ms. Maddow’s experiences as a volunteer in Brooklyn Civil Court. The influence is palpable: The diversity, idiosyncrasies and legal entanglements of these characters seem endemic to New York, perhaps only to Brooklyn. But Ms. Maddow reminds us that for all the strains attendant upon urban living, every now and then novel and wonderful relationships emerge."
~ Andy Webster, The New York Times


By Talking Band
Written and Composed by Ellen Maddow
Directed by Paul Zimet

A love letter to the chaos of cramped New York City living. This music-fused, sinister romantic comedy is inspired by Obie award-winning playwright Ellen Maddow’s work as a mediator in Brooklyn Civil Court, where she has witnessed how the city’s extraordinary diversity, combined with close living, has produced complex misunderstandings and remarkable relationships.
 Created by the multiple Obie Award winning Talking Band, Burnished by Grief,  is a chaotic, over stimulated urban mash up filled with constant motion, scrambled energy and the overlapping realities of race, culture and multiple generations. Seven characters long for a pocket of stillness, the solace of beauty, relief from loneliness, and the possibility of falling head over heels in love with their opposites. 
Will Badgett, Shelley Fort, Sam Kulik, Debargo Sanyal, Mary Shultz, Tina Shepard, Rae C. Wright

Reviews for 'Burnished By Grief'


"Maddow’s witty, intelligent dialogue lifts us up. Her text and characters are exuberant, infecting the audience with joy....every single actor imbues his and her character with that commedia zaniness that makes even their griefs transform into joie de vivre."
~ Elizabeth Bove, Plays To See

New York Theater Review Logo

"Navigating the real estate world of the city is a one of a kind experience and another one of those things that bind New Yorkers together in a way that out-of-staters can never understand. Finding a home is a relatable struggle, and Burnished By Grief explores how that battle exhibits itself in a diverse group of people. Without preaching, Talking Band illuminates how beautiful possibilities might await if you can only look past the difference between yourself and your neighbor."
~ Victoria Teague, New York Theatre Review

Creative Team

Set and Video Design by
Anna Kiraly
Light Design by
Lenore Doxsee
Costume Design by
Kiki Smith
Sound Design by
Tim Schellenbaum
Production Stage Management by
Julia Katz

About Talking Band

The Talking Band has been making innovative and influential theater works in New York for 40 years. Collectively, the founders have earned 11 OBIE awards and numerous other honors. The company has performed at nearly all of New York City’s celebrated downtown venues, including La MaMa, PS 122, Theater for the New City, Dance Theater Workshop, The Ohio Theater, The Flea Theater and HERE Arts Center. Nearly 50 of its original productions have toured the United States and the world. Notable productions include The Golden Toad, Marcellus Shale, The Walk Across America For Mother Earth, Bitterroot, Radnevsky’s Real Magic, Painted Snake in a Painted Chair, Black Milk Quartet and The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol.
Paul Zimet is the Artistic Director of the Talking Band. Born and raised in New York City, he studied clarinet and voice at the High School of Music and Art, comparative literature at Columbia College, and medicine at Harvard Medical School. Music-theater works he has written and directed include The Golden Toad, (episodes 2 and 4) Marcellus Shale, New Islands Archipelago, Radnevsky’s Real Magic, Imminence, Belize, The Parrot, Star Messengers, Bitterroot, Party Time, Black Milk Quartet and New Cities. He also wrote Shadow Passports and Bone Room, and episodes 2 and 8 of the Talking Band’s serial mystery drama The Necklace. Zimet has directed over thirty productions for the Talking Band, and received a 2003 Village Voice OBIE award for his direction of Painted Snake in a Painted Chair by Ellen Maddow. In 2011, he directed Taylor Mac’s The Walk Across America for Mother Earth, which Charles Isherwood of The New York Times named one of the year’s top 10 productions. In 2010, Zimet directed The Deity, the first section of Taylor Mac’s OBIE award winning epic The Lily’s Revenge. He also received three OBIE awards for his work with the Open Theater and the Winter Project, both directed by Joseph Chaikin. Zimet has received the John C. Lippmann “New Frontier” Award and the Frederick Loewe Award in Musical Theater, a Playwrights’ Center National McKnight Fellowship, playwriting fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts, a New Dramatists/Children’s Theatre Playground commission, a Rockefeller/Creative Capital MAP Fund grant, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a 2008 NewYorkTheatre.Com People of the Year award. In addition to performing with Talking Band (most recently in The Peripherals and Panic! Euphoria! Blackout, both by Ellen Maddow), Zimet has performed with Mallory Catlett’s Restless NYC, Otrabanda Company, The Stratford Festival of Canada, and the New York Shakespeare Festival. Zimet has taught for many years at colleges and universities, including Princeton, Williams, NYU, and Fordham. He is Associate Professor Emeritus in Theatre at Smith College, an alumnus of New Dramatists, and a mediator for the New York Peace Institute.
Ellen Maddow has been working in the theatre in New York as a writer, composer, and performer for the last forty years. Born in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of a screenwriter and a modern dancer, she attended Hollywood High School and received a B.A. in theatre from Antioch College in Ohio. She was a member of the Open Theatre from 1971-1973, performing in Terminal, Mutation Show, and Nightwalk. Ellen is a founding member of the Talking Band and has performed in most of its works. Works she has written for the company include The Golden Toad (episodes 1 and 3), The Peripherals (studio album available on itunes), Panic! Euphoria!Blackout, Flip Side (published in Plays and Playwrights 2010), Delicious Rivers, Painted Snake in a Painted Chair (for which she
received an Obie award), The Necklace (episodes 3 and 7), Tilt, Brown Dog is Dead, Fern and Rose, and five pieces about the avant-garde housewife, Betty Suffer: Bedroom Suite, Betty and the Blenders, Betty Blends the Blues, Dopplebetty, and Betty Suffer's Theory of Relativity. In addition to writing music for a number of the works mentioned above, she wrote the scores for the Talking Band’s production of Marcellus Shale, Hot Lunch Apostles, Taylor Mac’s - Walk Across America for Mother Earth (published by Playscripts.), New Islands Archipelago, Radnevsky’s Real Magic, Imminence (with Peter Gordon), Belize, The Parrot, Black Milk, The Plumber's Helper, New Cities, Star Messengers. She also composed the music for 1969 Terminal 1996 (directed by Joseph Chaikin), Jubilee and Home/Wire Walking for Risa Jarislow and Dancers. She wrote Persephone for Mettawee River Theatre Company. Ellen was a performer in Taylor Mac’s The Lily’s Revenge. She wrote music for Liz Duffy Adam’s - Buccaneers commissioned and performed by the Children’s Theatre of Minneapolis, and John Fleming’s Superhuman Happiness commissioned and performed by Yellow Springs Kids Playhouse. Ellen is the recipient of an OBIE Award, a McKnight Playwriting Fellowship, the Frederick Loewe Award in Musical Theatre, a NYFA Playwriting Fellowship. She was a participant in the NEA/TCG Theatre Residency Program for Playwrights, and received a New York Theatre.com People of the Year Award. She is an alumnus of New Dramatists, and a mediator for the New York Peace Institute, working in both the Civil and Criminal Courts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.