Coffeehouse Chronicles #145: María Irene Fornés

December 16, 2017

Make a Reservation

Ellen Stewart Theatre | 66 E 4th Street; 2nd Floor

Saturday at 3PM to 5PM

Free Admission; Suggested Donation

Running Time: 2 hours

Michal Gamily - Series Director
Arthur Adair - Educational Outreach

Coffeehouse Chronicles honors the career of María Irene Fornés with panelists, live performances
and archival material from the La MaMa Archives.

Moderator:
Gwendolyn Alker

Panelists:
Gabriel Berry, Migdalia Cruz, Donald Eastman, Robert Heide, Morgan Jenness, Michelle Memran, Didi O’Connell

Performers:
Moe Angelos & Students from NYU Tisch Drama

About the Artists

DEIRDRE O’CONNELL's recent stage work includes Fulfillment Center (MTC), Judy (New Ohio Theatre), Little Children Dream of God (Roundabout), By the Water (MTC; Lucille Lortel Award nomination), The Way West (Labyrinth Theater Company production, directed by Mimi O'Donnell; Steppenwolf Theatre production directed by Amy Morton), Scarcity (Part of The Hill Town Series) Rag and Bone (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater), A Family For All Occasions (directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman), Thinner Than Water (Labyrinth Theater Company, of which she is a proud member), The Vandal (Flea Theater); Magic/Bird (Longacre Theatre); Circle Mirror Transformation (Playwrights Horizons; Obie and Drama Desk Awards); In The Wake (Public Theater and Mark Taper Forum; Los Angeles Ovation Award, The Richard Seff Actor’s Equity Award, Lucille Lortel nom.); In The Blood, The Poor Itch, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore (Public Theater); Pyretown (Keen Company); Manic Flight Reaction, Spatter Pattern Moe’s Lucky Seven (Playwrights Horizons); End Days (Ensemble Studio Theatre); Looking For The Pony (Vital Theatre Company); Cave Dweller, Love and Anger (New York Theatre Workshop; Drama Desk nom.); Big Dance Theater’s Antigone (Classic Stage Company); Two Headed (Women’s Project Theatre); Fugue (directed by Judith Ivey at Cherry Lane Theatre); Mud (Signature Theatre Company); The Geography of Luck, Three Ways Home, Stars in the Morning (Dramalogue Award, Los Angeles Critics Award), Etta Jenks (Dramalogue Award, Los Angeles Theatre Center); The Front Page (Lincoln Center); A Lie of the Mind (Promenade Theater) and all of the major plays by Anton Chekhov at Chekhov at Lake Lucille.
Film credits include: The Boy Downstairs (Tribeca Film Festival 2017 Selection); Diane; Lez Bomb; Before/During/After; In the Radiant City (Toronto Film Festival 2016 Selection); St. Vincent, Gabriel (Tribeca Film Festival 2014 Selection); The Quitter; Synecdoche, NY; What Happens in Vegas; Imaginary Heroes; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; Secondhand Lions; Fearless; and Pastime (Independent Spirit Award, Best Supporting Actress nom.).
Recent Television credits include: 3 seasons of “The Path” (Hulu), “Friends From College” (Netflix), and recurring roles on “The Affair” and “Nurse Jackie.”
Deirdre has an Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Performance. She was a recipient of a Lilly Award.
MIGDALIA CRUZ is a Bronx-born, award-winning playwright, lyricist, translator, and librettist of more than 50 works including: El Grito Del Bronx, Salt, Yellow Eyes, Satyricoño, & Latinos In La-La Land, produced in venues—across the U.S. and abroad—including INTAR, BAM, Mabou Mines, Old Red Lion, National Theater of Greece, Houston Grand Opera, Ateneo Puertorriqueño, Teatro Vista, and CollaborAction. An alumna of New Dramatists, she was named the 2013 Helen Merrill Distinguished Playwright, and was awarded a 2016 NYFA grant for playwriting. Migdalia was nurtured by Sundance, the Lark, and by María Irene Fornés at INTAR. She was a writer-in-residence at Latino Chicago Theater Company from 1990-1998, premiering several plays including: Miriam’s Flowers, Lucy Loves Me, Dreams of Home, Cigarettes & Moby-Dick, Fur, Che-Che-Che: a latin fugue in 5/8 time, and Lolita de Lares, which received a 20th anniversary production at Chicago’s Urban Theater Company in 2016.
2017-18 Projects: FRIDA at Long Beach Opera & Cincinnati Opera; El Grito Del Bronx and Cigarettes & Moby-Dick at Rose Bruford School with Chaskis Theatre (London); Hooded Tears: E28H/OMPF BlackLivesMatter at various venues across the U.S.; Orlando, 2a.m., part of the “After Orlando” series (U.S./U.K.); A Crossover Dream, an ACTF Kennedy Center Commission for the 100th JFK Centennial; Never Moscow about Chekhov, consumption, marriage and the writing of Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard; and her modern translation of Macbeth for OSF’s Play On!
She was a guest artist at UNM in Fall 2017. In Spring 2018, she will teach at Princeton, which has also commissioned her to write a one-act play for the Latinx Commons Convening honoring María Irene Fornés, organized by Brian E. Herrera. In Summer 2018, Migdalia will teach her third year of the Fornés Playwriting Workshop at Notre Dame University (Chicago) in conjunction with Anne García-Romero. Since her only child, Antonia, is off to CalArts for a BFA in acting, she feels blessed to have work and takes none of it for granted—especially the words.
ROBERT HEIDE studied theater at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. In New York, he attended acting classes with Stella Adler and Uta Hagen. At the Actor’s Studio, his mentors in the Playwrights/Directors Unit were Harold Clurman, Estelle Parsons, and Horton Foote. His first play, Hector, was initially produced by the Living Theater at the Cherry Lane Theater on a bill with plays by Jean Cocteau and the poet Kenneth Koch. Later, Hector was produced Off-Broadway by Lee Paton Nagrin at New Playwrights Theatre with Heide’s second play, West of the Moon.
Plays produced at the Caffe Cino in New York include The Bed and Moon. At La MaMa E.T.C., the successful run of Why Tuesday Never Has a Blue Monday was followed by Heide’s short plays East of the Sun, Zoe’s Letter, and Statue, all performed in play festivals or benefits for La MaMa. Suburban Tremens and Increased Occupancy were produced at Westbeth Theater Center by New York Theater Strategy under the auspices of Irene Fornés and Julie Bovasso. Moon was presented in Fornés/Bovasso’s first Theater Strategy Festival of Plays at the Manhattan Theatre Club. American Hamburger, Tropical Fever in Key West, Crisis of Identity and Mr. Nobody were produced at Theater for the New City. Several of his plays have been published in various editions, and a collection of all of his plays (Robert Heide 25 Plays) was published in Fall 2017 by Michael Smith’s Fast Book Press, and is available on Amazon. He has co-authored more than a dozen books on American Pop Culture, including three books for Disney: Disneyana, The Mickey Mouse Watch, and Mickey Mouse the Evolution, the Legend, the Phenomenon! Other books include Box-Office Buckaroos, Home-Front America, and Starstruck, as well as guidebooks to Greenwich Village and New Jersey. All of these books are also available on Amazon. His play The Bed was filmed by Andy Warhol, and Heide wrote the screenplay for Warhol’s film Lupe starring Edie Sedgwick. Both films are currently being digitized by a three-museum triumvirate: the Andy Warhol Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Museum of Modern Art. His play I Shop: Andy Warhol was recently presented by the Peculiar Works Project. Three of his plays were presented in a benefit for the Actors’ Fund at Howl! in the fall of 2016. He is a regular contributor to the West Village newspaper Westview News.
DONALD EASTMAN’s work has been seen at major theatre and opera companies across America and in our neighborhood, where he is a frequent collaborator at La MaMa. He made his debut here with 3 Solo Pieces by Winston Tong. and has since designed for Tom Eyen, Ellen Stewart, James Neu, Theodora Skipitares, Michael Gorman and George Ferencz. Donald received an Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Set Design and is a grantee of the NEA.
GABRIEL BERRY was in a castle in Budapest (then a workers' museum) overlooking the Danube when a voice spoke to her: "Go to New York and be a costume designer." “OK,” she thought, “Good idea.” It was late 1978. She got the next train out of town, made her way back to her home in North Carolina, packed her bags, and moved to New York. She arrived in early 1979. She moved into a loft on The Bowery alongside musicians, dancers and painters. Within a few months she met Ellen Stewart, made her New York debut designing costumes for Charles Ludlam's The Enchanted Pig, and became the costume designer in residence at La MaMa E.T.C. A list of artists she collaborated with at this time includes John Albano, Christopher Alden, Ken Bernard, Ed Bullins, Du-Yee Chang, Donald Eastman, Tom Eyen, María Irene Fornés, Ron Link, Mabou Mines, Robert MacBeth, Leonard Melfi, Anne Militello, Tom O'Horgan, Robert Patrick, James Rado, Gerry Ragni, Andrei Serban, Elizabeth Swados, Julie Taymor, John Vaccaro, Mac Wellman and Mel Wong. Companies and venues include Coney Island USA, Dance Theater Workshop, Danceteria, The Pyramid Club, the Ridiculous Theatrical Company, Theater For the New City, and of course, La MaMa.
GWENDOLYN ALKER is a teacher, scholar, dramaturge and curator of events that seek to move between the theory and practice of performance. She has been on the faculty in the Drama Department at Tisch School of the Arts since 2003 and is currently the program’s Director of Theatre Studies. She is just finishing up her term as Editor of Theatre Topics, where she most recently oversaw the publication of a special issue entitled “Latinx Performance.” As a curator, she created and organized the New York Fornés Festival in 2010, and has sought to promote Fornés' legacy in myriad ways over the last decade. She has been published in Theatre Journal, Drama Therapy Review, TDR, Dance Research Journal, and HowlRound, and is the former managing editor of Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory.

ABOUT COFFEEHOUSE CHRONICLES

Coffeehouse Chronicles is a free educational performance series exploring the history and development of Off-Off Broadway from its inception within the Village “Coffeehouse Theatres” of the 1960s through today. Part artist portrait, part creative event, part history lesson, part community forum, it is our mission to provide a home, as did our founder Ellen Stewart, for personal and intimate engagement with art. Since 2005 La MaMa has presented more than 123 Coffeehouse Chronicles featuring personal oral accounts from artists of the day as well as conversations with present day artists who continue to work in the same bold, daring manner. Coffeehouse Chronicles are held on one Saturday each month (September through June).
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the city council.