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Columbia University Premieres KafkaFest

MFA Directing students in their second year at the prestigious Columbia University, School of Art have just premiered KafkaFest, the first festival of its kind to feature Franz Kafka-inspired works.

KafkaFest is a 10-day venture of new theater and art sparked by the work of this famed fiction writer. From Dec. 3 through Dec. 13, 2009, Columbia students will put on six original shows for free to the public in various locations on the university's campus.

The schedule of performances includes:

Rain Machine

directed by Kon Yi
Dec. 4 to Dec. 6, 2009
Horace Mann Theater
8 p.m. Friday & Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday

A Letter to My Father
directed by James Rutherford
Dec. 4 to Dec. 13, 2009
Conference Room, Schapiro Hall
8 p.m. 12/4, 8 & 10 p.m. 12/5, 5 p.m. 12/6, 8 p.m. 12/7, 8 p.m., 12/9, 8 & 11 p.m. 12/11, 7 & 10 p.m. 12/12, 5 p.m. 12/13

Room 603
directed by Carin White
Dec. 10 to Dec. 13, 2009
Room 603, Dodge Hall
8 p.m. Thursday & Friday, 4 & 6 p.m. Saturday & Sunday

directed by Jess Smith
Dec. 10 to Dec. 13, 2009
Schapiro Theatre
8 p.m. Thursday, 7 p.m. Friday, 2 & 7 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday

Kafka Parables
directed by Jonathan Vandenberg
Dec. 11 to Dec. 13, 2009
Horace Mann Theater
8 p.m. Friday & Saturday, 3 p.m. Saturday & Sunday

Look Away
directed by Anna Brenner
Dec. 10 to Dec, 13, 2009
Schapiro Theatre
9 p.m. Friday, 3 & 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday

In addition to the Kafka-driven performances, the Columbia School of Art will also feature other artists within the university community. Arrive before the performances, and there will be pre-show discussions with Anne Bogart, Gideon Lester and more to be announced.

To reserve tickets and find additional information, head over to:

Dec. 3 to Dec. 13, 2009
Columbia University, various locations

615 West 115th Street
New York, NY 10025

Fight Fest Cracks Heads

Fight Fest is a theater festival dedicated to showcasing the art of stage combat. It runs from December 4 to 20, 2009 at The Brick Theater, 575 Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

This three-week theater festival of fight choreography is curated by Timothy Haskell, Abby Marcus and Qui Nguyen of Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company, with the staff of The Brick.

Stage combat is one of the unsung arts of the theater. Says Haskell, "People are incorporating stage combat into their productions more and more now because it adds a level of excitement to the theatre that audiences are craving.

"I have always said that most people would rather spend their money on a bad action movie then a good play, so bringing some of those populist ideas to such an intimate setting brings in a  whole new audience that gets excited by such things. It has become very important for actors to have these skills, whether it be for the movies or for the stage, but the fight directors have been largely unrecognized.

"These productions don’t exist without them. This festival in many ways is a celebration of this new, electric, populist theatre that people are very excited about, as well as an opportunity to acknowledge all of the brilliant fight directors who are the driving forces behind them."

Famed fight companies and artists will present work for the first time ever under one roof. From rapier, to chainsaw, martial arts, trash cans, pirate skirmish, firearms, brawling broads, cartoon violence, simian combat and everything in between—all forms of stage battle will be represented. The shows are:

The Ninja Cherry Orchard - In early 1900's Russia, the Ranevsky country estate must be sold for debts. But will the family sell their beloved cherry trees? Will the lovelorn affections of a fading aristocracy triumph over common sense? Or will a 14th-Century Japanese assassin slaughter everyone? Presented by The Brick Theater, Inc. Fight Directed by Qui Nguyen and Alexis Black; assistant directed by Gyda Arber; written and directed by Michael Gardner.

Butterfly, Butterfly, Kill Kill Kill!, inspired by Japanese B-movie director Seijun Suzuki’s 1967 accidental masterpiece Branded to Kill. Presented by Depth Charge. Fight directed by Patrick Harrison, Adam Mazer, Ian Picco; written and directed by Patrick Harrison.

The Buccaneer, a swashbuckling comedy romance. The Buccaneer awakens to find himself blade-to-blade with the Red Leather Fox, an assassin hired by his jilted bride. He must use all his wits to win back his true love's heart while staying one step ahead of the nefarious plots of the evil Queen of Spain. Presented by FightO LLP. Written, Fight directed by Jacob Grigolia-Rosenbaum.  craven monkey

Craven Monkey and the Mountain of Fury is a martial-arts fairy tale in which monkeys and monsters beat the crap out of each other. Can one perverted simian overcome his family, a gang of grotesque predators and Mother Nature herself to evolve to the next level of life? Or will he end up just another damn dead monkey? Presented by Piper McKenzie Productions. Conceived by Hope Cartelli and Jeff Lewonczyk; written and directed by Jeff Lewonczyk and created by the Company. Fight Directed by Qui Nguyen and Adam Swiderski.

Deck The Hallmans! is an improvised holiday sitcom (with fights) revolving around Bob and Carol Hallman's Christmas celebration.  The holiday is looking bright for the whole Hallman family, who look forward to celebrating in heavenly peace. Who would fight on Christmas?  Before the evening is over you, too, will want to Deck The Hallmans! Presented by Ten Directions. Improvised by the ensemble from a concept by Audrey Crabtree; directed by Audrey Crabtree; Fight Directed by Adam Swiderski.

Power Burn 3 - When two women must compete for the same promotion at a fitness company, corporate in-fighting spills out of the conference room and onto the mean streets. These ladies don't mind a few broken heels - or broken ribs. Presented by Cat Fight Productions. Fight Directed by Carrie Brewer; written by Alana McNair and Kate Wilkinson; directed by Stephen Brackett.

Last Life - In a burnt-out world, the few remaining inhabitants are at the end of a long, indefinable war. The survivors, not knowing what they are even fighting for, vow to destroy each other and control what remains. Starring Taimak (of the legendary fight film The Last Dragon). Presented by Big Time Action Theatre. Fight directed by Rod Kinter; written by Eric Sanders; directed by Timothy Haskell.

Evolution presents a creative imagining of the genesis of the "badass" from the dawn of man through modern day. A cast of 24 fighters using martial arts, broadswords, spears, guns, rapiers, axes, katanas, switchblades, clubs, smallswords, tomahawks, rocks and anything they can get their hands on explores fighting techniques that have helped shape history—and "badassery!" Presented by En Garde Entertainment. Fight directed by David Dean Hastings; conceived & written by Alexandra Hastings and David Dean Hastings; directed by Alexandra Hastings.

The festival will also feature several cabarets, including a free preview of the mainstage shows on opening night.

The Zombie Project: The Story of Icarus Phoenix is a glimpse of what will hopefully be a full-length production in the near future. The play details the beginning of the zombie attacks and the creation of someone who could be the savior of the world. A girl has to decide if she gives up or if she will use her self-taught skills and wits to overcome the situation into which she's been thrown. A short work written, directed and fight-directed by Stephanie Cox-Williams.

With the theater’s intimate setting, the audience can see every kick, punch and flip right in their faces. And, unlike in film, there’s no room for editing or second takes.

"We’re going to see a level of choreography rarely seen on stage," adds Haskell. "There’s going to be a lot of honesty, as much as possible without someone getting hurt."

Fight Fest Cabaret - Youngblood returns to The Brick!

New York's most exciting troupe of emerging playwrights bring the fury with five brand new short plays featuring beatings, mayhem and assorted onstage violence. Catch this very special sneak preview before these plays are featured in the January 3, 2010, episode of Youngblood's monthly Sunday Brunch series, The Fight Brunch!

For more information, visit:

Fight Fest
December 1-20
, 2009
The Brick
575 Metropolitan Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11211

WTF?! Festival '09

Presented by The Actors' Gang from October 13 to December 19, 2009 at The Actors' Gang at the Ivy Substation (9070 Venice Boulevard, in Culver City), WTF?! Festival '09 is a new event best described by its founder and curator, Academy Award winning actor Tim Robbins. As Robbins explains, "The name of this festival came to me after a recent board meeting where I was told that due to the economic downswing and recent reduction in donations that we can no longer afford to produce theater. I was told it would be less expensive to do nothing. We’re not very good at doing nothing.

So in the spirit of rebellion and our history of survival, we are going to produce three plays, host great artists and authors, screen free documentaries, have open forums for Veterans, have live music nights with great songwriters, present poetry and dance, screen ridiculously funny movies, host talkbacks with directors and try to raise enough money to survive this crap economy. 

We are offering a wide variety of events that will fire up new audiences, help them to discover The Gang, and support our community outreach."

Leading the screenings is Sir! No Sir!, the award-winning documentary about the long suppressed story of the GI movement to end the war in Vietnam. A Q&A follows with filmmaker David Zeiger.

Also screening is a new documentary, William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe, by Emily and Sarah Kunstler about their father, the late radical civil rights lawyer who fought for civil rights and represented such controversial clients as the famed Chicago 8 activists and members of the American Indian Movement. Followed by Q&A with filmmaker Emily Kunstler.

Another strong statement is made with The Ground Truth: After the Killing Ends, about the US soldiers as they struggle to come to terms with their experience when returning home from Iraq. There will be a Q&A with filmmaker Patricia Foulkrod along with veterans of the Iraq/Afghanistan conflict.

Also screening is Embedded Live (2004), the controversial play that satirizes neocons and the mainstream media at the start of the Iraq war. Written and directed by Tim Robbins, this film captures the last performances at the Public Theater in New York.

But there is also lighter fare, with Jesus is Magic, by comedienne Sarah Silverman, who will be on hand for a Q&A afterwards. Also screening is The Aristocrats, the film that showcased 100 superstar comedians telling the same very dirty joke. Paul Provenza, who directed the film, will be present for the Q&A with some special guests.

In addition, Jammin' in New York, George Carlin's groundbreaking HBO special, will be screened, followed by Q&A and reading of George Carlin's soon-to-be released memoir, Last Words, by his daughter, Kelly Carlin-McCall.

The festival also features some live shows, including:

The Need to Know: A Veteran's Journey from Fear to Freedom, a one-woman show written and performed by April Fitzsimmons, a former Air Force Intelligence Analyst. Her award-winning solo performance tells the story of her progression from warrior to peace activist. A Veterans' Forum will follow.

All Cake, No File, a Johnny Cash prison tribute cooking show-concert. Celebrity Chef Jewell Rae (Gilkerson) Jeffers, the host of Tastes Like Home live cooking show, will bake Jailbreak cakes every night, backed up by With a Bible and a Gun, a band specializing in the songs of Johnny Cash.

Other live music acts feature Tenacious D, Jackson Browne, Jenny Lewis and Gillian Welch, and Serj Tankian, among others.

In addition, there will be poetry readings, a puppet production, and live readings hosted by Pen American. The festival will end with a performance of Christmas carols by Vox Femina, a choral ensemble--following which, everyone present will be encouraged to join them in going caroling throughout Culver City.

For details, ticket prices and a complete schedule,
 call the Actors' Gang box office at (310) 838-4264 or 
go to

WTF?! Festival '09
The Actors' Gang at the Ivy Substation
9070 Venice Boulevard, in Culver City, LA
October 13 to December 19, 2009

2nd National Asian American Theater Festival

The Second National Asian American Theater Festival, presented by CAATA (Consortium of Asian American Theaters & Artists), will run October 13 - 18, 2009, at both Theater for the New City (1st Ave between 9th and 10th Streets) and the Julia Miles Theater (424 West 55th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues).

"NAATF celebrates and affirms Asian American theater artists, their significant contributions to the national cultural landscape, and the dynamic innovations they bring to the field," says Mia Katigbak, one of the organizers along with Lloyd Suh.

Presented will be new works by Kristina Wong, Alice Tuan, Soo-Jin Lee, Sheetal Gandhi, and Shishir Kurup, and readings of new plays from Ma-Yi Theater Company's Writers Lab. The National Asian American Theater Company is proud to present its new adaptation of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull, and Pan Asian Repertory Theater performs its new musical, Imelda.

The Festival will feature performances of:

Sharif Don't Like It, Shishir Kurup's play about the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's post-9/11 treatment of people of Asian and Middle Eastern descent.

A new dance/theatre piece by Sheetal Gandhi, Bahu-Beti-Biwi (Daughter-in-Law, Daughter, Wife), about the lives of contemporary women in Northern India, is set to ancient songs performed by women from that region.

Also presented with the Festival is Labfest III, readings of new plays presented by the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, the resident company of Asian American Playwrights with the Obie Award-winning Ma-Yi Theater Company. Labfest is curated by the authors of recently acclaimed Off-Broadway plays, Qui Nguyen (Soul Samurai) and Lloyd Suh (American Hwangap) and will be presented at Theater for the New City from Oct. 6 - 17, 2009

Imelda, a new musical about Imelda Marcos, is presented by the Obie Award-winning Pan Asian Repertory Theater, Tisa Chang artistic producing director, in association with East West Players. Written by Sachi Oyama, Nathan Wang and Aaron Coleman, Imelda is about the former First Lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos, spanning the years from Philippine Independence in the 1940's to the Marcos' fall from grace in the 1980's. Tim Dang directs. The musical is running at the Julia Miles Theater from Sept. 22 - Oct. 18, 2009

Anton Chekhov's The Seagull is presented by the Obie Award-winning National Asian American Theater Company (NAATCO), directed by Gia Forakis. The production will pay particular attention to Chekhov's subtitle: "A Comedy in 4 Acts." Commedia, clowning, slapstick, farcical, presentational, Symbolist, anything naturalistic -- the production will serve the human comedy so masterfully achieved by Chekhov in his characterization of despair and the will to live despite this condition. This production will be presented at Theater for the New City from Sept. 26 - Oct. 18, 2009.

Also included in the Festival is an umbrella presentation, 20th Century Performance in the 21st Century: The Future of Asian American Theatre, a variety of performance art and interactive panels, that examine Asian American theatre past and present. These offerings are presented by Asian Pacific Americans C*ntemporary Unilateral Neo-Theater (APAC*NT), a collective of playwrights and directors including Kristina Wong (Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), Alice Tuan (Ajax [por nobody]), Katie Pearl (Nita & Zita) and Hatnim Lee.

For additional information about Imelda, visit

For additional information about Labfest III, visit

For additional information about The Seagull, visit

For genral information, please call 646-522-0931 or visit www.naatf.or

The Second National Asian American Theater Festival
October 13-18, 2009
Theater for the New City

1st Ave between 9th and 10th St.
the Julia Miles Theater
424 West 55th St.
between 9th and 10th Avenues
New York, NY

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