(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- The Jersey City Theater Center’s 2021 New Play Festival, part of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance’s 2021 Stages Festival, will present ten new plays about healing from the US, Canada and New Zealand on four consecutive Thursdays, from May 6 to May 27. All shows are at 7:30pm. The plays -- eight short plays and two full-length works -- will be presented on Zoom, followed by a live Q&A with the projects’ respective artistic teams. For tickets visit www.jctcenter.org
The full-length plays are: “Moon Drops” by Carol Campbell, Domnica Radulescu, and Nikaury Rodriguez on May 13; and “Love in the Time of Mass Incarceration” by Boris Franklin and Tequia Gladden on May 27.
The short plays include: “E Minor Seventh” by Timothy Nolan, “Fractured Ferry Tale” by Ken Levine, “Hope Sings, Nocturnal” by Ken Preuss, and “Tiny Secrets Notes” by Marj O'Neill-Butler on May 6; “On Robots and Raindrops” by Monica Cross, “Random Acts of Kindness” by James C. Ferguson, “Relativity and Me” by Len Cuthbert (Canada), and “Skull against the Sky” by Rex McGregor (New Zealand) on May 20.
The festival within a festival is curated by Catalina Florina Florescu, a professor of theatre at Pace University in New York, who is a resident theater curator of the Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC). Says Florescu, who holds a Ph.D. in Medical Humanities, “Entering our second year into a devastating pandemic, these artists tell engaging stories that help us recognize our own struggles, as well as tap into countless and often personal resources for healing.”
This is the second annual New Play Festival organized by JCTC, an event that welcomes play submissions from around the world. “Clearly the topic of healing resonates in so many ways in this moment in time,” says Olga Levina, JCTC’s artistic director. “People around the world are experiencing collective traumas because of health, political unrest, economic and social disruptions and increasing environmental crises. We knew that playwrights almost everywhere would recognize the problems, but what we didn’t expect was how many thoughtful plays focus on how to cope with, grow and heal from these challenges!”
Adds Florescu, “Pain is a physical, debilitating ailment and a socio-economical crippling reality. If a member of our family is in pain, the entire family suffers. Through several short plays and two full-length plays we invite our local and international communities to join our passionate search for answers to collective challenges, and for more sustainable visions on healing and growth.”
THE PLAYS IN DETAIL
May 6 - E Minor Seventh by Timothy Nolan, directed by Sarah Nicole Lang: Playing a song he remembers from high school a man is reminded of the young girl who taught it to him. He recalls many of the difficult emotions they both were feeling at the time, and how hard it was to be with each other. But they tried and suddenly she had to leave. When he goes to find her many years later, he finds an awful truth.
Fractured Ferry Tale by Ken Levine, directed Andrew Binger: A father travels back to the past to rekindle and heal his relationship with his son.
Hope Sings, Nocturnal by Ken Preuss, directed Andrew Binger: Three people cross paths in the days after a tragedy: music, friendship, and hope emerge.
Tiny Secrets Notes by Marj O'Neill-Butler, directed Andrew Binger: Is there solace in holding onto grief? After her father's death, Diane visits her mother to comfort and heal her, by taking over her father's loving ritual.
May 13 - Moon Drops by Carol Campbell, Domnica Radulescu, and Nikaury Rodriguez, directed by Maru Garcia: Goddesses from diverse traditions and mostly BIPOC humans suffering a myriad of natural and socio-emotional traumas reveal the stories of facing a barrage of intersectional traumatic events. They find healing and support from unpredictable sources, and love and empathy towards one another.
May 20 - On Robots and Raindrops written and directed by Monica Cross: In the not-so-distant future, Billie finds herself prescribed an in-home companion robot to help her cope with loneliness and the recent loss of her wife, Susan.
Random Acts of Kindness by James C. Ferguson, director TBD: At a time when stress is high an interesting case is made to remember that empathy and kindness make us all stronger.
Relativity and Me by Len Cuthbert, director TBD: In a subway station, a young mother meets her great-grandmother for the first time. Although it might appear to be about physical healing, this play actually looks a bit deeper, finding that real healing involves something far greater.
Skull against the Sky by Rex McGregor: After suffering a nervous breakdown, Georgia O’Keeffe hasn’t done any painting in over a year. While recuperating at her husband Alfred Stieglitz’s family home at Lake George, she finds love and laughter in the company of an old friend, Jean Toomer. But is this enough for her?
May 27 - Love in the Time of Mass Incarceration by Boris Franklin and Tequia Gladden (Stormy Monday), directed by Mark Cirnigliaro: Using the lives of a young couple this play explores the question, is it possible for love to survive the social and physical pressure of mass incarceration.
By developing world-class programing that brings daring and consequential work to Jersey City from around the world (and from very nearby), JCTC sparks conversations about important topics that are locally relevant yet global in scope. We go directly into our schools; we work with community organizers and educators; we provide incubator opportunities for local artists; and we welcome artists, perspectives and cultures from abroad… all of this so that JCTC can put into practice its deeply held social change values, while serving our wonderfully diverse community with equity and inclusivity.
JCTC’S New Play Festival is part of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance’s 2021 Stages Festival, a state-wide celebration of theatre, made possible by support from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; Bank of America; The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey; OceanFirst Foundation; the George A. Ohl, Jr. Trust; New Jersey Historical Commission; and Fund for the New Jersey Blind.