FAILSAFE FESTIVAL 2018
Until Proven Guilty
Wednesday, August 8 @ 8pm
Sunday, August 12 @ 6pm
Louis DeVaughn Nelson, Hokum Arts
Until Proven Guilty is the final installment of Louis DeVaughn Nelson's American Satire Trilogy. Human Error (2007) dealt with the effects of technological advancements on society, Man Bites Dog (2010) satirized sensationalism in the media, andUntil Proven Guilty will address good, old-fashioned American sociopolitical warfare.
The former two ballets were performed at The Philadelphia Live Arts & Fringe Festival. The underlying theme of this series is social justice. Until Proven Guilty uses theatre, modern dance, burlesque and multimedia to explore several facets of the minority experience, including domestic violence, external and internal racism, sexuality, discrimination, bigotry, misogyny, and the marginalization inherent in class and social systems.
Louis DeVaughn Nelson (WRITER/CHOREOGRAPHER) is a multidisciplinary artist and founder of Hokum Arts. He studied education and playwriting/screenwriting at DeSales University, Drexel University and The New School and has trained at The Koresh School of Dance. Nelson was named Best New Choreographer by Philadelphia City Paper and has been recognized for his video work that delves into cultural and movement research. He received a top prize for “YouBahn” at the CIANT Festival of Film and New Media Art in Prague. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America. Credits Include : The Peekaboo Revue, English Theatre Berlin, The Berlin Music Video Awards, Tanzbad 4, CTM – Festival for Adventurous Music and Related Arts, CIANT Festival for Film and New Media, Dark Matter Productions NYC, Exquisite Corpse
Company NYC, Sans Limites Dance Festival, Take Ten Festival and Village Playwrights.
More info: www.facebook.com/HokumArts
Jeannine Frumess (Director) is an actor, singer, and director based in New York. She won critical acclaim and a Tina Award for her off-Broadway debut in THE KID (The New Group, dir. Scott Elliot) alongside Christopher Sieber and Jill Eikenberry. Other NY credits include CLIVE (workshop, dir. Ethan Hawke, alongside Peter Dinklage and Paul Dano), TWILIGHT VISIT(Jewish Plays Project), THE SASQUATCH PROJECT (Musical Theater Factory), BRADLEY COLE (FringeNYC). She's currently working on several webseries, including the upcoming SUPER GIRL GANG TURBO SQUAD 5000.
Merryn Johns (Writer) is a playwright, screenwriter, and the editor-in-chief of Curve Magazine, America's best-known newsstand magazine for LGBTQ women. A proud New York City resident of 12 years, she is originally from Sydney, Australia and is a graduate of the National Institute for Dramatic Art and the University of New South Wales
where she taught theater arts for 10 years.
Maren Woodward (Filmmaker) moved to New York in 2013 and worked that Fall as the Assistant Director for Shirley Bruno’s London Film School thesis film, Dear Pauline Jean. In early 2014, Maren began writing her first professional short film, Encounter, an ambitious silent live-action project which illustrates an original poem. After shooting the first half of the project in 2014, Maren completed her first crowd-fund successfully in Fall 2015, which allowed her to finish Encounter. She shot the remainder of the film in 2016, and completed the post-production of the project in early 2017. In Summer 2017, Maren dipped her toes into the theater world as the Assistant Director for Louis DeVaughn Nelson’s play, The Prize, presented at The HOT! Festival at Dixon Place. She is currently building a blog about finding and maintaining creative inspiration.
Wednesday, August 8 @ 10pm
Saturday, August 11 @ 8pm
Set in the American West in the late 1800's, GUNPOWDER is a devised work-in-progress based on the lives of pioneering burlesque and vaudeville stars Lillian Russell and Kitty “Klondike Kate” Rockwell. Thrilling, savvy, and full of grit, these women took the young nation by storm and commanded respect, power, and autonomy in a time when the women's vote was illegal and showing a leg risked physical and moral attack. Using everything burlesque had to offer, including wit, parody, song, dance, cross-dressing, risque costumes, and sharp political satire, these early celebrities defined their own freedom when everything was designed to break or control them...but at a price. Set in the American West in the late 1800s, the full production will include burlesque routines, comedy, dance, and music to create an immersive experience, highlighting the lives of the diverse cowboys, miners, entrepreneurs, and entertainers consistently left out of the stories of the Frontier.
Developed in residency on Governors Island with Rising Sun Performance Company Fall 2017. Previously presented at Horse Trade Theatre Group.
Natalie Stringer is a theatre maker currently enrolled in the Masters of Arts, Applied Theatre program at City University of New York. Natalie received a B.A. in International Studies and a B.A. in Drama with Honors from Seattle University, produced convenings with Theatre Communications Group, trained with Third Rail Repertory Company, the NHS Institute at Northwestern University, Interlochen Arts, and is an Equity Membership Candidate. She works throughout the city as a teaching artist with Marquis Studios, and as the Communications and Program Assistant with Global Arts Corps.
Grace Cannon (Assistant Producer) is a theater artist and educator who has worked in cities and towns across the US and in Europe. During her undergraduate years at Vassar College, where she studied American Culture through Literature and Anthropology, she co-founded No Fog West Theater Company. No Fog West was committed to producing documentary theater in the Deep West. After graduation, she worked with American Theater Company, Artemisia Theatre, and Adventure Stage in Chicago. On a Fulbright Scholarship in Berlin, she spent a year independently researching performative expressions of the German fascination with the American West. Now, in New York, she is enrolled in the MA in Applied Theatre program at the CUNY School of Professional Studies, where she is honing her skills as a teaching artist and applied theatre facilitator.
Specially Processed American Me
Thursday, August 9 @ 6pm
Sunday, August 12 @ 12pm
Specially Processed American Me is a multidisciplinary performance using SPAM, the canned meat, to connect memories of the artist's Korean-American upbringing and share her family’s accounts of the Korean War. It investigates SPAM's legacy in the military, its place in individual and collective memory, and its influence on Korean cuisine through a narrative collage of monologues, animation, soundscapes, sculpture, and cooking. Thrashing between absurd humor and sober tragedy, genuine affection and biting criticism, Specially Processed American Me is a thought-provoking exploration of one of America's most misunderstood foods.
In addition to performances, Specially Processed American Me holds food history and storytelling workshops over a communal SPAM meal. To learn more, visit speciallyprocessed.com and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @speciallyprocessed
Jaime Sunwoo (Artist, Creator) is a Korean-American multidisciplinary artist from Brooklyn, New York. She combines video, audio, sculpture, and storytelling to create sensory performances in galleries, theaters, and public spaces. Her works are part playful, part tragic, and often examine food as a way to discuss identity, history, and death. She studied art at Yale University, where she wrote and directed Household. Her site-specific projects include The Creature for the DUMBO Arts Festival, and interactive bar installation Earshot. She has collaborated with Whoop Dee Doo, and appeared on PBS's Art21. Her upcoming public works will be featured in STooPS Art Crawl and Art in Odd Places 2018. She is currently a fellow at the Laundromat Project for socially engaged art.
Matt Chilton (Sound Designer, Composer) is a New York native and Brooklyn-based musician and producer focused on building immersive soundscapes from improvisations and unconventional sources. He previously worked with Jaime Sunwoo on her domestic drama Household at Yale University and most recently with playwright and songwriter Aya Aziz on her one-woman show Eh Dah: Questions for my Father at New York Music Festival, New York International Fringe Festival, and Planet Connections Theater Festivity. He studied composition, recording, and sound design with Paula Matthusen at Wesleyan University.
Chris Ignacio (Producer) is a New York-based theatre artist, musician, puppeteer, and educator. He has toured nationally and abroad since earning his BFA from The Boston Conservatory at Berklee. He is a current Culture Push Fellow, and Queens Council on the Arts: Community Engagement Commissioning grant recipient for his project, Co-written, which involves songwriting with young people of color. His is dedicated to working with marginalized communities toward an empowering self-actualization through theater and music. He recently served as Associate Producer for the Obie Award winning Ma-Yi Theater Company.
Hao Bai (Lighting Designer) works as a designer & technician in lights, sound, & video, and occasionally photographer. Selected recent design credits: Lighting Design: Shasta Geaux Pop (CAC, Cincinnati); Run! It’s Getting Ugly (by Susana Cook @ JACK); YNCAST (by Stacey Robinson @ JACK); 2017 & 2018 La Mama Moves!; Kate Bornstein; Mindanao Dance (La Mama), ADITL (La Mama); The Plain of Jars (NYU); Being (NYU), "Medusa" and "Oddity" (TNC); Lighting & Set Design: House or Home (Park Avenue Armory); The Workroom (One Art Space); Music & Sound Design: Don Quixote Takes New York (Loco7); The Violin (59E59), Gemini Stars/Scorpio Stars (Pioneers Go East Collective); Puppet-Shows (Loco7), Paisieu (Target Margin); Video & Sound Design: American Mill #2 (A.R.T/New York Theatres); Lighting & Sound design: TELE-VISION (Triskelion Arts); Gemini Stars (Triskelion Arts); Sound Departures (La Mama)
Mia Bloomfield (Performer) is an improviser and singer/song writer living in Brooklyn. She writes and stars in her 1960’s parody girl group The Baguettes, The Baguettes Variety Time podcast coming soon. You can see her improvise at the Magnet Theater in the Melodrama and all over the city with her all women improv team ButterFly Kisses.
Lea McKenna-Garcia (Performer) is an actor, writer, and singer, based in New York. She trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, England, and has performed at regional theaters across the US, and all around NYC.
Amy Savino (Performer) is a singer who lives in the tri-state area. A former student at the Eastman School of Music, Amy has performed as the second lady in Die Zauberflöte, Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel, and as a soprano soloist in The Messiah, Vivaldi's Gloria, Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, Faure's Requiem, and Bach's Christmas Oratorio, along with numerous recitals.
Her Own Drum
Thursday, August 9 @ 8pm
Saturday, August 11 @ Noon
Mary-Anne Wright/ Unbounded Lioness Creations
The story of a woman who walks her own path. A true divergent, she does not conform to any notions of society. 'Her Own Drum' follows the truly liberating and at times emotionally isolating journey of her life. She comes face to face with her demons and angels as she starts to reckon with the consequences of her life's choices.
Unbounded Lioness Creations:
Unbounded Lioness Creations is a global art and entertainment company supporting mental health, education and humanitarian issues. Our productions and workshops are produced around the world in the hopes of fostering a global community for change. We believe that every voice deserves to be heard, and we hope to create a platform where performers and audiences alike can hold space for each other. Exploring, Creating and Growing Together.
Mary-Anne Elizabeth Wright:
Founder of Unbounded Lioness Creations, Mary-Anne Elizabeth Wright is a South African born Actress, Writer, Singer and Dancer. Wright grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. She received her BA (Dramatic Arts- Hons equivalent) degree from the University of Witwatersrand. Wright moved to New York City in 2012 where she attended a Musical Theatre Conservatory. Wright has appeared in various productions, TV spots, films and commercials both in New York and South Africa. She has written and directed her own plays Once Upon a Boundary Line, Things Unseen and In the Wake. Wright has also taught musical theater, acting, dancing, physical theater and singing both in New York and in South Africa to children and adults. Wright officially founded Unbounded Lioness Creations in February 2018.
The Laser Plays
Thursday, August 9 @ 10pm
Saturday August 11 @ 7pm
Kevin Michael Wesson
A fast-paced hour of 2-minute plays that all take place in complete darkness, performed & puppeteered with only laser pointers
Kevin Michael Wesson is a 24-year-old playwright/puppeteer based in Chicago. Originally from Tampa, FL, he received a B.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of South Florida and a minor in creative writing. His plays have been read and performed in Charleston, NC; Columbus, OH; Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Pittsburgh, PA; New York City, NY; and Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL. Currently, he is an artistic associate of the Chicago-based puppet theatre company, Rough House Theater.
A Strange Thing
Friday, August 10 @ 6pm
Saturday, August 11 @ 10pm
A Strange Thing explores Death (and consequently Life) as a writer and Muse are tasked with writing a eulogy for a funeral. Originally created as a scene for the play My Favorite Color is Orange, (Artisphere Theatre, DMV area), A Strange Thing makes it's New York debut as a play-in-progress with the Failsafe Festival.
Cardboard Artists is a multi-media production unit founded by the artist-currently-known-as aGMx. aGMx studied theatre at Howard University, earning a B.F.A in Theatre Arts, before earning a Masters at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
To stay updated, you can follow Cardboard Artists on Instagram at @cb.artists
and visit the website at: https://www.cbartists.com/onstage
My Six Parents
Friday, August 10 @ 8pm
Sunday, August 12 @ 2pm
Back in antiquity, doctors did the best they could with what little knowledge of the body mankind had discovered. To fully heal, wounds would often have to be excised, cutting off infected tissue. Most sickness was "cured" by bloodletting. And aren't we always told to not remove a glass shard lest you want to bleed? The wounds that Grief creates have to be healed in the same way: they must get bigger and carefully cared for in order to properly heal. This is my response, filled with the various waves and experiences that come from grief. But it is also a story of my origin and many parents. Each has left their various marks and shards in me, but not without moments of healing. From adoption to divorce. Hospital visits to marriage. Doggy kisses to unwanted adult gazes. And even from one death to the other, the ironic and morbid sense of humor that life has never ceases to amaze me. I have two birth parents whom I've never met. I have two parents who adopted me. One stepfather, later legal father. And finally, one step mother who is shattered glass, trying to pick at her shards without bleeding out. This is a story of pain, but mostly of memory and love.
Meg Buckner is an educator, choreographer, and actor. She recently received her MFA in Movement Pedagogy from Virginia Commonwealth University earlier this year. Currently, she at the Laban Institute of Movement Studies to become a certified movement analyst, and the work of Laban heavily influences her work with students. This is especially true when teaching stage combat. While pursuing a career in academia, she continues to do freelance choreographic work, perform, research, and teach.
Sondheim in the Trap
Friday, August 10 @ 10pm
Saturday, August 11 @ 2pm
Stephen Joshua Sondheim - an American composer and lyricist known for more than a half-century of contributions to musical theater.
Trap - a style of popular music that developed in the late 1990s to early 2000s from Southern hip-hop in the United States.
Sondheim in the Trap re-imagines a selection of Stephen Sondheim’s greatest classics as trap songs. Watch as a group of ambitious young performers turn the Great American Musical Theatre songbook on it’s head!
Conceived and Written by
Star Johnson is a lyricist, composer and performance artist hailing from Washington, DC. She has written the book, music and lyrics for How to Quit Your Day Job, Flattops and F Words, good girl/bad part of town and Rooftops: A Song Cycle, mixing traditional musical theatre stylings with soul, r&b and hip-hop. Over the years, her work has been featured at the Kennedy Center, Feinstein's/54 Below, New York Musical Festival, The Producer's Club, and Capital Fringe Festival (best musical), and she's been interviewed for The Washington Post, Playbill and Broadway World. Star recently earned a workshop residency at the Anacostia Arts Center in Southeast, Washington, DC where she will be developing a musical theatre lab with residents of the Anacostia community in Summer 2018.
Kriyol Vodou Band: Music from our Ancestors to your Soul
Saturday, August 11 @ 4pm
Sunday, August 12 @ 4pm
Kriyol Dance! Collective Mizik
Created by Veroneque Ignace, and directed by Master drummer Jean Frenel "Seeyou" Misere, Kriyol Vodou Band is the musical ensemble of Kriyol Dance! Collective. The group will be performing a fusion sound titled ""Rasin Nan Bwa" - Roots of Vodou. The piece focuses on creating a unique, creative, artistic bridge between Haitian traditional rhythms and the polyrhythmic variations of contemporary Haitian roots sound. It was originally created as part of Lavi Miyò, a four section collaborative dance project that employs storytelling and Haitian traditional music, dance, and history.
Lavi Miyò centers the creation of work on the terms resilience, resistance, power, and empowerment and their implications on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. The goal is to comment on the idea that tools for community action, consciousness and liberation are inherited and forgetting this can cripple our individual and communal capacity to impact social change. Learn more about our work via our website: kriyoldance.wix.com/kriyol
Founded in 2016, Kriyol Dance! is a collective of artist-leaders working together to create one platform advocating for the unapologetic voices of Black arts, and Haitian culture in particular, through collaborative and unified work and intervention. Each artist participating in the collective creates original work focused on the preservation of Black diasporic culture, Haitian culture, and the promotion of Haitian life through engagements arts including, but not limited to, artistic work that involves community voices, community issues, and the Haitian state of affairs. Artist-leaders work to develop innovative and multi-pronged approaches to use art as a tool for commentary as opposed to simply entertainment. Importantly, as members of Kriyol Dance!, we hope to make normative discussions of Haitian culture that do more than harp on the Haiti’s poverty. We aim to continuously place the focus on discussion of Haitian lives both in-country and abroad.
Saturday, August 11 @ 6pm
Sunday, August 12 @ 8pm
This piece is the start/segment of a one woman show that I'm in the process of creating. This specific portion was created based upon one question which was "How do we nurture blackness?" In this portion we get the perspective of two different women from two different time periods talking to a loved one about what it is to be black, what it is to survive, and what it is to be beautiful. Its a piece about how things have changed from generation to generation, but yet there are still the slightest similarities. Its a piece about celebrating and recognizing black women for who they truly are.
Camille Upshaw is a proud Detroit Native. Recent Credits; Letters In The Dirt, Girl With No Hands, Subway Story: A Shooting, The Guild Show at the PIT, Bright Star Touring Theatre, The Caucasian Chalk Circle. She would like to thank God and her family for all their love and support. Training: SUNY Purchase BFA Acting ‘16, Marilyn McCormick (Tony Award Winner ‘16) The Flea Theatre (BATS Acting Company) 20GR18!
(image: "In The Wake", Mary-Anne Wright/Unbounded Lioness Creations; photography: Damian Charles)