*An Actors Equity Approved Showcase
The Beekeeper’s Daughter, produced by Theater Three Collaborative, written and directed by Karen Malpede, June 2-26, Thurs.- Sat at 8pm, Sun. at3pm, at Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave.
In "The Beekeeper's Daughter" a pregnant Muslim refugee woman is embraced by an eccentric American family living on an idyllic island in the Adriatic. What happens next turns everyone’s life inside out and upside down yet results in a healing journey.
Karen Malpede, playwright, will direct the cast of five, featuring her long-time collaborator, 4 time Obie winner, George Bartenieff, as the poet, Robert Blaze, Evangeline Johns, as his beekeeping sister, Sybil; Jenny Leona, as Admira Ismic; Najla Said, as the human rights worker daughter and Jacob C. Ware, as the poet’s young lover, in the Theater Three Collaborative production at Theater for the New City, June 2-26.
Theater Three Collaborative, co-founded by Malpede, Bartenieff and the late Lee Nagrin, first produced this play to acclaim in Italy, where it was “best play” at the Dionysia World Festival of Contemporary Drama and in a sold-out showcase production New York in 1995. An off-Broadway production in 1997, not directed by Malpede, did not fare as well, but the play was called “witty, passionate, a deep, subtle, rich journey confronting the audience with horrors while celebrating unforeseen possibilities for human goodness,” when staged in Brisbane Australia, that same year.
Writing about “The Beekeeper’s Daughter” today in his foreword to a forthcoming collection of Malpede’s plays, critic and theater historian, Marvin Carlson, praising the playwright as “prominent among only a handful of dramatists seriously concerned with global and national political issues,” says: “all the characters confront their largely repressed and often conflicted feelings about their sexuality, their present and past relationships, and their convictions and assumptions about male and female roles, violence and passion,” In the midst of today’s refugee crisis “the play strikes a disturbingly contemporary note.”
“We wanted to revive a play we’ve always loved at this time in American history, when we are facing a rise of cruelty and xenophobia against refugees, immigrants and Muslims,” Malpede says. “We want to use our art to provide a magical haven for audiences who are eager to feel their own empathic reactions.”
The Cino Theater at Theater for the New City will be transformed for the production, becoming reminiscent of an ancient Greek amphitheater, also, an idyllic island. Michaelangelo DeSerio, who also designed Malpede’s “Extreme Whether” in 2014 (that play, called “provocative and bold” in the NY Times, was seen in Paris during the U.N. Climate Conference in December) is designing the set. Long-time TTC collaborators, Bessie winner Tony Giovannetti, will do lights, and Sally-Ann Parsons and Carisa Kelly, costumes. Arthur Rosen is composing the original jazz score. Friend of the theater, Penny Arcade, will perform post-show at a benefit evening to be announced.
George Bartenieff*, as Robert Blaze, the passionate Robert Gravesian poet and goddess scholar, has starred in all Theater Three Collaborative plays since 1995 and was the co-founder of Theater for the New City. Four-time Obie winner, he reprises his original role as Robert.
Evangeline Johns*, is the clairvoyant Sybil, beekeeper and Robert’s sister. Favorite roles include leads in The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Night Mother, and the musical-in-progress,Buzz Son of a Bee, and new plays at BACA and the Public Theatre, with Mac Wellman’s New Work Project.
Di Zhu has starred in Theater Three Collaborative's productions of "Another Life" at Theater for the New City and in London at the Rada Festival, and in "Extreme Whether" in a reading at the Cherry Lane Theatre and in production at Theater for the New City. She is based in The Russian Arts Theater and Studio, headed by Artistic Director Aleksey Burago. She is a classically trained pianist.
Najla Said*, as Rachel, a fierce human rights activist, appalled by the cruelty in the world, brings Admira home to Sybil and her father’s island home. Najla acted three roles in TTC’s Prophecyin all developmental readings and productions in London and New York. She is author/performer of the one-woman play Palestine, and author of the memoir Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an Arab-American Family.
Jacob A. Ware*, is the Dionysian force Jamie Knox, who wakes everyone to the power of Eros. Stage: How To Get Into Buildings (New Georges), Nobody’s Girl (NJ Rep), Life+Death of Kenyon Phillips (The Box NYC), Cabaret (Park Playhouse). TV: Late Night with Seth Meyers, Blue Bloods, One Bad Choice, Boardwalk Empire.
*Appearance courtesy of Actors Equity
Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave. (at E. 10th Street)
June 2 - 26
Thursdays - Saturdays
Theater for the New City