Playwright Elizabeth Irwin to attend ‘My Mañana Comes’ Sat May 14th with Q&A Talkback to follow

 

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Elizabeth Irwin

New York based playwright Elizabeth Irwin will be attending our hit LA Premiere of her play My  Mañana Comes on Saturday May 14th at 8pm. Immediately following the performance, Irwin will be joined by the cast and director for a Q&A Talkback discussion with the audience.

My  Mañana Comes is set in the frenzied kitchen of a fancy New York restaurant toiled by four busboys — three Mexican, one African American. The funny and fast-moving new play dramatizes such timely issues as immigration, undocumented workers, fair pay for labor, and chasing the American Dream.

MY MAÑANA COMES Pepe Peter Whalid running plates

Pablo Castelblanco, Lawrence Stallings and Peter Pasco

Elizabeth Irwin was born in Worcester, raised by Brooklyn and Mexico City. She was a 2013-14 Playwrights Realm Writing Fellow and is a member of the Public Theater’s 2015 Emerging Writer’s Group. Her play My Mañana Comes received its off-Broadway debut in September 2014 at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater as Playwright Realm’s Page One Production. She continues her work with Playwrights Realm as their 2014-15 Page One Resident Playwright. She was a member of the 2012-13 Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. Elizabeth is a graduate of Amherst and Harvard and works in the New York City public schools. She is also a pretty great procrasti-baker.

Our Los Angeles Premiere of My Mañana Comes has earned rave reviews everywhere. The Los Angeles Times hails it as “engaging”, Broadway World calls it “wonderful” and Discover Hollywood demands “don’t miss this one!” The production has also been highlighted as Ovation Recommended.  

On Saturday May 14th at 8pm, Elizabeth Irwin will be joined by actors Richard Azurdia, Pablo Castelblanco, Peter Posco, Lawrence Stallings and director Armando Molina for a lively post-show discussion. A wonderful evening of great theatre and good conversation with the artists. Join us! MORE INFO/Get Tickets

 

NEW VIDEO! Folks love Sangria Saturday & Margarita Monday at ‘My Mañana Comes’

Fountain folks are loving our new Sangria Saturday and Margarita Monday during our critically acclaimed LA Premiere of the funny and powerful hit play My Mañana Comes. Upstairs in our charming cafe before and after the performance, tangy sangria is poured every Saturday 3pm & 8pm, and frosty Margaritas every Monday 8pm. And remember — Monday is also our fabulous Pay What You Can night.  

Make your reservations now. Enjoy a cool drink before seeing a hot play. And stay thirsty, my friends. MORE/Get Tickets 

‘Citizen: An American Lyric’ wins Stage Raw Theatre Award for Best Adaptation

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Lucy Pollak, Stephen Sachs, Deborah Lawlor, Simon Levy, Karen Kondazian, William Sachs

Stephen Sachs’ stage adaption of Citizen: An American Lyric won the Stage Raw Theatre Award for Best Adaptation at last night’s ceremony at the Los Angeles Theatre Center. Created, developed and produced by the Fountain Theatre, Citizen earned rave reviews in an extended run in 2015.

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The Stage Raw Awards at the Los Angeles Theatre Center

Launched in March 2014, by Los Angeles theater critic and playwright Steven Leigh Morris, Stage Raw is a digital journal dedicated to discovering, discussing and honoring L.A.-based arts and culture. The 2016 Stage Raw Theatre Awards recognize the artistic accomplishments of intimate theatres in Los Angeles for the 2015 calendar year.

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Stephen Sachs

Adapted from the internationally acclaimed and  award-winning book of poetry by Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric is a lyrical and provocative dramatization of everyday racism in this country. Stage Raw declared it “a transcendent theatrical experienceand the Los Angeles Times hailed it as “powerful”, highlighting it as Critic’s Choice.

 

Stephen Sachs is the Co-Artistic Director of the Fountain Theatre and the author of thirteen plays.  His plays are produced in regional theatres across the country, have been made into a CBS TV movie, and are translated into other languages and produced worldwide.  

Sachs’ adaptation of Citizen: An American Lyric will open June 3rd at the Pure Theatre in Charleston, SC, just four blocks from Mother Emanuel Church, as the city and the nation marks the one-year commemoration of the tragic shootings there. Future productions of the play are planned nationwide.   

Theatre students must disconnect from technology to connect with each other

Full length portrait of young men and women holding cellphone

The study of theater has always been a slightly odd fit with higher education. Theater’s departmental needs are so different from the norm: Where other programs require smart classrooms, desks, and Wi-Fi, we seek vast, empty spaces with sprung wood floors and natural light. The inner life of a chemistry major should not affect the outcome of an assignment; for theater majors, the inner life is the assignment.

The craft of acting involves human behavior. Constantin Stanislavsky, the father of American acting style, was a Russian actor who became frustrated with the inconsistencies of his own work. He sought to define a “system” for creating believable behavior on stage, which involved an in-depth study of a character’s motivations and circumstances.

Some of the precepts of Stanislavsky’s technique for embodying life on stage include fierce concentration and the ability to focus one’s attention at will, significant mind/body reciprocity, a developed and practiced imagination, and the exploration and study of the outside world (other people, other art forms, literature, and one’s own life experiences). Acquiring those skills could be an antidote for college students who are said to be lacking empathy, isolated and narcissistic, distracted and jaded.

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Theater (slow, communal, physical) may be the cure for what ails us in the digital world. Social psychologists, neurologists, and doctors tell us that cellphone use (in the way our students do it, more than eight hours a day) is altering modes of attention, reducing eye contact, hurting necks and hands, and changing our brains and sleep cycles. Apparently nothing feels as good as the dopamine rush that floods our brains every time the phone “pings.” We are all of us, to a degree, nomophobic (the term coined to describe the anxiety that results from being without one’s phone).

A colleague tells a story about assigning a scene from a 1970s play in which one character waits on a park bench for some time. The actor was unable to conceive of any kind of “waiting” that did not involve having a cellphone to mitigate the boredom. She simply did not know what to do.

Our students (and this will very likely increase in the next couple of years, as the first cohort of 21st-century children goes to college) are unfamiliar with the experience of being alone with their thoughts or of following their thoughts, unimpeded, wherever they might travel. Solving a STEM equation is important, but discoveries in the sciences will occur only when people know how to be alone with their thoughts. Who is teaching that?

acting-class-05-400In acting classes, students grapple with the effects of technology on their brains, bodies, and social selves. Cellphones must be turned off and put away. The goal is to disconnect with technology and to connect with one another and themselves. Students struggle to maintain eye contact; they work to develop a psycho/physical connection for what they think, feel and do; they concentrate for longer and longer periods of time. They read plays; they memorize text; they learn to follow their impulses to create movement, gesture, intimacy, community. If this scene were unfolding in a movie in which computers were threatening to destroy humanity, you’d be cheering for the theater majors to save us.

A colleague recently despaired because her students no longer understood the action “to flirt.” Accustomed to soliciting one another via text, and more used to hookups than dates, this verb was no longer a touchstone for college students, and “flirting” did not elicit any specific physical or emotional behaviors (sustained eye contact, light touch, smiling, playfulness) from the actors. When asked to flirt, they went straight to simulated sex. There was no in-between. Bottom line: Even though technology has become what we do all day, it isn’t human behavior.

From 2011 to 2014, the Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation worked with theater artists in Chicago through an online survey and a battery of aptitude tests to determine whether there are innate skills shared among theater workers. The aptitude called “foresight,” which is the talent to envision many possible outcomes or possibilities, was present in all theater workers (playwrights, directors, designers, actors). When actors try out various line readings or interpretations of a scene, when they improvise or create backstory, they are using foresight.

But foresight would be impossible without empathy. The actor’s ability to envision multiple outcomes or motivations in a play must be based on the character’s circumstances, not the actor’s. That requires a kind of stepping into another person’s shoes that social scientists say is dwindling among college-age students.

Death of a Salesman

Philip Seymour Hoffman as Willy Loman in “Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman.”

When he played the role of Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman, Philip Seymour Hoffman explained that his preparation each night included sitting for at least a half-hour at the cramped kitchen table onstage, experiencing his shabby surroundings, sipping coffee, and allowing his imagination to wander as Willy’s would have. Our student on the park bench would have had trouble with that.

Algorithms recommend music based on what we’re already listening to, books similar to others we’ve read, and “friends” from among people we already know. As a result, we are less frequently confronted by the other, the unknown, the different. Stanislavsky’s technique requires a thorough study of a character’s situation — whether geographic location or state of physical health — and asks that actors explore the effects of those circumstances on their own selves. In a semester, a college actor will play multiple characters, stretching to inhabit another psyche, another intellect, another body. It’s a veritable empathy boot camp.

Businesses have long recognized that elements of actor training can be used to develop creativity, improve communication, and resolve conflicts. Many corporate consultants have bachelor’s degrees in acting and make a good living teaching improvisation, role play, and collaborative problem-solving to M.B.A.s. Yet universities with theater departments have failed to recognize that they have this resource in their own backyards.

Whatever your feelings about the legitimacy of theater as a college major, or its eventual earnings potential, there are important struggles and discoveries happening in the acting classroom. As technology and machines consume more and more of life, perhaps theater can help us remember what it means to act like a human.

 

Tracey Moore is an associate professor of theater in the Hartt School at the University of Hartford. This post appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

NEW! Fountain launches Sangria Saturdays & Margarita Mondays with ‘My Mañana Comes’

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Is this fantastic or what? We have a hot new play and the days/nights are heating up again. What better way to cool down and savor a delicious new hit play than with a glass of tangy Sangria or a frosty Margarita in a our charming upstairs cafe?

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The Fountain Cafe

With the opening of our fabulous LA Premiere of the comedy/drama My Mañana Comes, the Fountain is launching two marvelous special offers before and after the performance in our indoor/outdoor cafe: Sangria Saturdays & Margarita Mondays throughout the run of the play. Drinks are only $4. 

  • Sangria Saturdays 3pm & 8pm
  • Margarita Mondays 8pm   

And remember, every Monday is also Pay What You Can Night! Wow! Margaritas and PWYC! Such a deal!

Enjoy My Mañana Comes through June 26. And stay thirsty, my friends. 

   

PHOTO SLIDESHOW: Opening Night Party for LA Premiere of ‘My Mañana Comes‬’

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Lawrence Stallings, Richard Azurdia, Jossara Jina, Pablo Castelblanco, Armando Molina, Emily Lehrer

The house was packed Saturday night for the opening night of our Los Angeles Premiere of Elizabeth Irwin’s fast, funny and powerful new play, My Mañana Comes‬

The thrilling performance was followed by a lively reception upstairs in our charming cafe. The delicious food was provided by Marouch, a local Lebanese and Armenian restaurant. Fountain Friends and audience members had a wonderful time meeting the cast and company.

Directed by Armando Molina,  My Mañana Comes‬  features Richard Azurdia, Pablo Castelblanco, Peter pasco and Lawrence Stallings. The play offers an inside look at four busboys in a fancy NY restaurant as they joke wildly with each other and struggle to better their lives and chase the American Dream.

Our Fountain LA Premiere is already earning rave reviews. “This production of My Mañana Comes is an exemplar of ensemble acting, ” hails Theatre Notes.”The players are extraordinary.”  

Enjoy these photos from the Opening Night Party! 

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My Mañana Comes‬ Now playing to June 26 (323) 663-1525 MORE/Get Tickets  

NEW! Production photos from LA Premiere of ‘My Mañana Comes’ at Fountain Theatre

MY MAÑANA COMES

Lawrence Stallings, Pablo Castelblanco, Richard Azurdia, Peter Pasco

Enjoy these new production photos from our LA premiere of My Mañana  Comes by Elizabeth Irwin, directed by Armando Molina. Starring Richard Azurdia, Pablo Castelblanco, Peter Pasco and Lawrence Stallings. Tonight is our final preview. We officially open tomorrow night, Saturday April 16th.

In My Mañana Comes four busboys in the kitchen of an upscale restaurant learn the hard way how to deal with pay cuts that could jeopardize their dreams for a better life, their dignity and their friendship. Fast-paced, hip and funny, the play brings to colorful life the camaraderie, sharing of dreams, competition and traitorous backstabbing that climaxes with a powerful dramatic turn at the end. Immigration, the minimum wage crisis, rights for undocumented workers, and citizenship lie at the center of this fast-moving, funny and powerful new LA premiere that examines the true meaning of ”home” and how far we’re willing to go to get there.

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Photos by Ed Krieger

My Mañana Comes Now playing to June 26 (323) 663-1525  MORE