New Stage Theatre to present "The Singing Sphere," a Beckettian new play by Marie Glancy O'Shea,
directed by Ildiko Nemeth, April 20 to May 12.
In a liminal space, seven women meet and deal with death, rebirth and loss of a child.
New Stage Theatre is known for its bold visual style and compelling absurdist/physical humor.
WHERE AND WHEN:
April 20-22, 27-29; May 3-6, 10 and May 12, 2023, all at 8:00 PM (12 performances)
Presented at The New Stage Performance Space, 36 West 106th Street (basement), betw. Central Park West and Manhattan Ave.
Subways: #1, B, C to 103rd Street. Note: this space is not wheelchair accessible.
Performing company's website: www.newstagetheatre.org
Show's web page: https://newstagetheatre.org/production/thesingingsphere/
Critics are invited to all performances.
Running time: 75 minutes (without intermission)
Tickets: $35 gen. admission, $25 seniors & students
Buy tickets: https://app.promotix.com/events/details/TheSingingSphere-tickets
Audience info: (212) 422-0028
NEW YORK, April 3 – "The Singing Sphere" by Marie Glancy O'Shea is an original play centered on a disparate group of women who find themselves in a murky Bardo space with no memory of having traveled there. Surrounded by strangers they wait, alluding explicitly to the images of "Waiting for Godot" their situation conjures up. But as women, they are used to waiting. Their suspension in uncertainty is a fertile ground for the sharing of private fears, longings, resentments and delights. By turns lyrical, poignant and wisecracking, "The Singing Sphere" paints a many-dimensional, pulsating portrait of feminine energy as a force of constant renewal. New Stage Theatre Company, 36 West 106th Street (basement), will present the piece April 20 to May 12, directed by Ildiko Nemeth.
New Stage Theatre Company's works are distinguished by their bold visual style and a compelling mix of absurdist and physical humor to deal with dark and difficult themes. This play is a somewhat Beckettian statement on women's lives in a time when people's consciousness is dominated by political conflict, ambient anxiety and war. It channels the sense of isolation and despair that comes with living in an excessively media-driven age, and the sense of hope and growth that can emerge from meaningful connection. The play is set in a Bardo space--in Tibetan Buddhism, that refers to the state of a soul between its death and rebirth, also to other moments when "normal" consciousness is suspended, as in dreaming. There we meet Mags and Belem, two Beckettian displaced souls who encounter each other and five other women who are dealing with violence, loss of a child, and radical disillusionment.
Mags is wisecracking, buoyant and effortlessly ethereal. Belem is capable and competent; she runs a women's shelter but lacks a family. They are the two eyes of Liv, a creative, hurting seeker who frames everything we see through her writing and her voice. Along the way they meet Blanka, young, idealistic boxer; Ruth, a mouthpiece for atrocity-committing autocrats on broadcast TV; and Miriam, a grieving mother in a war zone who suffers from the loss of a child. There is also an Entertainer whose vivid songs and stories catalyze all their interactions.
Director Ildiko Nemeth reflects that what lies beneath the play is a visceral female reaction to war -- the haunted female body reacting to atrocities committed daily, particularly against children. The characters inhabit a space that is deliberately undefined; the stage is set with moving veils and panels illuminated by ever-changing lighting, intended to be mysterious, frightening and playful all at once. Playwright Marie Glancy O'Shea writes, "I imagined the gong of a singing bowl being heard both by gestating children and by the characters in this space beyond life, beyond death, and Earth as something akin to that singing bowl--a singing sphere, ringing out, before the beginning and after the end."
New Stage Theatre productions are known for their elaborate design and use of video in productions, but with this piece Ildiko Nemeth creates a “stripped down presentation." It is minimalistic, with geometric lines and a movement vocabulary of patterns and gestures morphed into a collective dance. Marie Glancy O'Shea explains her play was written for Ildiko Nemeth's particular style and touch and that Beckettian themes have always been strong in New Stage Theatre's work. In its very first season, the company presented Beckett's "Come and Go." It explored related themes of disconnectedness in its production of "Electronic City" by Falk Richter, translated by Marlene J. Norst and directed by Ildiko Nemeth, which it presented at Theater for the New City in 2016 and at New Stage Performance Space in 2019.
Playwright Marie Glancy O'Shea is a writer and editor who has collaborated frequently with NSTC artistic director Ildiko Nemeth since 2008, serving as a script consultant and dramaturge in many productions. Most notably, she co-wrote "Mapping Mobius" (2010) and "Hypnotik: The Seer Will Doctor You Now" (2011) with Nemeth and Colm O’Shea, and was extensively involved in two of New Stage Theatre's U.S. premiere stage adaptations: Clarice Lispector’s "Near to the Wild Heart" (2019) and Nobel laureate Elfriede Jelinek’s "Rechnitz" (2018). She also worked closely with Nemeth on "Melody of Things," presented as on online workshop performance through Cafe La MaMa in June 2021. O'Shea has moderated numerous panels and talk backs in conjunction with NSTC performances. Her journalistic writing has appeared in various outlets, including Columbia Journalism Review, BUST and America.
"The Singing Sphere" is directed by Ildiko Nemeth. Lighting design is by Federico Restrepo. Original Music is by Muriel Louveau and Steven Wallace. Sound Creator/Designer is Shyamal Maitra. Poster Design is by Chris Sharp. Sound is operated by Attila Patkos.
The actors are: Lisa Giobbi, Gina Bonati, Tatyana Kot, Danielle Aziza, Michelle Best, Sam Flynn and Sonia Villani.
ABOUT NEW STAGE THEATRE COMPANY
Ildiko Nemeth is the Founder and Artistic Director of the New Stage Theatre Company (NSTC) and director, producer, and visionary force behind all the company’s premieres. Originally from Budapest, Hungary, she founded NSTC in 2002 after graduating from the Actor’s Studio Drama School. Drawing from her Eastern European theater background, she premieres adaptations of foreign writers’ works in New York and creates original pieces. Nemeth’s works are distinguished by their bold visual style and juxtaposition of absurdist and physical humor with dark, difficult material. As a director she often refers to her projects as compositions, which reflects her multidisciplinary approach: all artistic elements, including text, music, movement, and spectacle, are fused into a unified work of art carrying a holistic message.
Under Nemeth’s artistic direction, New Stage has built a name for itself as a “daring experimental group” (Backstage) offering a “unique theatrical vision that creates wonder for mature sophisticated audiences” (New York Theatre Wire). Nemeth’s highly conceptual works have won notice and inspired fascination for their provocative effect. Joe Meyers of the Connecticut Post wrote of Nemeth, “The theater artist is second to none in terms of the images she creates and the moods she spins” resulting in “works of great beauty and heightened theatricality.” Jessica Rizzo (Theatre Times) wrote, “New York needs more dauntless directors like her.” Reviewing Nemeth's 2019 stage adaptation of "Near the the Wild Heart" by Brazilian novelist Clarice Lispector, Jose Solis (New York Times) wrote, "Reading the work of the Brazilian author Clarice Lispector often feels like diving into a pool of dark water, where the fear of drowning doesn’t deter the desire to bathe in mystery….The need to preserve this ethereal quality is what makes the New Stage Theater Company’s adaptation of Lispector’s 'Near to the Wild Heart,' an admirable attempt at taming the beast."
NSTC's productions have been presented by legendary Off-Off-Broadway institutions including La MaMa, Theater for the New City and Dixon Place. In 2017, Nemeth established the company’s permanent artistic home, The New Stage Performance Space, at 36 West 106th St in Manhattan, where she continues to present boundary-defying works and to support the creation of original, multidisciplinary productions that engage artists from theatre, dance, music, visual art and performance art.
NSTC is a recipient of the prestigious Caffé Cino Fellowship, awarded by the Innovative Theatre awards to a company that consistently produces outstanding work. The company’s 2019 production, "Electronic City" directed by Nemeth, received the IT awards' Outstanding Performance Art production and Innovative Theatre Design awards. Previous citations from the IT Awards include the 2015 Outstanding Performance Art Production award for the production of "Night" by Charles Mee and numerous nominations, including Outstanding Director, Outstanding Ensemble, and Innovative Stage Design. In 2012, the IT Awards named the 10th anniversary of New Stage Theatre Company a “story of the year,” writing, “For a decade Ildiko Nemeth and [NSTC] have been bringing their unique brand of sophisticated, inspired and startling stage craft to NYC stages.”
This program is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature. The program is supported in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
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REVIEWERS ARE INVITED to all performances.