Every One Dreams of coming to New York… you know the place where you take a endless, precarious commute to your minuscule apartment for an astronomical rent, then you try to de-stress over crime and bills at the local bar or coffee house where you fear every pair of eyes on you. Then with your last dollar … you can take an uber! You’re in New York… always on the verge of crisis. Cutting-edge wordsmith, Alisha Espinosa shares her thoughts in a collection of five, intimate ten-minute plays, maybe we can figure out the city that never sleeps… or maybe not.
Emerging Latina playwright, Alisha Espinosa, brings A Crisis Called New York, via Step 1 Theatre Project, to the FRIGID Festival. Benjamin Abraham directs Brent Shultz, Danielle Patlingrao, Hannah Karpenko, Jordan Schroeder, Kat Moreno, Kristi Stout, Michael Mena, and Tony Curtis. The production, produced by Jazmyn Arroyo and Janelle Zapata, includes Amanda Brennan (Costume Design), Anthony Tornambene (Lighting Design), Gabe Valle (Composer), Olivia Rubano (Choreographer). Step1 Theatre Project @ FRIGID Fest. Performance Dates / Location: Kraine Theater, 85 E 54th Street, NYC – Feb 15 @ 5:30 pm; Feb 19 @ 3:30 pm; Feb 22 @ 7:10 pm; Feb 27 @ 8:50 pm; Mar 3 @ 6:50 pm.
We went backstage on this, their opening night, to hear from the actors about what inspires them and why they love indie art!
Tony Curtis, Actor—A Crisis Called New York
“Upon first glance at this question, I instantly heard ‘…to do art’ in my head, which is not necessarily the question. Although, making art and expressing myself through theatre and film is probably the result of what inspires me, I think the real answer to that question is: people that I disagree with… because if it wasn’t for things like making an argument, conflict, debate, critical thinking, and the desire to sway opinions, my art would have no soul. And in times of great divide and partisanship, art is essential. It thrives. And I am inspired when it does.” I’ve always admired the small-scale and intimacy indie theatre tends to provide. As an audience member: I feel more involved; I feel the closeness; and I feel a sense of community – a kind of ‘we’re all in this together’ sort of feeling. As an actor in indie theatre: I feel fulfilled; I feel boundless; I feel like it’s ok to break rules, shatter walls, and break conventions. Anything is possible! I’ve said that I feel the art community is on the verge of a significant shift to a new era of storytelling. I’m not sure what it is yet, but I want to be there for it. I want to be in a place that will encourage that movement. It should come from a place of open-mindedness, great collaboration, and trust. I think indie theatre is a great place to start, where the possibilities truly are limitless.”
Danielle Patlingrao, Actor—A Crisis Called New York
“Seeing hard work and dedication come to life through the passion in a performer’s eyes. The fact that you can pull a million different heartstrings by simply sharing your passion truly inspires and motivates me to reach a level where I, too, can inspire others with my art. I feel that any theatre, big or small, indoor or outdoor, popular or in development, are all equally important because every theatre had to start somewhere. I believe indie theatres provide excellent opportunities for up-and-coming performers to practice their art and have a space to explore and collaborate and spark imagination/ideas through play. As a community, we should all be supporting each other and encourage each other to let our creative minds soar, rather than comparing and judging ourselves about who’s “made it” or not. Creating should be fun and exciting, and indie theatres are perfect places to play pretend outside of your living room.”
Jordan Schroeder, Actor—A Crisis Called New York
“The thing that inspires me above all else is seeing other work, especially live theater. Watching others bring characters to life fills me with sense of awe, and reminds me that I want to do that too, to create that same sense of wonder and joy for others. I think Indie theater especially is a wonderful space to play in. There’s a sense of openness, of being willing to push the boundaries of what we know and are used to seeing in order to find new truths. It’s a space that is more willing and eager, I think, to explore outside comfort zones, which I think is an essential urge. Plus, the people are always a blast to work with!”
– Jazmyn Arroyo, Co-Producer and Co-Founder of Step 1
“What inspires me is the collective inspiration felt by a group of people when they really connect to the work. I think this has been our driving force so far—when you pick pieces that sincerely move you and surround yourself with an equally-inspired team, that’s when the magic really happens! To me, indie theatre is where artists are more willing to be adventurous, experiment, and take risks. As enjoyable and scintillating as Broadway is, I have found that the boldest work can often be found on off-off Broadway stages. I have seen more diversity, social consciousness, intimacy, and innovation, all at extremely reasonably-priced tickets. Because of this, indie theatre is much more accessible to the general public, which is so important at a time when artists, particularly those of underrepresented groups, are using the outlet of indie theatre to make themselves heard. The unifying power of indie theatre is more important now than ever, and I hope to see the community thrive!”