Dates & Location:
May 5-8, 2011: Troy, NY-James Meader Little Theatre, Russell Sage College, Troy, NY

May 12-15, 2011: Pittsfield, MA- Storefront Artist Gallery, 31 South Street, Pittsfield, MA

Art Exhibit will run from May 1-28: Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm plus during Pittsfield Performance Times.

Ticket Information:
$25 (adults), $15 (students) is for a double bill =two solo shows.
$40 Festival Pass-Good for 5 solo shows in 2 locations.

Art Exhibit is Free and Open to the Public.

O Solo Mama Mia Festival

About the Festival:

Click here for the festival playbill

In collaboration with Storefront Artist Project, WAM Theatre is thrilled to present the ‘O Solo Mama Mia’ Festival to benefit the training of at least one community midwife at Edna’s Hospital in Somaliland. The festival will be presented from May 5-8 in Troy, NY and May 12-15 in Pittsfield, MA. It will feature solo works written and performed by women. It will be accompanied by an exhibit of original works of art by Berkshire County, Capital Region and International Artists (May 1-28 at Storefront Artist Project in Pittsfield)  that will explore female empowerment. These works will be available for purchase.

Show Descriptions:

My Salvation has A First Name: A Wienermobile Journey

Based on the true story of an insecure goody-goody who overcomes years of bullying and finds redemption and her true voice behind the windshield of the Wienermobile. Using music, video and photo footage from her life on the hot dog highway, comedian Robin Gelfenbien tells the story of her transformation from underdog to “one of the most notorious Wienermobile drivers of all time.” (Time Out New York). “4 stars” (Time Out New York) “The highlight of next month’s Fringe Festival” (New York Magazine) Written and performed by Robin Gelfenbien. (An excerpt from this show was part of our inaugural event, ‘A WAM Welcome’ )

How To Be A Lesbian in 10 Days or Less

Not a coming out story, but not not a coming out story, ‘How To Be A Lesbian in 10 Days or Less’ is a dynamic workshop led by teacher and motivational speaker Butchy McDyke that will help you become the “best lesbian you can be!” Writer and performer Leigh Hendrix links unique characters, personal story, and a Reba McEntire song in a mostly funny and sometimes earnest exploration of how you can learn to confidently shout, “Iʼm a big ʻol dyke!”

Performing Therapy
This one-woman, group-therapy comedy about depression is a sideways safari through loss, displacement, dementia, depression and the surprise healing nature of upstate New York.  A ‘depressively experienced’ actress turned therapist leads group therapy in an attempt to provide helpful advice and therapeutic modalities to other ‘stressfully afflicted’. Art Therapy with Balloon Animals, Affirmations on Post-it notes and Primal Humming are some of the hopeful remedies. Written by Camilla Schade and Kira Lallas, and performed by Camilla Schade.

FROM May 5-8 IN TROY, NY ONLY:

Paris 1890-Unlaced!

Join actress Anne Undeland on a quick and saucy romp through Paris in the Belle Epoque — a glittering world of infamous courtesans, imperious grandes dames, and clueless but ambitious cancan dancers.  Costume, accent and character changes keep the pace lively as Paris 1890 – Unlaced! delivers laughs, heart and, of course, a little risqué business. Paris 1890 – Unlaced! was originally commissioned and produced by Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum, Lenox Massachusetts, in collaboration with Shakespeare and Company. Written by Juliane Hiam, directed by Sarah Taylor, performed by Anne Undeland.

FROM MAY 12-15, in PITTSFIELD, MA ONLY:

Stories of Hell and High Water

Hell and High Water or When the Sky Falls is a fantasia on the theme of security in America.  It is a sharply satiric account of playwright Jamuna Yvette Sirker’s experience surviving the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  The play follows Teacher Alice, a Latina school teacher’s struggles through the abyss of an American apocalypse.  Stories from Hell and High Water is a one-woman, solo version of Ms. Sirker’s full-length play.  In it, the astonishingly  talented Richarda Abrams, embodies Teacher Alice along with six residents from her flooded New Orleans neighborhood:  a nurse, a jazz singer, a photographer, an out of work actor and the spirit of a bag lady.   This quirky and surprisingly funny work holds resonance for anyone who knows loss, tragedy, or the illusive nature of “security”.

RICHARDA ABRAMS (performer ‘Stories of Hell or High Water’) B.F.A. (honors) Acting (New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts), M.A. Educational Theatre (NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education), Performances: Multi Stages, Public Theater, Cherry Lane, 2nd Stage, Crossroads, La Mama, Acting Company, Kennedy Center Festival, CBS, ABC, SHOWTIME, LIFETIME, Sesame Street, Muhal Richard Abrams’ CD (Song For All) and Amina Claudine Myers’ Voice Ensemble(FRANCE). AUDELCO Award recipient. Memberships: Actors Studio, League of Professional Theatre Women, and New York Women In Film and Television. http://resumes.actorsaccess.com/richardaabrams

RACHEL ECKERLING (director ‘My Salvation has a First Name: A Wienermobile Journey’) is a New York based director. She worked for several years with Francis Ford Coppola on both theatre and films projects. Mr. Coppola commissioned her film adaptation of the best-selling novel, The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank. In 2005, she led a screenplay-writing workshop with writer/director Paul Schrader. Most recently for the FringeNYC 2010 Rachel directed Andrea Caban’s Questions My Mother Can’t Answer at New York Theatre Workshop and Rachel Evans’ JEW WISH at The Players Theater. Rachel is a graduate of Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and is an affiliated artist of New Georges. Always a lover of the Chicago dogs, the Wienermobile show feels like coming home.

ROBIN GELFENBIEN (playwright/performer ‘My Salvation has a First Name: A Wienermobile Journey‘) is a writer, storyteller and comedian whose solo show “My Salvation Has a First Name: A Wienermobile Journey” premiered at the 2008 NY International Fringe Festival. Robin has written jokes for Rosie O’Donnell who introduced Martha Stewart, Rupert Murdoch and Hillary Rodham Clinton, among others, at the Matrix Awards. Her original comedy songs have played on Sirius Radio, and she starred in a commercial directed by Spike Lee. Robin is currently writing a memoir based on her solo show. http://www.wienermobileshow.com/.

LEIGH HENDRIX (playwright/performer ‘How To Be a Lesbian in 10 Days or Less’) is a Providence, RI based theatre artist and educator. As an actor, Leigh specializes in playing different kinds of lesbians (The Golden Lasso, Perishable Theatre), mythic Greek queens ( The Iphigenia Project, Emerson College), and Matt Damon (Matt and Ben, Theatre of Thought). Her solo performance work ‘How To Be A Lesbian in 10 Days or Less’ was developed at Emerson College and as a resident artist at Providenceʼs Perishable Theatre. http://leighhendrix.com/

JULIANE HIAM (playwright ‘Paris 1890-Unlaced!‘) “Paris 1890 – Unlaced!” originated at Ventfort Hall in Lenox, MA produced in cooperation with Shakespeare and Company in the summer of 2009. Hiam’s “Belle of the Books,” also having been produced at Ventfort Hall, played this past January at the Metropolitan Playhouse in New York City.  Also at the Metropolitan was Hiam’s “A Tanglewood Tale,” two years ago, having originally been produced at Shakespeare and Company. Other plays have been produced at Mass MoCA, the Norman Rockwell Museum, Hancock Shaker Village and in the Pioneer Valley.  Prior to writing plays, Hiam was a screenwriter in Los Angeles.  Her feature film, which she also directed, starred Danny Aiello, Sally Kirkland and Maureen Stapleton won awards including AMC Theaters Best Screenplay Award and Best New Director in Las Vegas.  She was also author of a nationally syndicated newspaper column “The World According to Jacuzzi.”

KIRA LALLAS (co- creator ‘Performing Therapy’), currently a Bereavement Counselor at Hospicare, grew up in Ithaca theatres and co-founded the Orange Tree Theatre Company. While at Boston University, her studies focused on solo autobiographical writing and performance. She toured her award-winning one-woman show, ‘Translations of Xhosa’, about being in South Africa, until she lived as a resident at Wisdom’s Goldenrod Center for Philosophic Study in Hector.

LORCA PERESS (director ‘Stories of Hell and High Water’) is a NYC theatre artist, specializing in multicultural and multidisciplinary dance, multimedia, and music theatre works. As founder/artistic director of MultiStages, she has produced/directed and designed numerous premieres including the 2010 production of Hell and High Water… She is an LPTW Board member, and directed Kathleen Chalfant in a one-woman show for its New Play Fest. A recipient of numerous awards/grants: La Mama INKY, two LMCC MCAFs, NYCWAM Coalition Award, N.W. Dible Foundation, Jewish Communal Fund, Dramatists Guild Fund, et al. A Bennington College graduate, and teacher at NYU and Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute.

CAMILLA SCHADE (creator/performer ‘Performing Therapy’) has been gleefully touring this solo show which was first created with a grant from The Arts of the Southern Fingerlakes. She was recently seen in Ithaca as Louise in The Kitchen Theatre’s ‘Private Lives’ where she also played Kate in ‘Old Times’ and Myra in ‘They Lived Happily Ever After’.  For Ithaca’s Light in Winter Festival she played Einstein in ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’, Virginia Woolf in ‘Vita & Virginia’ for Cornell’s Johnson Museum among others. She is a freelance teaching artist for the Hangar Theatre and numerous other arts centers, schools and programs throughout the southern Finger Lakes.

YVETTE “JAMUNA” SIRKER (playwright ‘Stories of Hell and High Water’) is a playwright, producer, director, actress and choreographer.  Among her many awards and honors are the Louisiana Division of the Arts Fellowship in Playwrighting and first prize in Multistages Theater’s 2009 New Works Contest (NYC).   Hell and High Water premiered to rave reviews at the Hudson Guild Theater (NYC) in the spring of 2010 in a Multistage Theater production under the direction of Lorca Peress.   Stories from Hell and High Water is based on excerpts from the full-length play.  The WAM/O Solo Momma Mia presentation marks Ms. Sirker’s Berkshire debut as a playwright and the first-run of Stories from Hell and High Water, based on actual events and people. This is Ms. Sirker’s second WAM endeavor, having previously served as Assistant Director and Choreographer for Melancholy Play.

ANNE UNDELAND (performer, ‘Paris 1890-Unlaced!‘) performs extensively on the East Coast.  In addition to Paris 1890 – Unlaced!, she starred in The Belle of Amherst (as Emily Dickinson), the stage adaptation of the Edith Wharton short story, Xingu, and in the title role in Fanny Kemble’s Lenox Address, all produced at Ventfort Hall in Lenox Massachusetts, in collaboration with Shakespeare & Company.  Anne has acted with Barrington Stage, StageWorks, Capital Repertory Theatre, Mixed Company, and Castle Hill Theatre Company, as well as with the New Repertory Theatre in Boston and the Metropolitan Playhouse in New York. http://www.paris1890.com/