Digital production goes online in November
LENOX, MA (October 1, 2020) — Producing Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven, Associate Artistic Director Talya Kingston, and the WAM Theatre team today announced the cast for the second digital production of their re-imagined fall season- the wickedly funny satire THE THANKSGIVING PLAY by Larissa FastHorse (Sicangu Lakota Nation), directed by Kingston. THE THANKSGIVING PLAY will be available online November 19-22. Tickets go on sale on October 7 at wamtheatre.com.
In this fast-paced satire, good intentions collide with absurd assumptions, as a troupe of white Liberal teaching artists scramble to devise a grade school theatre performance that somehow manages to celebrate Turkey Day, while also honoring Native American Heritage Month.
“Comedic acting requires both thoughtful precision and brave leaps of the imagination,” shared Kingston. “WAM is very excited to be working with this ensemble of smart and talented actors. Additionally, they all have experience in education, so they inherently understand the damaging foibles of the well-intentioned teacher that this play satirizes so brilliantly.”
The cast features: Carissa Marie Dagenais (Silverthorne Theater’s Pride@Prejudice) as Alicia, Molly Parker Myers (Bridge Street Theatre’s The Moors and Redwood Curtain) as Logan, Rylan Morsbach (WAM’s The Old Mezzo and Fresh Takes Readings of Photograph 51 and Blue Stockings) as Caden, and Tom Truss (Liz Lerman/Dance Exchange) as Jaxton. For more information on THE THANKSGIVING PLAY cast visit their full bios here.
FastHorse further explains the place of comedy in activist theatre saying: “Laughter gives us energy. Laughter gives us more time. It actually adds time to your life, so I’m giving you information AND I’m giving you more time to change the world.”
WAM Theatre is thrilled to be presenting this dynamic ensemble cast in a digital production that will also include illustrations by Katari L. Wilson (Sicangu Lakota Nation). “A talented emerging artist, Katari has the ability to take ideas and concepts and create images that tell multiple stories at once. She has been a joy to work with” says Kingston.
“WAM is humbled to close our re-imagined fall 2020 season with this resonant story.” said WAM Producing Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven. “ We imagine that, like many of us at WAM experienced when reading it, our white audience members will recognize themselves in this play. You will very likely cringe as you laugh! This comedy affirms the very serious and necessary work white people are, hopefully, all doing of examining the harmful, and sometimes traumatic, consequences of our good intentions.”
In addition to FastHorse, Kingston, and Wilson, the creative team includes stage manager Hope Rose Kelly and production designer Juliana von Haubrich, both of whom have long affiliations with WAM.
Tickets for THE THANKSGIVING PLAY running November 19-22, go on sale Wednesday, October 7.
WAM’s digital production of ROE has a limited 4 day run and opens October 17th, get your tickets today. For more information about ROE or THE THANKSGIVING PLAY or WAM Theatre’s other 2020 programs please visit www.WAMTheatre.com.
THE THANKSGIVING PLAY
by Larissa FastHorse (she/her)
Online November 19-22, 2020
Carissa Marie Dagenais (she/her) – Alicia
Molly Parker Myers (she/her) – Logan
Rylan Morsbach (he/him) – Caden
Tom Truss (he/him) – Jaxton
Hope Rose Kelly (she/her) – Stage Manager
Juliana von Haubrich (she/her) – Scenic Design & Production Management
Katari L. Wilson (she/her) – Illustrator
Talya Kingston (she/her) – Director
Tickets for THE THANKSGIVING PLAY go on sale Wednesday, October 7 on wamtheatre.com
ABOUT THE CAST
CARISSA MARIE DAGENAIS, she/her, (Alicia) WAM Theatre: debut. Elsewhere: Pride@Prejudice (Silverthorne Theater), How I Learned to Drive (Ghost Light Theater), (In)Dependent: The Heroin Story, Frankenstein, The Merchant of Venice (The Academy of Music), Little Red Riding Hood, The Princess Knight, Rapunzel (Paintbox Theater), Skyscraper, Abundance (Northampton Center for the Arts), Crisscross (Double Take Fringe) New York: To Protect, Serve and Understand, Blind Dreamers Meta/Pina (Irondale Theater), Maria, Young Playwrights for Change Festival (NYU), The Importance of Doing Art (Poet’s Den Theater) Education: BA in Theater from Smith College and an MA in Drama Therapy from NYU. Et Cetera: Carissa works as a drama therapist in Northampton, MA.
MOLLY PARKER MYERS*, she/her, (Logan) WAM Theatre: debut. Elsewhere: Selected Roles include: Bananas in House of Blue Leaves, Emilie in Emilie: La Marquise de Chatalet Defends her Life Tonight (Wellesley Rep), Huldey in The Moors, Geneva in Redwood Curtain (Bridge Street Theatre), Bella in Lost in Yonkers, Sally in Talley’s Folly, Sarah in The Norman Conquests Trilogy, Donna in Mamma Mia (Winnipesaukee Playhouse), Papermaker, The Ladies Man (Shadowland Stages), The Immigrant (Chenango River Theatre), Constellations (Tangent Theater). Radio/Recordings: Audiobook Narrator, multiple titles Training: Mount Holyoke College (BA), Karen Kohlhaas, M. Chekhov Studio Online: @mollyparkermyers and mollyparkermyers.org Et cetera: Molly is a former preschool teacher, adjunct professor of musical theatre history, and clown. Mom to Hazel and Flora.
RYLAN MORSBACH*, he/him, (Caden) WAM Theatre: The Old Mezzo, Photograph 51, Blue Stockings Fresh Takes Play Reading Series). Elsewhere: Love’s Labour’s Lost (Shakespeare and Company), Shrek The Musical!, The Music Man, A Christmas Carol, The Homecoming, Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, (Berkshire Theatre Group) Atlantis Lost (BTG PLAYS! Touring Show), As You Like It (Suffield Players), I Am My Own Wife, You Can’t Take It With You (Hubbard Hall), Scaramouche Jones (Pauline Productions). Training: University of North Carolina Wilmington (BA Theatre, BFA Creative Writing), Barrow Group NYC.
TOM TRUSS (Jaxton), he/him, WAM Theatre: debut Dance: Tom toured with the Liz Lerman/Dance Exchange (’89-’93), ran his own dance company (’94-’01), was a community artist at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival (’94-’99) and taught at American Dance Festival (’93-’98). Education: MFA in Acting from the University of Texas, MFA in Choreography from the University of Iowa and a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from the College of Wooster. He is an AmSAT certified teacher of the Alexander Technique. Awards: Best Choreography – Austin Critics Table Awards (HAIR), Best Actor- Austin Critics Table Awards (The Idiot), Best Actor Nominee- B. Iden Payne Awards (The Idiot). Et Cetera: Currently Tom has a podcast with his nephew called Ask Your Gay Uncle. He is also creating a solo show called Behind the Tapestry that examines how a family finds resilience when tragedy strikes, and is devising a multimedia evening length duet called ReWritten about the love relationship between Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville.
*members of Actors Equity Association
ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM
LARISSA FASTHORSE, she/her, (playwright) WAM Theatre: debut Plays: The Thanksgiving Play, Cow Pie Bingo, Urban Rez, Native Nation, Landless, Average Family, Teaching Disco Squaredancing to Our Elders: a Class Presentation, and Cherokee Family Reunion. She has written commissions for Yale Rep, Cornerstone Theatre Company, Artists Rep Portland, Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis, AlterTheater, Kennedy Center TYA, Native Voices at the Autry, Perseverance Theater Company and Mountainside Theatre. She developed plays with Kansas City Rep, Artist Rep Portland, Arizona Theater Company, the Center Theatre Group Writer’s Workshop and Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor. Awards: the PEN/USA Literary Award for Drama, NEA Distinguished New Play Development Grant, Joe Dowling Annamaghkerrig Fellowship, AATE Distinguished Play Award, Inge Residency, Sundance/Ford Foundation Fellowship, Aurand Harris Fellowship, and numerous Ford and NEA Grants. Film/TV: Larissa has had pilot scripts in development with Fox and TeenNick. Etc: She is a current member of the Playwrights’ Center Core Writers, Playwright’s Union, Directors Lab West 2015, Theatre Communications Group board of directors and is an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Sicangu Lakota Nation.
TALYA KINGSTON, she/her, (Director) WAM Theatre: Talya is WAM’s Associate Artistic Director and oversees the Fresh Takes Play Reading Series and the Community Engagement programming. Talya directed WAM readings of Swallow, Paradise, Campus Unrest and has served as the Production Dramaturg for Lady Randy, ROE. Elsewhere (Directing): Institution (Play by Play Festival), Revolt (The Foundry), The Lonely Soldier Project (immersive testimonial theatre), Elemeno pea, The Metal Children, Collapse (Beer and a Play), Of Who We Used to Be (Hampshire College), The Mother of Modern Censorship (UMass), (Dramaturgy): Necessary Targets, Write On! Teen Playwrights Series, My Hartford Teen Performance Ensemble Oral History Project (Hartford Stage), Helmet (New York Fringe Festival), Seriously…What Did You Call Me? written and performed by Onawumi Jean Moss (Ko Festival), Gum, Christmas Carol, Bovver Boys,The Last Five Years, Life is a Dream, Late Style (UMass, Amherst). Publications:Theater Journal, Scene Magazine, The Moving Voice, European Stages, Howlround and The Valley Advocate. Training: MFA University of Massachusetts, Directing Fellow at Julliard. Etc. Talya is the North-East Regional Vice President of LMDA and a member of the Northampton Playwrights Lab.
HOPE ROSE KELLY*, she/her, (Stage Manager) WAM Theatre: Ann, The Last Wife, Holy Laughter, Fresh Takes 2014 & 2015, 24-Hour Play Festival 2013 & 2016. Elsewhere: Hartford Stage Company, Shakespeare & Company, Montana Repertory Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, Public Theatre in Maine, Stonington Opera House, McCarter Theatre, Wilma Theatre, George Street Playhouse, Hangar Theatre, CLOC. Training: B.A. in Drama – Ithaca College, M.A. in Renaissance and Medieval Theatre History – University of Toronto. Et cetera: Member of Actors’ Equity Association (Delegate for Greater Albany Liaison area) and Stage Managers’ Association: serving as Editor in Chief on the Board, Chair of the International Cohort, and Vice Regional Rep for New England/Upstate NY. #blacklivesmatter #WeMakeEvents
KATARI L. WILSON, she/her, (Illustrator) WAM Theatre: debut. Katari Wilson is a Sicangu Lakota Woman. Her goal as an artist is to create something that will bring positive attention to the Native American Community. She was born, raised and still resided on the Rosebud Reservation. Through her business “Random Art By K. Wilson”, Katari sells original art pieces in the form of t-shirts, postcards, vinyl stickers and framed prints. She also wrote and illustrated a series of children’s books called “The Adventures of Tyler” which features fictional and non-fictional adventures her toddler has taken. Online: www.facebook.com/RandomArtByKWilson
JULIANA VON HAUBRICH, she/her, (Scenic Design and Production Management) Juliana has designed shows for The Arena Stage & Dallas Theatre Center (Ann, 2019); Dorset Theatre Festival/WAM Theatre (Ann, 2018); Shakespeare & Co. (Heisenberg, The Waverly Gallery); WAM Theatre (Melancholy Play, Old Mezzo, Emilie, Holy Laughter, In Darfur, Last Wife, Ann, Lady Randy); Chester Theatre (I And You, Disgraced, Curve of Departure), WAM/Berkshire Theatre Group (Bakelite Masterpiece), The Adirondack Theatre Festival (The Whale). In NYC, Juliana designed for The Acting Company (Pudd’nhead Wilson, Taming of the Shrew), and The Juilliard School (La Cenerentola, Richard II). In LA, she designed for Echo Theatre Company (Uncle Vanya, Ghosts in the Cottonwood). Juliana also worked in television for TNT (Babylon5), BBC (Bugs), and Paramount (Star Trek NG/Voyager). Juliana holds an MFA in Scenic Design from Calarts and is a member of United Scenic Artists Union 829 and IATSE. Online: JvonHdesigns.com.
WAM 2020 Sponsors
WAM’s 2020 sponsors include Adams Community Bank, Berkshire Hand to Shoulder Center, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Blue Q, Blue Spark Financial, Brabson Library & Educational Foundation, Canyon Ranch, Chez Nous, Custom Business Solutions, The Dylandale Foundation, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Haven Cafe and Bakery, Health Professional Coaching, Heller & Robbins, Interprint, J.H. Maxymillian, Inc., Lake House Inn. Lee Bank, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Onyx Specialty Papers, Outpost Productions, RB Design Co., The Rookwood Inn, T Square Design Studio, Toole Insurance, and a. von schlegell & co.
WAM Theatre is also supported in part by grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, as well as grants from the Alford-Egremont Cultural Council, Lee Cultural Council, Lenox Cultural Council, Pittsfield Cultural Council, and the Sandisfield Cultural Council – local agencies supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
ROE is sponsored in part by Maggie and Don Buchwald, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, the Brabson & Library Educational Foundation and Mass Humanities.
WAM’s 2020 Season of Events is sponsored in part by Carolyn Butler.
ABOUT WAM THEATRE
WAM Theatre is a professional theatre company based in Berkshire County, MA, that operates at the intersection of arts and activism. WAM creates theatre for gender equity and has a vision of theatre as philanthropy.
In fulfillment of its philanthropic mission, WAM donates a portion of the proceeds from their Mainstage productions to carefully selected beneficiaries. Since WAM’s founding in 2010, they have donated more than $75,000 to 19 local and global organizations taking action for gender equity in areas such as girls education, teen pregnancy prevention, sexual trafficking awareness, midwife training, and more.
In addition to Mainstage productions and special events, WAM’s activities include innovative community engagement programs and the Fresh Takes Play Reading Series. To date, WAM has provided paid work to more than 400 theatre artists, the majority of whom are female-identifying.
As a civic organization that embraces intersectional feminism (feminism that acknowledges how multiple forms of discrimination overlap), WAM understands that to address one piece of systemic discrimination means we have to address them all. This is on-going personal and professional work at WAM for the staff and board.
WAM Theatre has been widely recognized for having a positive impact on cultural and community development in the region. WAM is the recipient of the Creative Economy Standout Berkshire Trendsetter Award and previously, was named Outstanding Philanthropy Corporation of the Year by the Western MA Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Kristen van Ginhoven, WAM’s Producing Artistic Director, was honored by the Berkshire Theatre Critics Association (BTCA) with the prestigious Larry Murray Award, presented at the discretion of the BTCA Board to a person or theatre project that advances social, political, or community issues in Berkshire County.
For more information, visit www.WAMTheatre.com