LENOX, MA (August 18, 2020) — Producing Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven, Associate Artistic Director Talya Kingston, and the WAM Theatre team today announced their reimagined plans for WAM’s fall 2020 season, offering digital productions in October and November. ROE by Lisa Loomer will run October 17-20, and THE THANKSGIVING PLAY by Larissa FastHorse will run November 19-22.
“For the past few months, we have been grappling with what our fall season might look like in this current world. It felt important, in a pandemic, in an election year, and at a time when we are having a national reckoning around race, that WAM find a way to tell the stories of our previously announced plays, ROE by Lisa Loomer and THE THANKSGIVING PLAY by Larissa FastHorse,” van Ginhoven said.
“It also felt important to offer as many artists as possible paid work, to be financially smart about our decisions, and to put the well-being of our artists and patrons at the forefront,” continued van Ginhoven. “All of this led us to the conclusion that we had to hold these offerings virtually. Blending performance and technology has created the opportunity to collaborate with new artists in the video and website design worlds. As we all reflect on our part towards creating a future that is full of empathy, equity, and belonging, we are working hard to create dynamic, creatively designed digital productions that resonate deeply with our current moment in time. ”
The first digital production will be the area premiere of Lisa Loomer’s celebrated play, ROE, available online October 17-20. This large ensemble play, directed by van Ginhoven, illuminates the history of one of the most polarizing social issues of the modern era: the Roe v. Wade, U.S. Supreme Court ruling that established a woman’s right to an abortion. ROE provides a reminder of the human stories behind the debates and how hard we have to work to compassionately communicate with people with whom we may disagree.
“We are delighted that ROE playwright Lisa Loomer agreed to have WAM move ROE from a live theatre production to a reimagined digital production. We have some extraordinary creative artists and reproductive justice experts working with us to ensure this important story gets told in this election year, when the rights of women continue to be deeply challenged,” said van Ginhoven. “We look forward to sharing more about the ROE team in the weeks ahead.”
From November 19-22, WAM will present THE THANKSGIVING PLAY by Larissa FastHorse, a scathingly funny satire where we witness a group of “woke” white teaching artists scrambling to create a pageant that somehow manages to celebrate both Turkey Day and Native American Heritage Month. THE THANKSGIVING PLAY will be directed by WAM Associate Artistic Director Talya Kingston.
“This razor-sharp comedy allows us space to laugh at the stumbling blocks of white activism while, at the same time, deeply considering our positions on this land,” says Kingston. Playwright Larissa FastHorse echoes this sentiment 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.”
This performance will create engaging opportunities for our community to deepen local knowledge and connection to the Mohican Tribe, who are the traditional stewards of the land now known as the Berkshires.
Tickets for both events will be available starting September 8, 2020. Please visit WAMTheatre.com for more information.
by Lisa Loomer
Directed by Kristen van Ginhoven
“Rousing entertainment … a big play with big ideas.” –Mail Tribune
“Cleverly illuminating” –The Washington Post
“Full of nuance and complexity” –NPR
“Shares 50 years of history in gripping style” –Mail Tribune
“A powerful and compassionate look at a controversial issue” –The Siskiyou Daily News
Two Women. Multiple Truths. One Landmark Supreme Court Case.
ROE is an historically sweeping play with a large ensemble cast that illuminates the history of one of the most polarizing social issues of the modern era, the Roe v. Wade, U.S. Supreme Court ruling that established a woman’s right to an abortion. ROE explores the women behind the landmark case of Roe v. Wade, illuminating the heart and passion each side has for their cause, providing a reminder of where the debate began and how hard we have to work to communicate compassionately with people with whom we may disagree.
Playwright Lisa Loomer says, “I wanted people to feel, as they watched the play, that their point of view was represented, if nothing else because that helps people be more open and willing to hear another point of view.”
ROE was commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2012 as part of its American Revolutions Cycle. It was developed at the University of Texas and The Kennedy Center (as part of DC’s Women’s Voices Festival) as well as at OSF’s Black Swan Lab before it played for 70 performances in Ashland, OR, and then had runs in Washington, DC (Arena Stage), Berkeley, CA (Berkeley Rep), and Sarasota, FL (Asolo Rep).
THE THANKSGIVING PLAY
by Larissa FastHorse
Directed by Talya Kingston
“Very, very funny. Larissa FastHorse’s THE THANKSGIVING PLAY skewers liberal pretensions with glee – this clever satire is something for which we will be truly thankful” – The Hollywood Reporter.
Good intentions collide with absurd assumptions in Larissa FastHorse’s wickedly funny satire, as a troupe of terminally “woke” teaching artists scrambles to create a pageant that somehow manages to celebrate both Turkey Day and Native American Heritage Month.
For more information about the 2020 Season and WAM Theatre’s programs, events, and artists, please visit www.WAMTheatre.com.
ABOUT THE ROE PLAYWRIGHT: LISA LOOMER
WAM Theatre: debut Plays: ROE, LIVING OUT, THE WAITING ROOM, DISTRACTED, CAFÉ VIDA, HOMEFREE, EXPECTING ISABEL, TWO THINGS YOU DON’T TALK ABOUT AT DINNER, BIRDS, MARIA, MARIA, MARIA!, and BOCÓN!, have been produced at such theatres as The Mark Taper Forum, Arena Stage, South Coast Repertory, The Kennedy Center, Seattle Rep, Denver Theater Center, Berkeley Repertory, OSF, Trinity Repertory, The Williamstown Theatre Festival, and, in New York, at The Roundabout, The Vineyard, Second Stage, Intar, and The Public. Her work has also been produced in Mexico, the Middle East, and Europe. Awards: Lisa is a two-time winner of the American Theatre Critics Award, and has also received awards from the Kennedy Center, the Pen Center, the Imagen Foundation, (Norman Lear Award), the Jane Chambers Award, and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, among others. Film: credits include GIRL, INTERRUPTED. She also writes for television.
ABOUT THE ROE DIRECTOR: KRISTEN van GINHOVEN
WAM Theatre: Ann, The Bakelite Masterpiece, In Darfur (New England Premiere), Emilie (New England Premiere), The Old Mezzo (World Premiere), The Attic, The Pearls and Three Fine Girls and Melancholy Play Elsewhere: Ann (Arena Stage, Dallas Theatre Center), Disgraced, I and You (Chester Theatre), Waxworks (Williams College), The Whale (Adirondack Theatre Festival), 10 Minute Play Festival (Barrington Stage Company), Petticoats of Steel (Capital Repertory Theatre), Footloose (Cohoes Music Hall), Children’s Hour (Siena College), Vendetta Chrome (Emerson College). Selected assistant directing: The Physicists, 42nd Street (Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada), Two Men of Florence (Huntington Theatre) Sleuth, Absurd Person Singular (Barrington Stage Company). Training: Dalhousie University (BA), Queen’s University (BEd), Emerson College (MA). Et cetera: Kristen is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers and a theatre artist for the International Schools Theatre Association. She is a member of the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab and the Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction at the Stratford Festival of Canada. Kristen is the co-founder and Producing Artistic Director of WAM Theatre.
ABOUT THE THANKSGIVING PLAY PLAYWRIGHT: LARISSA FASTHORSE
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.
ABOUT THE THANKSGIVING PLAY DIRECTOR: TALYA KINGSTON
WAM Theatre: Paradise (2019 Fresh Takes), Swallow (2018 Fresh Takes), Seeking Justice, Crying Wolf, Fractured Dreams, The Suffrage Project (Teen/Elder Ensembles). Elsewhere: Institution (Play by Play Festival), Co-director of The Lonely Soldier Project (immersive testimonial theatre), director for 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: ROE, Lady Randy (WAM Theatre), 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, The Moving Voice, Scene Magazine, European Stages, Howlround and The Valley Advocate. Training: MFA University of Massachusetts, Directing Fellow at Julliard. Etc: Talya is the Regional VP for LMDA (Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas) and a member of the Northampton Playwrights Lab.
WAM 2020 Sponsors
WAM’s 2020 sponsors include Adams Community Bank, Berkshire 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, Frankie’s Ristorante Italiano, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, Haven Cafe and Bakery, Health Professional Coaching, Heller & Robbins, Interprint, J.H. Maxymillian, Inc., Lake House Inn. Lee Bank, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Only in My Dreams Events, Onyx Specialty Papers, Outpost Productions, RB Design Co., The Rookwood Inn, T Square Design Studio, Toole Insurance, a. von schlegell & co., and the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts.
WAM Theatre is also supported in part by grants from Alford-Egremont Cultural Council, Lenox Cultural Council, Pittsfield Cultural Council, Sandisfield Cultural Council, Washington Cultural Council, and the West Stockbridge Cultural Council – local agencies supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency. Funding from Mass Humanities has been provided through the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020.
ROE is sponsored in part by Maggie and Don Buchwald
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