Exciting Developments in Our Leadership Team

At Pipeline, the art and the artists are our top priority. As a company dedicated to bringing to life the biggest, most impossible dreams of our emerging artist community, we’re turning our focus to growing our capacity over the next few months in order to foster sustainable, long-term growth. Toward that end, we are pleased to announce an exciting development in our leadership structure, which will greatly enhance support both for our artists and the business we’re building to support them.

We are overjoyed to announce that Natalie Gershtein, Producing Director since 2015, is now Producing Artistic Director. Natalie joins Ari Schrier, Artistic Director, as the two primary artistic leaders of the company.

This shift enables Ari to focus her leadership on building relationships with artists, curation, and supporting artistic development. Nat will partner with Ari on these endeavors while continuing to produce all mainstage productions and grow the business with a new third leader, whose primary focus will be on fundraising and marketing. Today, we are thrilled to begin the search for a Managing Director. Click here to learn more and apply.

Together, the three leaders will exist on a spectrum from art to business: Ari on the artistic side, our new Managing Director on the business side, and Nat forming a bridge between the two in her new role as Producing Artistic Director.

The addition of a Managing Director is a huge milestone for Pipeline and will be the second part-time salaried staff position for our growing company. This expanded leadership team will be supported by Pipeline’s remarkable volunteer staff which includes: Kristy Bodall, Director of Production; Tom Costello, Associate Artistic Director; Laura Been, General Manager; Philip Santos Schaffer, Literary & Community Manager; Amy Gijsbers van Wijk, Artistic Development Manager; and Mia Hull, Artistic Intern.

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We’re Hiring! Currently Seeking a Managing Director

Pipeline Theatre Company was founded in 2009 as a class project at NYU’s Atlantic Acting School and is now entering its 10th season. In the past three years, the company has gone from an operating size of $75K to $300K based on the hard work and dedication of the volunteer staff, and the unbridled imaginations of our community of artists. We have always put our artists first and have prioritized fundraising to pay artist fees on our mainstages. As our company continues to grow, we are, for the first time, able to dedicate resources to growing our staff capacity, in order to create sustainability and support our long-term artistic vision. In season 9 we introduced our first salaried staff member, and in the upcoming season we would like to bring an additional leader into the fold to help bolster our growth and the future of Pipeline.

POSITION: Managing Director
ORGANIZATION: Pipeline Theatre Company (New York, NY)
CATEGORY: Administration
JOB TYPE/SALARY: $20K annually, part-time, with a flexible schedule (average 15-20 hours/week; and 25-30 hours/week during productions and major events).

REPORTS TO: Report to Producing Artistic Director in the first year, reports directly to the board in the second year onward.
OVERSEES: Pipeline’s Volunteer Staff, External/Independent Contractors

PIPELINE PHILOSOPHY

  • Say yes to artists and big ideas whenever possible
  • Work collaboratively and compassionately

GENERAL RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Work closely with the Producing Artistic Director (the only other paid staff position) to manage a growing organization with a $300K operating budget
  • Oversee and manage Pipeline volunteer staff and interns
  • Strategize and execute growth plans in fundraising and general operations

DEVELOPMENT RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Major focus on fundraising and strategy with a goal towards increased income
  • Take lead on grant applications (Government and Foundations) for continued financial growth
  • Take lead, with support from Producing Artistic Director, staff and Board of Directors to plan annual Gala and all additional fundraising events (donor cultivation, thank you events and smaller fundraisers)
  • Maintain donor database and manage donor follow-up, acknowledgements, and yearly tax-letters
  • Cultivate show-specific sponsorships
  • Plan show-specific events (Opening night, VIP nights, fundraising events, etc.)

MANAGEMENT RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Operational oversight and goal setting, growth planning and execution
  • Financial reporting and accounting
  • Creating and maintaining annual budgets, cash flow documents, and show-specific production budgets with Producing Artistic Director
  • Oversee all marketing initiatives with support from Marketing staff position
  • Develop ticket sales projections and oversee the development and execution of sales strategy

THE IDEAL CANDIDATE WILL:

  • Have a passion for Pipeline’s mission and our community of emerging artists.
  • Be a leader who has the vision and energy to continue to grow our burgeoning company into a sustainable and healthy home for artists.
  • Be a creative-thinker and problem-solver.
  • Be comfortable with a flexible schedule and working remotely.
  • Have experience in fundraising. Prior experience with a theatre company is highly desirable. Marketing experience is a plus (Those with a Master’s Degree in Theatre Management, Arts Administration or comparable experience are highly encouraged to apply).
  • Have a sense of humor and boat loads of courage.

We are a growing company and are looking for a leader to grow along with us. This is a major opportunity for growth, leadership and integration into our company.

Application deadline: August 19th, 2018

To submit: Email cover letter, resume and 2 references (Name / Affiliation / Contact – no letters required) to jobs@pipelinetheatre.org

Pipeline Theatre Company is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, race, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or status as a protected veteran. We celebrate difference. Therefore, applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences are encouraged to apply.

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Introducing the PlayLab Class of 2019

The Pipeline PlayLab, a year-long series of monthly meetings and workshops, provides a developmental space for playwrights to turn their biggest, wildest ideas into finished plays. Through an extensive application process, we seek out big dreamers who are taking big risks with their plays, we put them all in a room together, we provide structure and support, and we make magic.

This year, the Pipeline artistic team received applications from about 225 playwrights. We then selected 7 outstanding artists to be in residence with us through June 2019. It is with great admiration and excitement that we now introduce our sixth PlayLab class:

SKYLAR FOX & SIMON HENRIQUES
Society

Skylar Fox is a playwright/director who makes big, weird, funny/sad plays about the feelings that scare and comfort him at the same time. He also likes to make up dances. Simon Henriques makes strange, funny, sad plays about the stories we turn our lives into as we’re living them.

About the Project: Part play, part participatory focus group, part collective fever dream, Society explores what happens when the silent contracts we make with one another are pushed to extremes. Learn More

 

SEVAN K. GREENE
When Bees Last Whispered

Sevan K. Greene is an experienced polyglot refugee enculturated in the South with a penchance for being an actor, telling stories about things no one thinks about, and annually watching the extended LOTR films in one sitting.

About the Project: A world-wide one-child policy. A couple expecting twins. A future where the planet is about to collapse. An angel just fell from the sky. And why won’t the bees shut the hell up? Learn More

 

SUKARI JONES
Metropolis-ville

Sukari Jones writes raw, unflinchingly real stories that are also somehow highly imaginative and otherworldly.

About the Project: Whimsical and terrifying journey into a parallel reality, courtesy of Evil Dr. Excellent: racism is reversed and white people were the slaves. Learn More

 

 

SAM SCHANWALD
COOP

Sam Schanwald is a writer and designer who sometimes performs.

About the Project: COOP probes isolation and hunger through a human child’s relationship with his infertile pet chicken. Learn More

 

 

ANDREW SIAÑEZ-DE LA O
The River Becomes a Family

Andrew Siañez-De La O is a Chicanx playwright from El Paso, Texas. His work has focused on the people and politics of the American southwest and the Latinx diaspora.

About the Project: The Ortiz siblings Andrea and Mateo must discover the forgotten history of their family tree in order to repay an old debt to an ancient Aztec god. Learn More

 

 

KRISTIN SLANEY
Let’s Hex The President

Kristin Slaney is a playwright/ screenwriter/ singer-songwriter originally from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia.

About the Project: A coven assembled via Craigslist ad meets monthly to cast spells on the President of the United States– but what starts out as innocuous soon takes a turn for the supernatural. Learn More

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Wherein magic is a metaphor for the queer experience

The world premiere reading of KT Looney’s House of Telescopes is coming to our Week of Extraordinary Risk on Saturday, June 30, 5:30PM. In advance of the reading, we learned more from KT about their play, which is very much inspired by the making of our own creation stories and magic as a metaphor for the queer experience.

Learn more in our interview below and reserve your seat now for House Of Telescopes, June 30, 5:30PM, Jefferson Market Library (425 6th Ave, NYC).

Pipeline Theatre Company: What do you want us to know about your play?
KT Looney: This play is about the families and creation stories we make for ourselves to feel safe.

PTC: When and where did you decide to start writing this play?
KL: A few months after the election on a trip to New Hampshire.

PTC: What’s excites you most about this project?
KL: The magic. I love magic. I initially set out to write an impossible play wherein magic is a metaphor for the queer experience. I had grown accustomed to toning down images or stage directions to make my plays easier to produce. To combat that, I wanted to write a play that didn’t sacrifice metaphor for feasibility. I thank Pipeline PlayLab for encouraging me to do so. Every step of the way, Pipeline said Further.

PTC: In one sentence, tell us something strange that happens in your play.
KL: Three hundred wolves run through the playing space.

PTC: Are you working on anything else?
KL: I’m in the preliminary drafting stages of a new musical (which may involve fourth graders, toxic masculinity, and a pageant). I’m also currently working within Southern Rep’s 4D new play development cohort as a director.

PTC: What’s next for you?
KL: I will be workshopping House of Telescopes this autumn in Magic Time @ Judson.

About House of Telescopes

by KT Looney | directed by Bonnie Jean Gabel
Saturday, June 30, 5:30PM
Jefferson Market Library | 425 6th Ave, NYC
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An estranged witch in Minneapolis has buried herself in a historical opera she’s writing for lost trans-ancestors. Meanwhile, her mother accidentally conjures a homesick demon, her best friend is addicted to martyrdom, and her sister wants to fix everything yesterday.

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When discussions of inequality as a social force became mainstream

The world premiere reading of Rick Burkhardt’s latest project, Five Hundred, is coming to our Week of Extraordinary Risk on July 1, 4:30PM. In advance of the reading, we learned a bit more from Rick about the seeds of inspiration for this new play, which centers on the notion of language as a limited resource.

Learn more in our interview below and reserve your seat now for Five Hundred, July 1, 4:30PM, Jefferson Market Library (425 6th Ave, NYC).

Pipeline Theatre Company: What do you want us to know about your play?
Rick Burkhardt: The play takes place in a world (or a theater) in which each character only has 500 words they can speak.  Initially that doesn’t seem to be a crisis, but pretty soon each character has to develop strategies to avoid speaking, or at least to avoid speaking much.

PTC: When and where did you decide to start writing this play?
RB: It’s been kicking around in my head for years.  I think it dates back at least to Occupy Wall Street days, when discussions of inequality as a social force became mainstream.

PTC: What excites you most about this project?
RB: I like the idea of language as a limited resource — the world of the play makes certain words and phrases seem special just by virtue of the fact that someone who had limited words left decided to speak them at all.  I also, in general, love to avoid too much literalness in a play — and this setup ensures that almost nothing in the play exists only on a literal plane.

PTC: In one sentence, tell us something strange that happens in your play.
RB: There’s a character who tries to deliver an art history lecture without using words.

PTC: Are you working on anything else?
RB: After the next few weeks of working on this script, I’ll be returning to a chamber music piece that’s been wanting attention — it’s a violin sonata in which the violinist is performing a demented TED talk while playing.

PTC: What’s next for you?
RB: I’ll be a resident artist at the Millay Colony for the month of July, and then in August I start rehearsals for Andrew Butler’s concert/musical Rags Parkland Sings the Songs of the Future at Ars Nova (I play a robot accordionist, of course).

About Five Hundred

by Rick Burkhardt | directed by Joshua William Gelb
Sunday, July 1, 4:30PM
Jefferson Market Library | 425 6th Ave, NYC
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In this play, each character may speak only 500 words before falling forever silent. So how can they form relationships, have kids, build legacies, or solve the mystery of the missing painting? And why does that one guy talk so much?

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A play about survival and picking up the pieces after all is lost

The world premiere reading of Jae Kramisen’s Earth is Greedy is coming to our Week of Extraordinary Risk this Friday, June 29, 7PM. In advance of the reading, we learned more from Jae about this grand three part project, and the bear in the woods that inspired her to keep going.

Learn more in our interview below and reserve your seat now for Earth is Greedy, June 29, 7PM, Jefferson Market Library (425 6th Ave, NYC).

Pipeline Theatre Company: What do you want us to know about your play?
Jae Kramisen: Earth is Greedy is the 2nd play in The Moon Trilogy, three plays that explore a world in which the moon explodes in the sky. In 2013, I finished the first play in the series, The Girl Who Stole the Moon. It was inspired by my experience with Hurricane Sandy and I rolled three plays I was writing into one. I didn’t plan to write a trilogy but after finishing The Girl Who Stole the Moon it was clear that the characters and most importantly the world, still had more to say. Several characters from the first play repeat but they’re in different forms. I decided not to have the 3 plays connect but rather explore windows into parallel worlds.

Earth is Greedy explores a world in the wake of natural disaster. This is a play about survival and picking up the pieces after all is lost. Storylines connect and collide as lights and sound create a sensory experience.

PTC: When and where did you decide to start writing this play?
JK: Earth is Greedy has been with me for well over 4 years now and it feels like a long love story. After completing The Girl Who Stole the Moon, I immediately wrote what was the original first 60 pages of Earth is Greedy. Then I hit a wall. My characters were in the woods but I had no idea what they were doing or what they wanted. I started meditating and one night I had a vivid and clear dream that told me I was to hike the Appalachian Trail. I had never considered it before that. After all, I was a city kid. But three months later I quit my job and spent 6 months hiking the 2,200 miles from Georgia to Maine. By the 3rd day I was given the trail name of “Scribbles” as I chronicled my journey. My characters were taking shape. The world was getting clearer.

On my 30th birthday, while I was hiking through the Shenandoahs in Northern Virginia a black bear jumped out in front of me. It was the most frightening moment in my life. The bear stared me down, kicked up dirt and growled, and in that moment I thought “Shit, I didn’t finish Earth is Greedy!” I pledged that if I got out alive from that bear encounter that I was damn well gonna finish this play. After finishing the trail and returning to NYC, I ended up writing 3 other plays but I know now I had to write those to prep myself for this project. I’d always come back to Earth is Greedy but because the play had been written with such time gaps it was fragmented. I had written well over 300 pages and I knew I needed a way to focus in. This was going to be a big play with a big world and I needed a place that could let me imagine it all. I knew Pipeline was the place for Earth is Greedy to be fully realized. Scrapping everything and starting fresh, I quickly realized that the play I had set out to write 4 years ago was no longer the play I wanted to write now. Most importantly this play set my life on a different path, and after hiking the trail I’ve never been the same. 

PTC: What excites you most about this project? 
JK: It’s an exciting world! There’s so much happening. The world’s on fire. The moon’s exploded. It’s fierce and action-driven and I’m really excited to see it on its feet! I love the characters. They’ve all become so clear and since they’ve been with me so long I feel like they’ve slowly revealed themselves to me. There’s so much more I want to explore. I’m beginning to think this may be a book.

PTC: In one sentence, tell us something strange that happens in your play. 
JK: The moon explodes apart in the sky – and that’s just the beginning.

PTC: Are you working on anything else? 
JK: This play has been quite the baby. I’ve focused on this one and I think I’ll keep working on it for a little while.

PTC: What’s next for you?
JK: Continuing to build my healing practice, Urban Gaia, and working on a rewrite of my shaman-centered play, In Search of Glory. And maybe another draft of Earth is Greedy.

About Earth is Greedy

by Jae Kramisen | directed by Tara Elliott
Friday, June 29, 7PM
Jefferson Market Library | 425 6th Ave
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The Moon explodes apart in the sky. Fire and flood ensue as a strange disease begins to spread. The lives of three women haunted by trauma intersect as reality and nightmare collide. Who can you trust when the world is on fire?

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Brave women who defied tradition in the 17th century

The world premiere reading of Divya Mangwani’s Rise of the River is coming to our Week of Extraordinary Risk on Saturday, June 30, 2PM. In advance of the reading, we learned more from Divya about the Sindhi folklore that inspired this play about women defying tradition in the 17th century.

Learn more in our interview below and reserve your seat now for Rise of the River, June 30, 3PM, Jefferson Market Library (425 6th Ave, NYC).

Pipeline Theatre Company: What do you want us to know about your play?
Divya Mangwani: The play is loosely based on Sindhi folklore. The Sufi poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai immortalized seven heroines in his poetry Shah Jo Risalo in the 17th Century. The stories celebrated women choosing love and freedom over societal tradition and oppression.

Set in Sindh (then in India, now in Pakistan), the play is about religious freedom and the God Jhulelal who was said to have united the Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs in Sindh. It is about the river Indus (Sindhu) and the civilizations that have been formed on its banks. It is about being forgotten, being lost, having to conform to the past, being afraid of the future and having the courage to make a choice.

PTC: When and where did you decide to start writing this play?
DM: I’ve been thinking of writing a play about Sindh for quite some time. My grandparents are all from Sindh and these are the stories of my childhood. It always amazed me to hear these folktales of strong, brave women who defied tradition in the 17th century. I pitched the story to Playlab and have spent the year challenging myself to understand more about this world and try connecting with it. I would like to spend more time discovering stories about the history so this play will be a part of a three play cycle about Sindh.

PTC: What excites you most about this project?
DM: I’m excited about discovering how life can be centered around a force – a person or a God or the river. Through Sohni, I’m questioning my own ideas about opposition, about freedom, about choice, about what battles you choose to fight and if letting go or giving in is a loss or gain of power and control. The idea of using language and rhythm for the different elements of this world was an exciting prospect about writing the play.

PTC: In one sentence, tell us something strange that happens in your play.
DM: The river Indus disappears.

PTC: Are you working on anything else?
DM: I’m working on a play about djinns and desire that will have a reading at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater next month as part of Tamasha, Hypokrit Theatre’s festival.

PTC: What’s next for you?
DM: I’ll be starting the NYTW 2050 Artistic Fellowship this year and also working on a project for UNICEF Climate Change week with Hypokrit Theatre and other collaborators.

About Rise of the River

Saturday, June 30, 3PM
by Divya Mangwani | directed by Rebecca Martinez
Jefferson Market Library
425 6th Ave, NYC
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The river Indus, the heartbeat of civilization in Sindh, disappears. Sohni, the daughter of the river, falls in love on the eve of her wedding – with another man. The God Jhulelal desperately tries to keep the Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs united. As Sindh erupts in chaos, the lowly Hilsa fish may be the only one who can save them all.

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Three sisters, who are maybe older than time itself, who live in an apartment in bushwick

The Pipeline reading premiere of Matt Minnicino’s wyrd is coming to the Week of Extraordinary Risk on July 1, 2PM. In advance of the reading, we learned more from Matt about this new play focused on fate, magic, language, sisterhood, and quite possibly the end of the world.

Learn more in our interview below and reserve your seat now for wyrd, July 1, 2PM, Jefferson Market Library (425 6th Ave, NYC).

Pipeline Theatre Company: What do you want us to know about your play?
Matt Minnicino: It’s about three sisters, who are maybe older than time itself, who live in an apartment together in Bushwick — and really I’m happy to let the rest be a surprise! It’s also about anger, power, love, fate, control, humanity, and there’s a bit in it about spicy curry.

PTC: When and where did you decide to start writing this play?
MM: wyrd actually started life as a totally different play, called anon, which I wrote while in residency with Brooklyn’s Exquisite Corpse and ran in a festival at HERE Arts. I was enraptured by the concept of three unfathomably-powerful sisters holding sway over the fate of humanity (from Shakespeare’s Macbeth and countless instances in mythology), but living secretly alongside mankind. Maybe I watched too much Charmed as a kid. But, though the cast and team executed the play adroitly as could be hoped, I was deeply unsatisfied with the text and slid the draft onto a dusty shelf for years. When I met Felicia Lobo in 2016 and we got to talking about horror theatre and how to make magic onstage, I got swept up in a flood of possibilities, basically set the old script on fire and rooted around in the ashes for the beginnings of a new, 95% different play which (so far) is a lot more fun, a lot more angry, a lot more hopeful, and a lot more, uh, weird.

PTC: What excites you most about this project?
MM: Pipeline has, not once, hesitated to encourage the impossible. I love the sorcery of theatre, writing things that are “unstageable,” and Pipeline has pushed us all to embrace every one of those impulses. In wyrd I get to try and terrify, awe, enrapture, or totally mystify an audience without worrying about what “makes sense.” Part and parcel with this has been the joy of discovering this play’s strange, messy, magical world. There’s a lot in there about the hidden underside of history, and the three of the play’s five characters are almost totally unrestrained by reality. They could stop time, pluck thoughts out of your head, shift the course of global events with a blink — but what holds them back is knowing how much power they have. Working in the space of theatre and not film or literature, you have to come up with creative ways to convey that someone can transcend everything we know and accept to be true, and that’s been an absolutely thrilling challenge.

PTC: In one sentence, tell us something strange that happens in your play.
MM: There’s really no scene in which something kinda strange doesn’t happen but, if I had to pick: in wyrd some characters forget things by regurgitating grapes that contain memories and then crushing them.

PTC: Are you working on anything else?
MM: Oh, so many things! The very question is a thudding reminder of just how much I have on my plate, but thankfully it’s a lot of wonderful, stimulating art-making and collaboration. Currently I’m on commission to adapt Anna Karenina, the entire Oresteia, an obscure Maxim Gorky play, dramaturging a queer adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, developing a post-apocalyptic short film about a world with no men, and (in my free time) an epic modern adaptation of Pinocchio.

PTC: What’s next for you?
MM: Besides workshops of all those things mentioned above, in about two weeks I’m trotting down to my home state of Virginia to teach theatre and Shakespeare to high-schoolers at the beautiful American Shakespeare Center. In a nice, notable bit of irony given the subject matter of wyrd, I’ll be directing Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus. You know, the play where a guy sells his soul to the Devil.

ABOUT wyrd

by Matt Minnicino | directed by Felicia Lobo
Sunday, July 1, 2PM
Jefferson Market Library | 425 6th Ave
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In a basement apartment in Bushwick, three sisters wield unfathomable power over fate and time — but how they use that power isn’t up to them and never has been. One sister falls in love. Another falls in hate. The third tries to keep the other two from falling. The City is in a heat wave, and a war is coming.

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Examining the difference between gender and sexuality

The Pipeline reading premiere of J. Julian Christopher’s Bundle of Sticks is coming to the Week of Extraordinary Risk on June 30, 8PM. In advance of the reading, we learned more from Julian about this new play focused on gender, sexuality, gay conversion therapy, and the Aboriginal God of Erections.

Learn more in our interview below and reserve your seat now for Bundle of Sticks, June 30, 8PM, Jefferson Market Library (425 6th Ave, NYC).

Pipeline Theatre Company: What do you want us to know about your play?
J. Julian Christopher: The play has evolved since its inception. At first, I thought I was writing about the dangers of gay conversion therapy, which of course is an aspect of the play. Upon completion of the first draft I realized that I was examining the often confused differences between gender and sexuality. How does the world measure masculinity and femininity? What are the expectations of each and how are those who don’t define themselves in the binary treated? 

PTC: When and where did you decide to start writing this play?
JJC: I’ve been wanting to write this play since my visit to Australia in 2012. It took about five years of research and brainstorming to begin writing it this past year. I think I was afraid to write it, because of the magnitude of the play. PlayLab really helped me tackle the fear head on, and I just went for it. I’m happy I completed a draft. I can’t wait to pick it apart. It has been a long process.

PTC: What excites you most about this project?
JJC: Each actor plays at least two characters without significant costume changes and preconceived notions of a gender binaries. That’s exciting to me. I love seeing actors transform just through the use of their bodies.

PTC: In one sentence, tell us something strange that happens in your play.
JJC: There is a genital sniffing symphony that leads to a naked rebirth of one of the characters.

PTC: Are you working on anything else?
JJC: Currently, I am turning my first play, Nico Was a Fashion Model, into a young adult novel. I’m also in the research stage of a new play about 80’s Freestyle Dance music.

PTC: What’s next for you?
JJC: I will be spending July at PlayPenn Theatre Conference workshopping Bruise & Thorn, which I wrote a first draft for last year during PlayLab. I’m excited to work on the play further and so thankful to Pipeline Theatre Company for supporting the work last year. 

About Bundle of Sticks

by J. Julian Christopher | directed by Christopher Burris
Saturday, June 30, 8PM
Jefferson Market Library | 425 6th Ave., NYC
Make Reservation

Gay men from across the globe go deep into the outback of Australia for a secret gay conversion therapy retreat. When they arrive, they are not only challenged by Otto, their toxically masculine group leader, but also by Ungud, the Aboriginal God of Erections.

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Reckoning with the idea of what is “feminine”

The Pipeline reading premiere of Amy Gijsbers van Wijk’s feminine octagon [or, aristotle can eat me] is coming to the Week of Extraordinary Risk on June 28, 7PM. In advance of the reading, we learned a bit more from Amy about the seeds of inspiration for this project, namely culture’s impact on our notion of the “feminine,” the patriarchy, capitalism, and some good old-fashioned Aristotle inspired anger.

Learn more in our interview below and reserve your seat now for feminine octagon [or,aristotle can eat me], June 28, 7PM, Jefferson Market Library (425 6th Ave, NYC).

Pipeline Theatre Company: What do you want us to know about your play?
Amy Gijsbers van Wijk: This high-energy, bizarro dark comedy is attempt to reckon with ideas of what is “feminine,” and the ways in which culture (especially the Internet), patriarchy, and capitalism all calibrate, commodify, and complicate how we (“we” being everyone, but most esp. womxn, femme, & female-identifying people) experience it; how femininity also means there’s often an underlying physical/emotional threat of harm. The “octagon,” in the title is meant to describe the structure of the play, and toy with the concepts of the (so often described) cis-male-orgasm-mirroring Aristotelean play structure and inherently- feminine circular play structure. I’m seeing what it would be like to blend those into an octagonal shape (taking edges/climaxes/conflicts and a more macro circular build into some hybrid shape). A colleague described the play as a “feminine self-help/healing ritual,” and if that is even slightly true for others’ experience of the play, I’ll be over the moon.

PTC: When and where did you decide to start writing this play?
AGW: I started writing the play without knowing if I’d ever use the initial ten pages to make anything. I scrabbled together those ten pages in about eight minutes of furious writing, a few months before PlayLab applications, and then shelved it. When I was putting my application together for PlayLab and trying to decide what I was going to pitch, suddenly this idea of what those ten pages could become felt really clear — it was a confluence of things I’d been thinking about a lot in my own life, as an artist and as a femme person. I was excited by the idea of turning something a little “throw-away” (not knowing what I’d do with those 10 pages) into the heart of a bigger piece, because it felt challenging, and scary, and like a bit of a bargain — committing to the idea that these wild impulses could become, thematically, the support a whole play. 

I also spent a lot of time in graduate school studying, and being deeply frustrated with, the expectations and limits of plot and Aristotelian structure. One day, I was in a meeting with my professor, Rob Handel, and I think we were going over an outline that I’d made, specifically to hammer out the plot of a play. I said, “You know, sometimes when I’m working on plot, I . . . am filled with this deep sense of rage, like physically, in my body. And I understand why I have to be able to [have this skill as a writer] but I am also full of anger.” There was a pause, and then he said, “That’s interesting. I think maybe you should use that anger in a play.” I think that a lot of that anger has found its way into feminine octagon [or, aristotle can eat me]. So I guess you could also say it started there.

PTC: What excites you most about this project?
AGW: I’ve tried to create a play that feels authentic and centered around the experiences of womxn, that assumes they are my audience, they are who the play is for. That’s been really exciting, and also lets me see the ways I’m socialized to assume and explain things, in an effort to help out the patriarchy, to center and make men comfortable, in my writing and as a person. Which is equally awful and exciting. I’m thrilled to try and hold space for the intense spectrum of femininity, of feelings around that. Also, there is tons of weird movement in and out of worlds, a chorus, a karaoke performance, a giant party, Mary Shelley, people turning into reptiles — it’s a play that’s steeped in images and transformation and rhythm in a way that I can’t wait to hear, and hear how people react to it. 

PTC: In one sentence, tell us something strange that happens in your play.
AGW: When Allure and Candy are in the middle of getting ready for a night out, Orpheus descends . . . it is unclear from where, or exactly what his deal is. 

PTC: Are you working on anything else?
AGW: I’m working on a play about mainstream kink/BDSM pornography called DIRTY DIRTY, and I’m in the middle of writing a pilot as a part of the Tank’s Pilot Writing Group.

PTC: What’s next for you?
AGW: I’ll be in residency with Fresh Ground Pepper’s BRB Retreat this summer, working on a brand new play.

About feminine octagon [or, aristotle can eat me]

by Amy Gijsbers van Wijk | directed by Anne Cecelia Haney
Thursday, June 28, 7PM
Jefferson Market Library | 425 6th Ave
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Allure and Candy become goddesses. A man falls from the sky. Flowers + Mary Shelley fall in love. & cam girl Eurydice_19969 wants to make that ca$$$h. feminine octagon [or, aristotle can eat me] is one hour, one night, one hundred nights in the search for an unforgettable, life-changing party.

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