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Interview with Cashae Monya: Marianne Angelle

by moxielicious

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MOXIE favorite Cashae Monya stars as Marianne Angelle in Lauren Gunderson’s The Revolutionists. Marianne is a composite character created by Gunderson to embody the badass ladies of the uprisings in the Caribbean that were happening at the same time as the French Revolution. Cashae answered some questions for assistant director Callie Prendiville about her role:

Callie: What is your favorite thing about Marianne?

Cashae: My favorite thing about my character is playing a woman that makes me think,
“Damn! I want to be like her when I grow-up.” It’s is rare that I get to play a character
that I deeply admire and respect. Marianne is so strong in her convictions, honest and fearless. She makes me want to be a better person and I feel blessed to be portraying a woman with so much guts and class.

 

Callie: What’s the most interesting or unexpected thing you’ve discovered about this time period?

Cashae: History is so fascinating! I would say the most interesting and unsettling thing I discovered about this time period is the methods of torture that were used. It is unfathomable to think that people used their intellect and financial resources to create such gruesome ways to kill other human beings. And it gets even more despicable: People would gather and watch people being brutally murdered, it was entertainment??And these methods were a part of the judicial system. It’s appalling.

Callie: What is your biggest challenge in this piece?

Cashae: My biggest challenge is being true to the charmingly comedic moments of the piece while also honoring the heartbreakingly tragic moments woven throughout the play.

Callie: Why does San Diego need this play now?

Cashae:  San Diego needs this play because Donald Trump is president and we have a lot of work to do.

 Check out The Revolutionists playing at MOXIE through June 25!

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Interview with Jo Anne Glover: Olympe de Gouges

by moxielicious

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MOXIE co-founder Jo Anne Glover stars as Olympe de Gouges in Lauren Gunderson’s The Revolutionists. The real-life de Gouges was a playwright and feminist who wrote The Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen, and who lost her life at the guillotine. Jo Anne answered some questions for assistant director Callie Prendiville about her role:

Callie: What is your favorite thing about Olympe?

Jo Anne: My favorite thing about Olympe is her passion for her work and her belief that art can change the world.

Callie: What’s the most interesting or unexpected thing you’ve discovered about this time period?

Jo Anne: So many interesting things about the dynamics of the French Revolution – especially the violence that people feeling displaced can create.  I never knew about the Women’s March on Versailles, an interesting (although much less peaceful) parallel to our recent Women’s March.

Callie: What is your biggest challenge in this piece?

Jo Anne: Olympe’s journey of believing in her art versus her self-doubt about whether she’s making a difference is a very familiar one for me, but also a challenging one to find a balance for.  At first, she felt a little whiny to me (totally my own bias against my own kind aka sensitive artists), but I’m discovering the stronger her conviction to a belief in the power of art, the less it feels like whining.

Callie: Why does San Diego need this play now?

Jo Anne: We need this play right now because it’s important that we continue to recognize where there is continued inequality, and looking at it in smart and playful ways helps us to tune in, rather than tune out.

 Check out The Revolutionists playing at MOXIE through June 25!

A Q&A About THE REVS from 7 Stages

by moxielicious

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An interview with THE REVOLUTIONISTS playwright Lauren Gunderson, from the 7 Stages production in Atlanta:

1. When you hear reign of terror, your brain doesn’t automatically think comedy. Were you always headed down the funny path with this play or did the humor come as a welcome break for the dread of the guillotine?

It was always a comedy. This horrific phase of the French Revolution was based on such hypocrisy by it’s leaders. Hypocrisy is a reversal of expectation, which is the definition of a joke. A dark, scary joke but still. For this play it’s funny until it’s not. 

2. The Revolutionists is set in the past but incredibly timely. Did you go into the play knowing what issues you wanted to talk about, or did that happen naturally?

I didn’t have to search for the modern equivalences as they were quit obvious. Brazen, violence-peddling, divisive rhetoric is the same then (Marat, Robespierre) as it is now (Cruz, Trump). The shocking difference between the rich and the poor, the national debt amassed by needless wars, hunger, anger, inequality. Modern America really needs to have a long talk with 18th Century France.  

3. A play that calls for a full cast of four powerful females is unfortunately hard to find and the play itself talks about gender equality. What advice do you have for female artists to keep fighting the good fight?

I tend to fight with humor more than anger. Comedy can trick you into coming way closer to a hard topic than drama can. Making someone laugh invites them into the conversation, it equates us as people as opposed to dividing us by ideology. Outrage is necessary, and there is a lot to be outraged about, but when I write about feminism, racism, or violence, I lead with a funny that ends with heart. Humor and heartfullness humanize. As Olympe says of her play, which is true for this one as well, it starts out as a comedy but ends as a drama. We don’t have a word for that other than… life.

4. What’s your favorite moment in the play? Too many to name! But probably when Marianne is describing her husband’s courtship or any time Marie Antoinette enters a room.

5. How did you choose which historical women to write about? And what inspired you the most about them?

I discovered the history of Olympe de Gouges while on a trip to Paris with my mom and sister. Reading a small footnote I was stunned to learn that she was a radical feminist playwright who was guillotined only months after Marie Antoinette. I was so inspired and conflicted at the same time. She was an artist and an activist but neither could save her or her country (at the time). It made me think about other forms of political activism and what art means in a real crisis. I thought, who would Olympe be friends with? I’d always loved the story of Charlotte Corday and her proud, brave but morally questionable assassination. And who doesn’t love Marie Antoinette, especially if you look deeper and uncover her humanity and strange soulfulness. But the real wonder came when I realized that while France was fighting a civil war for equality and freedom it was enslaving black men and women in Haiti. This allowed me to imagine a brilliant, strong, witty Caribbean woman, who I named Marianne after the symbol for French freedom La Marianne, who could complete this fierce foursome. Marianne became the heart of the play really, as she is the ideologue and the backbone of the cause of liberty. I think you always have you write plays about real, feeling, flawed people as opposed to grand ideas. Ideas can’t breathe and laugh and learn. Ideas are contained inside minds alive with curiosity, conflict, and relativism, and that’s what makes a theatrical journey.

Seeking Artists!

by moxielicious

 

Seeking artwork by female artists for a lobby display at MOXIE Theatre for the run of Lauren Gunderson’s The Revolutionists. This grand and dream-tweaked comedy is about violence and legacy, feminism and terrorism, art and how we actually go about changing the world. The play begs the question, and we are seeking work that explores the question: What IS the artist’s place in the revolution?

– Submission date deadline: May 1, 2017     

– Submit to: callie@moxietheatre.com, subject line: Revolutionists Lobby Art

– In email please include titles, size of piece, medium and price.

– Work will need to be pre-wired to hang

– Selected artists will be notified: May 15 ($20 participation fee if selected; MOXIE takes 20% commission if piece is sold)

– Hang Dates (must be available to bring in piece one of these days): May 19-21

Women’s March… on Versailles

by moxielicious

Have you heard of the Women’s March? No, not January 2017… October 1789. Check out this video for THE REVOLUTIONISTS! #MoxieTheatre #MoxieRev

Lauren Gunderson’s The Revolutionists

by moxielicious

The final play in our twelfth season is the fabulous Lauren Gunderson’s The Revolutionists. 

THE REVOLUTIONISTS is a brutal comedic quartet about four very real women who lived boldly in France during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror (1793-1794). Playwright Olympe De Gouge, assassin Charlotte Corday, and former queen (and fan of ribbons) Marie Antoinette, and Haitian rebel Marianne Angelle hang out, murder Marat, lose their heads, and try to beat back the extremist insanity in revolutionary Paris.
This grand and dream-tweaked comedy is about violence and legacy, feminism and terrorism, art and how we actually go about changing the world.
It’s a true story.
Or total fiction.
Or a play about a play.
Or a raucous resurrection that ends in a song and a scaffold. – Lauren Gunderson, New Play Exchange
“A sassy, hold-on-to-your-seats theatrical adventure… an invigorating and enlightening journey.” – Cincinnati.com
“Savagely sharp” – Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“It’s in this space – that strange spot between politics and art – where Gunderson’s writing flourishes.” – Houston Chronicle
“Vive les Femmes! …It’s simply a brilliant script” – City Beat Cincinnati

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MOXIE to produce SKELETON CREW in association with Tony-Award Winning Old Globe Theatre

by moxielicious

Did you know that for the first time in our history, we are producing in association with the Tony Award-winning The Old Globe? Our very own Delicia Turner Sonnenberg directs SKELETON CREW by Dominique Morisseau, starting performances April 8 in the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre. #moxietheatre #moxiecrew17350070_10154905107072881_3510461534516677888_o

The MOXIEs! New Award for Annual Fundraiser

by moxielicious

March 2017, San Diego CA.- MOXIE Theatre, the only theatre in Southern California dedicated to producing women’s work, is kicking off Women’s History Month with an exciting announcement. For the first time in their history, MOXIE will be hosting an awards gala Honoring San Diego Women with Grit and Determination. The MOXIEs , as the awards will be called, will be held Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 6 pm at the Lafayette Hotel, inside the historical Mississippi Ballroom . The awards ceremony will be a part of MOXIE’s annual fundraiser and will also feature a director’s cut performance of the company’s upcoming prem iere of The Revolutionists, by Lauren Gunderson, a raucous girl-powered comedy about feminism, art, and how we go about changing the world. The Revolutionists begins preview performances May 25 and opens May 27, 2017.

ˈ ē mox·ie mäk s (noun) NORTH AMERICAN informal

force of character, grit, determination, or nerve. “That girl’s got moxie.”

The MOXIEs will be awarded to ten women in San Diego who are transforming their communities and inspiring future leaders through their own leadership and accomplishments. In addition, the event will raise funds to support MOXIE’s mission to create more diverse and honest images of women for our culture and provide opportunities to female artists in San Diego.

“The time feels right,” says MOXIE Co-Founder Jennifer Eve Thorn. “I marched on Washington with my mother while my partners marched in San Diego, and our passion for our mission at MOXIE was reignited as we joined with women across the country. We want to celebrate women who live their lives with “moxie” and persist against all odds.”

MOXIE nominations are open to extraordinary and inspirational women in San Diego County from a variety of fields, including entertainment, business, sports, art, science, medicine, education, government and philanthropy. The MOXIEs Gala and Nomination Committee is chaired by Dea Hurston , longtime arts advocate, patron, philanthropist, retired teacher, and former commissioner of arts for The City of San Diego. MOXIE is accepting nominations from the community. Criteria and nomination information can be found on MOXIE’s website at http://www.moxietheatre.com/theMOXIEs.

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It Takes a Village to perform OUR LADY OF KIBEHO

by moxielicious

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Taylor Mumin, Kimberly King and John Brooks in OUR LADY OF KIBEHO – Photo by Daren Scott

MOXIE’s production of OUR LADY of KIBEHO boasts an impressively large cast of 16. Katori Hall’s play is inspired by the true events that happened in Kibeho, Rwanda starting in 1981 when three young Rwandan women claimed to be having visions of the Virgin Mary. The play explores the girls experiences and  reactions of the people both inside and outside of their school while allowing the audience to make up their own mind about the truth surrounding the incredible events. MOXIE’s production of the play has an incredible team of actors who portray the villagers but also help make the special effects happen from behind the scenes  (but we can’t give more than that away.) Without these incredible actors, the world of Kibeho would seem much smaller and the audience would laugh and gasp a whole lot less. Meet the Village.

How did you get started in theatre?

Imahni King: When I saw a production of “Beauty and the Beast” at San Diego Junior Theater, I immediately fell in love with the stage. Since then, I’ve always been a performer.

Kimmy King: I got started in theater informally through my amateur live music career. Through the 80’s and 90’s to play in JKGhetto, Development of Souls and Tribe of Judah, so I spent a lot of time on stage developing a comfort ability with audiences. Then, when my children began enjoying participation in school theater presentations and junior theater, I took on the role of theater mom-a lot of backstage work. I fell in love with theater from backstage; watching the whole production become whole from the green room and the costume loft was a delightful courtship. I took a position as a music director for the Visual and Performing Arts program in the school district where I teach sixth grade, and found that it came with quite a bit of directorial responsibility, so I started an MA program in theater arts at SDSU!

John Brooks: When I was in Jr High, I played in the school’s orchestra and we put on an annual joint production with the drama department.  “Peter Pan” was the first and I recalling watching the actors during rehearsal, wishing I was up on stage.

Taylor Mumin: I did my first show in fifth grade (Little Red Riding Hood) and I fell in love with performing. I took a break during middle school because my school didn’t have a program, but once high school began I dove right back in and haven’t stopped since then.

Durwood Murray: I got started in theatre in Junior High School.  I needed to pick a second elective class after Home Ec (because, food), and was clueless.  I asked my mom her opinion.  She suggested Speech and Drama-she just had a feeling I’d be good at it.  In my first play I played a character that had a girlfriend.  At age 12, that hooked me for life.

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Imahni Murillo-King as Emmanuel, one of the villagers of Kibeho – Photo by Daren Scott

What have you been in recently that people in San Diego may have seen you in?

Imahni King: “Ragtime” at the Speckles Theater. Critics and and people from all around California came down to see the production.

John Brooks: Absolutely nothing!  I returned to music, after retiring from government service.

Taylor Mumin: Our Lady of Kibeho is my first show in San Diego, but I have done a few shows with Act 1 Theater Arts in Temecula. (RENT, Little Shop of Horrors and All Shook Up The Musical).

Durwood Murray: Recently in San Diego, I’ve appeared in A Civil War Christmas with Diversionary Theatre as well as To Kill a Mockingbird with New Village Arts Theatre.

Did you know about this event that happened in Kibeho before you read the play?

Imahni King: I had no idea that this event happened. Believe or not, I had actually not been so thoroughly educated on the genocide before I heard about the audition.

Kimmy King: I hadn’t heard about Kibeho before this show, but I’ve done a bit of youtube research on it lately-fascinating!

John Brooks: No, I was not aware of the events at Kibeho. Fascinating story, however!

Taylor Mumin: Not at all. I was familiar with the genocide, but these preceding events that we see in the play I was not familiar with at all.

Durwood Murray:  I had a vague familiarity with these events, but doing this show has been an incredible learning experience.  There was so much to take in.

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Tyrah Hunter, Vimel Sephus &            Durwood Murray – Photo by Daren Scott

What do you think will be most challenging in working on this play?

Imahni King: I think that the most challenging part of being in this production is going to be staying in character while keeping a believeable Rwandan accent

Kimmy King: The Rwandan accent work seems like it will be challenging.

John Brooks: Keeping it together and complementing the others work will be my greatest challenge.

Taylor Mumin: The most challenging thing will probably be making sure that all the small moments that drive the show stay strong throughout the run. There are so many big moments that keeping the smaller ones strong and powerful could possibly be a challenge.

Durwood Murray:  The most challenging aspect of working on this play has been the dialect work.  I studied dialects in college as a theatre major, but nothing even close to the Rwandan accent.  A lot of the words have such an unnatural feeling in my mouth.

What do you hope audiences will take away after having seen it?

Imahni King: The full knowledge of this event. I want them to be far more educated about the event than I was previously.

Kimmy King: After seeing the show, I hope people will take away a heightened sense of awareness and respect for the beliefs of others that are not necessarily understood or controlled. I hope that awareness engenders a desire to know more about the peoples of the world and a realization of how small our world is.

John Brooks: The take away for me in reading the script was: listen to your inner voice and do not dismiss that which you do not understand.  I hope that audiences will feel the same way after experiencing this Moxie production.

Taylor Mumin: I hope the audience walks away wanting to look into these events and further their knowledge of what happened in Rwanda. It’s a powerful and devastating series of events and I hope that our show sparks a desire in our audiences to learn more about what happened.

Durwood Murray: I hope that after seeing this show the audience finds a way to hold on to their beliefs, but also find a way to question them, allow themselves to see other and opposing perspectives.

You can see the villagers in OUR LADY OF KIBEHO playing through May, 29, 2016 at MOXIE Theatre. Tickets available at http://www.moxietheatre.com or call 858-598-7620 for tickets

Courageous – An Interview with Actress Cashae Monya

by moxielicious

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MOXIE is thrilled about our upcoming production OUR LADY OF KIBEHO by Katori Hall which is inspired by astounding true events that happened in Kibeho, Rwanda in the early 1980s. Three young women claimed to be having visions of the Virgin Mary, who delivered a message to them which they were asked to give to the President of Rwanda and the Pope. That message eerily foretold the coming of something dangerous and violent in Rwanda. In 1994, just ten years later, the Rwandan Genocide unfolded and over 800,000 people were murdered. In 2001, the Catholic Church officially approved the apparitions in Kibeho as a miracle.

The first to see the visions was a young woman named Alphonsine Mumureke, who is portrayed in MOXIE’s production by San Diego favorite, Cashae Monya, who takes a minute here on the MOXIE Blog to tell us about her process getting ready for OUR LADY OF KIBEHO.

How did you get started in theatre?  

I did my first play, Romeo and Juliet, when I was 14 years old and I haven’t found anything since that has made me feel as happy and full of purpose. 
 
MOXIE audiences will recognize you from our productions of Trouble in Mind, Crumbs from the Table of Joy and The Bluest Eye (co-produced with Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company) What have you been in recently that people in San Diego may have also seen you in?

I was last seen in the La Jolla Playhouse’s “DNA Series” in a concert reading of “Miss You Like Hell” and “To The Quick”. 
 
Did you know about this event that happened in Kibeho before you read the play?

I was unaware of the events that occurred in Kibeho before reading the play. I had never heard of the genocide either. 
 
What do you think will be most challenging in working on this play?

I think the most challenging aspect of working on telling this remarkable story will be physicalizing the ways in which the girls witness the Virgin Mary in a way that doesn’t seem gimmicky. I do not want to cheapen the gravity of what these women experienced by looking like something out of a bad horror film about demonic possession. 
 
What do you hope audiences will take away after having seen it?

I hope the audience leaves the theatre knowing that a person’s value is not determined by monetary posessions, social capital or level of education but rather his/her ability to remain courageous and faithful in the mist of doubt and hardship.

See Cashae Monya and the rest of the cast of OUR LADY OF KIBEHO May 1-29 at MOXIE Theatre. Tickets available at www.moxietheatre.com or call 858-598-7620

MOXIE Theatre is located at 6663 El Cajon Blvd. Suite N San Diego, CA 92115.