War of Words Part IV

Articulating The Arts: The Art of Protest: April 3 – 6 (April 3 – 5 @ 8pm; April 6 @ 7pm) at TADA Theatre 15 W. 28th St, NYC, 2nd Floor. Tkts: http://www.articulatetheatre.com/ata-5-the-art-of-protest.html

aop-sign.jpgArticulate will team playwrights with visual artists to create a signature benefit event examining other art forms through the lens of theatre. It brings together the ATC ensemble and guest artists with unique works of art to use as a springboard and source of inspiration for new theatre works.

Participating Actors: Sarah Babb,* Grant Bowen,* David Palmer Brown,* J. Dolan Byrnes,* Laurence Cantor,* Joanne Dorian,* Arianna Ennis, Brad Fryman,* Michael Gnat,* Kylie Kelder, David Lamberton,* Sarah Okada, Denise Pence,* Eric Percival,* Briana Sakamoto,* Sharon Talbot,* Valerie Terranova,* Brittney Venable, and William Franke*

*appearing courtesy of Actors Equity Association

We asked the entire company one question:

Why are you doing this? 


Denise Pence – Actor (Triggered, Eenie Meenie Minie NO)

Copy of DenisePence.jpgAfter being challenged, surprised and totally fulfilled exercising my craft as an actor in several other Articulating the Arts productions, organizing my schedule to make SURE I would be around for this one, was a slam/dunk in my life.  Yes, an ever-present priority is that I need an agent so it helps to showcase.  However, I’ve noticed the “important” industry rarely shows up for off-off-waaay off-Broadway events . . . and there is a multitude of productions going on every night all over this theater crazy town from which to choose.  Sooo, why make the time? Of greater enticement is what will Cat, as producer, do this time around to top her last endeavor (production values on no budget are a marvel to admire). And then there’s the writers. I don’t know about you, but creative writing around a specific theme, limited to 10 minutes, is not something many stellar writers could attempt. And this challenge? Protest Art???  OMG. A wealth of material in this Drumpft day and age, I’m sure, will be an event to behold.  Good, bad or indifferent, at least one of these new plays will surely impact change of thought for many.

Michael Gnat – Actor (Before Yesterday Was Better)

12047004_455805601275729_7011480822605314500_nI’m doing The Art of Protest because I think it’s a wonderful concept for an evening of new short plays—especially in these troubled times—and because Articulate’s got a great group of artists with whom to work. I’m doing the particular short play Before Yesterday Was Better, by Robin Rice, because I was quite taken by this piece, which nicely delineates two Vermonters, two generations apart, and probes more than just one hot topic.

J. Dolan Byrnes – Actor (Melting the ICE)

Copy of J_DolanByrnes.jpgI am doing this project because 1.)  the plays showcased in this production call to the public’s attention the sorry and alarming state of affairs in the United States today and 2.) in some cases give us hope with regard to the future and the sense of decency possessed by many of our fellow travelers in this country and on this planet. 3.) I like to act.





Brittney Venable – Actor (Triggered)

Copy of Brittney VenableI am doing this project because I believe in the voice of the people. Without our united voices humanity would fall into chaos. Artists have long held a mirror up to society to display that society’s ills. When people can’t speak for themselves we have to have someone to help. I believe that no matter what side of the picket line you’re on, you should be heard. This project takes the images that represent a given movement and brought them to life on a “what could’ve been, what may be, what should never be” level.

Valerie Terranova – Actor (Melting the ICE)

31124741_10107504210309189_5003252173849493504_n.jpgI’m doing this because I believe telling stories about important issues helps open us up to empathy—the most important agent for lasting, positive change.





David Palmer Brown – Actor (This is Bull)

Copy of DavidPalmerBrownHS.jpgWhy’m I doing this project?:  I am doing it because I believe in the work this company does; and because of Cat Parker, who gives her all and who I very much enjoy working with.








Joanne Dorian – Actor

430751_3113318794262_1434628072_n.jpgAlthough I had to withdraw as an actress from The Art of Protest, due to current health considerations, as an activist in real life, I have been very engaged by this project. I volunteered to research protest art posters from around the world, which I found quite fascinating, and then, as a member of Articulate’s reading committee, I helped to vet over a hundred submissions of original ten minute plays based on our selection of protest art. The idea of ultimately creating an evening out of ten carefully selected new short plays, based on various protest movements, was an exciting one for me. As a company, we felt the topic is very timely, as more people than ever are actively engaging in protest.around the world. As creative artists we are excited to be able to reflect and magnify some of these protests using the dynamic medium of theatre to reach our audience; to continue the conversation; and to actively do our part toward expanding people’s awareness of issues affecting us all.

William Franke – Actor (Perversity)

copy-of-william-frankehs.jpgIn these times of increasing political engagement and citizen protest, I feel it is good to know our own country’s history of protest and what is going on in the rest of the world. And I always love the overlap of different artistic disciplines.




Darius Baker – Actor (Eenie Meenie Miney NO)

Copy of DariusBaker.jpegIt’s been a few years since my last acting project. Since then I have been feeling as if I lost my drive to be an actor. I would constantly doubt myself and make excuses not to audition. I’m doing this project because I want to be an actor. I love being on stage and I am ready and willing to do the work that needs to be done. Consistency is not easy for me personally, but I am a work in progress and I’m hoping this project will aid me in becoming a better actor.




Valerie David – Actor (Consequences)

Copy of Valerie David.jpgThere is no better time than now to instill hope and empowerment in these turbulent times. Voices in this world are being silenced, and this project is one that I am so proud to be a part of because those voices should no longer to be silenced. This project is an important catalyst in “these calls to action” to be heard–we need to defend our rights and stick up for others who are not able to do so for themselves. We need to change people’s misconceptions of others and make ALL realize that we are all one people–no matter what we believe, no matter our race, gender, no matter our sexual orientation–we are one and we are equals. We are “articulating,” through Articulate Theatre Company and its essential plays in The Art of Protest, the importance of the freedom to express our opinions; accepting others and appreciating our differences; and protesting and rising up to the animosity and intolerance toward others on the rise in our country and around the world. This is why I am doing this! Thank you, Articulate Theatre Company.

Sharon Talbot – Actor (This is Bull)

Copy of SharonTalbot.jpegGood script. Funny script. Good director. Good topic (left-handedness as a life-ending scourge).   An excuse to chew up scenery whilst screaming and sobbing, throwing tantrums and hurling furniture.  An opportunity to show off my Method training (sans puking onstage) and my upper-crust training at RADA.  An opportunity to holler, “Look, Ma, no hands!”  (Mother said no one got anywhere by being a lady.)  In other words, being myself.


Brad Fryman – Actor (Triggered)

Copy of BradFryman.jpg

Why am I doing this? Because, as was once said, “attention must be paid.” In “Triggered” Thomas C. Dunn gives voice to the all too may family’s affected by gun violence demanding our political leadership take responsibility in a deeply personal and frightening manner. Will our leadership ever be able to step up? I’m not sure, but, if this play could possibly help them along their path, then theatre has again shown its incredible power and worthiness. That’s something I want to be part of. 

Tara Reuter – Actor (Perversity)

Copy of Tara Reuter.jpgI am doing this project because I love performing new works. I love working with new playwrights and companies I haven’t worked with before. Not only is it good to meet new artistic people but it’s fun to create a character no one else has done before. Having such a short rehearsal process is always a fun challenge and creates an energy around the piece you don’t get in other productions. Also, as an actor it’s always fun to create. Constantly working keeps the creative juices flowing and keeps up momentum for the next season and so on and so forth. Switching things up is always important and that is what this project is doing for me. It’s keeping me on my toes and launching me into the spring season.

David Lamberton – Actor (Triggered)

Copy of DavidLambertonHS.jpgTo communicate, to demonstrate, to educate. An integral part of our ‘roles’ as Actors is to communicate new, current, controversial, intimate, difficult messages and ideas to the public. As Actors we inhabit characters who demonstrate sympathetic and un-sympathetic, complicated and common ways of coping with, hiding from, facing, confronting everyday events in our lives. Through being Actors we educate ourselves to those aspects (above) which may be native but buried within us; those opinions and ideas which may be antithetical to our own, and, hopefully, share that new information with the Audience.

Laurence Cantor – Actor (Perversity)

Copy of LaurenceCantor.jpgWhy I am doing this project? Well, it wasn’t it’s convenience, I can tell you that. I’m smack dab in the middle of two serious personal crises, no; it turns out that timing isn’t everything after all. Nor is my prime motivation financial; don’t get me started: one of my lines is “The starving artist, I did not wish to be.” I’m doing this project because ATC shoved a script over my virtual transom which contained a character who is neither dead before the play begins nor dies en route, a character rich with details to explore, a character who says beautiful things and revels in his own theatricality. This character exists in support of a very good play that will move its audience back and forth in time and leave them knowing people and a time and passions that they may remember or not, but will have lived through if we do our jobs well. And we will. That’s why I’m doing this project.


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