Joan Kane: Speaking Truth

I had to tell my story. I needed to be able to say, ‘Look, I grew up in a time period in Brooklyn where racism was horrific and it was rampant.’ I needed to talk about sexual assault. I needed to talk about survival; how you can have horrible things happen to you. . . And I think it’s relevant today . . . I wanted to give some hope to folks: Look! Yeah, you can do it! You can go, you can push ahead. Tell your stories. Make sure that your truth is out there. For me, it’s very important that my truth is out there because, I believe, it’s truth that sets us free.

Joan Kane (writer/actor/producer) is the founding Artistic Director of Ego Actus.

The theatre is my church and I am a true believer. I see shows, I write plays. I produce, direct and perform. I love to see stories brought to life and I love making them.

Almost 13 by Joan Kane will be presented by Ego Actus in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe at Greenside Venues, 6 Infirmary St in August 2022. The play dramatizes the memories of a young girl’s violent summer in Brooklyn. Emotionally broken from witnessing a murder and ore, she finds herself dancing with a ghost. Can she survive being caught between a disintegrating family and racial violence?

This is a solo adaptation of the memories of a young girl’s hot, sweaty summer in Brooklyn. Can she survive being caught between a disintegrating family at home and racial violence on the streets? All she wants to do is jump in the waves at Coney Island and see the fireworks. Joan wrote the original 15 character play at the LaMama playwriting symposium in Umbria, Italy.

EGO ACTUS PRESENTS “ALMOST 13”
WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY JOAN KANE,
DIRECTED BY BRUCE A! KRAEMER.
These are the memories of a young girl’s violent summer in Brooklyn.
Can she survive a disintegrating family and racial violence?
WHERE AND WHEN:
In the 2022 Edinburgh Festival Fringe
at Greenside Venues, 6 Infirmary St, Edinburgh EH1 1LS, Scotland
August 8 to 13 at 18:30
August 15 to 20 at 18:30
August 22 to 27 at 16:10
Tickets £12.00 (Concession £10.00)
Run time: 50 minutes

Edinburgh Festival Review

Published August 23, 2022 by Paul Levy

This is visceral, credible and well written drama, documentary yet delivered in part-fictional style through character acting, storytelling, occasional heart-breaking humour and a life-affirming message that lingers as we leave the theatre, pondering, humbled and ready to start talking further about Almost 13.

Bruce A! Kraemer (producer, designer, and playwright) is the producer of all Ego Actus shows.


Joan was named one of the 2011 People of the Year in honor of her contributions to the
NY theatre scene and inducted to the Indie Theatre Hall of Fame by nytheatre.com. Her
shows have been nominated for 61 awards, winning 21. Joan has also directed plays and
readings at the Lark, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Urban Stages, Workshop Theater, Nylon
Fusion, Articulate Theatre, Abingdon Theatre, Oberon Theatre, the Samuel French Short
Play Festival, the Actors Studio, T. Schreiber Studio, the Broadway Bound festival and
many others. Joan graduated from the High School of Performing Arts, studied acting at
the Neighborhood Playhouse and has an MFA in Directing from The New School and an
MS in Museum Education from Bank Street College. Early in her career she was an
Equity, AFTRA and SAG actress. She later became a teaching artist for Henry St
Settlement, Young Playwrights and Theatre for a New Audience. Joan went on to teach in
New York City Public Schools and she was a staff developer and at Fordham University
as an adjunct professor for both under graduate and graduate classes. Joan is a member of
The New York Madness Company, Rising Sun Performance Company, The Episcopal
Actors’ Guild, the League of Independent Theatre, the Dramatists Guild, New York
Women In Film and Television and the Society of Stage Directors & Choreographers. She
is a voting member for the New York Innovative Theatre Awards Artistic Achievement
committee and a Nominator for the Kilroys List. Joan is also an ex-officio Vice President
for Programming on the Executive Board of Directors of the League of Professional
Theatre Women.

Social Media Links
Twitter: @EgoActus, @kanejoan1
Facebook: EgoActus, Joan Kane
Instagram: egoactus, joankane9, kanejoan
Website: http://www.EgoActus.com, http://www.JoanKane.us

#ALMOST13 #One WomanShows #metoo #ViolaDavisFindingMe #EGO ACTUS #Sexualassault #Playwriting #Women’sRights

Dani Martineck: Pronouns Matter

In the moment we’re in, I myself, as an individual, have developed certain habits in ways of being where … if I am misgendered like it happened at the beginning of this conversation, to me, it becomes a learning opportunity.

Dani Martineck is a New York-based non-binary actor, writer, and award-winning audiobook narrator with a background in experimental psychology.

I’m a storyteller. I’ve found that in communicating truthfully through the stories I tell, other people feel seen and understood, and it just radiates this ripple of openheartedness outward to places I’ll never know.

they/them – what’s this?


Dani is here to celebrate moments of connection that bridge our experiential differences and create radical empathy. They bring their experience as a storyteller (as an actor, writer, and award-winning audiobook narrator), their experience as someone with their own daily meditation practice, and their experience as one who has found meaning living between several binaries to their offerings to you.

On screen, Dani has a recurring role on Blue Bloods on CBS, they can be seen (for a few seconds) cursing at Kendall Roy on HBO’s Succession and (for many more seconds) in short queer rom com Potion Masters, as well as several other short films and series. Their first audiobook narration, for We’re Not From Here by Geoff Rodkey for Penguin Random House, won an Odyssey Honor. Through both their acting and their writing, Dani celebrates moments of connection that bridge our experiential differences and create radical empathy. They also offer meditations for free on Insight Timer and in a more personalized process for custom guided meditations.

Explore some of Dani’s work:

Screenwriter, Producer, Actor:

Experimental-narrative short film The Rushing of the Sea explores familial loss and grief as an immersive experience. Younger and Older are adult siblings who’ve just lost their mother to terminal illness. Older is processing by taking care of Younger, who has sunk into a grief where she intrusively relives the last perfect day the three of them had together: on the beach, with the rushing of the sea underscoring impermanence. When Older has to leave Younger alone for the first time since the funeral, Younger’s surreal, sensory grief threatens to drown her. She must turn into the swell and face it, accepting the help and love of her family—both here and gone—to resurface.

Screen Actor:

Voice Actor:

Give Me Away by Gideon Media

Audiobook Narrator:

We’re Not From Here by Geoff Rodkey

The Witch King & The Fae Keeper by H.E. Edgmon

Dead Collections by Isaac Fellman

Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl by Andrea Lawlor 

Writer:

“Pan the Pirate”

“Merlin and the Dragons”

“Storm Magic”

Coni Koepfinger & Dan Carter: LIVE FROM THE BARDO: My Dinner With Mary

The Greeks believed that theatre was threefold: to entertain, to educate, and exalt the human spirit. And if we’re going to exalt the human spirit we’re gonna have to understand that we can only do that through love. ~Coni Koepfinger

Coni Koepfinger, a 2021 recipient of the Olwen Wymark Award by the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain, is currently playwright-in-residence at both Manhattan Rep and Cosmic Orchid and has worked with several other notable NYC companies such as Theatre for the New City, The Secret Theatre, the New York Unfringed Fest, Broadway Bound Festival and Pan Asian Rep. She has connected hundreds through her virtual programs Airplay and Determined Women. She is a member of the Dramatist Guild, a former board member of the International Centre for Women Playwrights (ICWP) and a chair for the League Professional Theatre Women (LPTW) and currently sits as Media Advisory Board of the Lifeboat Foundation. As a very prolific indie artist, Coni’s work has been published and produced all over the globe.

Dan Carter served over thirty years as a university theatre administrator at Penn State, Florida State, and Illinois State, also serving as Artistic Director of Pennsylvania Centre Stage, Producing Director of Illinois Shakespeare Festival, and co-founder and Artistic Director of Appalachian Theatre Ensemble. He is Past President of the National Theatre Conference and the National Association of Schools of Theatre and is Immediate Past Dean of the College of Fellows of the American Theatre. He served Actors’ Equity Association for four years as Area Liaison from the State of Florida and is a recipient of the Society of American Fight Directors’ Patrick Crean Award. As a long-standing member of the National Theatre Conference, Dan Carter can be seen in the video archive of their Living Legacy Project.

Ever since I was a little girl, I felt that there was more to the story.  That a curtain would lift and, well, something more would be revealed.  My sister swore that I used to go into my bedroom closet and disappear, then show up again several hours later. As I grew up, I continued the practice, but localized my travels in dreams.  It wasn’t until college that my waking life and fantasies began to merge… And thus, my quest became clear- the theatre of the awakened dream. Walking into your dreamlife, can be risky… so I decided to bring my dreams to life.

Writing plays became my way of communicating with all life-  from the ordinary people to the sublime consciousness… all of which seemed to operate on the same plane for me.  It was clear that we are all human life forms that can conform, reform or deform to the energetic stimulus around us-  but when we PERForm- we are able perfect the form, taking it to a higher creative state. I was always surrounded by art. My sister, my cousin, my uncles… Music, painting, drawing was like bread and water. Passion, yes. Madness, yes. But I wanted to know more…  What was   beyond the curtain?  Why is art so important to the human experience? 

It was not until this play, LIVE FROM THE BARDO: MY DINNER WITH MARY, with the help of my brilliant co-author, Dan Carter, that I now have an answer.

The search for the inexplicable and metaphysical began influencing my playwriting in the early 1990s… In the play CANDLEDANCING, about the voice of St. Julian of Norwich, a medieval anchoress, there is a line… “ When you ask God to be your dance partner- the music never stops.” Well that sure makes life simpler but where exactly is God when I am in question? In 2019, I began to explore the concept of the Bardo-  a Tibetan Book of the Dead term that explains the Christian notion of purgatory, the place in between this life and next. It became clear to me that there in the Bardo, existed THE BARDO THEATRE, the place where the scenes of life were crafted by the ascended artists for those still living on Earth. So what does this have to do with Art here and now.  Hmmmm…

LIVE FROM THE BARDO: My Dinner with Mary is a new, provocative show that dares to peek beyond the stage doors of death. In this evolutionary look at life, death, memory, and imagination, two veteran actresses are now mysteriously reunited over the brainchild of creating art from their real lives. Revisiting their separate and disparate memories, they weave a tale worthy of their upcoming appearances in eternity at The Bardo Theatre, just beyond the veil in the Great Hall of the Players Club. As conduits of Divine Destiny, the spirits of legendary actors Joseph Jefferson, Helen Hayes, Katharine Hepburn, and Jose Ferrer emerge from their portraits to inspire these actresses as they move into their next incarnations onto a higher stage of existence and offer us a refreshing look at what’s beyond the stars. Written by Coni Koepfinger and Dan Carter, starring Mary Ellen Ashley and Mary Tierney, and directed by Dan Carter, this exciting new play will be presented by Theater for the New City January 13-23, 2022.

In  MY DINNER WITH MARY, two estranged friends, Mary and Mary Ellen, reunite.  We ask why?   I say to Dan, “Maybe Mary is dying?” He says, “Write the scene.”   I do and it starts to work. Then he says, “What if Mary Ellen is already dead?” Perfect! And of course, I imagine her in the Bardo. She’s auditioning for the “role of a lifetime” at The Bardo Theatre. But how does she communicate with these great, eternal artists?  What do they sound like to us?  To the audience. Where is this voice of the great beyond? The play is set in a dream, a fever dream, but dinner begins at THE PLAYERS CLUB. Here we are surrounded by memory of the actors whose portraits don the walls of The Great Hall.  And once again Helen Hayes, Jose Ferrer, Katharine Hepburn, Joseph Jefferson begin to speak beyond the walls of time… As they speak to us through Art.

DONATE TO “MY DINNER WITH MARY” https://theaterforthenewcity.net/donate/

In  MY DINNER WITH MARY, two estranged friends, Mary and Mary Ellen, reunite.  We ask why?   I say to Dan, “Maybe Mary is dying?” He says, “Write the scene.”   I do and it starts to work. Then he says, “What if Mary Ellen is already dead?” Perfect! And of course, I imagine her in the Bardo. She’s auditioning for the “role of a lifetime” at The Bardo Theatre. But how does she communicate with these great, eternal artists?  What do they sound like to us?  To the audience. Where is this voice of the great beyond? The play is set in a dream, a fever dream, but dinner begins at THE PLAYERS CLUB. Here we are surrounded by memory of the actors whose portraits don the walls of The Great Hall.  And once again Helen Hayes, Jose Ferrer, Katharine Hepburn, Joseph Jefferson begin to speak beyond the walls of time… As they speak to us through Art.

FACEBOOK:https://www.facebook.com/theaterforthenewcity/videos/676985693261876
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INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/p/CUYSrQAlYJd/

Yiqing Zhao: Would-be-doctor-turned Actor/Writer/Creative Life Coach

Everything is connected. Everything, all these things, becomes a part of YOU. But then this journey does not stop. Some people stop from manifesting what they want because they understand the importance of training and then they let the training stop them…I’m not going to wait until I get the certification [to become] a certified coach. I know training is part of the journey…but that’s not a pre-requisite for me to do something.

  • Lucy Liu’s savviness + Kimiko Glenn’s bubbliness
  • I did real surgeries on real people, twice, as an assistant
  • Must-haves: 85% dark chocolate & kale
  • Half-marathon runner, yogi, home chef, dog mom
  • An untethered spirit. INFJ, Enneagram Type 8, Rebel. 

I spent my mid-teens to mid-twenties dwelling in the “Woe is me” kind of emotional pain.

And I was living in those nightmares in my mind over and over again, making myself a victim of my memories.

Until one day it dawned on me: My past is just a story I tell myself.

💥I choose to move forward.
💥I choose to be led by love, not fear.
💥I choose to believe it before I see it.

Then one day I looked back and was surprised to find how grateful I am for my past:
IT MADE ME WHO I AM.

🌱What kind of stories are you telling yourself?
🌱What kind of memories are you holding onto?
🌱What kind of future would you like to create?

Everything is connected, and things are always working. I just believe the universe has a way for me. That’s the belief behind every decision I’ve made and will make. I don’t wait to get ready. I’ve seen so many talented people stuck because they gave their power away to the training, thinking they have to have A before they can do B. That is a very common limiting belief. I got my first few paid acting gigs without any acting training. I signed my first high-ticket coaching client without a coaching certificate. I came to this country by myself with no family or friends, only two suitcases adding up to my body weight. All you need is you, your commitment, and willingness, and you will know what training or support you need and you’ll go get them along the way

A question my audience often asks: How do you do that? How do you coach? Hop on a call with me! Let’s brainstorm and create your next chapter together. DM or click on website link

#NYWIFT
#yiqingzhao
#creativelifecoach
#embraceyourpast
#createyourfuture
#chooseyourself#investinyou
#entrepreneur#artist#loveislove
#leadwithlove#victim#minddrama
#thoughtleader

Jenny Lynn Stewart: A New York Spirit

It makes me feel happy. I feel happy when I sing. People who hear me sing tell me THEY feel happy; that I make their hearts happy. It’s the most joyful thing that I can do, I feel, for me and for others.

Photo:  Bill Westmoreland

JENNY LYNN STEWART, dramatic soprano, is a performer of uncommon versatility.

In 2021 Jenny officially became a member of the New York City Artist Corps when she received a $5,000 City Artists Corps Grant from New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA)

Ms. Stewart was recognized for The New York Spirit, a musical program of uplifting and inspiring songs targeted for the 55+ senior audience together with stories of success during the pandemic intended to lift the audiences’ spirits and inspire them for their lives going forward.

Lincoln Center’s Library for the Performing Arts was Jenny’s original participating partner for The New York Spirit for a performance on September 18, 2021 that was free and open to the public, a requirement of the grant. Due to Covid restrictions, the New York Library system decided to postpone all in person performances.

Jenny contacted the City Artist Corps and told them about the development.  She was told that The New York Spirit must have a performance that was free and open to the public by October 31, 2021 or she would have to return the grant money.

After spending countless hours searching for a participating partner who would host The New York Spirit for a concert that was free and open to the public, Jenny found Bruce’s Garden.  www.Brucesgarden.net.   There, she met the Artistic Director, Aaron Scott who agreed to host a performance of The New York Spirit  that was free and open to the public on Saturday, October 23, 2021.  Aaron Scott in addition to being the Artistic Director of Bruce’s Garden, is a well-known jazz musician and played drums with the McCoy Tyner Trio.

The New York Spirit has come full circle and is now scheduled for a performance at Lincoln Center’s New York Public Library on Saturday, April 30, 2022 at 2 P.M. The concert is free and open to the public.

The New York Spirit

An upcoming performance will be at:
Lincoln Center’s New York Library for the Performing Arts
Bruno Walter Auditorium
Saturday, April 30, 2022, at 2:00 PM
The concert is free and open to the public.
Free tickets required.

The Eventbrite link

This program is made possible by the New York City Artist Corps.

Jenny will be accompanied by Matthew Martin Ward, piano and Ritt Henn, bass.  The performance is directed by Ira Siff. 

Jenny has toured in the United States and internationally in such Rodgers and Hammerstein classics as Carousel (Nettie) and The Sound of Music (Mother Abbess) with fellow artists including Marie Osmond, John Davidson and Patrick Cassidy.

Ms. Stewart’s performance of her one-woman show “Give a Little Bit More, Richard Rodgers Revisited” at Don’t Tell Mama in New York City received amazing reviews including John Hoglund of BackStage saying “I believe she sounds most like a combination of a very young Barbara Cook and the late opera great Eileen Farrell. Her luminous sound fills the room with vocal magic.”  Audiences left the club full of joy and passionate about the performance.

Her classical music career includes solo performances at Carnegie Hall and the title roles in Aida and Tosca.

She has received reviews in “The Boston Globe,”, “Backstage,” “The Greenville News,” and “Press Focus” to name just a few.  “The Boston Globe,” for instance wrote “As the Mother Abbess, Jenny Lynn Stewart turns in a very successful “Climb Every Mountain.” Outside “Sister Act,” where else could a nun get such an emphatic standing ovation?”

Some of her tailor-made programs include a “Tribute to Barbara Cook,” “On Broadway:  The Forties and Fifties,” “The Sixties:  On Broadway,” “Lift Your Spirit (That’s The Spirit)” “Sondheim, Rodgers and Kern,” and “Magical Musical Moments,” a potpourri of Jenny’s unique offerings featuring moments from Broadway shows, popular songs and classic opera arias.  Her shows have been described as “classy, elegant, and fun-filled and holds great appeal for audiences of all demographics.”  She specializes in preparing programs for unique purposes such as fund-raisers, political events, and corporate events.

Ms. Stewart also has estimable opera, concert and recital experience. Her operatic repertoire includes the title roles in Aida and Tosca, Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera, Leonora in La Forza Del Destino, Leonora in Il Trovatore, Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana and Magda in The Consul. Also, Ms. Stewart has performed the roles of Anne Coleman and Abigail Clark in the opera Mary Dyer by American composer, Richard Owen with New York Lyric Opera. She has sung with the Fort Worth, Arlington, Brooklyn Lyric, il Piccolo Teatro dell’ Opera and Surry, Maine opera companies, the Interlochen Opera Theater and Mid-America Productions. Ms. Stewart made her Carnegie Hall debut as the soprano soloist with the Manhattan Philharmonic in the Dvorak Requiem.

Adding to her credits, Ms. Stewart was a Finalist in the Center for Contemporary Opera’s International Opera Singers Competition and was honored to be the soloist for a special veteran’s memorial service at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery, in the Memorial Amphitheater.

Ms. Stewart is a frequent and acclaimed recitalist with a deep and varied repertoire. Her recital appearances include Ann Arbor, Dallas, Detroit, Lenox and New York as well as Busseto, Italy and Graz, Austria. She has been featured as the opening recitalist for the prestigious Morning Music Club’s recital series in Nyack, New York and has presented recitals at New York City’s Donnell Library to warm and enthusiastic audiences.

Ms. Stewart holds degrees in television and radio from Michigan State University and in voice performance from the University of Michigan. She continued her education in Europe, first at Karl-Franzens University, in Graz, Austria, studying the German language and then in Busseto, Italy where she worked with Renata Tebaldi and Carlo Bergonzi. She has explored the Wagnerian repertoire with Mr. Jean Cox and Anna Reynolds in Peesten, Germany. Her voice teachers and coaches include Nancy Stokes Milnes, Sherrill Milnes, Gene Cline, Bill Lewis, James de Blasis, Ira Siff, Gustav Meier, Leona Witter, Laurel Miller and Charles Riecker.