ENSEMBLE STUDIO THEATRE - 38TH MARATHON OF ONE-ACT PLAYS until November 13 - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Wednesday, October 26, 2022











Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST) 38th Marathon of One-Act Plays that are compromised by the work 

from artists who identify as Black, Indigenous & People of Color (BIPOC).  

The 2022 cycle is a selection of eleven plays that were curated by Co-Artistic Directors Mike Lew (Teenage Dick) and Colette Robert (Behind the Sheet).  The team presented two different series that started on October 16 and will run through Sunday, November 13 at EST (545 West 52nd Street). An eleventh play, Yan Tután, is streaming until November 13 in collaboration with Perseverance Theatre in Alaska. 

The cast for SERIES A features Catalina Chang, Brenda Crawley, José Espinosa, Daniela Gonzalez y Perez, Ethan Joseph, Denise Manning, Marcus Naylor, Ashley Marie Ortiz (amo), Roudlerson Calvin Pierre, Cristina Pitter, Justin Rodriguez, Deandre Sevon, Mark Vaughn, Ed Ventura, Eric R. Williams, Jo Yang and the voice of William Jackson Harper.

The cast for SERIES B features Biko, Ashley Bufkin, David Cork, Sydney Lolita Cusic, Will Dagger, Alisha Espinosa, Fernando Gonzalez, Sarah Nina Hayon, Kai Heath, Kendyl Ito, Margaret Odette, and Monique Robinson.

The cast of Yan Tután, which will be streaming in collaboration with Perseverance Theatre, features Chloey Kiawk Shaa Cavanaugh, Davina Cole, Ernestine Hayes, Jared Olin, Alfie "Shiggoap" Price, Jamiann S'eiltin, Andrew Tripp, Xáalnook Erin Tripp.

The biennial Marathon of One-Act Plays has been a landmark New York theatre festival since 1977. Praised by critics and beloved by audiences, it launched an industry-wide revival of the short play form, breaking new ground by putting emerging and established writers together on one stage. In its earliest days, the Marathon was key to sustaining the careers of writers like Horton Foote and Romulus Linney, while providing an essential early opportunity for then-new voices like Christopher Durang, Richard Greenberg, and Aaron Sorkin.  

That mix of ages and cultures remains at the Marathon's core, with each subsequent generation – now including Julia Cho, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Amy Herzog, Qui Nguyen, Taylor Mac, and many others – taking their turn on the festival's Hell's Kitchen stage. Recently produced Marathon playwrights include Clare Barron, Leah Nanako Winkler, Anna Ziegler, and Lloyd Suh. Martyna Majok was awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Cost of Living, a play that originated in the 2015 Marathon of One-Act Plays.

General admission tickets are $25 and student/senior tickets are $20.  A Marathon Pass is available for $40, which includes a ticket to each series bundled together.  Tickets can be purchased at ESTnyc.org or ensemblestudiotheatre.org/marathon. 


STREAMING until Nov 13:

Yan Tután

By Vera Starbard

Directed by Erin Tripp

*Streaming in collaboration with Perseverance Theatre

Cast: Chloey Kiawk Shaa Cavanaugh, Davina Cole, Ernestine Hayes, Jared Olin, Alfie "Shiggoap" Price, Jamiann S'eiltin, Andrew Tripp, Xáalnook Erin Tripp

An Alaska Native group faces a leadership crisis and must decide whether to continue their traditional practice at all.

The Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST) (Graeme Gillis, Interim Artistic Director) was founded by Curt Dempster in 1968 and led by William Carden since 2007. In over 50 years, EST has developed thousands of new American plays and has grown into a company of over 600 actors, directors, playwrights, and designers.

EST's mission is to develop and produce original, provocative, and authentic new work. A dynamic community committed to a collaborative process, EST is dedicated to inclusion across all aspects of identity and perspective, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexuality, physical or mental ability, physical or mental health, and recovery while acknowledging and working to end systemic marginalization and oppression at all levels of its organization. EST discovers and nurtures new voices and supports artists throughout their creative lives. This extraordinary support and commitment to inclusivity are essential to yield extraordinary work.

EST’s primary programs include Youngblood, a collective of emerging professional playwrights; the EST/Sloan Project, a partnership that commissions, develops, and produces new works about science and technology; and the biennial Marathon of One-Act Plays, a landmark New York theatre festival since 1977.

Here’s what Leslie Ishii (artistic director of Perseverance Theatre, Yan Tután) had to share about the experience. 

Q: Tell me what your play is about?

LI: “Still…” is a play essentially about dreams, love, and the journey it takes us on through life, whether we’re ready, willing, and wanting it, learning how to hold it, or discovering how to allow it be what it wants to be. We follow these two characters - Noah & Jeremy - through different moments in their lives, from adolescence to seniority. We watch them navigate a friendship that evolves into something more, juxtaposed against the pursuit of their shared dream and what those circumstances bring about. It’s a highly relatable story that many, especially those of us in creative fields, will find glimpses of our own selves in.

Q: What did it feel like to be chosen?

Here’s what Cusi Cram (writer, Los Complicados) had to share about the experience. 

Q: Tell me about your play?

CC:  My play, Los Complicados,  is about the many complications that exist in Latinx identity, particularly for those who are of mixed heritage. It explores two people who don't fit into easy definitions of Latinidad in how they look, behave, or who they choose to love. It's set in 1984 before there was a lot of languages to express more nuanced aspects of identity, so both the characters are struggling to define who they are in a world that feels very alienating. It's also about teenage angst and finding an unexpected person to tell you just what you need to hear at a pivotal moment and how the right person telling you exactly what you need to hear at the right time can change everything. 

Q: What did it feel like to be chosen?

CC: I’m not going to lie I  cried when I got the news. The marathon has always been one of the things on my wishlist as a writer. I am a native New Yorker and I have been coming to the marathon since I was in my late teens. It always seemed so cool to me. It was this hotbed of really dynamic writing. I would scour the Drama Bookshop for the published versions of the plays and then do them in acting class. The plays always felt so visceral and relevant to me. There is also something so uplifting about sharing a theatrical space with other writers of color where the themes of the plays are uplifting, silly, and hilarious, especially after the last three years. Also, for me personally, it is my first foray back into live theater since 2019 and that in itself feels like a small miracle. Above all,  I feel really grateful for this opportunity.


Q: What did it feel like to be chosen?

CC:  Being a part of the 38th Marathon means we are included~ Alaska Natives and Alaska are included all the way across Turtle Island through technology! We are grateful to EST for working with us to find a way to include Vera Starbard’s Yan Tután and the talented Tlingít director and actors who have this important story and history to share that will bring forth greater understanding for why there is a great need for us all to decolonize to re-Indigenize. It was joyful to create Vera’s new work and the production team was so generous and supportive. All the way from Tlingít Aaní, we hope you enjoy the show!



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