The Premiere of “The Unfelt Wonder”

At the FURY Factory.

July 18 and 19 @ 8:30pm
July 20 @ 5:30pm

Get ready San Francisco!

 

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My latest shenanigans

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For the third year in a row, I have written a new one-act for Communal Spaces.

It is a wonderful festival where playwrights are asked to write plays inspired by community gardens in the city.  This year I was assigned to the Miracle Garden.

My piece is promenade meets  garden party meets hostage situation.

Join us in the Lower East Side!

Extinguish Yourself

By Angela Santillo
Directed by Michael Padden

Starring
Shyko Amos, Sari Caine, Siri Hellerman, Mat Leonard, Shelby Martin and Meghan O’Neill
Performing
Fridays-Sundays
Sept. 13-15, Sept. 20-22 & Sept. 27-29
at 12:30pm

Running time

Approx 30 minutes
Where
Miracle Garden
East 3rd Street btw Aves A and B
FREE
No reservations required
For more info on all the shows visit Communal Spaces

Today in perspective

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“In the Cassini images Earth and the moon appear as mere dots — Earth a pale blue and the moon a stark white, visible between Saturn’s rings. It was the first time Cassini’s highest-resolution camera captured Earth and its moon as two distinct objects.

It also marked the first time people on Earth had advance notice their planet’s portrait was being taken from interplanetary distances. NASA invited the public to celebrate by finding Saturn in their part of the sky, waving at the ringed planet and sharing pictures over the Internet. More than 20,000 people around the world participated.”

For more about these pictures of earth taken millions of miles away in space, visit NASA

back to the drawing board

After a whirlwind of work the last few months (six produced shows in seven weeks I know I am crazy I know!), I am back to staring at things again, waiting for my next story to start to make sense.

For the last few months, I’ve been obsessed with questions of civic responsibility, revolution, the ability of “the people” to have an impact on the seemingly immovable wall of power and wealth.  I think living in NYC has really impacted my perceptions of power and influence, especially since my assorted employment life that leads me to work for really powerful people in a    w  i  d  e    range of industries.

Right now, I am casting a wide net on the issue.  Everything from media responsibility to Snowden to reading a Tale of Two Cities to buying political graphic novels to watching documentaries about Lincoln…I am in hot pursuit of a fuzzy issue and I am anxious to see it click into place.

It’s funny cause the last couple of shows have been either a) uncomfortably personal or b) about romance.  Not that those are easier subjects to write, but it feels good to get catapulted away from dramas of the personal to dramas of the public.

That is my artistic check-in.  In the meantime, this video seems to add fuel to the mysterious creative fire that is bringing me back to the keyboard.  It also reminds me that my bohemian style and crazy hair will never quite fit in with the sophisticated lines of those trying to stay in line and that is just fine.

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My observations, then, have to be lyrical. Superhuman architecture and furious pace, geometry and anxiety. But there is no happiness, despite the pace. Man and machine live the slavery of the moment. The rooftops rise to the sky without seeking glory or to become clouds. Nothing more poetic and terrible than the fight of skyscrapers against the sky that covers them.

From a newly translated interview with Federico García Lorca by Luis Méndez Domínguez from 1933 about his book of poems Poet in New York.

Reasons to Sit on the NYC Sidewalk in the Rain: Notes from a Director

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By Lillian Meredith, director of my solo show The Unfelt Wonder

Picture this. You’re the director. Your friend, collaborator, and former boss Angela Santillo takes you to a diner in midtown Manhattan after work one day and says “Remember that ten-minute solo show I did years ago at that theater in Chinatown?” (you do). “Do you want to help me develop it into a full-length one-act piece?”

You say yes. Maybe it’s the fond memories you have of that original performance, or the power of the metaphor of the untouched woman for the way you feel about your life at the moment. Maybe it’s the fact that Angela’s writing has a grace and poetry to it that few others playwrights can access, or the way her work is intensely personal without ever being confessional, the way you understand it through your gut rather than through your head. Maybe it’s the epic fish tank directly to your left, or the mediocre mezze plate in front of you. It doesn’t matter. You’re in.

What follows are months of conversations and rewrites. Angela sends you a script. You read it. You meet over wine in the cafe at the Signature between shows, or at Pony Bar on 10th Ave in the late evening after a long week of day jobs and interviews and rehearsals, and you chat about what works, or what doesn’t. Angela pitches ideas, and you listen, and you say “that sounds or awesome,” or “OK, but what about this instead.” You write things in your notebook and on your script. Then you talk about your lives, and then go home, only to repeat the process the following week.

The thing about directing a solo show is that it is intensely collaborative, extremely personal, and weirdly lonely at times. It’s just you and your playwright/performer, talking about a script that either does or does not exist, or exists in part. This isn’t unique to the solo show – that’s often how you develop a play with a writer – but what’s odd is that when you finally get into the rehearsal room, it’s still just the two of you. Which is incredible – I mean, the sense of ownership you have over a solo show you direct is something that I think is hard to appreciate. You’ve been there, providing your artistic eye, your sense of staging and theatricality, your editing abilities, the things that make you a director, to that script, just like the writer provides the words. A solo show is not a single person’s property. It sounds weird and sort of narcissistic to say “yeah, that’s my solo show, too,” but it’s true.  It’s how you feel. If you’re me. Which right now, you are.

After about four months, you finalize the script. And then you start to film. That’s right! You thought you were a single medium kind of gal, but here you are, flip cam in hand, traipsing around the city following Angela-in-make-up-and-costume, filming scenes to be projected on the walls of the Dixon Place Lounge. Why? Because it’s awesome! Because doing a solo show in a low-stakes situation means you can try shit out that you’ve always wanted to try out (like the over-laying of video and voice to augment live performance). Because you, in a moment of directorial brilliance, suggested that the audience should experience the play the way that Wonder experiences her life – inside a single room, with only streamed media to hint at what the world outside is like – and now you have to deliver.

And frankly, being a fan of site-specificity and sort of a weird person in general, there are few things you’d rather do on a Thursday night than sit on the sidewalk outside of an underground bar and film Angela in smeared make-up, or camp out on a rainy Saturday afternoon on 54th Street near the Hudson Parkway with big signs and ignore passersby who are trying to avoid your crazy.

But in the end, with the performance approaching, you realize that this project, in its own weird and wonderful way, has set an example for how you want to continue to work. Purposefully, directly, involved in the process of creation over a long period of time. The Dixon Place performance will happen, and even after almost six months, it’s only the beginning. This is just the first iteration in what this piece could become when it ceases to be just the two of you, as you open up this incredible strange little world you’ve created together, and invite an audience in.

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