Blessed Unrest

This Is Modern Art

This Is Modern Art Photo by Maria Baranova

June 2–23, 2018

Thursday–Monday nights

June 2 at 7:00
June 3 at 6:00
All other shows at 7:30

Run time: 80 minutes

Next Door @ New York Theatre Workshop

Next Door at
New York Theatre Workshop

79 East 4th St, NYC

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  • Written by
    Idris Goodwin
    and
    Kevin Coval
  • Directed by
    Jessica Burr

Marginalized young men risk their bodies to make their voices heard, defying our assumptions about what art is and where it belongs. A crew of artists of color introduce themselves to the hallowed Art Institute of Chicago by painting a fifty-foot graffiti mural on the towering wall of the Institute’s New Modern Wing.

This Is Modern Art is based on a real event in 2010 when art became a crime. The acclaimed and controversial play ignited a fiery debate about race, privilege, and representation after being called “irresponsible” and “potentially damaging” by the Chicago Sun-Times. The mural has been blasted away, but the artists’ boundary-breaking act and the conversation it spurred are kept alive by Blessed Unrest’s dynamic staging of the play’s NYC premiere.

  • Featuring
    J.Stephen Brantley, Andrew Gonzalez, Ashley N. Hildreth, Nancy McArthur, Shakur Tolliver, Landon G. Woodson
  • Production Stage Manager
    Darielle Shandler
  • Set Design
    Matt Opatrny
  • Costume Design
    Haydee Zelideth
  • Lighting Design
    Miriam Nilofa Crowe
  • Sound Design
    Adrian Bridges
  • Scenic Artist
    KEO XMEN
  • Assistant Director
    Ben Peterson
  • Publicist
    PR-ism, Kamila Slawinski & Ivan Talijancic

In Development

We will continue to develop Refuge, our next collaboration with Teatri Oda of Kosovo, based on the harboring of Jewish refugees by Albanian families during WWII, with the NYC premiere planned for our 2018–2019 Season.

We are also building Reparations, a new play digging into the legacy of slavery in America.

Body: Anatomies of Being, 2016 Photo by Alan Roche

Earlier This Season

The Snow Queen

The Snow Queen Photo by Maria Baranova

December 31 – January 14

New Ohio Theatre
154 Christopher St, NYC

  • Written by
    Matt Opatrny
  • based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen
  • Directed by
    Jessica Burr
  • Created by
    Blessed Unrest
  • Intended for adults and children 7 and older

A courageous girl embarks on a quest to rescue her friend from a frozen and unfeeling world. Fearless physicality and magical transformations illuminate the wild lands and creatures of Andersen’s beloved story of the power of determination and compassion.

Developed in New Victory LabWorks, a residency with one of the leading presenters of family theatre in the country, The Snow Queen is the dynamic fusion of Blessed Unrest’s aesthetic with a fairy tale that will thrill adults and kids alike.

“…An epic adventure performed in 80 minutes by 6 performers who seem like a cast of thousands… strong text, compelling characters, exciting movement, lucid direction, and clever small-scale spectacle provide a great theatrical experience. Even on the coldest day, The Snow Queen will warm your heart.”

~ Mark Savitt, Hi! Drama

The Snow Queen magically comes to life through dance, creative staging, and a spectacular cast. But this is not your typical production… a very imaginative journey that could only be seen on a downtown stage.”

~ Megan Wrappe, zealnyc.com

“A delightful balance of comedy, adventure, and just a tinge of melancholy… an allegory about loss, grief, and the frightening aspects of love, whether for a friend, family member, or sapiosexual princess.

“Mostly, though, The Snow Queen is a lot of fun: energetic and funny, family friendly but not sentimental, with eye-catchingly creative costuming and some great movement work… The Snow Queen will melt even the most frozen of hearts this cold winter season.”

~ Leah Richards and John Ziegler, CultureCatch.com
  • Featuring
    Rich Brown, Todd Grace, Tatyana Kot, Zach Libresco, Nancy McArthur, Celli Pitt, Joshua Wynter
  • Scenic Design
    Samuel Vawter
  • Costume Design
    Sydney Maresca
  • Lighting Design
    Jay Ryan
  • Sound Design
    Beth Lake
  • Production Stage Manager
    Darielle Shandler
  • Assistant Director
    Ben Peterson
  • Publicist
    PR-ism, Kamila Slawinski & Ivan Talijančić
The Snow Queen The Snow Queen

The Snow Queen Photos by Maria Baranova

Platonov
or A Play with No Name

Platonov, or A Play with No Name Photo by Maria Baranova

  • February 17 – March 11, 2018
  • The New Ohio Theatre
    154 Christopher Street, NYC
  • Translated and adapted by Laura Wickens
    from the play by Anton Chekhov
  • Directed by
    Jessica Burr

A man of status with questionable sexual ethics runs rampage. A society fixated on the chaos of the moment ignores their collapsing economic system. A culture of open gun possession leads to rash and deadly consequences. Laura Wickens’s focused, raw, and riotous adaptation rips the heart out of Anton Chekhov’s scandalous first play, with six actors delivering all the intensity of the five-hour classic in 90 minutes.

“This is a gutsy, high-velocity production that resonates with both the age of the author and our own, whether the subject is gender, guns, class, or the desire for meaning, which is perennial.”

~ John Osburn, Osburnt

“…the striking physicality of much of the acting, and the overlapping and interruptions in the delivery of the dialogue all work with the space itself to create a captivating immediacy. This crisply directed production tosses the audience in in medias res and sweeps it along, the overlapping dialogue reflecting the web of the characters’ entanglements, and the continuous action is itself Shakespearean in its unbroken flow across a bare stage… the entire cast does magnificent work.

“In a city where one can’t swing an actor-waiter without hitting an adaptation of The Cherry Orchard, Blessed Unrest’s Platonov brings familiar Chekhovian themes to refreshingly new life.”

~ Leah Richards and John Ziegler, CultureCatch.com

“Sensationally presented and vividly performed…. Rampant silliness collides with requisite melancholy in the spirited Anton Chekhov adaptation…. Laura Wickens&resquo; treatment is a faithfully sly condensation…. It all works due to the sensational presentation that’s performed in the round. Director Jessica Burr’s fast-paced yet thoughtful staging includes over-lapping dialogue, rapid entrances and exits all over the space and striking visual flourishes. Ms. Burr’s tremendous grasp of stagecraft markedly benefits the play…. The performances are uniformly delightful.”

~ Darryl Railley, TheaterScene.net
  • Featuring
    Irina Abraham, Ashley N. Hildreth, Javon Q. Minter,
    Becca Schneider, Darrell Stokes, Taylor Valentine

  • Production Stage Manager
    Darielle Shandler
  • Set Design
    Matt Opatrny, Teddy Jefferson, Anna Alisa Belous
  • Costume Design
    Sarah Thea
  • Lighting Design
    Miriam Nilofa Crowe
  • Sound Design
    Fan Zhang
  • Dramaturg
    Jessi Blue Gormezano
  • Fight Choreographer & Assistant Director
    Ben Peterson
  • Publicist
    PR-ism, Kamila Slawinski & Ivan Talijančić
Platonov Platonov Platonov

Platonov Photos by Maria Baranova

A Look Back at the 2016–17 Season

We began with a tour of Doruntine to Switzerland (winning First Prize at the Secondo Festival), brought back A Christmas Carol to the New Ohio Theatre in NYC’s West Village, and joined a handful of “the most innovative Off-Off Broadway theatre and dance companies in NYC” at Baruch Performing Arts Center in the first TDF Performeteria.

Meanwhile, we developed The Snow Queen in a New Victory LabWorks residency, worked with Laura Wickens on her new translation/adaptation of Chekhov’s Platonov, and began building Refuge, our next collaboration with Teatri Oda of Kosovo based on the harboring of Jewish refugees by Albanians during World War II.

Doruntine Photo by Alan Roche

A Christmas Carol Photo by Maria Baranova

The Snow Queen Photo by Alan Roche

Expanding the Conversation
& How You Can Help

Blessed Unrest is driven by our desire to advance the cultural conversation in America by digging into our past and shedding light on the issues of today. Please consider making a contribution to our work.

Thank you for supporting what we do, and for valuing artistic expression and exploration. We look forward to seeing you this season!

Thank you!

Jessica Burr, Artistic director
Matt Opatrny, Managing Director
and the artists of Blessed Unrest

“At its best, independent theater is inventive, emotional, inspiring and has the ability to transform the atmosphere in a room full of people. In the several years I have been attending shows by Blessed Unrest, they have never ceased to amaze.”

~ Amber Gallery, NY Theatre Now

“Once in a blue moon comes a piece of theatre so impactful you wonder if you won’t be talking about it for years to come. A piece of theatre so unique and bold, it makes you exclaim, ‘Wait. Theatre can do this?’”

~ Rachel Kerry, New York Theatre Review
on Body: Anatomies of Being

Get to Know Blessed Unrest

A video by TDF (Theatre Development Fund)

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