Pathetic: Staging Women’s Desire with Julia Jarcho and Minor Theater

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Pathetic: Staging Women’s Desire with Julia Jarcho and Minor Theater

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May 16, 2019
May 16, 2019
segal theatre

Minor Theatre
Photo by Minor Theatre


Thursday, May 16
Segal Theatre
6:30pm Reading + Panel

FREE + Open to public. First come, first served.

“I felt my whole body, and it was burning.”

This June, downtown NYC company Minor Theater presents Pathetic, a new take on Racine’s classic Phèdre at Abrons Arts Center. Racine’s queen destroys everything with her monstrous lust; in Pathetic, neoclassical hexameter meets contemporary teen drama as the heroine becomes a bored mom with an ax to grind. In anticipation of the premiere, OBIE-winning playwright/director Julia Jarcho invites fellow artists to consider what can happen when women’s desire gets a voice onstage. What new forms become possible when women appropriate the conjunction of sex and violence, which has traditionally been directed against us? How do we forge a lustful stage poetics of our own? And come to think of it, who is this “we”? The evening will feature readings from Jarcho’s plays, including Pathetic and Grimly Handsome (2013), and presentations by Kate Benson, Kristine Haruna Lee and Okwui Okpokwasili. Moderated by Frank Hentschker.

Photo by Jennifer Seastone

Julia Jarcho is a playwright and director from New York City with the company Minor Theater. She has won an OBIE for Best New American Play (Grimly Handsome), a Doris Duke Impact Award, and a Mark O’Donnell Award, and has been a MacDowell Fellow and an LCT New Writer in Residence at Lincoln Center. Her book Minor Theater: Three Plays is available from 53rd State Press and her first critical book, Writing and the Modern Stage: Theater Beyond Drama, is published by Cambridge University Press. She teaches at NYU.


Kate Benson is a writer and performer living in Brooklyn. Her plays include [Porto] (Bushwick Starr and WP Theater), A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes(New Georges and WP Theater), Super Magic Wild Forest, Where Are We Going? and Desert (For Now). Performances include Fondly, Collette Richland (NYTW), Good Person of Szechuan(LaMama and the Public), Nomads (Incubator), I Will Never Love Again (Bushwick Starr), and Variations on the Main (Jack). Writerly affiliations include the Working Farm at Space on Ryder Farm, the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, the Clubbed Thumb Biennial Commission, and the New Goerges Jam. She has an MFA in playwriting from Brooklyn College.

Kristine Haruna Lee is a Brooklyn-based theater maker whose work navigates non-linear playwriting, auto-theoretical performance text, and promoting arts activism and emergent strategies for the theater through ethical and process-based collaborations. Her works include Suicide Forest (Bushwick Starr), plural (love) (Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab), Memory Retrograde (The Public’s Under The Radar Festival), Sugar Shack (La MaMa Club) and War Lesbian (Dixon Place). Lee is a recipient of the Map Fund Grant, Lotos Foundation Prize for Directing, and the New Dramatist Van Lier Fellowship. Her play Suicide Forest is published by 53rd State Press. She teaches playwriting and performance at NYU. harunalee.com

Ásta Bennie Hostetter (member, minor theater) Costume designs for: The Terrifying (Abrons Arts Center), Nomads (Incubator Arts Project), Grimly Handsome (Incubator Arts Project). Recently in NYC: Mrs. Murrays Menagerie (Mad Ones), Usual Girls (Roundabout Underground), Dance Nation (Playwrights Horizon), Bobbie Clearly (Roundabout Underground), The Lucky Ones (Ars Nova). Miles for Mary (Playwrights Horizon), [Porto] (WP Theater), Wolves (Lincoln Center). Other production design includes Reread Another (Target Margin).

Okwui Okpokwasili is a Brooklyn-based performance maker. Her work includes two Bessie Award winning productions: Pent-Up: a revenge dance and Bronx Gothic. She was the 2015-17 Randjelovic/Stryker New York Live Arts’ Resident Commissioned Artist which culminated with the work, Poor People’s TV Room. Okpokwasili’s latest work was Adaku’s Revolt a shared commission with FIAF and Abron’s Art Center for the 2019 TILT Festival. She frequently collaborates with directors Peter Born and Ralph Lemon. Commissions, Residencies and awards: 10th Annual Berlin Biennale Commission, 2018 Doris Duke Artist Award in Contemporary Dance, 2018 USA Artist Fellow, 2018 Herb Alpert Award in Dance, MANCC Choreographic Fellowship (2012, 2016); NYFA Fellowship in Choreography (2013); LMCC’s Extended Life Program (2013-2016); The Foundation for Contemporary Arts’ Artist Grant in Dance (2014), Wesleyan ICPP Artist in Residency. Her work has been supported by Creative Capital, the MAP Fund and NEFA. Okpokwasili is a 2018 Hodder Fellow in Dance at Princeton University and a 2018 MacArthur Fellow.

Jennifer Seastone has performed with Julia and minor theater on many projects. She has also performed for The Wooster Group, Daniel Fish, Lucy Thurber, Alec Duffy, Thomas Bradshaw, Julia MayJonas and many others. She is also a visual artist and has shown her work in New Zealand and in New York. www.JenniferSeastone.com

Ben Williams is an actor, sound designer, and director. He is a founding member of minor theater with Julia Jarcho. Other frequent collaborators include Elevator Repair Service, Christina Masciotti, Lily Whitsitt, Suzanne Bocanegra, Kate Benson, Sibyl Kempson, Julie Atlas Muz, The Wooster Group, and NYC Players. His original show Mind on Heaven continues to tour. Upcoming: Studio Créole at the Manchester International Festival. Awards for sound design: Obie, Lortel, LADCC. benwilliamsdotcom.com


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