AM I DEAD?

What’s a Living Ticket? This production continues our Living Ticket initiative, which makes Flux’s shows free for all to attend. Well, not exactly free: it costs a lot to create these productions, and we want to provide our team a living wage. So while you don’t have to pay anything, we encourage you to support Flux with a donation when you reserve your Living Ticket. To learn what it would take for us to pay a living wage, check out our Open Book program, which shares our production budget and suggests levels of giving.

RESERVE LIVING TICKETS to AM I DEAD? The Untrue Narrative of Anatomical Lewis, The Slave


The Story

Kevin R. Free’s AM I DEAD? The Untrue Narrative of Anatomical Lewis, The Slave is a re-imagining of the Isis-Osiris myth in which four strangers from different times are trapped in purgatory, tasked with rebuilding the lives of men they wronged in life. It confronts our country’s long history of violence on black bodies, and examines blackness, and whiteness, in unflinching, theatrical, and caustically funny ways. AM I DEAD? is the second play to come out of Flux’s FluxForward program after the Adam Szymkowicz’s Marian earlier this year.


 

The Cast

 

Corey Allen is Lewis

If you were in a purgatory where you had to relive your history in order to change it, what would you relive? What would you change? If I had the hindsight of a whole life, I’d probably want to explore my earliest self-betrayal. I’d want to change any moment where I waffled between what I knew to be right and what I suspected someone else expected of me.

Name an ancestor you carry with you, and a sentence or two about why. My Grandmother, BMT. She loved unconditionally and made tremendous sacrifices for her children and grandchildren. I like to believe my educational accomplishments and getting to do the work I do is the fulfillment of her dream that we who came after her would live fuller lives with more opportunities than she was afforded.

Bio: REGIONAL: Shakespeare Theatre of DC: Macbeth; Huntington Theater Company: A Raisin in the Sun, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Pioneer Theatre Company: Two Dollar Bill, A Few Good Men; Great River Shakespeare Festival: Othello, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Repertory Theater of St. Louis: The Fall of Heaven; Orlando Shakespeare Theatre: Best of Enemies. FILM: Proximity, Lost & Found TELEVISION: Manhattan, Power, The Breaks, Bull WEB: Henry IX; OTHER: Audible & Recorded Books Narrator; TRAINING: University of Illinois: MFA
www.corey-allen.com

Lori E. Parquet is Isis

If you were in a purgatory where you had to relive your history in order to change it, what would you relive? What would you change? I would definitely be reliving every moment I didn’t stand in my truth but in self-doubt and fear.  I suffered greatly as a result. And maybe my making a different decision wouldn’t have kept me from suffering, but something tells me I would closer to living the life I dreamed of if I had.

Name an ancestor you carry with you, and a sentence or two about why.  I think often of my paternal grandmother. I never met her, as she passed away before I was gone. But from what I’ve seen of her, she was a beautiful woman, with what I imagine was an intensely complicated inner world. I carry that of her in me.

Bio: Lori Elizabeth Parquet is an actor, playwright and teaching artist from New Orleans, Louisiana. She received her B.A. in Theatre Arts from Cornell University. Her New York City credits include Macbeth, Dispatches From (A)mended America(Off-Broadway: Epic Theatre Ensemble), Dog Act, Ajax in Iraq, Honey Fist, Rizing (Flux Theatre Ensemble), and Republic, Baal, Murder In the Cathedral (Hoi Polloi). She made her international debut performing in Pillars of Society at Teater Ibsen in Skien, Norway. As a playwright, Lori was selected as one of six featured playwrights for season five of the Fire This Time Festival in January 2014. Her most recent play, In Communion, is published with Indie Theater Now and her play, Sir, was staged in 2013 as a part of Flux Theatre Ensemble’s Understand Our Ground—a night of theatre dedicated to the challenging issues surrounding the murder of Trayvon Martin. As a teaching artist, Lori has taught many aspects of theatre, including acting, playwriting, and directing to various populations across New York City. She has taught with such esteemed organizations as The Public Theater, Stella Adler School of Acting, Epic Theatre Ensemble, and CUNY Creative Arts Team.

Anna Rahn is Tatiana

Anna Rahn last appeared with Flux in Rizing, Honey Fist, and Ajax in Iraq. Other credits include Powwow Highway (Rabbit, HERE Arts Space), Unsex Me Here (Goneril, HERE Arts Space), Man and Coconut (Melissa, IRT Theater). She holds a BA in Performance Studies from UC Berkeley and an MFA in Acting from the American Repertory Theatre.

Alisha Spielmann is Mrs. John Gray

If you were in a purgatory where you had to relive your history in order to change it, what would you relive? What would you change? I think I would relive moments in my life where I gave someone else the ability to determine my self worth. I would absolutely choose to keep that power to myself, as well as give myself the confidence to not get in my own way.

Name an ancestor you carry with you, and a sentence or two about why.  My grandpa on my mom’s side – Virgil Arseneau. He was such a wonderful supportive presence in my life, had a “the more the merrier” attitude, and after I moved to New York City, every time I would come home he’d always make sure to tell me how proud he was of me for following my artistic dreams here. Whenever I see a cardinal or a skybluepink sunset I feel like it’s a little tap on the shoulder from him reminding me how proud he is of me.

Bio: Alisha Spielmann is a Creative Partner of Flux where her roles include Whitney in World Builders, Mica in Rizing, Jane in Jane the Plain, and Tracy in Sans Merci. Her theatre credits include: The Runner Stumbles, Dear Ruth, The Desk Set (The Bleecker Company/Retro Productions); Blast Radius (Gideon Productions); Killer High, Hack! (Vampire Cowboys); Ten Year Twilight (Nosedive Productions); Hack! (Impetuous Theater); Native Speech, All’s Well That Ends Well, Love In The Insecurity Zone (Boomerang Theatre Company); Bus Stop, The Learned Ladies, As You Like It (The Gallery Players); As You Like It, The Christmas Carol (The Guthrie Theater); The Last Train To Nibroc (Paul Bunyan Playhouse). Her film, television and web credits include Producing Juliet, Celebrity Ghost Stories, Sigma, Exorcists Local 667, and Dates Like This. A native Minnesotan, Alisha received her BA in Music and Theater from St. Olaf College. www.alishaspielmann.com

Isaiah Tanenbaum is Isaac

If you were in a purgatory where you had to relive your history in order to change it, what would you relive? What would you change? See the thing is that the parts of my history that I’d most want to change are also the parts of my history that I’d LEAST LIKE to visit. So, like, middle school and high school and certain romantic decisions my younger, dumber self made. But I don’t think I could possibly want to relive any of that. I guess, like, that one time I ordered a chicken sandwich at the airport and was super sick the whole weekend, because OF COURSE I was. I wish I had ordered from some other place.

Name an ancestor you carry with you, and a sentence or two about why. My great-grandfather and namesake Isaac Bloom, who was a butcher in Baltimore. During the Great Depression, he organized a series of communal funds to purchase whole animals, which is much cheaper than buying individual cuts. In this way, even the poorest members of the community were able to afford fresh meat. I like to think that the Living Ticket is a continuation of this sort of work — a whole community of people pitching in to make sure that everyone can enjoy theatre, regardless of financial status.

Bio: Isaiah Tanenbaum is a Creative Partner at Flux Theatre Ensemble, where he serves as Marketing Director. This is Isaiah’s 13th mainstage role with Flux. Favorite NYC roles include Dennis (Salvage, Flux), Foster (Mary Brigit Poppleton, NY Fringe Festival), and Napoleon Bonaparte (Lickspittles, Buttonholers, & Damned Pernicious Go-Betweens, Boomerang Theater Company). Film work includes Stateside, Zelimo, and Troma’s Poultrygeist. A graduate of Amherst College, Isaiah lives in Brooklyn with his wife Jessa and their cat, Juno. He takes photographs of actors, plays, weddings, and events, and trains city workers in ethics with the NYC Conflicts of Interest Board. For Grandfadoo. AEA / SAG-AFTRA. isaiaht.info // isaiahtpd.info


 The Creative Team

Kevin R. Free, Playwright

If you were in a purgatory where you had to relive your history in order to change it, what would you relive? What would you change? I would go back to every time I compared myself to someone else, and I would take a deep breath and NOT DO IT. 

Name an ancestor you carry with you, and a sentence or two about why. My mother taught me how to read before I went to 1st grade, and she died before I finished 1st grade. I find that all of my plays reflect my evolving emotional response to her death, until I can meet the demands of the story of each play. Good thing mommy taught me how to read, or I wouldn’t know how to revise my own plays.

Bio: Kevin R. Free is a multidisciplinary artist whose work as an actor, writer, director, and producer has been showcased and developed in many places, including the Moth Radio Hour; Project Y Theater; Flux Theater Ensemble; the Queerly Festival (of which he is now the curator), and The Fire This Time Festival, where he served as Producing Artistic Director, winning an Obie for his work in 2015. His full-length plays include Night of the Living N-Word!! (Overall Excellence in Playwriting, FringeNYC 2016); A Raisin in the Salad: Black Plays for White People (New Black Fest Fellowship 2012; Eugene O’Neill Semi-Finalist 2013); Face Value (Henry Street Settlement Playwrights’ Project Grant, 2000) and The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual, or TRIPLE CONSCIOUSNESS. His webseries, “Gemma & The Bear!” created with Eevin Hartsough, was an Official Selection of the New York Television Festival in 2016 (www.MyCarl.org). He has worked as an actor across the United States and internationally, most recently appearing as Michael Curtiz in Reid & Sara Farrington’s Drama Desk-nominated CasblancaBox. He is an accomplished voice actor, as well, having recorded over 250 audiobooks, and is currently the voice of Kevin from Desert Bluffs on the popular podcast Welcome to Night Vale. Twitter: @kevinrfree  www.kevinrfree.com

Heather Cohn, Director

If you were in a purgatory where you had to relive your history in order to change it, what would you relive? What would you change? Ah, perhaps some tough years where I denied myself things that I knew would make me happy because I didn’t think I deserved to be happy.

Name an ancestor you carry with you, and a sentence or two about why. My great grandmother – she had five daughters. she was the matriarch–she did all the finances for the family, but also wrote beautiful letters, had amazing penmanship, and plotted out exactly where every guest would sit at Thanksgiving dinners based on all her nuanced knowledge of the social dynamics. yes, an inspiring woman, no doubt. 

Bio: Heather Cohn is a co-founder and the Producing Director of Flux Theatre Ensemble. For Flux: Johnna Adams’ Sans Merci, August Schulenburg’s Salvage, DEINDE, The Lesser Seductions of History (nominated for Outstanding Direction, New York Innovative Theatre Awards), and Other Bodies (FringeNYC Excellence Award for Outstanding Direction), Kristen Palmer’s Once Upon a Bride There Was a Forest, Erin Browne’s Menders, and numerous staged readings. Outside of Flux: Assistant Director to Austin Pendleton on Johnna Adams’ Gidion’s Knot, Dark Water (MTWorks), The Stranger to Kindness (Outstanding Overall Production of a One-Act, Planet Connections Theatre Festivity Awards, also nominated for Outstanding Direction Award); Rosie The Retired Rockette (EstroGenius Festival); Blood  (EstroGenius Festival); The Ballad of Lulu and Dad (Artistic New Directions); and numerous staged readings for companies such as: Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Cherry Lane Theatre, Lark Play Development Center, The Brick, On the Square Productions, MTWorks, The Platform Group; Crossroads Theatre Project, and CAPS LOCKS THEATRE.

Jodi M. Witherell, Production Stage Manager

Name an ancestor you carry with you, and a sentence or two about why. My grandmother. She taught me to love books, which in turn brought me to art and to theatre. I wouldn’t be nearly the person I am today without her.

Bio: Jodi M. Witherell (Stage Manager): was most recently seen as PSM for Adam Szymkowiz’s Rare Birds (Red Fern). Favorite credits include: miscellaneous work on The Miracle Worker (Queens Theatre) and Mac Rogers’ Universal Robots and The Honeycomb Trilogy (Gideon Productions); That Which Isn’t (Theater Accident), All Systems Go: Mission 4 (Mission to (dit)Mars); Moby Dick (Fireboat Productions); Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood, Rizing, Salvage, Once Upon a Bride…, Jane the Plain, Hearts Like Fists, Deinde, Ajax in Iraq and many others with Flux; as well as shows with The Gallery Players; Avalon Studios; The St. Bart’s Players; Working Man’s Clothes; Pembi Players; Playwright’s Company; Audax Theatre Group; Streetlight Productions and The American Globe Theatre. NYIT Award Winner: Outstanding Stage Manager 2016.

Brian Lee Huynh, Fight Dirctor

If you were in a purgatory where you had to relive your history in order to change it, what would you relive? What would you change? I’ll have to think about that.

Name an ancestor you carry with you, and a sentence or two about why. Not sure I have one.

Bio: Broadway: War Horse. Off-Broadway: The Light Years (Playwrights Horizons) The Threepenny Opera, Henry V, Lysistrata, Uncle Vanya (Jean Cocteau Repertory Co.), Measure for Measure (Epic Theatre Ensemble) Regional: The 39 Steps (Triad Stage); Fault (TheaterSquared); Auctioning the Ainsleys, A Single Shard (People’s Light & Theatre). Film: The Witches of Oz. TV: “Madam Secretary,” “Elementary.” BFA and MFA in Acting, Ithaca College and USD/Old Globe, respectively. He also performs weekly at People’s Improv Theatre on a Monday night house team. He has Fight Directed for Theater Squared, Epic Theater Ensemble and Smith Street Players.

Kia Rogers, Lighting Designer

If you were in a purgatory where you had to relive your history in order to change it, what would you relive? What would you change? My teen years. I would be more understanding of my mom’s battle with depression. I would also make her choose her lover over me. She turned away the only man who would have loved her forever…because she didn’t want to take me away from my dad here in the US and she didn’t want Pierre to live in another country from his children. I still keep their love letters as a reminder of how much they loved each other…I saw the light go out in her the day he left to go back…

Name an ancestor you carry with you, and a sentence or two about why. My Irish grandmother, she had the best spirit, could make light of any situation and had an open home, if you were hungry she would feed you, even if it was the last thing in the house to eat. She had the biggest heart!

Bio: Kia Rogers – Lighting Designer – Flux Theatre Ensemble creative partner – Her work has been seen at BAM Fisher, 3LD Art & Technology Center, The Gym at Judson, The SoHo Playhouse, Theatre at St. Clement’s, Danspace, St. Luke’s and the 4th Street Theatre. Regional: Thieves by Charlotte Miller in LA. Selkie by Sarah Shaefer in San Francisco. International credits: Associate Lighting Designer for Slutforart/98.6 in Gothenburg, Sweden with Muna Tseng. Tours: The God Box Project with Mary Lou Quinlan, and Soledad Barrio & Noche Flamenca. Awards: Outstanding Lighting Design for Jane The Plain with the NYITA, 2014 and nominated in 2016 for Rizing.  www.krogersld.com.

Will Lowry, Scenic Designer

If you were in a purgatory where you had to relive your history in order to change it, what would you relive? What would you change? In 2009 or 2010 I had a race with a friend to see who could eat the most chicken nuggets. I won with 44 (she got to 36). I think if I went back and really believed in myself I could make it to 50.

Name an ancestor you carry with you, and a sentence or two about why. Duncan, King of the Scots – yes, as in that King Duncan. He’s my 28th great grandfather, and I’ve always been fond of my connection to the real life source for Macbeth. I also find it astonishing to be able to consider an ancestor that lived over a millennium ago and know there’s a direct, traceable line through a couple dozen generations connecting the two of us. It has a way of being both empowering and humbling.

Bio: Will Lowry is a multidisciplinary designer with an MFA from UNC Greensboro, and he has been a Creative Partner with Flux since 2011. This is his eighteenth Flux production, the most recent being World Builders (NY & LA). He has completed over 110 scenic, costume, and lighting designs ranging between New York, regional, and academic theatre, and he has worked as an assistant on eleven Broadway productions. He serves as an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Lehigh University. Love to B&P. will-lowry.com

Nissy Aya, Dramaturg and Co-Community Organizer

Name an ancestor you carry with you, and a sentence or two about why. My paternal grandmother. We never met in person but we share a face and a body – in that every thing about me resembles her. I’m told I even walk like her. I carry her with me because she was wildly fierce about love especially the love she had for herself. There are also some really stunning tales about her life holding magic.

Bio: Nissy Aya is a Black girl from the Bronx. She and all her younger selves tell stories and tall tales. A writer, educator, cultural worker and organizer who believes in the transformative nature of storytelling and sees theatre as a tool to create social change by empowering disenfranchised communities to unapologetically portray their whole selves on stage. She is a trained facilitator on topics surrounding the intersections of identity, power and privilege and how those intersections influence structures of oppression. As an artist, her work centers the voices of Black women, explores the lines between history and memory and details both the presence and absence of love.

Emily Hartford, Co-Community Organizer

If you were in a purgatory where you had to relive your history in order to change it, what would you relive? What would you change? There’s a day that it could have made a big difference to someone I love, if I had kept my cell phone close by. If I could relive that day, I’d make sure I had my phone with me.

Name an ancestor you carry with you, and a sentence or two about why. My grandmother–my mom’s mom–was a very strong and cool lady, and I wish I could have known her better as an adult.

Emily Hartford is a director, actor, and puppet designer—and a creative partner with Flux Theatre Ensemble. Directing: The Battles, a new musical, by Ned Massey; with Flux: Rizing, by Jason Tseng, and Breathe Free (short devised works). Performance and puppet design credits include work with Adaptive Theatre Company, American Bard Theatre Company, Drama of Works, Messenger Theatre Company, Mirror Repertory Company, MT Worls, Nosedive Productions, Piehole, Rabbit Hole Ensemble, Radiotheatre, Urban Stages, and Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre. For more information and news: emilyhartford.com. Emily is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation Observership Class 2017-2018 and the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab.

Kelly O’Donnell, Production Manager

Kelly O’Donnell is a Flux Creative Partner and co-founder. Directing work includes Tiny Houses by Stephanie Zadravec (New Dramatists Playtime LAB), Colchester by Adam Szymkowicz (Portland Center Stage, JAW), Marian and Hearts Like Fists by Adam Szymkowicz, Dog Act by Liz Duffy Adams, Jane the Plain, Honey Fist, and Riding the Bull by August Schulenburg (Flux Theatre Ensemble), 3Christs (Peculiar Works Project), A Flea in Her Ear (NYU Tisch Undergraduate/Lee Strasberg School), Tartuffe (Lafayette College), Our Lady of 121st Street (The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute), A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet (Stages on the Sound). She has been nominated twice for Outstanding Director by the New York Innovative Theatre Awards. Plays that she has directed have been named “Critics’ Picks” by the New York Times, Backstage, and Theatre is Easy; and “Audience Favorite” by the Village Voice. kellyod.com

Jerry L. Johnson, Costume Designer

Bio: Jerry serves as Associate Professor of Design at Salem State Univrsity. In NYC, he designed for: Harlem School of the Arts, Columbia University, and Phoenix Theatre. Jerry’s Broadway work includes: Lion King, Little Mermaid, Jersey Boys, Phantom of the Opera, Cinderella, and Rockette’s Christmas Spectacular. Jerry also worked for: Marc Jacobs, Alice + Olivia, and Thakoon. His regional credits include: The Santa Fe Opera, Papermill Theatre, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Great Lakes Theatre, Arkansas Rep and the Contemporary American Theatre Festival.

August Schulenburg, Press/Communications

If you were in a purgatory where you had to relive your history in order to change it, what would you relive? What would you change? In third grade, I was fascinated with a Mormon girl who didn’t pledge allegiance, and so I wrote a story about her and shared it with the class. I still feel regret for how I Othered her in that moment, and I remember the principle calling me into his office to understand my intentions in writing it. I think that was the beginning of my understanding of the real power of stories, how they wound as often as heal, and what that means for our responsibilities as story-tellers. 

Name an ancestor you carry with you, and a sentence or two about why. My great-great-great-great grandmother Mercena, who was a care-giver to the afflicted in her community, and who is the namesake of my daughter.

Bio: August Schulenburg is a founding Creative Partner of Flux. With Flux, he directed Ajax in Iraq (NYITA nomination), A Midsummer Nights Dream, and the Food:Souls Goldsboro and Volleygirls. As an actor with Flux, he has played Max in World Builders, Dr. X in Hearts Like Fists, Ezekiel in 8 Little Antichrists (NYITA nomination), and the Professor in Rue. As a playwright, his work with Flux includes Riding the Bull, Rue, Other Bodies, The Lesser Seductions of History, Jacob’s House, DEINDE, Honey Fist, and Salvage.

Moesha Perez, Costume Assistant/Wardrobe:

If you were in a purgatory where you had to relive your history in order to change it, what would you relive? What would you change? Just to be a comfortable in your own skin and believe in yourself. You’ll go a long way if you continue to have a positive mindset. 

Bio: I am currently in a three year (second year so far) program through Roundabout Theatre Company called Technical Workforce Development Program (TWDP) which they train you in most aspects of technical theatre that’s including wardrobe, Audio, lighting, carpentry, and scenic. I came into the program open to learn but I already knew my focus was wardrobe/ design and hair/ makeup because I was already doing so before the program. I’m grateful because it’s a push in the door for the career I want to take.

 

More headshots and bios coming!

Sound Designer: Asa Wember
ASM/Fight Captain: Gabe Caldwell
Associate Scenic Designer: Lauren Girouard
Flux Theatre Ensemble Creative Partners (not already listed above): Becky Byers, Sol Crespo, Rachael Hip-Flores, Chinaza Uche

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