Quote of the Week!

11:13 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

"Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, it’s unlikely you will step up and take responsibility for making it so. If you assume that there’s no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, there are opportunities to change things, there’s a chance you may contribute to making a better world. The choice is yours." - Noam Chomsky


Good People

3:59 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

A woman, who was visibly struggling with a baby carriage, several bags and a toddler boards the train and sits down in the front next to a Wall Street looking man. As the train starts pulling away, the conductor comes around to collect the tickets. This is usually how NJ Transit works. The woman begins searching through her purse frantically, obviously looking for her ticket. She pulls out a May monthly pass and tells the conductor that she has the April monthly pass but can't find it. The conductor says that if she can't show him either a ticket or a monthly pass that she will have to get off and wait for the next train. She pleads with him, explaining that she needs to be at her destination by a certain time and explaining some other things (that I couldn't hear well). The man next to her pulls out a ticket and says to her "Oh, you dropped this. It fell out of your bag", handing the conductor the ticket. The woman was completely shocked and after the conductor left thanked him profusely.

It's nice to know that there are lots of good people out there.


Bringing "Life" back to "Art"...

11:04 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (3)

I'm using this subject literally and figuratively.

I have been thinking about ways to bring this blog back to "The Artists Life" a.k.a. surviving and thriving as an "artist" in NYC. I have gone off track by adding articles, etc. Since the tags on the side of this blog are getting a little difficult to organize, so I'm going to be going through and cleaning it up, along with doing more personal updates. I'm bringing up the subject of adding more personal narratives on my blog because according to google analytics, a lot of people are looking for tips on "surviving as an artist in NYC" and apparently I get hits for that. Don't know if I can be helpful, but I'll try to post things here and there on the subject.

Here's the BIG Update:

When I came back from being abroad in March, I realized how out of touch with everything I had become. I was so utterly consumed with trying to pay the rent, produce a bunch of shows, direct, audition, submit for projects, eat, do laundry, etc. that I lose site of being an artist. I was hardly at my best (or even close) for any of it. I knew that I needed to make some big changes so

So, as of 2 weeks ago, I am living in northern NJ (about 1/2 away from NYC). It was the most brilliant move that I've made in a long time. I'm enjoying the woods and deer, and mostly, spending time with my dad (who is a fascinating person... I will talk more about him later). I'm having the chance to get in touch with nature and have been taking walks in the woods every morning. I'm also SAVING LOTS OF money! I will probably be back in an apartment this summer, but to be honest, I don't miss living in Manhattan, especially since I'm here every single day for work and/or rehearsals. I would have no problem having an apartment in the woods and being a part time recluse/NYer.

I'm 1 monologue away from finishing a play that I've been working on for the past 3 years. We're set to debut it in November and I want to workshop it in June (so there was a bit of a deadline). I know that it's finally ready though! Very excited. Also, on the writing topic, I have been making progress on my solo-performance piece "What to Do In Case You Miss The Rapture". I credit the progress that's been made on both these projects to the fact that I have a clear head to actually focus.

Other Updates:

I'm now officially a member of the steering committee for THAW (Theatres Against War). It's a fantastic organization that has done some exciting work over the years. Check out the website at http://www.thawaction.org/ .

COTE got some great publicity from our last production of "My Name is Rachel Corrie". We even made it to Wikipedia (I'm ridiculously excited about this... because I wiki EVERYTHING). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Name_Is_Rachel_Corrie . We're having one more performance this weekend at Pace University (May 1st) at 8:00pm.

Made it to the interview round for the 2009-2010 McCarter Theater Directing Internship in Princeton, NJ. I should find out in a few weeks whether or not I got in. If I do, I will move to Princeton for 10 months and assistant direct under Emily Mann (and various other guest directors that come through the McCarter). I will also get to direct a one act at the end of the year as part of their Youth Ink! Festival. I'm so thrilled that I had the opportunity to meet Emily Mann (an artist that I've always admired) and speak with her and others at the McCarter Theater about my work. Regardless out the outcome, I feel good about the interview and I'm thrilled for that opportunity.

Some other STUFF:

Recent articles about COTE:




A Lovely Quote for a Rainy Morning

9:15 AM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

The new addition to my word wall:

I don't believe an accident of birth makes people sisters or brothers. It makes them siblings, gives them mutuality of parentage. Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at. ~Maya Angelou


Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab 2009

2:09 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (1)

I'm insanely proud and excited to announce to the blogsphere that I've received a place in the 2009 Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab in NYC this summer (http://www.lct.org/directorsLabMain.htm) ! AHHHH!!! Just a side note - it has been my dream (and goal) since when I was in high school to participate in the Lab. This news couldn't have come at a better time. I can't wait!

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Voicing Pain Through Performance - Great Article!

4:42 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

This is a great article...


Voicing Pain Through Performance
Published: April 12, 2009

Standing in a circle, in a windowless classroom near an on-ramp to the Queensboro Bridge, two dozen high school students chanted in unison. Their accents revealed their origins: Honduras, Ghana, Albania, Vietnam.
What are we, why are we, where are we going?
Why are we leaving, what are we doing?
Then, rapid-fire, they spoke the lines they had first uttered in a classroom discussion about displacement and emigration but now were molding into art.
“We had to leave; the rebels took over!” declared Stephanie Saint-Val, from Haiti.
“We left the city for the desert,” Hadeel al-Hindawi, from Iraq, said more shyly.
“You don’t know my struggle, you haven’t a clue,” proclaimed Sandup Sherpa, from Nepal, who had just dazzled the class with his break dancing.
Stephanie’s family fled machete-wielding attackers during a 2004 coup. Hadeel’s father was shot in the face in Baghdad because he worked as a translator for the United States military. Sandup’s father, a legislator, was targeted for assassination by Maoist rebels and now lives in Elmhurst, Queens, selling cellphones.
Leading the recent rehearsal at the
International High School at LaGuardia Community College was Judith Sloan, a performance artist and oral historian with a fountain of red hair. She has spent a decade documenting immigrants’ stories and teaching teenagers to transform their experiences into theater — mainly in Queens, which, with 167 nationalities and 116 languages, was deemed the nation’s most diverse county in the 2000 census.
Ms. Sloan’s art and teaching cross-pollinate: She uses immigrant stories that she and her husband have compiled — dozens of them are included in a 2003 book, “Crossing the Blvd” — to demonstrate how to shape narrative and to get students talking about their lives. And the students flood her with new material.
As she helps the students compose the performance they will present in May, she is also coming full circle with a new work of her own. “Yo Miss! Teaching Inside the Cultural Divide,” which she performs with musical collaborators, re-enacts and riffs on her experiences teaching teenagers from myriad worlds: refugee camps, struggling neighborhoods, prisons. It is a performance about performances, a story containing many stories.
And suddenly, “Yo Miss!” has another mission: To raise money to keep the story going. Facing a shortfall of about a quarter of the high school program’s $45,000 budget for this year, Ms. Sloan has earmarked a chunk of the proceeds from her show to finance the workshop.
In one “Yo Miss!” vignette, a patchwork of sentence fragments conveys Ms. Sloan’s jitters as she travels upstate to teach teenagers in a detention center for the first time: “Snow. Rolling hills. Country homes. Farms. Prison. Boys from New York City. Fresh air. Barbed wire. Sky.”
“Yo miss! What good is this going to do us when we get out?” she sneers in the half-whiny, half-aggressive voice of a teenage boy. After trying some answers that do not fly — “Maybe some of you will become writers!” — she finally tells them, “I don’t know; do you have anything better to do right now?”
The workshop at the International High School, run by
EarSay, Ms. Sloan’s nonprofit group, is just one of countless cultural programs across the country that are facing cuts.
To cope, Ms. Sloan gave up her teaching pay, found volunteers to help, and even plans to seek financing from the hip-hop artist
Nas, who grew up partly in the Queensbridge housing project near the school.
The New York State Council on the Arts was given $48.5 million in this year’s state budget to support cultural groups and projects, but midyear budget cuts brought the allocation down to $39.5 million. Next year’s budget raises financing to $42.4 million —still below pre-recession levels.
Small community groups are most vulnerable to budget cuts, said Lynn Lobell, managing director of the Queens Council on the Arts, who funnels city financing to arts projects like flamenco theater and Chinese opera. But they are vitally important to developing neighborhoods, she said.
And they help in less tangible ways.
The International High School is a public school for students with limited English proficiency who have been in the United States less than four years. Many are refugees whose education has been interrupted by war and displacement.
For them, Ms. Sloan’s workshop does more than fulfill their arts requirement: students say it helps them work through experiences that are hard to discuss in any language.
Stephanie, 18, brought Haitian zouk — joyous dance music that she said “releases pain” — to be woven into the performance, along with patriotic Albanian hip-hop and Arabic pop. That meant sharing something positive about Haiti, even as she talked about hiding from rebels, unable to leave the house, and missing school.
For Hadeel, 15, the performance helped explore feelings of loss. “I have a new life, and it’s fun, but I lost a lot,” she said: friends, her neighborhood, the habit of wearing a headscarf.
Ms. Sloan and her husband, Warren Lehrer, founded EarSay in 1999, and learned to listen to stories of trauma through “Crossing the Blvd,” for which they interviewed dozens of immigrants along Queens Boulevard, the borough’s main thoroughfare. The stories became not only the book but continuing performances and museum exhibits that have toured the country and become part of curriculums for high schools, medical residents and college oral history classes.
On Sunday, as part of the city’s Immigrant Heritage Week,
Ms. Sloan will be performing pieces from “Crossing the Blvd” and “Yo Miss!” at UnionDocs, a documentary arts center in Brooklyn.
At the high school workshop, Chenits Pettigrew, a hip-hop artist who goes by the name
Chen Lo, had compiled the students’ thoughts into a spoken-word performance, part poetry, part rap. He asked each student to perform the line that meant the most.
Sandup, 14, said speaking his lines made him proud. “It feels like I’m telling the public how I’ve been struggling,” he said.
He pointed to a favorite line: “My homeland screams, ‘Don’t forget me!’ My new life says, ‘Come and get me!’ ”
He said he and other Nepali teenagers spend a lot of time speaking English and having fun, not thinking much about what their parents went through to bring them here.
“I don’t want to forget,” he said.

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RIP Lucy!

1:54 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

R.I.P. Lucy
7/04/03 - 4/13/09

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Congo Article

9:08 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

One of my friends, Rima Abdelkader from the Pace University days is now a journalist (she's the next Christiane Amanpour). Check 0ut one of her latest articles on the Huffington Post.



THEATRE ARTS: A Menace to Society by Alexis Greene

12:55 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

Check out this great article on documentary theatre in "On The Issues Magazine": http://www.ontheissuesmagazine.com/2009winter/2009winter_8.php



9:21 AM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

Every Action Of My Today Is A Seed Holding Within It The Life Or Death Of My Tomorrow.



11:41 AM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

Check out an interview that we did with Joseph Shahadi on his blog, "VS. THE POMEGRANATE" regarding our production of "My Name is Rachel Corrie", among other things. http://vsthepomegranate.blogspot.com/2009/04/artist-interview-co-op-theatre-east.html


Pictures from "My Name Is Rachel Corrie" are up...

10:28 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (1)

More to come soon...

Check them out at www.photoblog.com/ashleymarinaccio .

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I Study Bugs

10:33 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

Phillip: What are you doing?
Ashley: Studying for the GRE... do you know what that is?
Phillip: No...
Ashley: Do you know what the SAT is?
Phillip: Yeah.
Ashley: Well, it's like the SAT but harder. It's for graduate school. To get into a doctorate program you have to do well on the GRE.
Phillip: So, you're going to be a doctor?
Ashley: I'm going to be an anthropologist.
Phillip: YOU STUDY BUGS!!!???
Ashley: No....

Sometimes, life is too good...