Decadent Acts, Entry #1: A Director's List

11:17 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

The first "Decadent Acts" entry ... January 30th, 2010

Getting ready to start COTE's newest production of "Decadent Acts". I'm at the point where I'm about ready to take off the playwright's hat and wear the director's. Of course, leaving behind playwright may not happen for a few weeks until after I hear the first read through this Sunday. Actually, who am I kidding... when we did "Documentary: A Suicide Narrative" in 2008, made script changes up until the last minute. I already have some ideas for what I may cut/add and scenes that would help Dec. I'm thrilled with the process that's been made so far on it and couldn't be more happy with the team that's been busting their behinds on getting it to where it is today. This play has had many lives (and many more rewrites), originating as my honors thesis from Pace University.

My biggest fear always is going into a first rehearse unprepared (or appearing unprepared). The down time from Battery Park City (no job in the winter) has given me plenty of time to get lots of work done. Thus, my check list is completed.

The Director's Check List

1. Script printed/Scenes labeled
2. Rehearsal schedule (for February) printed/conflicts noted/rescheduling done. Contact list and other EXCEL documents completed.
3. Skeletal blocking for the entire play done (This is where I go through the script scene by scene a lay a rough framework for how I want it to look. I do it separate from the script) .
4. First few scenes blocked on paper (This is where the blocking is actually written into the script). It always ends up changing and (for the most part) being thrown away, but I like having it.
5. Character work and preliminary questions sent to cast. (I generally send a list of questions broken down by scene for the actors to ask themselves about their characters and motives to get the ball rolling...)
6. Some additional research and suggested reading/video watching sent...

Okay, so I'm a bit of a research junkie. I fantasize that everyone who works with me loves to do research as much as I do. There just is never enough you can know about a topic and being that I'm often too curious for my own good, I spend hours researching the smallest nuances in a script. Maybe I'm missing my calling in life as a dramaturg? Ah well, for now we're set and I can't wait to get this show on the road.

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Indypendent Photos

10:58 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

I shot this issue's cover of the Indypendent. Check it out above. It's a great newspaper. I think it's very important to support independent journalism and media, especially in the times we're living in. I recommend this paper. Every issue has well written, thought provoking articles. To read the article I did the photos for, click below.

Click here:


Birthday with Wolves!

5:40 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

Celebrated my birthday today! Best one yet. It's going to be a great year. We visited a wolf Lakota Wolf preserve and animal conservation area (in Northern NJ) where we saw foxes, bobcats and wolves (obviously). Here are the highlights of the day:

The cake!

The pack of kids in front of the pack of wolves.

Let him eat cake!

Walking a mile to the wolves.


For more pictures from the day:

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Support Co-Op Theatre East in 2010!

11:16 AM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

On Tuesday, January 26th 2010 at 8:00pm Co-Op Theatre East will present its first annual networking event and fundraiser! Join COTE and your fellow actors, directors, producers, and theatre-lovers for cocktails, food and great conversation with others who share your love of the theatre arts (future collaborators!?!?). Sketch comedy troupe, Think Pound will be performing in addition to an acoustic set from Reconsider and a solo set from thingNY's Paul Pinto. The event will be held on Tuesday, January 26th, 8–11pm at Jimmy's No. 43 (43 E. 7th Street, Manhattan). RSVP for the party by e-mailing us at The asking donation is $15, and will go directly toward making the rest of our season a reality. Co-Op Theatre East believes in the power of art to foster a dialogue for social change. We provide an entertaining performance forum in which to ask evocative, challenging questions of artists and audiences on our way to creating collaborative answers. For more information on COTE visit us on the web at

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Four Months Since Hillary by Eve Ensler

11:30 PM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

The first must read of 2010...

I have been in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo for the month of December. Christmas at Panzi Hospital was overflowing with raped and tortured women. Many young girls, several under 14, carrying babies. Every day at least 13 new women arrive seeking care to repair the damage done to their bodies from the rapes and sexual torture.

Since Secretary Clinton's wildly publicized and celebrated visit in August, since the UN's report of success for the Kimia II military operation, since the international community in theory woke up to horrors of the merciless economic war in the Congo, the war rages on and takes its toll. I know because I sat with women who live in the bush, many of whom have now been raped two or three times. I sat holding them as their bodies shook uncontrollably, as they leaked urine from fistula, as they compulsively wrung their hands and hid their faces behind their panges and rocked and cried out to God as they told me their stories:

Ntalwinja, who is 50, from Kalehe was raped by the Interhamwe (former Rwandan Genocidaires) in front of her husband, tied to him and their goats and dragged for 12 hours, held as a sex slave for days on end, raped over and over. Left near dead in the bush, she finally returned to find her husband ill, his heart destroyed from what he had witnessed.

Masaura, who was selling fried fish and not a good runner, was grabbed and raped by three Interhamwe soldiers, taking turns and repeating. Finally crawling home, her husband, a gold miner, who had heard she was raped, expelled her and rejected his children because she was pregnant with her rapists' baby.

Mwamirindi was held as a sex slave and pieces of her flesh were cut every few days. She was raped for months and watched them rape her sister in law who they killed and cut open and served for dinner and then when Mwamirindi finally escaped and returned home, she was expelled by her husband who sold her land and house and threw her and her children into the street. Now she is three months pregnant with a baby from the rapes.

Julian, 45, was raped after the Interhamwe broke into her house in the middle of the night and shot her husband and tried to force her son to rape her. When he refused, they shot him, then took her two daughters into the night and she went screaming after them and has never found them and has lost her way. Ange who was 16 and grabbed by Rwandan soldiers and raped and raped, her insides destroyed...

These horrific acts and thousands more happened in the four months since Secretary Clinton promised action and money, the UN promised protection and claimed it delivered it, and the international community approved their plan. All this happened under the watch of an American President, a Nobel Peace Prize Winner, who has yet to make the destruction of the female species of the Congo anything more than a one-line reference in a speech. As this femicide is spreading to other countries and will continue to spread if he does not make this a front and center issue. In the months where the minerals of the Congo continue to be exploited by the world, where the surrounding countries of Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi have yet to be held accountable for waging a regional war in the Congo for those minerals.

Over twelve years, this war, this brutally inconceivable violence has raged on. Almost six million dead. Almost 500 thousand raped. You tell the story of horror and atrocity one too many times and then you realize nothing is changing and that the world goes on getting its minerals, supporting its luxuries and the death, massacres rapes and tortures of millions do not matter. And then you can't find a real reason for wanting to live in humanity or be part of this world but you don't want to kill yourself so you start screaming out, screaming and screaming out and then you get called intense, angry and then mad. Because that is what people who have crossed over get called.

At what point are we all going to cross over?

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My wishes for 2010...

12:23 AM / Posted by Ashley / comments (0)

Lose 20 pounds; See Co-Op Theatre East grow and flourish; See more shows that my friends are in or part of; Be more assertive in relationships and financially; Dance; Stop allowing distorted views and expectations of "femininity" dictate the way I see myself; Write; See GirlPower take on a life of its own; Visit a new museum each month; Make theatre that changes and inspires people; Create work that encourages thoughtful dialogue; See all of my friends/colleagues achieve their dreams; Be present; Perfect my Arabic; Stay inspired; See more women directors and playwrights represented in the commerical theatre world; Be more diligent about responding to e-mails in a timely manner; Finish "What to do in case you miss the Rapture"; Spend more time out doors; Learn how to love my body and stop criticizing it; Shoot more photos; Do something with my blog; Read the books I haven't read on my bookshelf; Start research project on young competitive dancers; Visit places that I've never been; Stop cursing... use more colorful vocabulary; Get rid of clutter; Post one tweet a day for COTE (@cooptheatreeast); Perfect what sometimes feels like lackluster listening skills; More funding for the arts and small theatre companies; End Violence Against Women; More action/Less talk all around...

What are yours?

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