Being a Kid After 9/11

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Being a Kid After 9/11

Young performers in New York City explore what it means to grow up after the world changed

By Tyrus Cukavac | August 22 , 2011
<p>Cast members rehearse for their debut on September 10.</p>

Cast members rehearse for their debut on September 10.

People around the country are preparing to observe the 10th anniversary of the tragedy known as 9/11. On September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked the United States and more than 3,000 people died. A group of young people in New York City, where the terrorists destroyed the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, are remembering the event in their own way. Together, they wrote a play to explore the impact of Spetember 11 on their lives.

The final play is called Ten Years Later: Voices from the Post-9/11 Generation Speak. Co-director Ashley Marinaccio told Scholastic News, “It is completely youth driven. It focuses on the cultural aftermath of what it means to be a kid after 9/11.”

The writers and performers range from 9 to 23 years old. The youngest members of the group were not yet born when the events of 9/11 occurred. Others were children or young teens. Together, they interviewed community members, participated in writing exercises, and wrote songs to create an original play based on their experiences in New York following September 11.


Heightened security in buildings and airports and U.S. involvement in wars in the Middle East are a few of the ways the 9/11 terrorist attacks changed life in the United States. Many young people growing up in the past 10 years don’t clearly remember what life was like before the tragedy.

“My first view of the Manhattan skyline was without the towers,” cast member Emily Rupp, now 21, says in the play. “When I first saw it, I just tried to imagine what it could’ve looked like. . . . My Manhattan skyline will always be an unfinished puzzle to me.”

Shortly after 9/11, the U.S. sent American troops to Afghanistan to try to find those who had planned the attacks. Thousands of troops remain there. Many cast members do not remember a time when the United States was not at war. The play explores this through monologues and scenes. Other themes include the meaning of patriotism and increased security in American life.

The first performance will take place on September 10 at Pace University in New York City as part of a larger memorial program. This performance is just one way people around the country are preparing for the anniversary. On September 11, a memorial honoring victims will be dedicated at Ground Zero, the site where the Twin Towers once stood.

Ceremonies of remembrance will also take place at the two other sites where the terrorists crashed hijacked planes—at the Pentagon, near Washington, D.C., and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Scores of other services and events will mark the day around the nation as Americans seek to honor the memories of the victims.

Read more about how people across the United States are commemorating the 10th anniversary of September 11.

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Ten Years Later - Promo Video

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Monday, September 12, 2011, 8:00 pm
Peter Jay Sharp Theater at 416 West 42nd Street - New York

Tickets on sale now! Contact Ticket Central!

August 22, 2011, New York, NY – Co-Op Theatre East and Project Girl Performance Collective debuts a cutting-edge, ensemble-devised play, created by youth between the ages of 9 and 23, Ten Years Later explores the impact of the September 11th terrorist attacks on youth. The young cast explores what it means to be coming of age in a post-9/11 society as a young person living in the shadow of Twin Towers that most of them have never seen. “My first view of the Manhattan skyline was without the towers,” said cast member Emily Rupp. “When I first saw it, I tried to imagine what it could’ve looked like. It was like putting together a puzzle.”

The “Ten Years Later” cast may not have seen the World Trade Center but they have been infinitely affected by the disaster as evident from their revealing stories and struggles. Terrorism, fundamentalism, orange alerts, airport security, subway sniffing dogs and tea party patriotism, as you will see in the show, weigh heavily on the minds and hearts of today’s youth.

Ten Years Later: Voices from the Post 9/11 Generation Speak opens 8:00 pm on September 12th, 2011 at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre and then tours the tri-State area. Please contact Casey Cleverly at ­­­­­­­­­­ if you have any questions or would like to book the show this Fall.

About Co-Op Theatre East: Founded in Spring 2008 by three graduates of the Performance Studies program at Tisch School of the Arts, Co-Op Theatre East produces socially minded performance that deals with the questions of today, the situations we find ourselves immersed in as New Yorkers, Americas, and world citizens at this moment. 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.

About Project Girl Performance Collective: "It was inspiring to see bright, confident young women holding forth onstage" (The New Yorker, September 3, 2010) was the response to the Collective’s most recent show at The Fringe Festival. Project Girl Performance Collective (PGPC) empowers young women by creating a safe space to address contemporary social, political and cultural issues through the performing arts and written word. The Project Girl Performance Collective is committed to the idea of theatre and performance as a medium for awareness, action and social change.

The cast includes
Kate Bralower (10, Manhattan)
Tiffani-Amber DiGrazia (9, Queens)
Samantha Phillips (15, Westchester)
Monica Furman (15, Brooklyn)
Arianna Hanson (15, Bronx)
Hank Chen (23, Washington, D. C.)
Nick Wolf (21, New Jersey)
Stacey Oliver (19, Connecticut)
Deanna Alexandra (16, Long Island)
Emily Rupp (21, Brooklyn)
Peter Kendall (20, New Jersey)
Mariah Adkins (23, Brooklyn)
Haleigh Spasjevich (22, Manhattan)
Laura Killeen (23, United Kingdom).

It is directed by Ashley Marinaccio and Robert A. K. Gonyo, Artistic Directors of Co-Op Theatre East, Assistant Directed & Stage Managed by Daniel Mendoza and produced by Jessica Greer Morris, Executive Director of the Project Girl Performance Collective, 9/11 Worker and Chair of the World Trade Center Community Advisory Board (2001-2004).

Co-Op Theatre East and Project Girl Performance Collective present:


Conceived and Directed by Ashley Marinaccio, Robert A. K. Gonyo and Daniel Mendoza

Produced by Jessica Greer Morris

Monday, September 12, 2011

8:00 pm

Peter Jay Sharp Theater

416 West 42nd Street - New York

Tickets available through Ticket Central

$20 General Admission

$15 Student/Senior Discount

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5 Reasons to see "Ampersand: A Romeo and Juliet Story" at Fringe this year!

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Time to celebrate some of the amazing young artists in NYC (and there are many of them). Two in particular that are on my mind this week, Mariah MacCarthy, author of Ampersand: A Romeo and Juliet Story in the NY International Fringe Festival and Robert A. K. Gonyo, Artistic Director of Co-Op Theatre East and creator of Go See a Show, a new Off-Off Broadway podcast.

Top Five Reasons to see "Ampersand: A Romeo and Juliet Story" at the NY International Fringe Festival:

1. Strong female characters. With Mariah behind the script, it's expected and delivered. Playwrights and producers take note, this is a woman that needs to have work produced more often. She is writing strong, challenging roles for women in their 20s that are far more interesting than some of the more traditional parts that have been out there in the past.

2. Writing that is questioning traditional stereotypes and gender roles but isn't didactic.

3. Fantastic music and musicians (Emily Rupp from Project Girl Performance Collective is a stand out. Her short vocal performance is hauntingly beautiful.)

4. A talented young cast of "non union" actors. Eventually many of the cast members will be union and working nonstop in theatre, film and television, but until then, let's take a moment to acknowledge the new and/or underused talent thriving in this city. Fringe is traditionally the place to see "up and coming" performers. This ensemble is strong with many stand outs.

5. Lauren Hennessy. Her performance as Romeo is stunning. Since we're being honest here, I'd like to come out as an official (and once closeted) Lauren Hennessy fan. She was a standout in the Ampersand workshop in addition to Purple Rep's All American Genderfuck Cabaret. I look forward to seeing what's next for Lauren.

I've been following Ampersand since it's workshop days at Looking Glass Theatre, and it's come quite far. Part of the fun has been watching the actors (many who were part of the workshop cast at Looking Glass) grow with the script and completely embody their roles. I am looking forward to seeing where Ampersand will go next. I expect big things for this piece.

Info on how to see "Ampersand: A Romeo and Juliet Story":

Ampersand: A Romeo & Juliet Story
By Mariah MacCarthy
Music by Brian Kirchner
Directed by Amanda Thompson

Brigitte Choura, Julie Ek, Nic Grelli, Craig Hanson, Lauren Hennessy, Jeremy Michael Lagunas, Diana Oh, Anna Savant, Jordan Tierney, Lauren Weinberg, and Matthew Welsh, and Emily Rupp on guitar.

Elizabeth Weitzen - Costume Designer
Liz Elliot - Lighting Designer
Christopher Shepard - Choregrapher
Teddy Lytle - Fight Director
LeeAnn DiCicco - Graphic Design
Kacey Stamats - Photography
Eva Schelbaum - Assistant Director
Tom Meredith - Technical Director
Christopher Diercksen - Assistant Producer
Marina Steinberg - Stage Manager

Executive Producers:
Larry Kunofsky, Mariah MacCarthy, and Leta Tremblay

FOR TICKETS and FringeNYC listing:​asic_page.php?ltr=A#Ampers

The Story:
A prissy Beauty Queen falls in love/hate with a guitar-wielding firebrand. Is there room for this bad romance in Verona, Iowa? Or will Juliet stay in her walk-in closet? An award-winning pop-folk musical, with drag queens.

Performance Dates:
Friday, August 12 @ 5pm
Sunday, August 14 @ 8:15pm
Thursday, August 18 @ 2pm
Saturday, August 20 @ NOON
Saturday, August 27 @ 7:45pm

Finally, check out Robby's new podcast, a much needed asset to the off off Broadway community, "Go See A Show". His first interview is with Mariah. Info below:

About “Go See a Show!”

The “Go See a Show!” podcast is (as far as I can tell) the only podcast dedicated to the off-off-Broadway scene in New York City. Every week, I interview an artist making theatre in New York City, discussing the ideas and process behind their work.

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Arundhati Roy Video

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COTE Announces Auditions for two devised pieces

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Co-Op Theatre East (COTE) is casting two ensemble devised projects: "El Otro" by Miguel de Unamuno, directed by Robert A. K. Gonyo and "What to Do In Case You Miss the Rapture", devised by an ensemble of writers and actors, directed by Ashley Marinaccio .

Adaptation of Miguel de Unamuno's 1926 play EL OTRO, to be performed in both Spanish and English. Actors must have proficiency in both Spanish and English (fluency in one, and at least basic 200s college-level conversational ability in the other); and, must be comfortable developing a performance in an ensemble setting.

Synopsis: One of two twin brothers lies dead in the basement, killed at his brother's hand — but the killer is mad, refusing to reveal his identity. While the housekeeper, the doctor, and the twins' respective wives try to piece together the truth of the crime, they get little help from the living twin, who refers to himself only as "El Otro:" the Other. Working with the text in the original Spanish, in English translation, and something in between, we will use Unamuno's riff on the story of Cain and Abel in an attempt to get at the sense of "other-ness" in our country. Within the context of the American experiment, what does it mean to democracy when one "group" or another is seen as the "other"? Unamuno noted that the play explores "the intimate, profound truth of the drama of the soul;" as such, we will attempt to plumb the American soul.

Rehearsals for this work will begin in early December 2011, to culminate in a workshop performance in April or May 2012.

What to Do in Case You Miss the Rapture (… and other Apocalyptic Tales) is an ensemble-devised piece illustrating the obsession with the “End of the World” and impending “Dooms Day”. Writers and Actors will be creating text based on news headlines, interviews, pop culture and/or their own experiences with 'dooms day' enthusiasts.

Seeking 8-10 Performers, all ages and types who are comfortable with writing and contributing to an ensemble devised piece. Must be team players. Writing workshops for “Rapture” will begin in late October, public performance/workshops in May.

You may submit for EITHER El Otro or Rapture (not both). Auditions will be held onThursday, August 18th from 7:00 to 10:00 pm at the Looking Glass Theatre - 422 West 57th Street, NYC. Please do not submit if you cannot make the audition time or will not be in town for the performance months. To submit, please send a headshot/resume with the title of the show your submitting for in the subject line and information about yourself, your background and why you want to be part of the particular project