Identity Crisis Theater Opens at the Brick in Greenpoint
The Event Included a Preview of a Performance Coming to The LaGuardia Rough Draft Festival 3/16 & Another of a Play Returning to the Brick Theater Beginning May 28th
In early February I attended the opening of a new theater ensemble - Identity Crisis Theater - at the Brick Theater in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn.
The theater group is comprised of three NYC artists, some of Turkish descent, who will "... feature English translations of works from Turkey, the Balkans, the Middle East and surrounding Mediterranean cultures." Their goal is to develop "... a platform for exploration, conversation, revelation and the celebration of our common humanity."
It was a cold, wet, miserable night outside, as I made my way to the Brick, which is located only a couple of blocks from the G line Metropolitan subway stop. As I stepped inside, the atmosphere changed to warm and dry as I took my place amongst a crowd filled with anticipation. The audience had packed the theater in advance to view performances by some of NYC’s emerging dance, musical and theatrical artists.
I met the Brick Theater management team comprised of Ryan Downey and Theresa Buchheister. This past year they took over the operation of the Brick Theater, after years of working there. They seemed to have the theater production well in hand, as there are events and performances at this warm, rustic Greenpoint Brooklyn theater every week, and quite often every day.
Identity Crisis Theater Presents 'Triggerman' at the Brick Theater in Greenpoint BK
On the stage at the back of the theater, a performance had just begun. The piece was entitled Triggerman and it was about the step-by-step planning of an assassination, alongside the moral struggle of a young man, trying to wrest himself free from the anger and hate, being imposed on him by a few members of his own ethnic tribe.
- CLICK here to read the rest of our report on the Identity Crisis Theater opening night at the Brick Theater in Brooklyn.
Identity Crisis Theater Opens at the Brick in Greenpoint
The Event Included Previews of Performances & Plays Which Can be Seen in Brooklyn & Queens Later this Year
The piece was written by Ebru Nihan Celkan and performed by Defne Halman, Sinan Eczacibasi, Joel Lloyd and Rodney Nelson. It’s an interesting look at what is an everyday dilemma for many people everywhere – the choice between doing what is right or doing what is expected and expedient. But of course the piece greatly dramatizes this moral dilemma by weaving the story around the life and death situation of planning an assassination. And the play taps into the culturally relevant and explosive narrative of terrorism. What's interesting is that it's a story told not by cultural outsiders, but rather cultural insiders, so there are nuances that draw one into the plot.
Opening Night for Identity Crisis Theater - New Theater Group in NYC
At the break I had a chance to talk to Handan Ozbilgin who is one of the independent artists who have put together the IdC - the new Idenity Crisis Theater ensemble. Tonight was their opening night and Handan told me that one of the pieces being showcased tonight, Project TAG, would be also be performed as a part of the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center Rough Draft Festival. The Rough Draft Festival runs from Wednesday, March 11th through Friday, April 3rd, 2020. Another piece, Triggerman, will return to the Brick Theater as a full production from May 28 - June 13, 2020.
Project TAG Interpretive Modern Dance Will be Presented at the Rough Draft Festival at LaGuardia PAC
As our conversation died down, the modern dance performance of Project TAG began. The choreographed dance piece delves into politics, religion and war through the eyes of director Hussein Smko. He created the work to communicate the zeitgeist of his life growing up in the Kurdish region of the Middle East. There, surrounded by hostilities, ostensibly based on tribal cultural clashes - the alternate truth ... the alternate reality - is that everyone is being manipulated by the power brokers of money, greed and oil.
After the dance I spent a few minutes with Steven Hitt, the Artistic Producing Director at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center. Steven is actively involved in a plethora of theater projects, and tonight was no exception. Steven had signed on to do some of the reading of the next piece, the Opet Diaries. Steven conveyed a bit of his excitement surrounding the upcoming Rough Draft Festival, which I’ll be covering sometime in mid to late March.
Opet Diaries - New Theater Project
The Opet Diaries was a reading performance that begins at a gas station, in an unnamed Turkish town, where there’s a multitude of social issues swirling around - some of which are life and death. An earthquake is on its way, migrants are crossing the border, and military patrols are monitoring the area. In amongst the atmospheric turmoil, people must still deal with their personal lives, their personal histories and some of the past begins to emerge.
Opet or Ophet was an ancient Egyptian Festival held around the harvest time. Opet was also the name given to Turkey’s second largest oil company, which is how this play got its name. The story scene unfolds at an Opet gas station in a small Turkish town.
Eclipse Theater Group - Greek Music in Astoria
There was one last break prior to the performance of some Greek songs by the Eclipse Theater Group of Astoria. Astoria is the home to one of the largest Greek communities in the U.S. While the Astoria neighborhood is quickly changing – like so many neighborhoods in NYC – it still remains one of America's top destinations where one can still experience authentic Greek culture and food. The songs were heard tonight filled the brick walled Brick Theater with the melodies of Grecian culture.
The following are short video clips of these performances. This program was put together by Identity Crisis Theater, a new theater ensemble that is involved in LaGuardia Performing Arts Center Rough Draft Festival, in LIC and has a relationship with the Brick Theater in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn. Identity Crisis Theater doesn't yet appear to have a website, but you can find them using the following url - http://handanozbilgin.com/identity-crisis-theater-ensemble-idc/. Brick Theater can be found at www.bricktheater.com and you might want to peruse the upcoming Rough Draft Festival program to find Project TAG and related works at www.lpac.nyc. Enjoy.
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