POUGHKEEPSIE, NY — A husband and wife, and their young son – played inventively by a puppeteer – manage the stresses of modern life in Quiver and Twitch, a new play presented by Vassar College and New York Stage & Film's Powerhouse Theater Season. Written by Erin Courtney and directed by Sarah Benson, Quiver and Twitch incorporates puppetry, dreamlike imagery and humor, in what Beth Fargis-Lancaster, executive producer of the Powerhouse Theater, calls "an innovative way to examine contemporary issues." Featuring Kevin Augustine, Francois Battiste, Gibson Frazier, Peter Maloney, Jennifer R. Morris and Marius Zilberstein, four performances of the workshop will be held in the Susan Stein Shiva Theatre, including 8:00 p.m. performances on Friday, July 21 and Saturday, July 22, and performances at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 23.
Playwright Erin Courtney's recent work includes Pricked, Summer Play, Downwinders, Mother's Couch, and A Large White Rat. Her play Demon Baby, described as "well-made" by the New York Times, was a finalist for the Princess Grace Award and her ten-minute play A Brilliant Fast was produced at the Soho Theater in London in 2000. Courtney is an affiliated artist with the New York theatre company Clubbed Thumb and is a member of the collaborative theatre group Lightning Ensemble in London, and a member of Dramatists Guild. Courtney is the recipient of a MacDowell fellowship and the New York State Council on the Arts grant for playwriting and has taught at Brooklyn College, Cooper Union, and at the San Francisco Art Institute.
Director Sarah Benson is Associate Artistic Director at Soho Repertory Theatre, where she co-chairs the Writer/Director Lab. Benson's New York projects include The Perils of Politeness, The Land of their Fathers, The Lottery, Gregory must Sweat!, and The Island, Of Never Giving Way to Your Desire. For the past two years, Benson has co-curated the annual "Prelude" festival and symposium, featuring readings, performances and rehearsals in new stage work at CUNY's Martin E. Segal Theatre Center. She is the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship, the Joel Zwick Directing Award, and a Buchwald Fellowship.
Jennifer R. Morris's ("Woman") credits include, I Have Loved Strangers, Matt & Ben, Communist Dracula Pageant, Girl Blog from Iraq, Right Way to Sue, Pericles, A Christmas Carol, Lysistrata, and Harmony. Morris is a founding member of the OBIE award winning theatre company, The Civilians. With The Civilians, her credits include, Nobody's Lunch, Gone Missing, The Ladies, and Canard, Canard, Goose? Her television credits include, Law & Order, ER, and Profiler.
Gibson Frazier ("Man") has performed in Philadelphia, Victoria, B.C., and as a founding member with Buffalo Nights Theatre Company in Los Angeles. Frazier has acted with Jack Klugman and Tony Randall in Rough Crossing at the Coconut Grove Theatre and The Sunshine Boys. A graduate of UCLA, Frazier was awarded the Hugh O'Brien Award for his work in The Actor's Nightmare, directed by Tony Award winner Mel Shapiro. His screen credits include Illusion with Kirk Douglas, Dear God, True Rights, and Visas and Virtue, winner of the 1997 Academy Award for best live action short film.
Puppeteer Kevin Augustine ("Boy") is artistic director of Lone Wolf Tribe, a puppet theatre ensemble for adults, and has performed at theatres and festivals, including The HARARE International Festival of the Arts in Zimbabwe, Africa; NYC's "Trio" sponsored by The Henson International Festival of Puppet Theatre, Dance Theatre Workshop and the Painted Bride in Philadelphia. Augustine is a Teaching Artist at The New Victory Theatre and through the Brooklyn Arts Council.
Peter Maloney's ("Dick Cheney/Nightmare") Broadway credits include, Judgment at Nuremburg, Stanley, Poor Murderer and Hughie. Other theatre credits include, Carousel, Six Degrees of Separation, Arcadia and Abe Lincoln in Illinois. His film credits include, Desperately Seeking Susan, JFK, Private Parts, Requiem for a Dream, Washington Square and K-Pax.
Francois Battiste ("Soldier"), described as "electric" by the New York Times for his work in Hambone, was the recipient of the Most Promising Actor award by the Black Theater Alliance. Other credits include, The Bomb-itty of Errors, A Raisin in the Sun, Twelfth Night, and They All Fall Down. Battiste has worked with the acclaimed Steppenwolf Theatre Company of Chicago and studied at the British American Drama Academy at Oxford, and The Juilliard School.
Tickets for Quiver and Twitch are $18 and can be ordered from the Powerhouse Theater Box Office, by calling (845) 437-7235 and (845) 437-5599 or visiting http://powerhouse.vassar.edu/home.html.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberals arts college founded in 1861.