BROKEN VESSELS: PRESENCE OF THE DIVINE by Nava Gidanian-Kagan
BROKEN BODY: HEALING NERVES by Laura Beatrix Newmark
TEACHING by Ruby Namdar
BROKEN WHISKY SONATA by Dan Friedman
Nava Gidanian-Kagan (Gallery)
Broken Vessels: Presence of The Divine
“I investigate brokenness as an evolving, natural state-of being rather than parts striving to fix. It is a journey from separation back to connection, a search for a melting point, that dissolves the line between the self & other. I deconstruct the body and build it back together in a rich, allusive language. Emulating a memory of the body & its fragility. Trying to find the fine line that holds it together but still vibrates with the parts, illustrating the divine presence in an earthly form, manifested as part of the material world.”
About Nava Gidanian-Kagan
Nava is an Iranian-Israeli artist based in New York City. Our connection to the divine and to each other is the heart of her work. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally and received numerous awards including, The Terra Foundation for American Art, The Elisabeth Greenshields Foundation, and Eileen S.Kaminsky Foundation Award. Her work has been featured in New American Painting Magazine.
Laura Beatrix Newmark
Broken Body: Healing Nerves
A 2007 medical diagnosis leads to a journey of discovery, culminating in a new normal inspired by a biblical text that re-emerges in the year of BROKEN.
About Laura Beatrix Newmark
Laura is the Director of LABA NY. A 2016 LABA Fellow, Laura is a former comedy manager, and has worked in the intersection of humor, Jewish community building, and media. She played on the Masters Table Tennis Team at the Maccabiah Games this summer and is mom to Elias, and Milo, who painted the MRIs. Her husband Matt is a lapsed professional juggler.
Milo is in 2nd Grade at Brooklyn Friends School. His work has been shown at the Ethan Cohen KuBe, in collaboration with Altuzarra, and on the album cover of LABA Chosen Fellow Dvir Cahana. He is a graduate of the 14Y’s Prelude to Preschool program.
Ronit Muszkatblit, Director
Ronit Muszkatblit was born in Germany and raised in Israel. She is a theater director and has filled senior artistic and managerial positions and overseen the development and growth of LABA and the Arts + Culture Dept. at the 14th Street Y. Ronit curates and directs in various capacities with a focus on opera, theater and multi-disciplinary events. Her most recent directing credits include LABAlive events, the children’s play ”The Magic Letter” (Haifa Theater festival – best play), “Name Game” by Yehuda Hyman and Sara Felder (Zoom Theater Play), Hanna and the Moonlit Dress (Theater Row NYC). Ronit received her MFA in directing from the Actors Studio Drama School, trained at La Mama Umbria (Italy) and with Siti Company.
Broken Whisky Sonata
“Small Rooms” is Dan’s forthcoming novel, based on “Hamlet” but set in a contemporary New York. “The Broken Whisky Sonata” is a dramatization of the mousetrap scene from the play where Ben, the Hamlet character, sets up a provocative scene to trick his mother into a guilty reaction. Ben suspects his mother and uncle killed his father to marry each other and take over Denmark Trucking. Ben sets up a company-wide whisky tasting where he cooks up a plan to prove his case.
About Dan Friedman
Dan is a writer, an editor, a leader in the fight against disinformation and hate in social media and an expert on representing your stories, your ideas, and your organization in the most effective way possible. Dan was the only Yale PhD on the writing staff of Sacha Baron Cohen and the only qualified soccer coach to have been executive editor at the Forward. Dan’s work has appeared in The New York Times, the Financial Times, and The Wall Street Journal.
Collaborators and Cast
*Wesley Zurick —Ben
A Walk on the Moon (George Street Playhouse), The Last Supper (SOPAC), On the Shore of the Wide World (Atlantic Theater Company), The Lightning Thief (Theatreworks USA) The Hope Hypothesis (Voyage Theatre) Big Green Theatre (The Bushwick Starr). Composer and Music Director for the Youth Justice Program at The Possibility Project. Singer/Songwriter: Touchdown Jesus.
Lili Rosen — Gertrude, Ben’s Mom
Lili Rosen is a trans actress and Yiddish cultural consultant best known for her work on Netflix’s hit series “Unorthodox”, the critically-acclaimed film “Minyan”, and the award-winning short film “The Binding of Itzik”. She is the past managing director of New Yiddish Rep, in which capacity she translated, produced and/or appeared in many modern and post-modern classics such as God of Vengeance and Waiting for Godot.
Dan Friedman (bio above) — Claude, Ben’s Uncle/Mort
Ben Lewis — Scotty McKiltie/Rich
Ben Lewis is a writer, director and actor. He is a founding member of Bread Arts Collective. His plays have been produced throughout the city, as well as fringe festivals in Los Angeles and Minneapolis. He is also the frontman for the rock and roll clown duo, Veruca and Dex.
*Molly Kelleher — Ophelia/Agnes McSporran
Molly Kelleher is a multi-hyphenate artist. Her acting and writing work has brought her to stages off-broadway, Ariana Huffington’s Thrive Conference, on film for teenVOGUE as well as to perform for major organizations such as the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Forward Montana. She is also a yoga/Pilates/fitness teacher with her company Bumble+Flow. @mollyakelleher
Lindsey Hope Pearlman – Director
Lindsey Hope Pearlman is a director and playwright specializing in new plays and musicals. She received a 2022 NYSCA commission for her new play ROAR!. Her play Lucy received an EST/Sloan Commission, and her play Viv is for Vengeance received Honorable Mention from the American Playwriting Foundation Relentless Awards. Co-book writer, MacGyver the Musical. Broadway: Bandstand (Assistant Director). Drama League NY Directing Fellow 2019-2020. London International School of Performing Arts, Hamilton College. Adjunct Professor, Pace University. www.lindseyhopepearlman.com
Amy Jo Jackson — Dialect Coach
*Equity Members appearing with permission of Actors’ Equity Association without benefit of an Equity contract in this Off-Off Broadway production.
Arts + Culture + LABA + Theater Staff
Ronit Muszkatblit, Consulting Creative Director + LABA Global
Philip Trevino, Director of Production
Laura Beatrix Newmark, Director of LABA NY
Lindsey Hope Pearlman, Interim Theater Manager
About the 14th Street Y
The 14th street Y is a vibrant community center grounded in the belief that contemporary Jewish sensibilities can be a source of inspiration, connection, and learning for the individuals and families we serve throughout downtown Manhattan. We focus on health and fitness, education and enrichment programs, and innovative arts and cultural programming.
We are committed to the development of the whole person and bettering people’s lives and strengthening individual and family connections by building an inclusive and sustainable community.
The 14th Street Y is part of Educational Alliance’s network of community centers in Lower Manhattan. We believe strong communities can transform lives. Our programs turn strangers into neighbors and provide New Yorkers access to quality education, health and wellness services, arts and culture, and civic engagement opportunities.
About the 14Y Theater
The Theater at the 14th Street Y’s mission focuses on social awareness and change through big picture narrative. Inspired by works that welcome artists of all backgrounds, we place artists as the heart of our community and seek to create an inclusive cultural experience for all.
About LABA: A Global Laboratory for Jewish Culture
LABA is a non-religious house of study whose goal is to function as an international incubator for creativity and to push the boundaries of what Jewish art can be, and what Jewish texts can teach. Through thoughtful study, we engage with the stories of the Bible and classical Rabbinic texts as if they were new. We also fold in secular literature, music and art to help us better see the timeless and radical elements of these sacred texts.
Every year, LABA selects a group of ten fellows for a year-long study of classical Jewish texts centered around a chosen theme. Through the LABA fellowship, fellows are provided an open and creative setting for the thoughtful study of Judaism’s rich literary and intellectual tradition. These creative explorations inform their art and ideas and are presented through live LABA events and online in the LABA Journal.
LABA’s NYC home is the 14th Street Y in the heart of the East Village. Its setting provides fellows the opportunity to engage deeply with the 14Y community, the surrounding neighborhoods, and to show their work to the New York theater and art worlds through installations, gallery shows, workshops, performances, presentations, and panel discussions presented throughout the 14Y and in its convertible Black Box Theater.
The LABA theme for 2023 is TABOO.
We are seeking NYC-based artists and culture-makers from any creative field: fellows have included choreographers, performers, curators, visual artists, bakers, directors, composers, writers, film-makers, clowns, comedians and fashion designers. We do not limit our categories: we encourage everyone from puppeteers and chefs to architects and tight-rope walkers to apply.
No previous knowledge of Jewish texts is required for fellows, nor will previous knowledge of Jewish texts lessen one’s chances of becoming a fellow. What is required is a desire to study these texts in an intellectually rigorous, non-religious setting.
This LABA season runs January to December 2023, with summer months focused on developing your LABA project. Learn more and apply here.
To learn more about LABA, visit labajournal.com