The Riant Theatre (Van Dirk Fisher, Artistic Director) -- the AUDELCO Award-Winning nonprofit, which provides a nurturing environment for playwrights and theatre creatives of diverse cultural backgrounds to develop new plays, presents some of the Best Plays From The Strawberry One-Act Festival.
Van Dirk Fisher
directs Ejyp Johnson, who has appeared in the films Like Father (Netflix) with Kristen Bell and Kelsey Grammar and See You Yesterday (Netflix) and television’s Blue Bloods (CBS), in the play Make Her Happen by L.E. McCullough. Co-starring is Gloria Bangiola, who has appeared as Mina Murray in Bram Stoker’s Dracula with InterACT Theater Productions, NJ and President Wintergreen in Brooklyn Baby (Let 'Em Eat Cake) with The Conservatory of Music of Brooklyn College. Make Her Happen is a powerful play about people’s obsession with being famous. We witness it today where having the most likes on social media has replaced the importance of making real connections. In Mr. McCullough’s play, a waitress in a small town diner sees the opportunity for her entire life to change when a well dressed gentleman from New York City enters the establishment.
Also, on the program is A Visit in the Afternoonby Fred Dennehy, a graduate of Yale Law School, who has had a practice for 40 years before taking up acting and playwriting. His recent credits include: HOMECOMING (Lucille Lortel Theatre) and he co-wrote with Lisa Black A Night at the Opera and Dead Reckoning. The cast includes: Dawn Lanoue(Jessie in ‘Night Mother), Russell Ortiz (George in Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf and Murray Burns in A Thousand Clowns by Herb Gardner, Westfield Community Players) and Allegra Mroz(Johanna in Sweeney Todd. Ophelia in Hamlet, and Cecily in The Importance Of Being Earnest). The play is directed by Ed Faver who has worked as an actor and director. Recent directing credits include: The Normal Heart and Children of a Lesser God. A Visit in the Afternoon is a delightful and charming play about a teenage girl named Mara, who reluctantly agrees to visit her bad-tempered grandfather, who her mother tells her wants to give her something before he dies. What she receives from him is completely unexpected.
Best Play Award Nominee Not That Illegal by Yusuf Yildiz tackles the Hot Topic: Immigration, in which Ali Can, a Turkish immigrant, is forced to end his 10-year long journey in the U.S. due to unfortunate events. He convinces his best friend to help him with a highly risky plan to trick his arch-nemesis USCIS. Find out how USCIS's nerve-racking interview turns into a hilarious journey. The cast includes: Dylan Combs(Don John in Much Ado About Nothing, Laertes in Hamlet), Joshua R. Pyne(Dr. Jared Katz in Hanging Cow's The Accidental Awakening and Sheriff Grace in Toady Hoad) and Yusuf Yildiz. Not That Illegal is directed by Ayse Eldek-Richardson (Emre Ozpirincci’s The New Yorkers and Ayse Eldek’s Bald Boy The Musical). Mr. Yildiz moved to the United States after spending 20 plus years filled with mathematics and science in Turkey. He secretly kept writing love poems while his classmates tried to prove the Riemann hypothesis. Everything in his life changed once he stepped on stage as a thespian.
We are happy to present the Best Play Award winning play Leaves by Victor Vaban, Jr., who also directed the play, is an actor and a former circus performer, who is in love with the art of writing. Born and raised in Brazil, Mr. Vauban became a bonafide circus performer at the age of fifteen after attending the Nacional Circus School in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As a circus performer he was able to travel the world and experience up close different cultures and witness all the diversity and beauty put in this world for us to enjoy, preserve and learn from. Mr. Vauban seeks in August Wilson, Anne Thompson-Scretching, Tennessee Williams, Franz Kafka, Susan Lori Park, and James Baldwin the inspiration to create a body of work that will move audiences in ways that will sparkle the need to reflect and take action when it comes to ways to better our community and the world.
The cast of Leaves includes: Antonia Badon, Best Actress Award winner for her role as Muriel in Leaves. Ms. Badon is from New Orleans and is a radio On-Air Personality at WHCR 90.3 FM The Voice of Harlem. Her show Renaissance Travels is on Sundays at 4:30pm-5:30pm. Rounding out the cast is Patricia Fields as Benita, Shai Shockley as Verna and Benjamin Rowe as Curtis. In Leaves, Muriel and her two sisters had dreams of becoming the new musical sensation just like, "The Supremes" - but fate intervene. Muriel fell in love and married her college sweetheart, Curtis, putting an end to the girl group's dreams. Over thirty-years later the two sisters still resent the premature dissolution of the group blaming it on their so-called- good for nothing brother-in-law.
We will honor Reverend Carole "Imani" Parker with the COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP AWARDfor her Outstanding Contribution Enriching the Lives of Youth. Reverend. Imani is an Interfaith Minister, speaking at various churches and venues. She is also a professional actress who has performed in numerous theatrical productions, including a one-woman monologue, depicting the life and times of Sojourner Truth and a production by Linda Cousins Newton called The Spirit of Mama Moses , which has been performed throughout the United States and in Ghana.
In addition, Imani is a poet, motivational speaker, workshop facilitator, mentor and teacher. Most importantly, Imani has worked extensively to enhance the lives of youth. As a motivational speaker, Imani facilitated workshops and spoke at several youth facilities throughout New York State.
Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre
Expected Run Time is 120 minutes