Ambassador Theater Presents
A Pocket Size Farce
By Emilio Williams
Directed by Helen Hayes Awarded Director
October 20 – November 15, 2015
At Mead Theatre Lab at FLASHPOINT, 916 G Street, NW, Washington DC
PREVIEWS: Oct. 20, 21, 2015 at 8 PM
OPENING, October 22, 2015 at 8 PM
Shows: THU – SAT at 8:00PM; Matinees: SAT; SUN at 2:00 PM
About Emilio Williams – Writer, Director, Teacher
Emilio Williams’ plays have been produced in Spain, Argentina, France, Estonia, the United Kingdom and the United States (including productions and performances in Chicago, New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles).
His most recent comedy “Your Problem with Men” was produced by Teatro Luna in Chicago, and has traveled to New York City, Los Angeles and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
In 2012, his one woman show “Medea’s Got Some Issues” received “Best International Show” at United Solo Festival, Off Broadway, New York City.
That same year, his comedy “Smartphones – a pocket-size farce,” received its world premiere at Trap Door Theatre in Chicago. The book was published as part of the anthology New Plays from Spain by Siegel Center.
In 2010, his “dramedy” “Tables and Beds, an unromantic comedy“was selected among 80 plays from 12 countries as the winner of the 4th Premio el EspectáculoTeatral.
Emilio has degrees in journalism and in film and video. In the 1990’s, he worked for CNN in Atlanta and Washington. He worked for The Johns Hopkins University between 2001 and 2011.
In 2011, he moved permanently to Chicago, the city where his father was born.
He currently works for The University of Chicago developing the international business of its healthcare enterprise.
Amelia — Ariana Almajan
Barnaby — Tekle Ghebremeschel
Dagobert — Shravan Amin
Chantal — Moriah Whiteman
Maid — Hanna Bondarewska
Production Manager – Shawn Lyles
Music/Sound – Gabriel Dib
Set/Lights Designer – David Ghatan
Associate Ligthing Designer – E-hui Woo
Set/Lights/Crew – Rachael Knoblauch
Costume Designer – Lynly Saunders
Literary Director – Eliza Anna Falk
Stage Manager – Michelle Taylor
House Box Office Manager – Anders Hilton da Silva
CAST AND CREW
Shawn W. Lyles (Assistant Artistic Director) is a graduate of Boston University's Center for Digital Imaging Arts. With a concentration in Cinematography and Editing, he completed his Digital Filmmaking professional program at the Washington, DC Campus."What does this have to do with theater?" you may ask. Filmmaking was the bridge that connected Shawn to Hanna and the Ambassador Theater. Upon hearing about the work of the theater and the production of 'Rage', Shawn's contribution came in the form of a trailer for the play, as well as a feature segment with the director Joe Banno.This led to ideas of a more day to day involvement with the theater, but his association with drama didn't start there.
Shawn, a native of Rochester, NY, theater background began at Syracuse University where he studied under Arthur Storch and performed (as Chino) in Syracuse Stage's production of West Side Story. Having caught the acting bug, Shawn set his sites for the regional houses in the area and was cast In Geva Theatre's A Raisin in the Sun (George Murchison) and The Member of the Wedding (Honey Camden Brown).
At the urging of his director Woodie King Jr., Shawn made the move to NYC and split time between theatre work (which included an East Coast tour with The Shoestring Players), daytime television (ABC's 'One Life to Live') and a Manhattan based cable-access music show called 'Make It or Break It' where he worked as the videographer-on-the-street.
After developing an appreciation for creating and producing segments, and learning the realities of 'run and gun' filming, Shawn broadened his skill set, and while employed as a Video Editing Specialist at Sachs Insights, he honed his video story telling working with focus groups and research projects.
He also was able to transition into directing theater by founding the 'Black Expressions Theater Group' where he co-produced and directed "I See Rivers" and "Denmark Vesey Revolts" at Geva Theatre and The Village Gate Theater.
A move to Washington, DC translated into a variety of new experiences including the opportunity to act once again in "A Mid-Summer Nights Dream" & "Much Ado About Nothing" with The Shakespeare Theater Company and the founding of B-Roll Film Productions where he produced and directed a promotional video for the non-profit organization 'Bread for the City', produced a recruitment video for the national for-purpose 501(c)3 organization 'Back on My Feet', and served as Co-Producer/Editor on the 'One World Education 2014 Student Ambassadors' video. He also served as videographer for 13-time Emmy Award winner Elisabeth Leamy's keynote speech to 2014 Association Media and Publishing and produced a mini-documentary on Washington, DC native, musician, David Marsh. Shawn would like to thank Hanna for her ongoing mission of bringing diversity and cultural awareness in the arts to the community, and for the opportunity to contribute to the Ambassador Theater.
Over the last 25 years, Joe Banno – who recently established a new residence in Los Angeles – has distinguished himself as an innovative, critically acclaimed director. In work that has been called “joltingly powerful”, “audacious” and “engagingly freewheeling”, he has brought his unique, directorial vision to well over 100 productions spanning classical and contemporary theatre, opera, musicals, video and film. He has also, in a successful second career, established himself as a fresh voice in classical music, opera and film criticism, with hundreds of his pieces published in newspapers across the country.
Since 1988, Banno’s productions at theatres in the Washington DC-area have been nominated for 32 prestigious Helen Hayes Awards, and have won 8 of them, including one for Outstanding Direction. Banno is also the recipient of the Mary Goldwater Award and the Bud Yorkin Award, both for excellence in directing.
With a theatre background that includes degrees from Georgetown and Carnegie-Mellon Universities and further studies at NYU and the British-American Drama Academy, film training from NYC’s School of Visual Arts, The New School for Social Research and Global Village Video Center, and long experience in the classical music world, Banno brings a uniquely wide-ranging and multi-disciplinary perspective to his work.
His directing has been seen across the US – from a co-production between NYC’s Blue Heron Theatre and the US Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, to the inaugural production of LA’s Mutineer Theatre, to hybrid stage-works incorporating text, dance, music and visual arts for experimental companies like Musica Aperta and The In Series. He has created stagings of new and classic works for the Folger Theatre and Theatre J (DC), Rep Stage and Adventure Theatre (MD), Milwaukee’s Renaissance Theatreworks (WI), Wolf Trap Opera and the American Shakespeare Center (VA), Opera Northeast (NYC), and San Francisco’s Marin Opera (CA), among many other companies. For a decade, Banno was the artistic director of DC’s groundbreaking Source Theatre Company.
Among the many hats he has worn throughout his eclectic career, Banno has written on classical music for the Washington Post, directed an independent feature film and a web series, worked as general manager at radio station WFUV-FM in New York City, headed–up a new-works funding initiative at Opera America and, for two years, was the on-camera co-host for the official U.S. live-broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards to the Arab world on Alhurra television. He has frequently served as an acting coach, conference panelist, competition judge and theatre consultant. Banno has interviewed conductor James Conlon before a live audience at the Folger Theatre, and director John Pascoe on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. In 2010, and again in 2012, he guest-lectured in Pulitzer-Prize-winner Tim Page’s arts-criticism seminar at USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism, as well as recently guest-lecturing in theatre classes and workshops at Pepperdine University, Catholic University, St Mary’s College of Maryland and The Shakespeare Theatre (in Washington, DC).
Currently, Banno is in discussions with theatres in LA and in the DC-area for productions in the upcoming season. He is working as director and co-screenwriter on an independent feature-film project in development, as well as on two other films and a web-series also in development. In 2013, he began contributing concert reviews to the Los Angeles Times.
Banno’s career has seen him direct over 60 contemporary plays – including dozens of new scripts – at a host of theatres. From 1997 through 2006, Banno served as artistic director of Washington DC’s creatively audacious Source Theatre Company, where he nurtured the development of burgeoning writers through the annual Washington Theatre Festival of New Plays, and produced and directed works by a who’s-who of contemporary American playwrights, including a multi-year cycle of plays by David Mamet. Under his creative leadership, Source expanded its mission – producing late-night theatre; offering seasons of music ranging from intimate cabaret to rock festivals to chamber music series and opera workshops; hosting shows of gallery art and photography; and forging partnerships, artistic residencies and co-productions with other DC theatre companies – resulting in Source’s growth into a bustling, multi-disciplinary arts center.
Celebrated for his culturally relevant updating of classic plays (like his American-set deconstructions of “Tartuffe”, “The Cherry Orchard” and “The Importance of Being Earnest” at Source), Banno has been particularly noted for his work in Shakespeare. He has directed eight Shakespeare productions, including “Hamlet”, “The Merchant of Venice”, and a notably popular staging of “Much Ado About Nothing” at the Folger Theatre (where his production of “Romeo and Juliet” won several Helen Hayes Awards, including one for Outstanding Direction). His Shakespeare directing has also been seen at Washington Shakespeare Company/AvantBard (seven productions including the rarely-produced “Cymbeline”, “Pericles”, “Troilus and Cressida” and “Edward the Third”), and in the historically-recreated Blackfriars Theatre at the American Shakespeare Center (for a twice-extended, year-long run of “King Lear”).
Known as well for his work in musical theatre, Banno’s production of “Evita” – a collaborative project between Open Circle Theatre’s company of artists-with-disabilities and the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange – was a critical and popular success. His work in musical theatre extends from classics like “Carousel” (a national tour with Opera Northeast) and “Fiddler on the Roof” (a hit production at Connecticut’s Downtown Cabaret Theatre) to lesser-known works, such as William Finn’s early “In Trousers” (at Source Theatre Company) and the DC premiere of “Six Women With Brain Death” (Razor’s Edge Theatre). Banno’s world-premiere staging of “Executive Leverage” at Source Theatre Company received a Helen Hayes Award Nomination for Outstanding Production of a Musical.
As an opera director with over 40 productions to his credit, Banno has had his most recent successes with “The Marriage of Figaro”, “The Magic Flute” and “Cavalleria Rusticana & Pagliacci” at Opera Delaware. His modernist stagings of “Otello” for Washington Summer Opera, “Sweeney Todd” with Wolf Trap Opera, and “La Tragedie de Carmen” and a Bernstein double-bill at the Alba Music Festival (in northern Italy) – together with his emerging-singer workshops of “The Coronation of Poppea” and “Das Rheingold”, and his experimental stagings of non-theatrical musical works (most notably his “Winterreise” for DC’s innovative music-theatre-dance collective, The In Series, and his theatre/chamber-music/haute-cuisine event, “Re:New”, with renowned Chef Jose Andres and the ensemble Musica Aperta) – have reconfirmed him as a challenging and original interpreter of the art-form.
FILM & VIDEO
Banno has recently begun directing film, and his first independent feature, “Sleeping and Waking”, was released in 2009. Boasting a wide-ranging knowledge of film, television and related media, and trained in film production, single- and multi-camera video production, cinema history and film semiotics, he has been involved in the world of visual media in a wide range of positions – film critic, projectionist, indie-cinema manager, co-director of live-theatre telecasts for Virginia cable television, and creative consultant on the multiple festival-award-winning 1995 film, “Bigger Fish” (Second-Hand Smoke Prods). In 2012, he completed a two-year project directing a video web-series featuring nutritionist Janis Jibrin, for fitness guru Bob Green’s website TheBestLife.com, ranging from interviews and exercise videos to cooking demos and on-site restaurant features. He currently has several independent film and web-based projects in development.
MUSIC & FILM CRITICISM
As a critic with twenty-five years-worth of published work to his credit, he has contributed reviews and articles on music and film to a number of publications, including Opera Monthly, Yankee Magazine, and DC’s alternative weekly, Washington City Paper, where he was the opera critic, as well as a film reviewer, from 1989 to 2008. He was a classical music critic at The Washington Post between 1993 and 2012, and reviewed classical recordings and videos for the website TheClassicalReview.com from 2009 through 2012. Last year, he began contributing concert reviews to the Los Angeles Times.
The last few seasons have seen Banno developing and directing a number of stage works: the plays “Elvis Blossom” and “Dear Abe” (at Virginia’s newest incubator for original scripts, Studio Roanoke), the dark-comedy “Ngala Muti” and the punk-rock musical “Requiem” (for the graduate playwriting program at Catholic University’s School of Drama, in Washington, DC), the American premiere – in a freshly revised and newly orchestrated version – of the British theatre-for-youth musical, “Spot’s Birthday Party” (at Maryland’s Adventure Theatre), the new Irish play, “Elvis’s Toenail” (at Sidewalk Studio Theatre in LA) and the film-adapted, one-man show, “Wonderful Life” (at LA’s Theatre Asylum).
In his first production for Northern Virginia’s American Century Theatre, his audience-interactive staging of Durang’s “Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You” was enthusiastically received, as was his second production for the company, a rare revival of the stage-version of “Judgment at Nuremberg”. In recent seasons, Banno staged a double-bill of Leoncavallo’s opera “Pagliacci” and Ernesto Lecuona’s Cuban zarzuela “Maria La O” (set, respectively, in 1950s Little Italy and Havana), as well as developing and directing a new musical-revue of songs from the 1930s and ‘40s by émigré Hollywood composers, “From Berlin to Sunset” – both productions for The In Series, the DC-based company where he had previously staged a cycle of Mozart’s operas in modern-dress.
David Ghatan (Set/Lights Designer)is a graduate of The George Washington University with an interdisciplinary degree in Design with emphasis in Fine Art, Art History, and Theatre Design.
With CM KLING he has worked as a project designer and project manager for a wide range of projects, including the new Eau Spa at the Ritz Carlton Palm Beach, the Orlando Marriott World Center, the American Red Cross National Headquarters, The Corpus Christi Bayfront Arena and Convention Center, and the Starlight Ballroom at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. He has worked as the primary lighting consultant to several LEED certified projects including the Virginia Department of Transportation Headquarters and a government office building, Dulles Discovery II which is currently under review for LEED Gold.
His work for the Liberty Hotel in Boston, MA and the BBG-BBGM office in the Empire State Building were both recognized by the Illuminating Engineering Society with the Guth Award for Interior Lighting at the level of international judging.
Mr. Ghatan currently serves as the Regional Coordinator for the IALD in Washington, DC, and is also a member of the IALD Energy and Sustainability Committee, sitting as one of their representatives to NEMA. He is also a member of the IESNA Hospitality Committee.
David also works as a designer for the theatre, with extensive work in scenery and lighting design. He is a company member with Rorschach Theatre and has been the resident scene designer for Cherry Red Productions among others.
An award winning composer and music producer, Gabriel has a unique experience and achievement background. A classically trained pianist, while in still in Brazil he toured playing piano with the Cuban music band Sonora Habanera. He composed and produced the score for the first Brazilian Xbox 360 game, Trilinea React. Gabriel also composed and produced music for hundreds of TV and radio commercials for multinational brands. In 2011 Gabriel and the team at Dr.DD music house were awarded the Golden Lion in Cannes for the commercial "Skank Play".
Living in the United States since 2011 fall, Gabriel has been collaborating with directors and artists from all over the world. The last films Gabriel scored were “Atoms”, by Jon Moeller and Emily Railsback, “Seeing you seeing me” by Zach Craft, “Finding Franklin” by Alex Bohs, “Helden, the helpful”, by Jon Moeller, "Sick Smelly Dirty Politics" by Janet Milsten, “Far Away” by the Ghanian director Felix Ofosu-Yeboah and the Cannes selected short film “502” by the Brazilian director Miguel de Oliveira. For a complete list, click here.
Outside the big screens Gabriel produced the music for the play "Smartphones" and "Tables and Beds" by the award winning Spanish director Emilio Williams performed at the Trap Door Theatre in Chicago. Gabriel also worked at Sonixphere and in projects for Catfish and Deaf Dog Music, three of the most important Chicago music houses for commercials.
In December '12 Gabriel wrote 15 minutes of additional music for the score of Jerry Rees' film “Susie's Hope” while assisting the composer David McHugh. Gabriel also assisted the composer Andrew Edwards at Blue Police Box Music from Summer 2012 to Summer 2013. At BPBM, Gabriel wrote arrangements for Chicago Tap Dance Theatre show "Tottaly Tap-ular!" and worked as associate producer for the Seelie Players album Sirena. On January '13, still through BPBM Gabriel wrote additional music for Jennifer Bechtel's feature length film “Scary Normal”.
Recently Gabriel finished his MFA in Film Scoring at Columbia College Chicago and moved to Los Angeles. There he worked for the composers Kim Planert (collaborates with Robert Duncan on ABC's Castle), Bear McCreary (Walking Dead, Agents of Shield, Black Sails), Henry Jackman (X-men First Class, Wreck-it Ralph, Captain Phillips, Captain America 2) and Heitor Pereira (It's Complicated, Smurfs, Despicable Me) these last two at the Hans Zimmer's studio, remote control.
Lynly A. Saunders (Costume Design) has been designing costumes in the DC metro area for the past ten years. Originally from Northern California, Lynly has a BA in American History from the University of California, Davis and a certificate in Wig Production from the Theatre School at DePaul University. Recent design work includes costumes for One Man, Two Guvnors, at 1st Stage, and the World Premier of Penny at the Washington National Opera as part of their American Opera Initiative. Lynly is the Costume Coordinator for the Washington National Opera and an Associated Artist with Faction of Fools Theatre Company. Design work with Faction of Fools includes Commedia Romeo and Juliet, The Mandrake, and Pinocchio!, which will be remounted this November at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. Upcoming work includes Better Gods with the Washington National Opera.
Moriah Whiteman (Margherita) was recently seen as Chantall in Ambassador Theater’s production of Smartphones, A Pocket-Size Farce. She holds an MFA from The University of Southern Mississippi, where she learned to fuse her love of art with her commitment to social and political change. Since moving to DC, she has been able to work as both a theatre educator, and performing artist. Favorite past roles include Young Woman in Machinal and Elizabeth with Southern Arena Theatre’s production of Taking Steps. When she’s not working in the theatre, she’s outside playing and daydreaming or sipping coffee with a book.
Michelle Taylor (Production Stage Manager) DC Stage Management Credits include: Girl Vs Corinth (Monumental Theatre Company) and Importance of Being Earnest (Scena Theatre.) Regional SM credits include: 39 Steps,Taking Steps, and The School for Scandal. Education: MFA Directing from The University of Southern Mississippi and a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre. Next project: Assistant Directing Equus at Constellation Theatre Company. Many thanks to the cast and creative team of Smartphones!
Eliza Anna Falk ( Literary Director) joined the Ambassador Theatre in early 2013 as a Creative and Editorial Consultant, in time to contribute to the success of the Literary Café event at the Embassy of Austria. Soon after she assumed the role of a Literary Associate Director and provides literary support to the theater’s productions, working with the Artistic Director on research and plays’ development. Her contributions include essays and articles; press releases, play bills and programs, aticc.org blog entries, as well as editorial work and occasional translations i.e. poems by Ireneusz Iredynski. Eliza’s passion for theatre and writing is also being realized through her work as a writer/reviewer for DC Metro Theatre Arts, covering plays, musicals and concerts. Graduate of Warsaw and Sydney Universities, she holds a Bachelor of Social Work and Policy and an M.A. in British Film and TV. She is also a CELTA (Cambridge) qualified teacher of English. Her past employment encompasses work for the Australian federal government, including diplomatic postings to Moscow and Warsaw, teaching English, and interior design and styling projects. Eliza is an avid theatre and film goer and lover of arts and travel. Past resident of Warsaw, London, Moscow, Paris and Sydney, she is thrilled to be able to experience life in cosmopolitan DC and collaborate with its vibrant theatre scene.
Ariana Almajan is excited to reteam with Joe Banno and Ambassador Theater after last fall'sRage! Recently she was seen in "The Trap" as Josie and Grete. DC-area: Student Playwrights Project (Arena Stage), We Are Not Animals (Source Festival),Faceless (Active Cultures Theater), Whenever You're Near Me (I Feel Sick) (Women's Voices Theater Festival), The Trap (Ambassador Theater), Out of Silence (Advocates for Youth/Capital Fringe Festival), and Stone Tape Party (Nu Sass, winner Best Comedy and Best Overall at the 2014 Capital Fringe Festival). TV/Film: America's Most Wanted (Fox), Deadly Affairs (Discovery ID), DC 48-Hour Film Festivals, various local and regional commercials and independent films. She works frequently with Young Playwrights Theater both in schools and on stage with their New Play Festival and New Writers Now Young at Heart. You can see her online in the comedy webseries The ABC's of Online Dating, the fantasy The Broken Continent, and the upcoming comedy Quiet!
Shravan Amin (Dagobert) is making his debut with Ambassador Theater. His recent appearances include Out of Sync (Doorway Arts Theatre), If All the Sky Were Paper (Kennedy Center), and Very Still & Hard to See (Rorschach Theatre). When not acting in plays, Shravan regularly performs improv comedy at DC Improv, Washington Improv Theater, and in regional improv festivals.
Tekle Ghebremeschel is a local actor debuting at the Ambassador Theater. Recently he could be seen at the 2015 Source Theater Festival where he participated in 2 of their one acts within their Love & Botany theme. Past credits include performing in the ensemble of La Boheme with the Kennedy Center, along with various productions at the Forestburgh Playhouse in upstate New York. He is very excited to be working with the Ambassador Theater and hope you all enjoy the show!!
Rachael Knoblauch ( Set Designer) is a graduating senior from University of Maryland, Baltimore County where she has spent the past four years studying the design and construction of scenery as well as costume. She has largely collaborated in academic theatre--working as assistant designer, costume artisan, and scenic painter, among other things, for multiple departmental productions. Most recently she completed work as scenic designer for UMBC's production of "Gum" by Karen Hartman.