Monday, June 11, 2018

Nora's Playhouse presents 'whatdoesfreemean?' by Catherine Filloux 7/6-22 at The Tank

(New York, NY  June 11, 2018) Nora’s Playhouse will present the World Premiere of whatdoesfreemean?, a new play about women and mass incarceration by award-winning human rights playwright Catherine Filloux.

whatdoesfreemean? opens at The Tank, 312 West 36th Street, NYC, on July 6 and continues for 12 performances through July 22. Directed by Amy S. Green, the cast includes James Edward Becton*, Brenda Crawley, Justin Jorrell, Galway McCullough*, Liz Morgan*, and Lisa Strum*.
whatdoesfreemean? follows the journey of an African-American woman serving a long sentence for a non-violent drug offense. When Mary ends up in solitary confinement, she struggles to maintain her sanity in the face of loneliness, indifference, human cruelty, and loss. The play takes the audience into her psychic world. We travel alongside her self-guided intellectual and emotional journey into the nature of freedom, both physical and psychological as Mary’s external and internal experience unfolds on stage in the present, in memory, and in the fantasies that help her survive.
whatdoesfreemean? is the newest work by Catherine Filloux, who has been writing about human rights and social issues for 25 years, including such works as Kidnap Road, Selma ’65, Luz, Killing the Boss, Lemkin’s House, Eyes of the Heart, and The Beauty Inside. Filloux was the recipient of the 2017 Otto Award for Political Theatre. Previous recipients include director Emily Mann and playwright Kia Corthron. Presented by Castillo Theatre, The Otto Awards recognize and connect theater artists engaged in creating political, experimental and community-based theatre.
This imaginative and poetic theatre piece was developed with the support of Nora’s Playhouse, a theatre collective dedicated to creating opportunities for women theatre artists of all generations to tell women's stories in a collaborative process that focuses on human rights, female empowerment, and breaking restrictive or negative stereotypes of women.
Nora’s Playhouse commissioned Filloux to write whatdoesfreemean? in 2015. Since that time, Filloux and Green have been collaborating on extensive research including interviews with formerly incarcerated women, criminal defense attorneys, corrections officials, prison reform advocates, and forensic psychiatrists.
whatdoesfreemean? tackles some of the most urgent issues of our time: women’s rights, sexual harassment, civil rights, and criminal justice reform. Through this piece, Nora’s Playhouse hopes to dispel the stereotypes associated with incarceration and help forward conversations about what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
The Nora’s Playhouse production of whatdoesfreemean? is presented by The Tank, a home for emerging artists. It is an Equity approved showcase.
Scenic and Lighting Design by Phoebe Mauro. Sound and Projection Design by Sadah Espii Proctor. Costume Design by Rashidah Nelson. Graphic Design by Veronica Bella. Stage Management by Karen Oughtred. General Management by Rebecca Lovett.
The performance schedule for whatdoesfreemean? is Friday 7/6 @7pm, Saturday 7/7 @7pm, Sunday 7/8 @3pm, Thursday 7/12 @7pm, Friday 7/13 @7pm, Saturday 7/14 @7pm, Sunday 7/15 @3pm, Wednesday 7/18 @7pm, Thursday 7/19 @7pm, Friday7/20 @7pm, Saturday 7/21 @7pm, and Sunday 7/22 @3pm. The running time is approximately 80 minutes with no intermission.
Tickets are $20 and are available at The Tank ( or through Brown Paper Tickets at  Tickets will also be available at the theatre 30 minutes prior to each performance.
Group discounts are available through The Tank.

Select performances will be immediately followed by a brief conversation with individuals who will speak to the issues raised in the play.

Saturday 7/7 – Annette Hanson, Director of the University of Maryland Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Program, MD
Sunday 7/8 – Michael Hanley, Public Defender, Santa Barbara, CA
Sunday 7/15 – Katherine Sweetness Jennings, College and Community Fellowship, NY
Wednesday 7/18 – Philip Hall, writer formerly incarcerated at Otisville Correctional Facility, NY
Friday 7/20 - Vivian Nixon, Executive Director, College and Community Fellowship, NY
Saturday 7/21 – Sheila Samuels, Esq., Samuels Law Firm, LLC., NY

*Actors appearing courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association

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