Unchained Festival, June 2013
FINALIST and WINNER of “Audience Favorite” (in a tie)
by Lynda Crawford
Directed by Dennis Carnegie
Stage Manager: Razghiem Golden
Music Director: Melissa Shetler
Design Concept: Ira Cohen
Time: The Present and Flashbacks
Place: New York City and Lesotho, Africa
(in order of Appearance)
MPHO….. Brigitte Barnett*
JAN….. Debra Zane*
YOUNG MPHO / PULA….. Ama Addison
RICARDO / PHIL….. Cristian Ciocan
‘M’E / KATE….. Marie Guinier*
DAMEN / BONGO….. Daron Ross
LETESATSI / LERATO….. Regine Mont-Louis
THABO / KHOTSO / VILLAGE ELDER….. Donnell E. Smith*
NORMA / FOREIGN HEALTH WORKER….. Colleen Cosgrove
Music……….. Melissa Shetler
To Kelebohile Nkhereanye for sharing her experiences and for her guidance about Lesotho and the Basotho culture; to Rose Ganimian, Rose Crawford, Susan Crawford, Jacqueline Diamond, Gloria DiStefano, Scott Kenison and David Shapiro, Debbie Lazar, Ed and Anne Meyer, Jon Pierson, Nora Pierson, Shantanu Rana, Madge Stager, and Lucy Winner for very generous contributions—and to everyone else who contributed to our Kickstarter campaign making this production possible; to Cathy Leaker and Cynthia Ward at SUNY Empire State College for giving us rehearsal space; to Sue Swindells for her help concerning HIV clinics; to Eric Feinblatt, Katt Lissard, Rik Walton, and Lucy Winner for photos of Lesotho. Lynda would also like to thank Dennis for his beautiful spirit, his humor, and his inspired direction; the cast for all the astounding beauty they bring to this piece; Razghiem for being such a solid presence; and Variations Theatre Group for selecting this play for the festival. Dennis would like to thank Lynda for her wonderful writing and the cast for their wonderful acting and attitudes throughout the process.
We’d also like to give special thanks to Lucy Winner, Katt Lissard, and the Winter/Summer Institute (www.maketheatre.org), which challenges participants to create provocative theatre, for their generous support for this project and for inspiring this play.
Ama Addison (YOUNG MPHO, PULE, VILLAGER)
Ama is a Ghanaian born actress whose path to being on the stage was one of varied aspirations and dreams. From an early age, her interest was in the truth behind what made a fascinating and magical story. Having moved to South Africa at a young age, she was first introduced to the stage when she got lead roles in her school plays. Upon moving to the UK, she continued to pursue her love for the arts by studying drama as part of her course at Dunraven Sixth Form. From here, she won roles in various projects such as One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Agnes of God. She went on to graduate with a degree in Accounting and Finance at the University of Kent Canterbury. Her drive for acting later won her a place at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. She booked her first role in the short film Astraea. She auditioned for the role of Elliot in A Diva Duet (In F Minor), and although she did not book this part, the producer liked her greatly and cast her as Young Loretta. Her passion for the industry is evident on film as well as on stage.
*Brigitte Barnett (MPHO)
Brigitte Barnett received her MFA from New York University Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Acting Program and her BFA from Howard University. Brigitte was an original cast member of Epic Theatre Ensemble’s Off-Broadway production of Dispatches from (A)mended America. A docu-drama that explores race, religion, and politics leading up to Barack Obama’s Inauguration. Other New York Credits: The Rememberance Project, Darfur, Adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s A Woman of No Importance (HERE Arts Center), Measure for Measure (NYSF), Geneva (LaMaMa, etc.), Ceremonies in Dark Old Men (National Back Theatre), Antigone (Epic Theatre Center), RANT (The Public, Cherry Lane, and LaMaMa E.T.C.). REGIONAL: Syracuse Stage, The Unicorn Theatre, City Theatre (Pittsburgh, PA). Brigitte is a member of the Drilling Company NY, a theatre company that develops and produces new plays that explore cultures and ideas through a universal theme. Brigitte is a teaching artist with Lincoln Center Institute, Lincoln Center Theatre, and Making Books Sing. Brigitte also enjoys writing and performing spoken word that addresses social and political issues. And she believes poetry is a powerful tool for self-expression.
Cristian Ciocan (RICARDO, PHIL)
Cristian made his debut on the New York stage in May 2008 in an off-Broadway play called “My Fathers Child” where he played a dual role. Cristian, a graduate of the Willian Esper Studio, previously starred in multiple projects. Short Film: “Milk Made” (Thomas), “Train Wreck” (Matt), “Only In Dreams” (Mike). Music Video: Michael Jackson’s “They Don’t Care About Us,” “You Cry,” “Masquerade.” He went on to make his feature film debut: “Attila Attacks” (Tepech), “Female Assassins” (Jay), and was assigned to be the principle in several commercials. He dedicates his performance to his fans and his precious three-and-a-half-year-old son and would like to thank all those involved in A Procession of Clouds for making this a rewarding experience in his life.
Colleen Cosgrove (NORMA, FOREIGN HEALTH WORKER)
Colleen Cosgrove is honored to be a part of this project. A fan of Lynda Crawford’s work, Colleen has had the pleasure of taking one of a Lynda’s playwriting tutorials at Empire State College. Colleen’s work onstage includes originating roles in multiple new works with The Drilling Company.
*Marie Louise Guinier (‘M’E, KATE)
Marie has performed classics as well as original plays in New York, Off-Broadway at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Lincoln Center (Out-of-Doors), and The Barrow Group Theater. Regionally at the Folgers Theatre in Washington, DC, and the Boston Center for the Arts, where she received critical acclaim for the lead role in “Patience of Nantucket”—the Boston Globe called her performance “brilliant.” That year she was both nominated for an IRNE (Independent Reviewers of New England) Award for Best Actress and won the Addison Award in the same category. She has worked on stage with directors Andrzej Krakowski, Eric Coleman, and Justin Lord, and with Luis Argueta, Vladimir de Fontenay, Talibah Newman, and Demetrius Wren in film and TV.
Regine Mont-Louis (LETESATSI, LERATO)
Regine was born in Texas to Haitian parents. She moved to London where she appeared in The Vagina Monologues and performed at Theatro Technis, an Off-Broadway equivalent. Upon returning stateside, she debuted as Jadovin in Marry Me?! at the Roy Arias & the first Black Theatre Festival in Atlanta. Regine has also worked with Broadway producer Ken Wydro, Artistic New Directions, and Modern Day Griot theatre companies. Her last performance before Procession was Moby Dick—Rehearsed with Brave New World Repertory where she appeared as Pip. Currently Regine is studying with Jon Korkes at Stella Adler Studios.
Daron Ross (DAMEN, BONGO)
With more than ten years of acting experience in theatre and ﬁlm, Daron Ross garnered critical acclaim in the renowned production of David Rabe’s Streamers as Carlyle. He also received accolades for his role as Kyle in Death of a Nation, winner of the Directors Circle of Shorts, the Golden Eagle Award, and Indie Fests’ Best Short Film. Cigarettes for Breakfast marked his debut as lead male in a feature film, and was recently screened at the Urban World Film Festival in New York. He’s currently filming multiple projects, and delighted to be part of A Procession of Clouds.
*Donnell E. Smith (THABO, KHOTSO, VILLAGE ELDER)
Having performed with numerous high-caliber Actors in an array of projects, including a successful run of A Raisin in the Sun, directed by Phylicia Rashad at Westport Country Playhouse; Show Way, directed by Melissa Maxwell at Vital Theatre; and Camp Logan, directed by Justin Lord with Shades of Truth Theatre. Donnell E. Smith continues to immerse himself in projects that challenge him as an actor and contributes to his mission in this industry. He is deeply honored to debut with Chain Theatre in this powerful piece and humbly thanks his family, friends, and mentors for their invaluable love and support. Let’s keep working! Blessings. Ephesians 3:20
*Debra Ruth Zane (JAN)
Stage: Shratzia in Winter Wedding by Hanoch Levin, dir. D. Willinger, at Theatre For the New City; Bananas in The House of Blue Leaves for Love Creek Productions; Andrea in Andrea’s Got Two Boyfriends at LaMama E.T.C., dir. D. Wilinger. Film: The Grey Matter (postp). Commercial: Men With Cramps.
Dennis Carnegie (Director)
Dennis was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. He graduated with honors from the Drama Dept. of the High School of Performing Arts. He studied Miesner Technique with Martin of the Neighborhood Playhouse. He continued his studies as an intern with the National Actors Theater, under the direction of Tony Randall. He has co-starred on NBC’s “Law & Order,” “Criminal Intent,” and “Special Victims Unit.” He appeared in Down to Earth with Chris Rock. He has also been a working as a voice-over artist for more than a decade—most recently on the animated feature film EPIC. Dennis has been a Screen Actors Guild member since 1989.
Lynda Crawford (Playwright)
Consumer Behavior (co-written with Gary Kupper) showcased at the NY International Fringe Festival in 2002, after having been the recipient of a Playwrights’ Project grant from Abrons Arts Center–Henry Street Settlement. Strange Rain was a finalist in Reverie’s Next Generation Playwriting Contest in 2004 and was presented in a staged reading at The Flea directed by Hayley Finn, and will be in the New York Fringe Festival in 2013, directed by Simone Federman. Secrets of The Birds, inspired by the ancient Greeks, had a beautiful production, directed by Terry Greiss, that became a finalist in the 2006 Samuel French Short Play Festival. Howard Ink!, a finalist in the John Gardner Play Competition, was also a semifinalist in the Knock International Play Contest in 2010. Day Lilies was a finalist in the Lamia Ink One Page Play Festival. Lynda’s plays and other writings have also appeared in the lit journal Manhattan Linear and in the book, Titters: The First Collection of Humor by Women (Macmillan). Lynda received her MFA in Playwriting in 2001 from Brooklyn College, working with Jack Gelber, William Hauptman, and Mac Wellman. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild. Lynda also leads a playwriting lab at SUNY Empire State College (where she was once a student).
Razghiem Golden (Stage Manager)
Razghiem is currently studying at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. A native of New York City he is excited to be stage managing in the city. He is also artistic director of the student-run theatre company Scotch’n’Soda Theatre. He acted in a reading of Lynda Crawford’s play Disturbed in 2010. In his spare time he is a filmmaker and has directed and filmed several short films. Stage management credits include The Drowsy Chaperone and Assassins. Directing credits include Moon Over Buffalo and Dog Sees God.
Melissa Shetler (Music Direction, Musician/Singer)
Melissa moved to New York City from Vermont 16 years ago to be closer to the heart of jazz music. Since then she has had the privilege of singing on stage at venues such as Dizzy’s, Birdland, Smoke, and the Jazz Standard. As a student at Empire State College she discovered the transformative power of theatre. She has been to Lesotho three times as a performer and facilitator with the Winter/Summer Institute and is an adjunct professor at SUNY Empire State College. She can be found most weekends performing with her parents in the Dysfunctional Family Jazz Band.