WILLA’S AUTHENTIC SELF
Willa just can’t take it any more!She feels boxed in! She wants to WEAR POWERFUL SUITS! Her apartment is infested with ants – her WHOLE LIFE is infested with ants! Willa is ATTACKED ON ALL SIDES!
One day Willa receives a lump of clay. But not an ordinary lump- this clay is ALIVE!
Willa is transformed; first into mother of a golem daughter and then into Mayor of New York City!
This is a golem story. But like any Golem story, chaos reigns!
#WILLA4MAYOR. #chaosreigns #nospoilers
WILLA’S AUTHENTIC SELF is a musical, monstrous and maximalist re-imagining of the ancient Jewish Golem myth. Created by Lisa Clair Group, the piece explores how the desire to create can lead to the transformation of our communities and the responsibility of citizen artists to respond to our changing city and world through our own creative urges. Yeah!!
Created by Lisa Clair Group
In Association with Immediate Medium
In Collaboration with New Georges
Written by Lisa Clair
Directed by Shannon Sindelar
Performed by Lisa Clair, Juliana Francis Kelly, Dee Dorcas Beasnel, Sauda Jackson, Nicholas Sanchez, Hanlon Smith-Dorsey, and Jeremy Kadetsky
Lead Production Design by Caitlin Ayer
Sound Design by John Gasper
Lighting Design by Mary Ellen Stebbins
Associate Scenic Design by Yijun Yang
Associate Costume Design by Emily White
Associate Props and Media Design by Red
Stage Management by Max Mooney
Creative Produced by Blaze Ferrer
Willa’s Authentic Self was developed, in part, with support from Mitu’s Artists-At-Home program
IN PROCESS Lisa says: “WILLA’S AUTHENTIC SELF is my musical feminist re-imagining of the ancient Jewish Golem myth. It’s inspired by Cynthia Ozick’s “Puttermesser and Xanthippe”, which re-tells the myth through a feminist lens. In my play, a woman named Willa is spontaneously gifted a lump of clay. The clay begins to have consciousness of its own, becoming Willa’s Golem daughter. Willa is transformed; first into mother and then into Mayor of New York City. As Mayor, Willa improves the entire city and every civic system that comprises it.
But like in any Golem story, her daughter begins to outshine her, creating chaos within the population. I’m interested in exploring how the desire to create can lead to the transformation of our communities and the responsibility of citizen artists to respond to our changing city and world through our own creative urges.”
photos: Maria Baranova
MEET THE LEAD ARTISTS
Lisa Clair is a New York-based playwright and performer. She makes work under the name Lisa Clair Group, a collective of performers, musicians, and designers who collaborate across disciplines to create live, experimental performance. Lisa is a 2020 -2021 New Georges Audrey Resident and an affiliated artist with Immediate Medium/ AGENCY. Her work has been presented at The Collapsable Hole, Target Margin Theater, SPRING/BREAK art show, The SFX Festival @ The Wild Project, The Bushwick Starr Reading Series, Ars Nova, Dixon Place, JACK, The Performance Project at University Settlement and The Silent Barn. As a performer Lisa frequently collaborates with NY based Theater artists David Commander, Normandy Sherwood, Banana Bag and Bodice, Nellie Tinder, Dan Fishback, Little Lord and Immediate Medium. Her early years as a theater maker were spent in Minneapolis MN where she apprenticed with The Theater de La Jeune Lune and went on to perform with them for several seasons. She also performed with MPLS based theater companies Ten Thousand Things, Mixed Blood Theater and The Children’s Theater Company. Lisa has a BA from Bard College, a certificate of completion in Clown from The Burlesk Center in Locarno Switzerland under master teacher Pierre Byland. She completed her MFA in playwriting at Brooklyn College under Mac Wellman and Erin Courtney (class of 2018). Lisa is also a voice over artist, having voiced numerous animated and commercial characters. She also an experienced educator and currently teaches experimental playwriting and acting at Sarah Lawrence College.
Shannon Sindelar is a theater director and producer based in New York City. Recent directing work includes the world premiere of RN Healey’s NUN$, regional premieres of Madeleine George’s HURRICANE DIANE, Clare Barron’s DANCE NATION, the Midwest premiere of Will Eno’s THE REALISTIC JONESES, and the Southern premiere of Jaclyn Backus’ MEN ON BOATS. In NYC her directing work has been seen at The Bushwick Starr, PS 122, Roulette and HERE, among others. For many years she directed the productions of the cross-media performance group 31 Down. She served as managing and programming director of The Ontological-Hysteric Theater, where she produced theatre auteur Richard Foreman’s works. Under her direction, the Ontological’s Incubator program for independent artists garnered an Obie Award Grant and transitioned into its own organization, where Sindelar served as its first producing director. She currently serves as producing director for the Obie Award-winning company The Builders Association and managing director for the composer-driven non-profit Experiments in Opera. She is an adjunct lecturer at Barnard College, an affiliated artist with New Georges, and a board member of the performance ensemble Object Collection. MFA: Carnegie Mellon (John Wells Directing Fellow).
Caitlin Ayer designs sets & costumes for plays, tv/film, musicals, opera, and live events. Recent Theatre projects include residencies at the Collapsable Hole, New Georges, Spring/Break Art Show, and Target Margin with Lisa Clair Group; Some Like It Hot (Broadway, Asst Set Designer); Untitled B-52s Workshop (Ideal Glass, Associate Set Designer); feminine octagon (Rough Draft Festival @ LPAC, Set Designer); ID, Please (Tête à Tête Festival London, Set Designer); Opacity (Big Art Group @ Live Arts Bard Biennial, Set Designer); and 5 seasons in residence with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Recent Film/TV projects include Art Directing episodes of EVIL (CBS), UnCoupled (Netflix), and Godfather of Harlem (EPIX); and designing sets for EVIL, Godfather of Harlem, The Good Fight (CBS), Manifest (NBC/Netflix), Werewolves Within (UbiSoft), and Only Murders in the Building (Hulu). Someone once told her that Coco Chanel advised women to remove one accessory before leaving home, in the interest of looking chic. Caitlin remembers this advice every morning when she gets dressed, and, in light of the fact that Coco Chanel was a Nazi informant, adds an accessory instead. BFA Webster University // MFA Carnegie Mellon University. Member United Scenic Artists, Local 829.
ALSO NOTE Lisa and Shannon met as 2020 New Georges Audrey Residents (actually 2020-22, since we added an extra year to this group’s residency due to the ongoing pandemic). WILLA’S AUTHENTIC SELF is the project Lisa was working on in her residency — and they teamed up on it after their residency cohort took a June ’21 field trip to The Mound (an installation Lisa made based on WILLA) as their first post-lockdown in-person meeting.