Tuesday, August 21, 2012

IAMA


We don't make a habit of publishing press releases here at Mad Theatrics.  After all, this is a lowly theatre blog.  We're not desperate for content so we don't have to publish every scrap that hits our inbox.  When we do publish a press release, there's usually a good reason behind it.
 
In this case, the good reason can be summed up in two words:  "new works."  IAMA Theatre Company's mission statement reads:
IAMA is an ensemble of theater artists seeking to connect and cultivate a new generation of audiences. By promoting new artists and developing new works that challenge and entertain, we hope to produce vibrant, voyeuristic theater that stimulates honest dialogue and sustains the future value of theater within our diverse Los Angeles community.
Two things jump out at me.  First, the aforementioned "new works."  Theatre is of-the-moment and can be a "just-in-time" artform.  Intimate theatre companies have incredible freedom to respond to this moment in time, this plot in space; to develop and produce new stage works that appeal directly to the audience of now.  If you dip into the Dramatists back catalog, you may sell more tickets.  But are you really challenging anyone, yourself most of all? Or are you rather playing it safe and painting by numbers?  A commitment to develop new works -- a commitment backed up by actually doing it -- takes courage and true ambition.
 
The second thing that jumps out at me, the choice of the word "voyeuristic."  That is a very visceral way to put it.  To me, it sounds like IAMA actually knows the difference between theatre as an artform and theatre as a showcase.  There is something very primal about theatre, something basic to our species: the need to share experiential knowledge, the drive to watch.
 
Reading over what IAMA has planned for the coming months, I'm looking forward to watching.

The press release follows:
 
IAMA THEATRE COMPANY 2012 SEASON ANNOUNCEMENT
For Immediate Release—August 20, 2012

For the L.A.-based IAMA THEATRE COMPANY’s first season under the leadership of Artistic Director Becca Wolff and Managing Director Mira Greene, IAMA brings works by young playwrights Dan LeFranc, Louise Munson and Christian Durso to Los Angeles audiences for the first time.
 
World premieres of Durso’s SHINER – named to The Tracking Board’s YOUNG AND HUNGRY LIST 2012 – and Munson’s DO LIKE THE KIDS DO, mark the maturation of two fresh voices in American theater. LeFranc’s 60 MILES TO SILVERLAKE, winner of the 2010 New York Times award for Outstanding Play is an overdue homecoming for this SoCal native and his first L.A. production.
 
With this season, IAMA continues its quest to shift the nerve center of young American theatre to L.A.
 
The Season
 
SHINER by Christian Durso. Opens September 15 at the Working Stage Theatre A wry and nostalgic portrait of teenage love and loss in the 1990s. Inspired by the music of Nirvana, director Neil Patrick Stewart’s production is shot through with the spirit of Kurt Cobain. Featuring IAMA members Graham Sibley and Laila Ayad.
 
DO LIKE THE KIDS DO by Louise Munson. Opens November 9 at the Working Stage Theatre In the tradition of the American family drama comes DO LIKE THE KIDS DO. This profound and funny play tells the story of a brother and sister struggling to connect in the face of events neither can control. The production is helmed by veteran L.A. actor and director Keliher Walsh and features IAMA members Amy Rosoff and Dean Chekvala.
 
60 MILES TO SILVERLAKE by Dan LeFranc. Coming in early 2013. Opening date TBA Directed by Becca Wolff, this play about a father driving his son to soccer practice bends time and space, making this ordinary episode an extraordinary reflection of what it means to grow up. Cast TBA
 
IAMA was conceived in 2007 by a group of young actors eager to create a new theatre movement in L.A. The company members’ talents and commitment to the theatrical form have earned them a devoted local following: “In this industry town, where theater is often the byproduct of actors waiting to be plucked for film and TV, IAMA’s devotion to the stage is fully grounded in its counter-intuitiveness (MetromixLA)”.
 
IAMA is building on the success it enjoyed with the first six installments of Leslye Headland’s critically acclaimed SEVEN DEADLY PLAYS. Headland joined IAMA as Artist-in-Residence in 2007, and her first two collaborations with the company, BACHELORETTE and ASSISTANCE, received Off-Broadway productions at Second Stage and Playwrights Horizons respectively.
 
Artistic Director Becca Wolff says, “I joined IAMA for the same reason that audiences are drawn to them. It’s a dream to find a group that makes significant work with such joy.” Wolff earned her MFA in directing at Yale School of Drama and is co-founder of Tilted Field Productions. She brings a decade of experience at theaters including New York’s Public Theater, The O’Neill Playwrights Conference, and LA’s own Son of Semele Ensemble.
 
To Managing Director Mira Greene, IAMA represents “a perfect storm of passion and talent. It’s thrilling to join them at this point in their growth.” Greene received her BA in Theatre from Smith College and will graduate from California State University Long Beach in 2013 with a dual MBA/MFA in Theatre Management.
 
For more information on IAMA’s 2012-13 season, contact Artistic Director Mira Greene miragreene@iamatheatre.com.

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