past

Since its 2009 establishment, VAE founders have been involved in dozens of projects including performances at HERE (NYC), Nuyorican Poets Cafe (NYC), Oberon (Boston), The Lost Church (SF), The Nitery (Stanford), The Curtain (University of Massachusetts), and The Contemporary Arts Center (New Orleans).  Press has included The New York Times, Backstage, TheaterIsEasy.com, The Drama Review, and more. Press for projects in media other than performance (illustration, writing, memes) has come from MSNBC, The Next Web, Forbes, Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post, and more.

VAE prioritizes project development with outside artists or companies, and produces its own work on a reserved schedule to allow for agile collaborations.

THE VIDEO GAME MONOLOGUES (2013)
Written and Directed by Lian Amaris
With Renzo Ampuero and Janne Barklis
The Phoenix Theatre, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and The Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco; Nuyorican Poets Cafe, NYC.

Based on the real stories of gamers, The Video Game Monologues shares first times, legendary battles, and the lives changed by pressing “Start.” Part ethnography and part fantasy, this episodic play stages the adventures of hardcore and casual gamers alike, punctuated by cameos of notorious and beloved game characters. From arcade to console, The Video Game Monologues reminds us to learn from our fatalities and cherish our 1Ups.

 

ALL MY MOTHER’S DIETS (2011)
Written and Performed by Thomas Naughton
Directed by Lian Amaris
Oberon at American Repertory Theatre

All My Mother’s Diets experiments with the event of the “family slideshow” to defamiliarize, dramatize, and illuminate how eating disorders affect a man and his family. The project began as of a deck of disjointed images and didactic diary entries and through the rehearsal process developed into a experiential narrative. A slideshow implies a primacy of image, but AMMD highlights language, in both the written and spoken form, as the primary mode of communication. A family slide show embodies and enacts memory-making that is wholly reliant on the narrator; AMMD questions how language and images can function in place of physicality, even when communicating an experience that is so body-centric.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DADDY’S BLACK AND JEWISH (2011)
Written and Performed by Lian Amaris
Directed by Melissa Moschitto
Nuyorican Poets Cafe

Called “riveting” by Backstage and “beaming” by The New York Times, performance artist Lian Amaris takes on drag, soul food, and mitzvot in her 2011 monologue on sexual, racial, and religious “passing.” Raised in a Kosher Jewish household by a black father and a feminist mother, Amaris sculpts a world of hybrid identities inspired by gender-play, racial ambiguity, childhood mythologies, border crossing, and daily cultural tensions in her Crown Heights neighborhood. Melissa Moschitto, founding Artistic Director of The Anthropologists, directs. Amaris combines monologue, music, Brechtian storytelling, and visual language under the direction of Moschitto, to create a disturbing and charming portrait of a fragmented woman who has learned to cross any border, but cannot stay long in foreign lands. Framed as an episodic series of pop culture neuroses, Daddy’s Black and Jewish explores themes of memory, gender construction, and racial tensions, in the spirit of Amaris’ previous works.

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