I want to start off by welcoming you to BPW under P2, Cassie M. Seinuk, tell you a little about myself, what I want from our theatre, and share with you some of the excitement around our second show FROM THE DEEP thus far.
Some may know me by my Twitter handle “Jewbana,” I’m a proud Cuban Jewish Woman hailing from Long Island New York, and I have been working as a playwright and stage manager in Boston since 2009. After my BA at Brandeis University, I felt like there was no reason to leave Boston. I was excited by the art going around in this city, and I felt like I understood it and it understood me. I don’t know what it was. Maybe it was a combination of the accessibility of the stunning and captivating productions I saw at some of the larger houses like “The Seagull” at the ART where the stage was flooded with water or “Blackbird” by David Harrower at SpeakEasy Stage Co. where I was sucked in by David R. Gammon’s directing and the hyper-realistic acting, and the passion rolling through the Boston fringe scene that made me feel the pulse of this city, and all the young artists that will be the next voice of Boston. It was this combination of big and small and the feeling of community within it that made me think, yes, I can be home here. So I stuck my multicolored Jewish/Cuban/American/Woman flag in this city, and I’m so honored for the chance to be an Artistic Director here, even if it’s just for a few months.
I explore this idea in FROM THE DEEP where we can feel the foreign story of an Israeli prisoner of war connecting and relating to the story of a young grad student from rural Pennsylvania. I’m interested in how people from opposite sides of the world, who see life, peace, and freedom under different lenses can be so similar and find that understanding each other is simpler than ever imagined.
This idea of a collective consciousness was very present for me this summer while the IDF searched for the three missing boys, Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali. It was hard to see my friends and family fighting on the internet about the war erupting in Israel/Palestine, and see the hatred pouring out all over my newsfeed. I too was swept up, affected, even physically sick of how I was so quick to repost and not take a moment to think humanely about it, and by that I mean, think “How does this affect all of us reading it? Mentally? Physically? Will it really change anyone’s mind?” But it wasn’t until I watched the mothers of these boys talk to the world that I really understood the connectivity of all of it. How we can all relate to a mother’s plea for her child. How we should all be able to, and how basic, human, and almost instinctual it is for all of us to connect to that single moment: a mother wanting her son saved. If I were curating a theatre, I would focus on this idea of human connection through identify – connecting people and stories from all over the world together through our basic core needs and humanity. I’d ask the question: What is universal identity?
I felt this the other night, having missed the Creative Witness #BlackLivesMatter peaceful rally on the Boston Commons (due to other artistic commitments), where people of all colors, backgrounds, affiliations, joined together under the connectivity of Art being a voice of peace and change. The artists were fighting for the rights of a people but through a mutual connection the pang for justice. These are the moments I want to share, explore, and put on stage for you, Boston.
There is so much exciting work ahead of us, connecting with the greater Boston Jewish community, reaching out to local veteran groups, raising new voices, questioning our paradigms, and most importantly is staging a fantastic production. This play has sparked fire under my metaphorical jetpacks; it warms my heart, and also connects me back to my identity, my history, and the people I need to give a voice to –the Ilans of the world and the Andrews of the world too.
Learn more about FROM THE DEEP here. And here. And here.
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See you soon. Hasta Lavista. Shalom.