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Adriana Sevahn Nichols “Night Over Erzinga” to Debut in New York City

May 20, 2011

New York, NY- From the Lark Play Development’s BareBones® program that supported Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop and Rajiv Joseph’s Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, the Lark announces a BareBones® presentation of Night Over Erzinga by Adriana Sevahn Nichols, directed by Daniella Topol. This workshop presentation is the next stage of development for the play, which is part of Middle East America: A National New Plays Initiative, a collaboration between Lark, Golden Thread Productions in San Francisco, and Silk Road Theatre Project in Chicago. The performances at Lark run from June 7 – 12 at Lark’s new home at 311 West 43rd Street in New York City. Tickets are $10, $14, and $18 and are available at www.larktheatre.org.

Night Over Erzinga tells the story of how an Armenian and Latin American family can reach through time, reclaim their stories, and bring their children “home.” Spanning two continents and three generations, this memory play reunites ancestors with the living, as they all yearn to make peace with the past.

About the play, Nichols says, “I began writing in search of finding out how my Armenian grandfather could lose two families, in one lifetime, and not lose his heart. So few of our family stories survive, but as a granddaughter of Armenian, Dominican, and Basque ancestry, I needed to know where I come from. This journey has been about claiming my cultural identity.” Lark Artistic Director John Clinton Eisner says this of the playwright, “As an actor-turned-dramatist, Adriana brings something deeply personal to a story of historic sweep and current resonance. There is a vulnerability that actors know how to plumb and takes audiences to a very intimate and honest place.”

The Middle East America Distinguished Playwright Award was born out of a field conversation between the Lark and Middle Eastern Diaspora theater makers in 2006, in which it was discussed how they needed long-term artistic support and productions of their work. From that conversation came this fellowship, which is granted every other year to an American writer of a Middle Eastern descent, which consists of a $10,000 commission to write a new play of the author’s choice, artistic development support for two years at the Lark and productions at Golden Thread Productions and Silk Road Theatre Project (productions of Night Over Erzinga are scheduled at these theaters for fall 2011 and fall 2012.)

This program is the first national collaboration designed to encourage and support Middle Eastern American playwrights and plays of the highest artistic caliber and to enrich the canon of American dramatic literature. The program aims to challenge both the lack of representation and the one- dimensional stereotypical representation of persons of Middle Eastern descent on America’s stages. Lark will host two field conversations during the BareBones run that will continue the conversation about the inclusion Middle Eastern Diaspora voices in the American theater.

Founded in 1994 as a laboratory for new voices and new ideas, the Lark Play Development Center provides playwrights with indispensable resources to develop their work, nurturing artists at all stages in their careers, and inviting them to express themselves  in a supportive and rigorous environment. The Lark reaches into untapped local populations and across international boundaries to seek out and embrace unheard voices and diverse perspectives, celebrating differences in and worldviews. By encouraging artists to define their own goals and creative processes in pursuit of a unique vision, we believe we are reinvigorating the theater’s ancient and enduring role as a public forum for discussion, debate and community engagement. The Lark is led by its co founder and Artistic Director John Clinton Eisner and Managing Director Michael Robertson.

Adriana Sevahn Nichols – A native New Yorker, is an award winning actress and playwright. She received the 2008 Middle East America Distinguished Playwright Award which has gifted her with a generous commission, to research and write a new play, inspired by her Armenian grandparent’s survival of the Genocide in 1915. Her critically acclaimed one woman show, Taking Flight, has been thrilling audiences across the country since opening in Los Angeles in 2006. The play was awarded a San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Award, a Los Angeles Womens Theatre Festival Award and the audio CD was a finalist for a 2008 Audie Award. She has created, developed, and performed her work at the Sundance Theater Lab, South Coast Repertory, The Mark Taper Forum, The Goodman Theatre, LA Theatre Works, The Fountain Theatre, Intar, Rio Hondo College, Dixon Place NY, and The Lark Play Development Center. Her play, Taking Flight, had its world premiere in May 2006 produced by Michael Ritchie and Diane Rodriguez/Center Theatre Group, at The Kirk Douglas Theatre and was named by the LA Daily News as one of the 10 best plays of ‘06. The show was then recorded live with LA Theatre Works for a nationwide broadcast, on Public Radio, for the series, “The Play’s The Thing.” Taking Flight continues to tour the country regionally and is currently being published by Samuel French.

Daniella Topol – Recent world premieres include: Rajiv Joseph’s Monster at the Door (Alley Theatre), Willy Holtzman’s The Morini Strad (City Theatre, PA), Janet Allard and Niko Tsakalakos’ Pool Boy (Barrington Stage), and Sheila Callaghan’s Dead City (New Georges). Upcoming world premieres: Adriana Sevahn Nichols’ Night Over Erzinga (Golden Thread), Catherine Treischmann’s How the World Began (Women’s Project), and Stephanie Zadravec’s Electric Baby (Quantum Theatre).  Daniella is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon, and is an Ensemble Studio Theatre member, a New Georges Affiliated Artist, an NYTW Usual Suspect, member of the League of Professional Theatre Women, and Women’s Project Lab Director’s Consultant. www.daniellatopol.com.

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