Performance on Sunday May 1
LENOX, MA (April 13, 2022) — WAM Theatre begins its 13th season with a Fresh Takes Play Reading of The New Galileos by Amy Berryman (Walden Theaterworks Hartford & London’s West End), directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian (WAM’s Holy Laughter; Skeleton Crew at Huntington Theatre Co.) on Sunday, May 1, at 2pm at Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield and live streamed online. Tickets are on sale now. This reading is being presented in partnership with the Berkshire Museum and Flying Cloud Institute’s Girls In Science Program.
In a future not too distant from our own, three female scientists—a marine biologist, a glaciologist, and a soil expert—are being held hostage by their government because of their work fighting climate change. As they are interrogated, the women face the ultimate question: what are they willing to sacrifice to defend the truth? This edgy, gripping new play, by one of the country’s hottest playwrights, explores the interaction of science and capitalism.
“I’m thrilled to be returning to WAM, and especially to be digging into Amy Berryman’s vivid and gripping The New Galileos.” explains director Megan Sandberg-Zakian. “As the daughter of a molecular biologist mom, I am wildly moved and terrified by this brilliant intersection of a near-future authoritarian regime with the personal, professional, and ethical stakes that female scientists already face.”
Playwright Amy Berryman explained her motivation for writing this Science-Fiction play saying: “I wanted to explore the comparisons between Galileo and climate scientists of today whose work is often censored by the government.”
WAM Theatre is excited to be collaborating with two partner non-profit organizations in telling this story: Berkshire Museum, who will host the reading in connection with their current exhibit “The Voyage to the Deep,” and Flying Cloud Institute, whose Young Women In Science Youth Mentors will be attending the performance. “We are so excited about continuing our collaboration with WAM Theatre,” said Maria Rundle, Flying Cloud’s Executive Director. “These experiences that knit together creative expression, science exploration, and youth leadership create moments that change lives. We look forward to sharing this special moment with our next generation of scientists, artists, and engineers!”
The play features a stellar cast of diverse local professional performers: Nicole Orabona, a recent transplant to Pittsfield who works primarily in devised and interactive performance, will be playing marine biologist Nora Travers. KD McTeigue, who was last seen in WAM’s digital production of ROE, will be playing various roles including the interrogator. Helen Matthews. Alika Hope, a singer and TV presenter (New England Perspective TV) who also appeared in Medea in Corinth off-Broadway, will be playing soil scientist Dr. Beth Whitney. The cast is rounded out with WAM’s Producing Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven making a return to the stage to play renowned glaciologist Elaine Tuck.
“When Talya called me to offer the opportunity to be part of this reading as an actor, I laughed out loud,” said van Ginhoven. “I was also secretly thrilled as this is a unique opportunity to wear a hat that I don’t wear much at WAM. So I’m a little nervous but mostly excited for the chance to collaborate in this way with such an incredible group of artists on this compelling story. See you on May 1 from the other side of the stage!”
WAM Theatre’s Fresh Takes Play Reading Series presents ground-breaking stories that are imaginative and thoughtful explorations of complex issues affecting women and girls. Featuring local professional actors and directors, the Fresh Takes play readings continue WAM’s commitment to connecting Berkshire audiences to female playwrights who are contributing to national and international theatre conversations. Each reading will be followed by a brief discussion with the artists.
Tickets are now on sale for THE NEW GALILEOS as well as our subsequent Fresh Takes Play Readings: BRIGHT HALF LIFE by Tanya Barfield directed by Gina Kaufmann at Mass MoCA on June 5 and ESCAPED ALONE by Caryl Churchill, directed by Kristen van Ginhoven at The Mount on August 7. For more information or to reserve your tickets today, visit WAM online at wamtheatre.com or call 413.274.8122.
For tickets and more information about the 2022 Season and WAM Theatre’s programs, events, and artists, please visit www.WAMTheatre.com.
THE NEW GALILEOS
A Fresh Takes Play Reading
by Amy Berryman
Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian
Alika Hope as Dr. Beth Whitney
Nicole Orabona as Nora Travers
KD McTeigue as Helen Matthews & others.
Kristen van Ginhoven as Elaine Tuck
Sunday, May 1 at 2pm
Berkshire Museum, 39 South Street in Pittsfield and live streamed
Tickets $15, $25
For more information about the 2022 Season and WAM Theatre’s programs, events, and artists, please visit www.WAMTheatre.com.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Megan Sandberg-Zakian (she/her) is a theater director, author, and facilitator with a passion for the development of vital new American plays for the stage and the ear. Current Role with WAM: director (The New Galileos), Board Member. Previous WAM: Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England, Holy Laughter. Favorite recent directing projects elsewhere include: Nat Turner in Jerusalem (New York Theatre Workshop), House of Joy (California Shakespeare Theatre), Skeleton Crew (Huntington Theatre Co), Mr. Parent (The Lyric Stage) and Audible Originals Rapture Season and Evil Eye (Audie Award for Best Original Work; Gracie Award for Original Online Programming). Writing: Her book, There Must Be Happy Endings: On a Theater of Optimism and Honesty is available from The 3rd Thing Press. Affiliations: Megan is the co-founder of creative leadership consultancy Humanstudio, an Associate at BIPOC-led executive search firm ALJP Consulting, and a co-founder of Maia Directors, supporting artists and organizations engaging with stories from the Middle East and beyond. Education: Megan is a graduate of Brown University and holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College. She has taught classes and workshops at Brown University, Yale University, Harvard University, and Northeastern University. Awards/Memberships: She is a recipient of the Princess Grace Theater Award and the TCG Future Leaders fellowship, an alumna of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and a proud member of SDC, the union for professional stage directors and choreographers. Etc: Megan lives in Jamaica Plain, MA, with her wife Candice. Connect: megansz.com
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
Amy Berryman (she/her) is a writer and actor with roots in Washington State and West Texas. Current Role with WAM: playwright (The New Galileos) Playwriting: Amy’s play Walden recently premiered on the West End as a part of Sonia Friedman Productions’ RE:Emerge Season, directed by Ian Rickson, and received a production with Theaterworks Hartford directed by Mei Ann Teo (New York Times Critics Pick). Her other full-length plays include Three Year Summer, Epiphany, and The Whole of You. Her work has been developed at theatres all across the US and she has been a finalist for the O’Neill, NNPN’s National New Play Festival, and for Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries. Acting: Amy was seen off-Broadway in Jessica Dickey’s The Convent, directed by Daniel Talbott, as well as in Greg Kotis’ Lunchtime at the Brick, and Erin Courtney’s I Will Be Gone in the Humana Festival. Affiliations: Proud member of Rising Phoenix Rep. Upcoming: writer on the podcast VANTAGE with Gimlet and Composition 8. Connect: amy-berryman.com
ABOUT THE CAST
Alika Hope (she/her) is a woman whose soul soars in the heavens with feet grounded solidly on earth…sometimes. Current role with WAM: actor (Dr. Beth Whitney in The New Galileos) Previous at WAM: Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England. Selected Theatre Credits Elsewhere: Margaret Garner (Opera Company of Philadelphia, Cincinnati Opera), Intimate Apparel (New Century Theatre), Good People (New Century Theatre), Philomel (Off-Broadway), Medea in Corinth (Off-Broadway), Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bronx Opera) Additional artistic credits: Co-Host, New England Perspective TV (CBS-Springfield), Host, Alika Hope and Change Podcast. Creative inspiration: Every creative thing I do is inspired by, and in honor of, the ancestors. Community Engagement/Activist work: Founder of The Ray of Hope Project, using music and spoken word to amplify under-heard voices across the US. Membership/Affiliations: AEA, SAG-AFTRA. Selected training: University of Notre Dame (BA); Columbia University (MA); Cornell University (post-grad). Awards/proudest achievements: Ms. New England America 2019, Gold Global Music Award, Gold Presidential Volunteer Service Award, being mom to E and G. Final word: Hope is a Verb. Connect: @alikahope across all social media; www.rayofhopeproject.com
KD McTeigue (she/her) is an actor from the Hudson Valley. Current Role with WAM: actor (Helen & others in The New Galileos) Previous WAM Theatre: ROE, Samsara, The Oregon Trail. Elsewhere: Troy Foundry Theatre, Capital Repertory Theatre, Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble. Film: Dear Helen (dir. Henry Caughey) Television: Diabolical (Investigation Discovery Channel) Training: Kelly Kimball, U-Shin Kim, Will Bryan, Russell Sage College. Awards: Recipient of the Bruce Rainer award for Most Promise in Theatre. Connect: @kdmcteigue.
Nicole Orabona (she/her) is a queer, Latinx theatre-maker with a passion for interactive, immersive, and devised new works. She splits her time between Berkshire County and a boat in NYC. Current role with WAM: actor (Nora in The New Galileos) WAM Theatre: debut. Selected Theatre Credits Elsewhere: Romeo & Juliet, Midsummer (Emit Theatre), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Jenny Wiley), meg, jo, beth, amy and louisa (Tier5/Hollywood Fringe), Unmaking Toulouse-Lautrec (Bated Breath) TV: Inkblot (Netflix), Fleishman is in Trouble (Hulu). Directing: Lady Scientists (also writer with Nathan Leigh), No Mercy, For Your Consideration (Moxie Arts), Let’s Start a ZIne (to-by-for). Creative inspiration: Nicole is inspired by untold stories of women in the past, present, and future, and by works that challenge the traditional audience/spectator and performer relationship. Community Engagement/Activist work: Frequent collaborator of The People’s Puppets of Occupy Wall Street. Membership/Affiliations: Company member of Emit Theatre, Infinite Variety Productions, and Live in Theater. Member of the 2022 Moxie Arts Incubator cohort. Co-Founder (with Nathan Leigh) of CirqueSaw Productions. Selected training: Boise State University (BA), Frantic Assembly, SITI Company, Punchdrunk Enrichment. Awards: Best Actor (nominated); Best Immersive Experience (won) Nellie and the Women of Blackwell (2020/2021 Broadway World Awards). Best Ensemble (nominated) Ministry of Mundane Mysteries (2022 NoPro Audience Choice Awards) Final word: “We are made of star-stuff.” – Carl Sagan. Connect: nicoleorabona.com
Kristen van Ginhoven (she/her) is a dual Canadian/American citizen based in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. Current Role with WAM Theatre: Producing Artistic Director, actor (Elaine in The New Galileos), director (Escaped Alone). Selected WAM Theatre Credits: ROE, Ann, The Bakelite Masterpiece, In Darfur (New England Premiere), Emilie (New England Premiere) Selected Theatre Credits Elsewhere: Ann (Arena Stage, Dallas Theatre Center), Disgraced, I and You (Chester Theatre), The Whale (Adirondack Theatre Festival), 10 Minute Play Festival (Barrington Stage Company) Selected Training: Dalhousie University (BA), Queen’s University (BEd), Emerson College (MA). Membership/Affiliations: Member of the Berkshire Race Task Force and Inclusive Leadership Cohort; Mentor with Berkshire Business and Professional Women; Member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers; Member of the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab; Participant in the Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction at the Stratford Festival of Canada; Creative Inspiration: An artist, feminist and highly sensitive person, she values healthy practices like meditating and walking, time affluence and social connection. Awards/Proudest Achievement: Being honored by the Berkshire Theatre Critics Association (BTCA) with the prestigious Larry Murray Award, presented to a person or theatre project that advances social, political, or community issues in Berkshire County. Final Word: Talent is universal but opportunity is not. Here’s to creating opportunity.
ABOUT FLYING CLOUD INSTITUTE:
Flying Cloud Institute’s mission is to inspire young people and educators through dynamic experiences with science and art that ignite creativity. FCI offers an array of programs in the arts and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) that serve over 2,000 youth and local educators annually. FCI offers classroom science and art residencies, after school Science Clubs and MakerSpaces, and vacation camps where youth step fully into their role as creators, makers, scientists, and artists. More information can be found at flyingcloudinstitute.org.
ABOUT BERKSHIRE MUSEUM:
The Berkshire Museum combines art, science, and history to create thought-provoking experiences for visitors of all ages. The museum’s diverse collection of more than 40,000 objects is brought to life year round through exhibitions, educational programming, digital content, and community events. We truly are your community museum, offering access to education and culture to the residents of Pittsfield, the Berkshires, and beyond. More information can be found at: berkshiremuseum.org
WAM Current Sponsors
WAM Theatre is supported by the New England Foundation for the Arts through the New England Arts Resilience Fund, part of the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund, an initiative of the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with major funding from the federal CARES Act for the National Endowment for the Arts. Recently, WAM was recommended for an American Rescue Plan grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
WAM’s sponsors include Adams Community Bank, Blue Q., Berkshire Roots, Blue Spark Financial, Downright Pro, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Garden Gables Inn, Guidos Fresh Marketplace, Health Professional Coaching, Heller & Robbins Attorneys at Law, Interprint, Only in my Dreams Events, Onyx Specialty Papers, Outpost Productions, Prix Fixe, RB Design Co., T Square Design Studio, Toole Insurance, a. von schlegell & co, and the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts.
WAM Theatre’s 2022 Season is also supported in part by grants from Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, Berkshire Bank, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, The Feigenbaum Foundation, Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), Mass Humanities, Lee Bank Foundation, Scarlet Sock Foundation and U.S. Small Business Administration’s Shuttered Venue Operators Grant; as well as grants from the Dalton Cultural Council, Lee Cultural Council, Lenox Cultural Council, Pittsfield Cultural Council, Northern Berkshire Cultural Council, Otis Cultural Council, Sandisfield Cultural Council, and Washington Cultural Council.
ABOUT WAM THEATRE
WAM Theatre is a professional theatre company based in Berkshire County, MA, that operates at the intersection of arts and activism. WAM creates theatre for gender equity and has a vision of theatre as philanthropy.
In fulfillment of its philanthropic mission, WAM donates a portion of the proceeds from their Mainstage productions to carefully selected beneficiaries. Since WAM’s founding in 2010, they have donated more than $80,000 to 23 local and global organizations taking action for gender equity in areas such as girls education, teen pregnancy prevention, sexual trafficking awareness, midwife training, and more.
In addition to Mainstage productions and special events, WAM’s activities include innovative community engagement programs and the Fresh Takes Play Reading Series. To date, WAM has provided paid work to more than 500 theatre artists, the majority of whom are female-identifying.
As a civic organization that embraces intersectional feminism (feminism that acknowledges how multiple forms of discrimination overlap), WAM understands that to address one piece of systemic discrimination means we have to address them all. This is on-going personal and professional work at WAM for the staff and board, detailed in their recently released accountability plan.
WAM Theatre has been widely recognized for having a positive impact on cultural and community development in the region. WAM is the recipient of the Creative Economy Standout Berkshire Trendsetter Award and previously, was named Outstanding Philanthropy Corporation of the Year by the Western MA Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Kristen van Ginhoven, WAM’s Producing Artistic Director, was honored by the Berkshire Theatre Critics Association (BTCA) with the prestigious Larry Murray Award, presented at the discretion of the BTCA Board to a person or theatre project that advances social, political, or community issues in Berkshire County.
For more information, visit www.wamtheatre.com