As the audience was making its way to their seats at a recent AWoW Showcase, AWoW cofounder Niamh Hyland got everyone’s attention when she stepped on stage and, unannounced, belted out a few lines from “You Have No Idea Who I Am,” which opens Brendan Connellan’s comedy Pompa Pompa. Niamh co-starred in a New York City production of Connellan’s play earlier this year.
Niamh will be appearing with singer/songwriter Ed Romanoff tonight, Tuesday, August 20, at Rockwood Music Hall, 196 Allen Street, NYC, 7pm. Poet Liv Mammone will be joining Niamh and Ed as well.
“I can’t stop rewinding last night in my mind! What an incredible cast of talent, surrounded by an audience in awe. A truly magical evening. Thanking you over and over.” Barbara O’Connell
With a brilliant sense of comedic timing and heart, Nadia Manzoor kicked off the evening with a hilarious segment from her one woman show, Dirty Little Paki. Nadia’s segment featured both the aspirations of a five year old and the cultural limitations faced as a woman. Her story of a Pakistani girl facing the dichotomy of a strict Muslim upbringing in free-spirited London is both universal and intensely personal. I first saw Nadia performing in Brendan Connellan’s Pompa Pompa earlier in the year and just as her humor, intelligence and charm shone through then, it did so again on Wednesday night.
Dr. Eimear O’Connor followed Nadia and held the audience rapt with a slide presentation that featured the art of Irish born Sean Keating. The art teacher you always wanted, Eimear presented a picture of Keating, his projects, his expansive career and his overtly political paintings with an ease and wit that brought Keating’s work to life. Sean Keating: Art, Politics and Building the Irish Nation is a book that is richly illustrated with over 200 color paintings, sketches, and photographs, and the definitive work on this hugely respected, yet controversial Irish artist.
Best selling author and award winning novelist Maggie O’Farrell, whose most recent award was the Costa Novel Award in 2010 for The Hand That First Held Mine, gracefully read from her latest novel Instructions for a Heat Wave, the story of a family that is falling apart and coming together and the truths about who they really are. Earlier, Maggie said, “I’ve always been interested in how extreme weather affects behavior.” Maggie combined that interest with an interest in dyslexia and her own life long stammer to develop her novel’s main character, Aoife.
Incorporating humor and edginess, violinist Deni Bonet dazzled the audience with her breathtaking virtuosity. Beginning with “Last Girl on Earth” from the CD with the same title, Deni moved into a sizzling violin solo called the “Goddamn Violin Solo,” so called, as Deni laughingly said, “For lack of a better name.” Deni concluded with a foot stomping, rocking “Alone.” Deni will be playing every Tuesday in August at the Garcia’s Club at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, NY. The show is called “A Tribute to Old and in the Way”.
Pamela Herron began the second half of the evening with a dance, a very moving, untitled, Butoh solo that she performed with a grace and intensity that echoed throughout the space. She dedicated the piece to the healing of an artist she has been collaborating with since 2009, Jogyo (aka/ Dru Barnes) who recently suffered a brutal attack that took his left eye. Enthralling, heart wrenching, and spectacular.
Poet Liv Mammone is a vivacious young voice that will be heard on the New York performance poetry circuit for years to come. Using her background as a novelist, she uses various characters, including Venus de Milo, a fictional gangster, and a certain part of her own anatomy, to provide insight into what she calls “all the million ways one must be moved; the changes we make on our migrations through the world.” Her poems were titled “Venus de Milo answers a Tumblr Feminist,” “Elegy for James Darmody,” and one of the funniest poems imaginable, the laugh out loud “Vagina Resigning.”
Playwright Brendan Connellan ended the evening dipping into crazed, frenetic prose, racing through some fresh and fun thoughts on his visit to Japan. Brendan touched on scraping away calf muscles, Perry blasting his cannons at Japan’s gates, foreigners being welcome but only if they leave quickly and Joseph Stalin turning out to be a friend with benefits.
The next Artists Without Walls Showcase at The Cell will be on August 27, 7pm. For more info on becoming a member of Artists Without Walls write to firstname.lastname@example.org
There’s a fascinating line up planned for this week’s “AWoW Showcase.” Imagine your favorite singer-songwriter – with a violin and a better sense of humor. You’ve just described Deni Bonet. Not every classically-trained musician plays the violin like an air guitar! Deni Bonet is a college radio favorite who’s performed with the likes of Cyndi Lauper, R.E.M., Sarah McLachlan & Robyn Hitchcock and fits her string & vocal skills into ironic, catchy alternative pop. This past week Deni opened for the Eagles in Washington and Pittsburgh and we’re thrilled she’ll be joining us.
Maggie O’Farrell’s debut novel, After You’d Gone, was published to international acclaim, and won a Betty Trask Award, while her third, The Distance Between Us, won the 2005 Somerset Maugham Award. Maggie will be discussing and reading from her recently published Instructions for a Heatwave.
Poet Connie Roberts, who has referred two wonderful poets in the past, Koro Koroye and Ciara Thompson, will be introducing poet Olivia Mammone a professor of creative writing at Queens College. Liv has opened for poets such as Martin Espada, Mayda del Valle, and Lemon Anderson and was an actress in and co-writer of Words: a Drama in Poetry which sold out the Gene Frankel Theater in New York City. Liv, who is also an editor for American Book Publishing, has had her poetry appear in Message in a Bottle and Wordgathering Magazine.
Dr Éimear O’Connor is an art historian, curator, lecturer, art advisor and archivist. She was born and lives in Dublin, Ireland. O’Connor began her professional career as a visual artist and has exhibited in Ireland, Denmark and North America. She specialized in site-specific work, and has also designed album covers, book covers and stage settings. Eimear will be discussing her new book titled Sean Keating: Art Politics and Building the Nation.
Pamela Herron, skilled in Butoh, commonly referred to as the “dance of darkness,” and who dances with The Vangeline Theater will be making her first appearance at an AWoW Showcase. Butoh, which is concerned with creating movement that is distinct and different from Western influences, is characterized by slow, controlled movement and images that are sometimes whimsical, sometimes grotesque.
Frequent AWoW contributor Brendan Connellan, off his recent success with his play Pompa Pompa, and just returned from his honeymoon in Japan, has written some thoughts on his honeymoon. Given Brendan’s wit and pithy observations this is sure to be both entertaining and captivating. And reuniting with Brendan, although presenting separately, is one of the stars of Pompa Pompa, Improv artist Nadia Parvez Manzoor. Nadia believes that Improv has the potential of transforming culture in a significant way. What will she be doing? Probably making it up on the fly.
For all that, and maybe a surprise or two, join us at The Cell Theatre, 338 West 23rd Street, Wed., 7pm. It’s sure to be a great evening.