SATE looks forward to a return to live, in-person productions in 2022, the Season of Party, with all world-premiere, original plays, including the Sixth Annual Aphra Behn Festival and Brontë Sister House Party by Courtney Bailey.

To kick off the 2022 Season of Party, SATE will present its sixth annual Aphra Behn Festival, April 29-May 1, 2022 at 8:00 PM (CST) at Centene Center for the Arts in midtown St. Louis. Established in 2017, the Aphra Behn Festival’s goal is to give women interested in directing and writing for theatre an opportunity to get more experience, experiment, and hone their craft. The Festival is named for the fascinating poet, translator, and spy, Aphra Behn, who is widely considered to be the first English woman to make her living as a playwright.

In 2022, SATE will produce three original plays written and directed by women artists. 

Go Before I Do by Hazel McIntire, directed by LaWanda Jackson
A bar in the nightlife district becomes a portal into others life as drinks are poured and memories made. A daughter lives through the loss of both of her parents in the span of a few short years, which is viewed by her faithful bartender. A view of the world seen by the often unseen, Go Before I Do is a story of growth, exploration, and understanding. 

Repurposed, by Michelle Zielinski, directed by Elizabeth Van Pelt
Will a downcast visitor on a dreary day find meaning in strange modern art? And which is stranger, the art or the other people? Reply Hazy, Try Again …

The Super Fun Time Party Palace by Lize Lewy, directed by Rae Davis
The Super Fun Time Party Palace is a look into the banality of parenthood. Frankie and Jessie are first time parents who will try anything to make their 6 year old son’s birthday a success, and in doing so, chaos ensues. 

Audition information can be found on SATE website at www.satestl.org under the Auditions banner. 

Festival Stage Manager: Emma Glose

Festival Designers: Bess Moynihan, Liz Henning, Grace Sellers, and students from East Central College. 

Festival Graphic Design by Dottie Quick.

SATE’s 2022 Aphra Behn Festival is made possible by funding from the Missouri Arts Council and The Steven Nelson Memorial Playwright’s Fund. 

The second show in the 2022 season is Brontë Sister House Party by Courtney Bailey, directed by Keating, designed by Bess Moynihan and Liz Henning, running August 10-27, 2022 at The Chapel. Originally commissioned by St. Louis Shakespeare Festival as part of the Confluence Writers Project 2021 cohort, Brontë Sister House Party will receive its world-premiere production by SATE. 

The Brontë sisters of Victorian literary fame (Charlotte, Emily, and Anne) are trapped in a purgatorial time loop where they must throw a fabulous house party every night for eternity. Only when they reach The Point of Celebratory Reverence, the highest point of celebration that a party can achieve, will they be released. An absurd, feminist revisionist tribute to all the women artists who’ve created under pressure and still had it in them to throw a good party. 

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ERA’s album will premiere at the Album Release and Listening Party at Off Broadway on
June 3, 2021 at 8 p.m.
Equally Represented Arts (ERA) presents “SHE”
ALBUM RELEASE & LISTENING PARTY INFORMATION
Thursday, June 3, 2021
Doors open at 7 p.m.
Radio play begins at 8 p.m.
at Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave, St. Louis, MO 63118

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door or in advance at offbroadwaystl.com
Off Broadway will have capacity limits and employ safety precautions as outlined on their
website and social media channels.

DIGITAL ALBUM PURCHASE INFORMATION
SHE will be released as an album for digital purchase via bandcamp at eratheatre.bandcamp.com.
Album price will be $10.

ABOUT SHE
SHE controls the radio station of the fascist regime in power. SHE’s also the star of the
broadcast. Her recording studio abounds with music and oysters. But in the nearby government
camps full of misfits and would-be revolutionaries, only torture and starvation is thick on the
ground.
Tonight, however, SHE’s realm feels different. The bombs sound closer. Time moves faster. But
SHE will finish her radio show, and it will be her finest. If executing every number in the
broadcast means some people need to die, so be it; it is a small sacrifice. The citizens need her
and she will not let them down.

COLLABORATORS
Written by Nancy Bell. Music composed by Joe Taylor. Lyrics by Nancy Bell.
Director: Lucy Cashion
Stage Manager: Miranda Jagels Félix
Assistant Stage Manager & Intern: Spencer Lawton
Production Managers: Will Bonfiglio, Lucy Cashion, & Joe Taylor
Artwork: Martin Brief
Marketing: Keating
Pre-Mixing: Joe Taylor
Mixing & Mastering: David Beeman
with
Nancy Bell………………SHE
Will Bonfiglio……………Nils (the brother)
Gabe Taylor…………….Fritz (the production manager)
Alicen Moser……………GIRL (the wandering spirit of SHE as a child)
Mitch Eagles…………….Michel (the loyal one)
Joe Taylor……………….George (the music director)
Anthony Kramer………..Max (the back-up vocalist) & P.A. Voice
Additional Vocals: Taylor Tveten
Piano: Audrey Morris & Joe Taylor
Bass: Andy Hainz
Percussion: Dustin Sholtes
Saxophone & Clarinet: Matt McKeever
Violin & Guitar: Kevin Buckley
Trumpet: Ryan Torpea
Accordion: Jessica Adkins
Foley: Lucy Cashion & Joe Taylor

Recorded by Joe Taylor at Kid Scientist Studios & David Beeman at Native Sound Recording on
Cherokee Street, St. Louis, USA

With public support from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.

About ERA
Equally Represented Arts (ERA) is an experimental theatre company based in St. Louis,
Missouri.
Theatre is a collaborative, multi-disciplinary, live art form. ERA’s mission is to use the elements
unique to theatre’s identity to expand the possibilities for what that art form can be and challenge
our community’s expectations for meaning in theatre, art, and the world. We root ourselves in the
belief that all theatre’s components are equal and that innovation stems from experimentation.
We are an ensemble company. We make our work collectively and consider all artists involved in
a project equally essential to that project. We believe that actors are creative artists. Our process
for each production is unique to that production.
For more information, please visit eratheatre.org

By Lynn Venhaus

Several visionary local artists proved that fortune does favor the bold through their efforts to present a gift to a theater-starved community.

This precious lifeline was “Mute: A Play for Zoom” on Sunday, April 5. We experienced an original 5-person 30-minute play on the internet with a hundred other people that Sunday night, boldly going where no one had gone before.

This absurdist apocalyptic academic farce was a burst of creativity and a jolt of connectivity like the sun coming out on a cloudy day.

A maiden voyage by playwright Nancy Bell, director Lucy Cashion and production manager Spencer Lawton explored our strange new world of making art during a quarantine. It starts out as a video conference call among colleagues at a university. For these academics, there is confusion, and eventually fire – and a hamster.

A recording of last week’s live Zoom performance was shown during a Facebook Watch Party April 12. It is now on Vimeo for all to see: https://vimeo.com/405178212?fbclid=IwAR2hkRVBGu78QK8rLQWmb6pY-e7fynRixVlGxky1vvhWNxyN3kKY8PrCP0s

How it all came together was truly remarkable — ignited a spark, a surge of energy that took us out of our stay-at-home melancholia and made us appreciate authentic art and true talent.

It was like I was on a new adventure without leaving my couch.

The five-person cast included several lauded veterans and standout newcomers as colleagues. St. Louis Theater Circle Award winners Michelle Hand (a very nervous Maria), Michael James Reed (agitated Trent), Keating (trying to hang on Fiona) and Sophia Brown (mysterious Lila and Man Ray) performed with their customary immersion into character as well as Delaney Piggins, so good at New Jewish Theatre’s “I Now Pronounce,” as confused Heather and Jakob Hulten as assistant Dustin trying to herd the cats and keep normalcy.

They all connected in a believable way, providing distinctive portraits in a very short amount of time as what the new normal is quickly erodes into a disturbing situation. Reed mastered delivery of a barrage of new vocabulary among his monologues, unleashing a torrent of new words among his distain for the circumstances. He did it with a complete command of the twisty dialogue.

Worried about technical difficulties, it actually went off without a hitch, and ended abruptly according the script. Just be patient. Zoom is a terrific tool for bringing us all together, and the technical gurus behind this production did a fantastic job.

I have always been grateful we have the brilliance of Nancy Bell as a playwright and an actress and the visionary viewpoint of Lucy Cashion, who is never deterred by convention or obstacles, and noticed them right away as I began reviewing more regional professional theater in 2012.

And “Mute: A Play for Zoom” confirms how lucky we are to have them producing art in St. Louis.

This is just a thrilling testament to the possibilities of how to create art in unconventional ways under difficult circumstances.

While this view is indeed apocalyptic, the way it was executed was also life-affirming and uplifting in a bracing way – and to be able to appreciate how we can still connect through storytelling was indeed a lovely surprise gift.

Bravo to everyone involved.

Here is what the cast bios said on their event page:

CAST

Delaney Piggins [Heather] is a St. Louis Actor/Playwright/Producer, who is excited to do her first “pants optional” play.

Jakob Hultén [Dustin] is a SLU senior graduating with a BA in Theatre and History.

Michelle Hand [Maria] is an STL born and bred professional actor who, in her twenty years at work, has never quite done something like this.

Sophia Brown [Lila/Man Ray] is thrilled to be joining Mute! She is a local theatre artist, most recently seen with the Imaginary Theatre Company.

Keating [Fiona] is a kick-ass theatre artist who is madly in love with STL, co-artistic director of Poor Monsters.

Michael James Reed [Trent] used to enjoy doing a play or two. He now spends good portions of his day in a cardigan and Crocks.

They took a risk and it paid off.

Note: MUTE: A play for Zoom WATCH PARTY this Sunday, APRIL 12th at 7PM. DETAILS TBA. https://facebook.com/events/s/mute-a-play-for-zoom-watch-par/159436718663052/?ti=icl

Join us for the watch party!!! Here’s the page where you can get all the details coming soon.

In 1999, Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble began as Off Center Theatre, a community theatre group. Then in January 2001, the company began to pay artistic and technical staff, making the switch to becoming a non-Equity professional theatre company. In this capacity, Off Center presented 15 productions from 2001 to 2005.

Founding Artistic Director, Margeau Baue Steinau, took over directorship of the company in 2005, shortly after which, in 2006, Steinau and other local artists formed Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble (SATE), under the umbrella of Off Center Theatre.

To mark the year 2020, SATE is looking back on productions from its history. We are re-visiting plays that were popular with audiences at the time and deserve another production. Given the growth of the company over the past 20 years, HINDSIGHT IS 20/20.

The SEASON OF HINDSIGHT will include the following productions:

  • Aphra Behn Festival, SATE’s annual festival founded in 2017, highlighting woman directors and designers (March 6-8, 2020)
  • Top Girls by Caryl Churchill, originally produced in 2009, examining the paradoxical lives of women in the workforce and at home, directed by Rachel Tibbetts (Aug. 12-29, 2020)
  • Classic Mystery Game adapted and directed by Keating, originally produced in 2019, investigating Western society in 2020 through the lens of the 1985 movie, CLUE (Oct. 28-Nov. 21, 2020)

To kick off the SEASON OF HINDSIGHT, SATE will present its annual
Aphra Behn Festival

March 6-8 (Friday-Sunday), 8:00pm
Centene Center for the Arts, 3547 Olive Street, St. Louis, MO 63103.Tickets: $15 though Brown Paper Tickets or at the door.
(314) 827-5760, [email protected] or slightlyoff.org for more information.