Meet the Artists
Jonas Hassen Khemiri (Playwright) is an award-winning Swedish author. He made a celebrated debut in 2003 with One Eye Red. Khemiri's second novel, Montecore, was published to unanimous raving reviews in 2006. A collection of Khemiri's short stories and plays was published in 2009. It included the plays Invasion! (performed in 6 European countries) and God Times Five. Khemiri's latest play, We Who Are Hundred, premiered at Gothenburg City Theatre in September 2009. It recently had a celebrated Norwegian premier and will soon open at Thalia Theater in Hamburg. Literary Awards: Borås Prize for best Swedish Literary Debut (2004); Per Olov Enquist Prize for young authors facing the future (2006); VI Magazine Literary Prize (2006); Colombine scholarship (2006); Tidningen CITY’s literary award (2006); Swedish Radio’s Novel Prize (2006); The Bellman Award (2007); Swedish Radio’s Prize/Short Story (‘08) International Residencies: Ledig House, Hudson, New York (2004); International Residency for Emerging Playwrights at Royal Court, London (2006); DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), Berlin (2009).
Erica Schmidt (Director/Playwright) Adapted and directed Cyrano in collaboration with The National (The Goodspeed, The New Group). Directed and adapted MacBeth (Seattle Rep, Lucille Lortel, Hunter Theatre Project) Drama Desk nominations: Outstanding Direction, Outstanding Revival; Lortel nomination Outstanding Revival; MacBeth is published by DPS. Schmidt wrote and directed All the Fine Boys for The New Group; published by Samuel French. Directed: Richard 2 (The Old Globe); Turgenev’s A Month In The Country (Classic Stage Company); Humor Abuse (co-creator/writer and director, Lucille Lortel Award, Manhattan Theatre Club,The Taper); Rent (Tokyo); Trust (The Play Company, Callaway Award nomination); As You Like It (The Public Theater); Debbie Does Dallas (wrote the adaptation and directed Off-Broadway for The Araca Group) Debbie is published by DPS; Princess Grace Award recipient 2001. As a screenwriter, Erica received a BAFTA nomination for Cyrano for Working Title/MGM. Upcoming: Orpheus Descending (TFANA).
Rachel Willson-Broyles (Translator) is a Swedish-to-English freelance translator. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin. In addition to translating, she is pursuing a Ph.D. in Scandinavian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received her BA in Scandinavian Studies from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2002 and her MA in Scandinavian Studies from UW-Madison in 2007. She has had a wonderful time working on INVASION! with The Play Company, and wants to give special thanks to Jonas. Thanks and love to Laura, Mom, Dad, Nathan, Laura, Heather, Shannon, and those four musical Swedes.
Francis Benhamou (Actor) was born in Uruguay and raised in Miami. She recently performed Off Broadway in Sylvia Path’s “Three Women” directed by Robert Shaw, artistic director of Inside Intelligence UK. She starred in the independent film "Arranged” which has garnered many awards including Best Narrative Film at the 2007 Brooklyn Film Festival and the 2007 Audience Award Berkshire Int’l Film Festival. Her other film credits include “I’m Not Me”, “Breaking Upwards”, Noah Buschel's "Neal Cassady", and the title character in "Lucia" which won Best Short Film at the 2006 Charlotte Film Festival. TV credits: ESPN Mini-series "Bronx Is Burning". Attended New York University, BA with a Minor in Acting and Maggie Flanigan's Two Year Meisner Acting program. Ms. Benhamou is a member of New York Based Inviolet Repertory Theatre.
Manik Choksi (Actor) Broadway: Great Comet, Off-Broadway: Indian Ink, Roundabout; Bunty Berman Presents (Lortel Nomination), New Group; Great Comet, Ars Nova; God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, Encores!; King Tot and D, Deb, Debbie, Deborah; Clubbed Thumb; Huck & Holden, Cherry Lane; Invasion!, PlayCo. Regional: Moby Dick and Moby Dick, A.R.T.; Film/TV: “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”; “New Amsterdam”; “Good Fight”; “Mindhunter”; “Elementary”; “Happyish”; “One Life To Live” (Vimal Patel), Home, Passing Season. Composer: The Ramayan (commission) and Those Lost Boys (workshop), Ars Nova; Food Odyssey, 3LD; Education: The Juilliard School
Andrew Guilarte (Actor) He last performed for Hartford Stage in their series of new plays. He was seen in EST's A River Crosses Rivers, was a regular with Desipina's annual 7/11 Franchised series, he was part of the cast of Rajiv Joseph's The Leopard and the Fox that was nominated for a New York Innovative Theater Award for Outstanding Ensemble; he has also worked at The Classic Stage Company, The Classic Theater of Harlem, and is an alum of Lincoln Center's Directors' Lab. T.V. Credits include: Law & Order: SVU (NBC), Nurse Jackie (showtime, pilot), Turks (CBS, pilot), Early Edition (CBS), The Workplace (PBS). Education: B.F.A. (Acting), DePaul Theater School. M.F.A. (Acting), Yale Drama.
Bobby Moreno (Actor) ReEntry (Urban Stages/Two River Theater/Centerstage, MD), Dramatis Personae (Playwright’s Realm), Al’s Business Cards (At Play), South Beach Rapture (FringeNYC), Okay (EST Marathon), Deez Nutz (Hip-Hop Theater Festival), Cleansed (The Brick), Orestes in Orestes 2.0 (H.E.R.E.), This Is How (Old Vic New Voices/24 Hour Plays) Thomas Bradshaw’s Cleansed (The Brick); TV/Film: McKinley (due Spring ’11), The Good Wife, Kings, Law & Order, One Life To Live; Bobby has developed plays with Naked Angels, Clubbed Thumb, P73, Playwright’s Realm, Ma-Yi, New Dramatists, New Georges and many others. He is a founding member of At Play, a featured artist of American Records and a frequent collaborator of EST’s Youngblood.
Debargo Senyal (Actor) NYC Stage: Charles Mee's Queens Boulevard (the musical) (Signature Theatre Co), Telethon (Clubbed Thumb), I_NY (Ma-Yi Theater Co), Women of Trachis (Target Margin Theater), Looking for the Pony (Vital Theatre Co), Tom Stoppard's Indian Ink (NY Premiere, Alter Ego Productions), Port Authority Throw Down (The Working Theater), Commedia Dell Smartass (New Georges), Harvest (East Coast Artists at La MaMa), Millicent Scowlworthy (SPF '06), Crossings (FringeNYC '09), In Transit (FringeNYC '06), Browntown (FringeNYC '04), Punk Princess (NYMF '09), Love Sucks (NYMF '07), Smoking Bloomberg (NYMF '06), The Woodpecker (Cherry Lane Mentor Project '08), Slag Heap (Cherry Lane Mentor Project '03), audiovideo (Drama League DirectorFest '05), Barriers (Desipina & Co). Regional: Rajiv Joseph's Animals Out of Paper (Boise Contemporary Theater-Boise, ID), When January Feels Like Summer (City Theatre-Pittsburgh, PA). The Juilliard School Drama Division (Guest Artist Actor '05). Feature Film: The Normals (upcoming), Everybody's Fine (opposite Robert De Niro), Today's Special, Red Hook, Drawing with Chalk, Made for Each Other, Sita Sings the Blues, West 32nd, Quarter Life Crisis, Karma Calling, Sad Sack Sally. TV: Guest appearances on "Blue Bloods", "Running Wilde", "Law & Order", "The Unusuals", "L&O-Special Victims Unit", "All My Children", "L&O-Criminal Intent", "The Sopranos" & national commercials.
Antje Ellermann (Set Designer) has designed sets for The Play Company’s production of “Trust” directed by Erica Schmidt. Other designs include:”Nine Parts of Desire” (Manhattan Ensemble Theatre, “The Cook” (INTAR), “The Medium” (Great Music For a Great City at the Kaye Playhouse), Barab Times Two (NY Chamber Opera at Symphony Space) “Journey Theatre” ( Immigrants’ Theatre Project & Safe Horizon/ Solace),”Drizzle” (Ma-Yi),“When It’s Cocktail Time in Cuba” (Cherry Lane),“Hesh” ( The Naked Angels) and sets and costumes for “Yi Sang Counts to Thirteen” (New York Fringe Festival; Overall Excellence Award). She is a resident designer for Imua! Theatre Company, where she recently designed “The Greeks”. TV design credits include “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” with John Barton and “Becoming American: The Chinese Experience on PBS for which she received a 2003 Emmy nomination. Antje is a Recipient of the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Designers.
Set Designer as Associate Set Designer for theater, film and tv in NYC.
Long-time set designer at The Naples Players Theater in Naples, Florida.
Oana Botez-Ban (Costume Designer), a native of Romania, has designed for major theater, opera and dance companies including The National Theater of Bucharest and was involved in different international theater festivals such as the Quadrennial Scenography Show in Prague. Oana is part of the first Romanian theater design catalogue, Scenografica. Since 1999, when she moved to New York , her collaborations in theater, opera, film and dance include Robert Woodruff, Richard Foreman, Maya Beiser, Richard Schechner, Blanka Zizka, Brian Kulick, Zelda Fichlander, Annie-B Parson &Paul Lazar , Razvan Dinca, Karin Coonrod, Jay Scheib, Evan Ziporyn, Eduardo Machado, Gus Solomon Jr.&Paradigm, Carmen De Lavallade, Dusan Tynek, Rania Ajami, Gisela Cardenas, Tony Speciale, Pavol Liska & Kelly Copper, Matthew Neenan, Molissa Fenley, Zishan Ugurlu, Michael Sexton, Pig Iron Company, Play Company, Michael Barakiva, Charles Moulton, Ripe Time. MFA in Design from NYU/Tisch School of the Arts. Princess Grace Recipient, NEA/TCG Career Development Program 2009-2011.
Matthew Richards (Lighting Designer) Play Company: Invasion!, Made in Poland. Broadway: Ann. Recent Off-Broadway: The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (Westside Arts), Informed Consent (Primary Stages), Verite (Lincoln Center 3), Tamburlaine, and The killer (Theatre For A New Audience), Atlantic Theater Co., Brooklyn Academy of Music, MCC, Rattlestick, Playwrights horizons. Regional credits include: Actors Theater of Louisville, Arena Stage, Baltimore Center Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse, Cleveland Playhouse, Dallas Theater Center, Ford’s Theatre, The Goodman, The Guthrie, Hartford Stage, The Huntington, La Jolla Playhouse, Long Wharf, New York Stage and Film, The Old Globe, Shakespeare Theatre, Westport Playhouse.
Bart Fasbender (Sound Design) Recent/current designs: Slag Heap, Women on Fire and 2003 – 2005 Mentor Projects at Cherry Lane; Boozy at The Culture Project (previously at The Ohio); Reasons for Return at Symphony Space and Are We Here Yet at Tribeca PAC for MoCo; Barbara Bush Never Slept Here, Gheri Dosti and William Hoffman's Shoe Palace Murray at Bernie West Theatre for Circle East; Trust at The Kirk and Sakharam Binder at 59E59 for The Play Company; Legal Snarls, Mark Medoff's Same Life Over and Lakawana Rails Radio Plays for TNT in PA, Pen Pals, Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey's Woman of Independent Means and Joanna's Husband and David's Wife at PPT in VA.
William Neal (Sound Designer) PlayCo: Working On a Special Day, Invasion! and Edgewise. Other NYC: Little Prince (New Victory); Good Mother, Russian Transport, Burning, Blood from a Stone (New Group); Eyes of Babylon (59E59). William has worked on 25+ regional productions and is the Sound Engineer for the long-running Off-Broadway production, STOMP.
Abulkasem – a name that just might have magical powers. Everyone wants that name, but who is Abulkasem? A hero in a fairy tale. A world-renowned stage director. A cute guy I met at the bar. A shadowy figure we’re tracking across the globe. Or all of the above? Who is Abulkasem? And how many are there?
“If you’ve ever wished somebody would write a razor-sharp play anatomizing lazy paranoia about the Middle East—somebody has.” –The Village VOICE
“It’s one of the best social commentaries in dramatic form of the past few years, and you owe it to yourself to see it as soon as you can.”
“When you’re in the hands of totally confident, committed theatre artists – well, there’s nothing like it. (…) The Play Company finds relatively unknown contemporary international playwrights with something to say. This is one of their best finds yet.”
–Lighting and Sound America
Studio Workshop to develop commissioned translation by Rachel Willson-Broyles; director Erica Schmidt; at La Guardia Community College LPAC 2010
Translation Commission by Rachel Willson-Broyles, from Swedish
Jonas Hassen Khemiri
Francis Benhamou Andrew Guilarte Bobby Moreno Debargo Senyal
Production Stage Manager
Walkerspace 46 Walker Street New York, NY