Corkscrew Theater Festival Opens With Elyse Pitock's PREEXISTING CONDITIONS, July 11-28
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 06:47 pm EDT 06/13/19


Acidic Comedy About Women’s Healthcare and Startup Culture Opens Third Annual Summer Theater Festival

Corkscrew Theater Festival presents

Preexisting Conditions

Written by Elyse Pitock

Directed by Alexis Wilcock

Produced by Julie Balefsky

July 11, 12, 16 at 7pm; July 21, 27 at 8pm; July 13, 20 at 4:30pm; July 14, 28 at 1pm; July 19 at 10pm

Opening Performance: July 11 at 7pm
Paradise Factory (64 East 4th St, Manhattan)

$24; corkscrewfestival.org; 347.954.9125

90 minutes with no intermission

Corkscrew Theater Festival opens its third annual summer festival with the world premiere of Elyse Pitock’s Preexisting Conditions. Directed by Alexis Wilcock and running July 11–28, Preexisting Conditions follows a young woman with chronic illnesses who signs up for a matchmaking startup that pairs singles in need of healthcare with finance and tech industry professionals. The play takes satirical aim at America’s labyrinthine healthcare system, the contemporary dating scene, and companies that use social justice for their own interests, in order to present a story of how chronic illness affects women.

Performed by Brittany Anikka Liu as Ophira, Ariane Rinehart as Aubrey, Ruth Aguilar as Casey, Justin Ahdoot as Nico, and Danny Tejera as Trevor, Preexisting Conditions is the first of four mainstage productions that are part of Corkscrew Theater Festival, which provides early-career artists with a high level of production support.

Legal assistant Ophira suffers from chronic pain, with no health insurance and no hope – until she finds Artemis, a multicultural, intersectional, feminist matchmaking startup that connects singles in need of healthcare with professionals from the finance and tech industries. This unconventional (but pragmatic) arrangement becomes a nightmare when Ophira is paired with the pompous Trevor, and her efforts to escape are blocked by Artemis CEO Aubrey Geller. Preexisting Conditions pits modern romance against a modern medical bill and asks: what's sicker?

“I hope this play will appeal to the silly-minded and the civic-minded, the debt-ridden, amateur astrologists, and people who were excluded from clubs as elementary schoolers,” said Pitock. “Rehearsing with our group of talented actors has taught me so much about the relationships at the core of Preexisting Conditions, and I can't wait to see it come to life."

In Wilcock’s words, “Healthcare is something most people don't want to talk about; it's private, and on the surface it's also boring. And so when you are sick, especially when it relates to reproductive health, and you can't afford to be sick, that can feel very shameful and isolating. With Preexisting Conditions, we're creating a 90-minute moment where people can come together and laugh at the absurdity of not only unhelpful doctors or lack of coverage, but also bad dates and boring office jobs. I hope that at our show, audience members can find themselves a little less alone in dealing with healthcare struggles that can often seem insurmountable.”

Corkscrew Theater Festival features four world premieres, four workshop productions, and four readings performed in repertory over four weeks. Special attention has been given to theater makers who are developing work through tight-knit collaborations. A majority of the participating artists identify as women or non-binary.

The creative team for Preexisting Conditions includes Elsa GibsonBraden (set design), Evan C. Anderson (lighting design), Isabel S. Nelson (costume design), Kathryn Ruvuna (sound design), Anna Moskowitz (stage manager), and Hyejin Son (technical director).

Performances of Preexisting Conditions will take place July 11-28 (see schedule above) at Paradise Factory (64 E 4th St, Manhattan). Critics are welcome as of July 11, which serves as the official opening. Tickets are $24 and can be purchased at corkscrewfestival.org or by calling 347.954.9125.

About the Artists

Elyse Pitock is a Brooklyn-based writer. Her first play, A Snapshot of My Family, was performed at venues in Philadelphia, New York, and Los Angeles. Other plays include Grieving for Fish and Maybe I’m Not Reading This Map Correctly.

Alexis Wilcock is a theatre director based in New York City. She directed Emily Sorensen’s Shapes Like Things, A Soup Play at Wow Cafe as part of the 20th Annual NYC Fringe Festival. Previous directing credits include The Love of Don Perlimplin and Belisa in the Garden (Barnard College Thesis Production), and Grieving For Fish (Columbia University). She is an alumna of the Powerhouse Directing Apprenticeship Program at Vassar College. alexiswilcock.com

Julie Balefsky is a producer and actress. She co-produced Chandler, a short film written and directed by Julia Kennelly, which premiered at the Atlanta Film Festival last year. Upcoming work: Fix (short), You Are Going To Explode (short), When Skies Are Gray (short). Currently, Julie serves as the showrunner's assistant on Showtime’s Ray Donovan. She is a graduate of NYU/Tisch School of the Arts, where she studied/engaged in lots of drama.

Ariane Rinehart (Aubrey) is an actress known for her role as Liesl von Trapp in NBC's The Sound of Music Live! She is currently recurring on NBC's Chicago Fire, and other television credits include Law and Order: SVU and Blue Bloods.

Brittany Anikka Liu (Ophira): Off Broadway: The Convent (A.R.T./ NY Theatres). NYC: Period Sisters (HERE Arts Center), Rapture, Blister, Burn and Buffalo Heights (TIC Theatre). Regional: The Diary of Anne Frank; Anne (People's Light & Theatre), Tranquil (Luna Stage Co.), Romeo & Juliet; Juliet, All's Well That Ends Well; Diana, Antony & Cleopatra; Iras, Julius Caesar; Lucius (Virginia Shakespeare Festival). TV: “Younger.” BA & BBA from The College of William & Mary. brittanyanikkaliu.com. Photographer and owner of B. LIU Studio: b-liustudio.com

Justin Ahdoot (Nico): NYC: Off-Broadway: Sleep No More (Punch Drunk); Off-Off Broadway: Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom and The Mysteries (The Flea Theater), Cymbeline (Richmond Shakespeare); performed his solo show Justin versus at Richmond Triangle Players, and Uncle Tom: Deconstructed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. TV: (Upcoming) Little America (Apple TV), The Good Cop, Law & Order: SVU, The Americans, Blue Bloods. He also appeared in a short film Army of God (Hayden 5 Productions). BFA Virginia Commonwealth University. www.justinahdoot.com

Ruth Aguilar (Casey), a native New Yorker, studied at AMDA and is an alumni of the William Esper Studio. Among her latest performances, she can be seen as Maria in Silent Notes, an indie film for Netflix due out early next year under the direction of Spanish director Toni Comas. She performed at Radio City Music Hall in the NBC/Telemundo Spectacular under the direction of Jason Webb. She originated the role of “Anita” in Rancho Viejo at Playwrights Horizons, which made the NYC Critics Choice List.

Danny Tejera (Trevor) is a Spanish-American actor and writer. He has worked at NYU, Columbia, Hunter College, New Dramatists, NYMF, Rattlestick, Signature, and NYC Fringe. He is an alum of the O’Neill’s National Theater Institute, holds a BA from Columbia, and is currently pursuing an MFA at Hunter College with Annie Baker and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins.

About Corkscrew Theater Festival
Founded in 2017, Corkscrew Theater Festival reduces the barriers to entry for early-career artists in NYC in order to showcase world premiere productions of ambitious new plays and musicals. Corkscrew is defined by its commitment to tight-knit collaboration, not only in the projects that are programmed but also around the festival itself, which incites constant dialogue and support among its community of artists through a series of initiatives. The festival presents four to five mainstage productions (plus a series of workshops and staged readings) performed in repertory over four weeks during the summer.

In Corkscrew’s inaugural year, The New York Times described the festival as being “packed with young talent…in the risk-taking venture that is summer festival-going, encountering talent you want to see more of is a worthy payoff.” Corkscrew has been the subject of features and interviews in the Village Voice, WNYC, Hyperallergic, and Playbill, who wrote in 2019 that Corkscrew features “some of the city's most exciting emerging artists.”

Corkscrew requires no fees to apply or to participate. In addition, the festival offers unique support intended to professionalize the process for early-career artists and to encourage a spirit of collaboration: a bimonthly Directors/Producers Lab, where creators of all projects discuss challenges and solutions; a Writers’ Group for script development; pre-rehearsal readings for each production during Spring Reading Weekend; and new in 2019, a festival casting process led by a team of professional casting directors. 2019 also brings the first iteration of Corkscrew Downstairs, a series of four workshop productions sharing one design team and one highly flexible scenic design. Ultimately, Corkscrew seeks to merge the communal atmosphere of a festival with the rigor of a not-for-profit theatre company. www.corkscrewfestival.org

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