A joint project of the Kitchen Theatre and Civic Ensemble.


Slashes of Light by Judy Tate


JUNE 11-29, 2014

Slashes Of Light by Judy Tate

directed by Melissa Maxwell

1966 Chicago: sex, secrets, civil rights, surviving the Holocaust. How does a black girl make it through junior high?

at the Kitchen Theatre Company
417 W. State Street / MLK Jr. Street
Ithaca, NY

Underwritten by:

Travis Hyde Properties

Sponsored by:
Cornell University                Paula and Victor Younger               Ithaca Journal


Creative Team:
Judy Tate JUDY TATE (Playwright) is a four-time Emmy Award winning writer and WGA award recipient. She’s written scripts and story for Another World, As the Word Turns and Days of Our Lives. She was a Manhattan Theatre Club Playwriting Fellow, winner of the New Professional Theatre’s Playwriting award, member of Playwright’s Horizons’ Black Ink, the Women’s Project and Ensemble Studio Theatre. Her full-length playsFast Blood, Slashes of Light and Sex in the Kitchen have been developed/presented by the Lark Theatre, EST, Playwrights Horizons, Passage Theatre, Hartford Stage, Epic Theatre Company and Black and Latino Playwrights’ Conference. With her frequent collaborator and director, Melissa Maxwell, she was an Honored Finalist for the Women in Arts and Media Collaboration Award. She’s a co-founder and Producing Artistic Director of The American Slavery Project, a theatrical response to revisionism in American discourse around slavery, the Civil War and Jim Crow.A professional actor, Judy has worked in theatres throughout the United States and in Southern Africa. As a teaching artist, she’s led hundreds of activity-based workshops for a variety of educational outreach programs: Manhattan Theatre Club, TDF, City Lights and Lincoln Center Institute. She is co-author of the playwriting manual used in schools for TDF. Five year associate director of Word for Word, a theatre ensemble that develops scripts and performs the words of children, teenagers,and adults for the purpose of encouraging writing and self-expression. She’s taught kids in schools, shelters, prisons, townships and from reservations.An alumna of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts conservatory program, she studied with Stella Adler, was an honors graduate receiving the Founder’s Day Award, Seidman Award and Beinecke Award for excellence in acting and academia.
Melissa Maxwell
MELISSA MAXWELL** (Director) specializes in new play development. In fact, she and Judy were finalist for a NYCWAM (New York Coalition of Professional Women in the Arts and Media) Collaboration award for their work on Slashes of Light. Other playwrights she is currently collaborating with: Jonathan James Norton, My Tidy List of Terrors; Andrea Lepcio, Tunnel VisionNadine Bernard, The Way to Summer (dedicated to Helen Suzman, the liberal South African anti-aparteid activist and politician). In another collaboration with Judy Tate, Melissa is the Director of American Slavery Project’s Unheard Voices(www.americanslaveryproject.org), which commissioned contemporary African-American writers to create imaginary “autobiographical” short pieces about the lives of individuals found in lower Manhattan’s African Burial Ground, based solely on the goods and remains discovered in the graves. It has been performed at the New York Historical Society and the Shabazz Center among other NYC venues.  Other directing credits include: Intimate Apparel(University of Texas); the children’s musicalShow Way (Vital Theatre), adapted from the award-winning book by Jacqueline Woodson (Off-Bway Alliance “Best Family Show” nomination); the world premiere of Taboos (Soho Playhouse), written by Carl Djerassi, the scientist who invented the birth control pill; Nathan the Wise (Pearl Theatre Company); 48 Hours in Harlem (Harlem School of the Arts); various productions at Stella Adler Studios, NYU’s 10 Minute Play Festival 2010, East Village Chronicles, Vol. 5 (Metropolitan Playhouse), Ronald Wyche’s Love Don’t Love Nobody (National Black Theatre) and Satan Never Sleeps (Theatre at the Riverside Church), and various productions at New Perspectives Theatre Company. In 2012, her short film, FETUS ENVY, a social commentary on where our culture is headed when women’s healthcare is commandeered by ambitious politicians and faceless bureaucrats, won the AAPEX filmmaker award and second prize at the Artlightenment Film Festival. The film has been screened across the US and internationally; the screenplay is based on Melissa’s short play commissioned for PATRIOT ACTS: The Constitution Project, performed in FringeNYC. Melissa is also an award-winning playwright and veteran actor of stage, screen and television. For a full list of her credits and accomplishments, visit her website: www.melissamaxwell.com.
Sarah K Chalmers SARAH K. CHALMERS* (Mrs. Hedges) is an actor, teacher and community-based theatre artist. She is a proud founding member of both Civic Ensemble and the Kitchen Theatre Company. Sarah was most recently seen as Jesse Mae in the Hangar Theatre production of The Trip to Bountiful. Sarah has worked as an actor in Seattle, Chicago, New York and Ithaca. Her acting credits include: Ithaca: The Memory of Water, Crumbs from the Table of Joy at the Kitchen Theatre; Fixed,Rough Magic at Hangar Theatre; Big Love, Our Town, Precious Little, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Antigone, The Grapes of Wrath, and The Miser at Cornell. New York City: Dispatches from (A)mended America, Flesh and the Desert with the Summer Play Festival, Hamlet with Epic Theatre. Seattle: Measure for Measure and Love’s Labour’s Lost. Chicago: Boy’s LIfe, Ivonna, Princess of Burgundia, and Women Behind Bars. Sarah has worked as a theatre facilitator and director for community groups at community centers, detention centers, schools and theatres. She has taught theatre at Cornell University, Ithaca College, Binghamton University, the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, and Epic Theatre Ensemble in New York City. Sarah is a 2013-2014 Cornell Public Service Center Civic Leader Fellow for the Civic Ensemble community-based play, Safety: Community-Police Relations. She holds an M.A. in Applied Theatre from the City University of New York School of Professional Studies and a B.F.A. in Acting from Ithaca College. 
Tyler M. Perry JUDI JACKSON (Sunny) is a rising senior at the University of Mary Washington majoring in Theatre with a minor in Musical Theatre. Her most recent role was last fall as Ilse in the department’s production ofSpring Awakening. Other roles she has played during her time at UMW include: Maureen in RENT and the Witch in Into The Woods. While keeping a busy life at school with her academic and artistic endeavors, Judi also writes and records her own music. From her roots of performing Jazz, Folk, and Americana music in her hometown of Roanoke, Virginia, Judi has shared the stage with acts such as Mavis Staples and Lalah Hathaway. In March of this year Judi performed an original piece entitled “Only Love” with Grammy Award winning band Snarky Puppy. Judi is beyond thrilled to be working on her first professional show here at the Kitchen Theatre, and would like to thank the UMW Theatre Department for their love and support.
Robert McKay ROBERT McKAY* (Conductor), a New York City actor, has been seen on stage recently in ‘The Fire This Time Festival’ at the Kraine Theatre, on film in ‘Intimate Semaphores’ and ‘Day Ten,’ which just screened at the TriBeCa Film Festival. He  will soon be appearing on Blue Bloods. He has been studying with the noted Wynn Handman because one can never ever stop learning and is looking forward to being a part of Slashes Of Light.
Tyler M. Perry JELANI PITCHER (Kaleb) is thrilled to be making his official Kitchen Theatre debut! He is a rising junior BFA Acting major at Ithaca College, originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Having been a part of the staged reading of Slashes of Light at the Kitchen last year, Jelani is so excited to see this beautiful piece come to life. Ithaca College credits include: Fires in the Mirror (Rev. Al Sharpton/Carmel Cato), My Children! My Africa!(Thami Mbikwana), Dream Acts (Wahid), Time Stands Still (James). Other favorite credits include: Our Town (George), The Adding Machine(Mr. Zero), Theophilus North (Dr. Bosworth). Jelani is eternally grateful to his loving parents, his supportive family and friends, his beautiful Brianna, and the wonderful Civic Ensemble, whose work and passion is an inspiration to all.
Ryan Travis RYAN HOPE TRAVIS (Steven) is delighted to be making his Kitchen Theatre Company debut, especially with such a beautiful play. Recent theater credits include the world premiere of A Shout In Salty Water (New York State Council on the Arts: Individual Artist Commission); The Tempest, Into The Woods, Side Show (Adirondack Lakes Summer Theater Festival). Regional credits include the world premiere of From Then To Now and Wine, Watermelon, The Word (The Black Academy of Arts and Letters); The Fantasticks (The Redhouse). Film: Glue, Hallow, Last Stop, Cash Patients Only, It’s A Fact It Could Be True. MFA: University of Florida.
Riw RAVI (RIW) RAKKULCHON (Scenic Design) is a junior B.F.A Theatrical Production Arts student at Ithaca College, from Bangkok, Thailand. At Ithaca College, Riw has been a part of mainstage productions as a props master and scenic charge and was the scenic designer for Gone Missing. Riw worked as a Props Intern at Williamstown Theatre Festival and was an associate on several productions in Thailand. Previously, Riw collaborated with the Civic Ensemble on their production of Parent Stories. This is the first time Riw will be designing for the Kitchen Theatre.
Tyler M. Perry TYLER M. PERRY (Lighting Design) a NYC-based lighting and scenic designer, received his BFA in Theatrical Production Arts with concentrations in Lighting and Scenic Design from Ithaca College. Kitchen Theatre Company: Lungs, Venus in Fur, Crooked, Opus (Scenic & Lighting Designer);  Heroes, The Motherf**ker with the HatThe Whipping Man, Frankie and Johnny in… Lune, The Mystery of Irma Vep (Lighting Designer). Ithaca College: The Magic Flute (Scenic Designer); The Light in the Piazza, How Learned to Drive (Lighting Designer); among others. Running to Places Theatre Company: Hairspray, Joseph and…Dreamcoat (Scenic and Lighting Designer); A Christmas Carol, Noises Off, Oliver (Scenic Designer); Into the WoodsThe Wedding SingerHonkUrinetown (Lighting Designer). He has also worked extensively as an assistant/associate designer with such companies as Kitchen Theatre Co., Hangar Theatre, Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Florida Grand Opera, Mill City Summer Opera, and the Herson Group Ltd.  Most notably, Tyler assisted Lighting Designer, Chuck Noble with Who…Millionaireand interned with Lighting Designer, Ken Posner, on his Tony-nominated design for Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. 
Lisa Boquist LISA BOQUIST (Costume Design) has designed and coordinated costumes for a number of previous productions at the Kitchen Theatre, including: Lungs, Black Pearl Sings!, Heroes, The Motherf**ker with the Hat, The Whipping Man, Circle Mirror Transformation, Irma Vep, Red Light Winter, Broke-ology and Waiting For Spring. Other favorite designs at the Kitchen include Mary’s Wedding, Bed and Sofa, Last Train To Nibroc, I Become A Guitar, Nine Parts Of Desire, and Precious Nonsense. She runs her own studio, where she designs and constructs prototypes, mascots and custom clothing for film and public appearances. She has been the Textiles Coordinator and Design Associate for MacKenzie-Childs, Ltd., and presently runs the costume shop at Cornell University. There she is responsible for training students in all aspects of costume construction, and has designed costumes for: Picasso At The Lapin Agile, Beat Box Bard, Bedroom Farce, and Drama, Dance And The Disco Of Desire, among others.
Scott O'Brien SCOTT O’BRIEN (Sound Design) has designed and engineered theatre, dance and concert programs at Lincoln Center, Riverside Church, Theatre North Collaborative, American Stage Company, Centenary Stage, The Abingdon Theatre, George Street Playhouse and the World Financial Center. He is the Resident Composer/Sound Designer for American Globe Theatre (NYC) and the Adirondack Theatre Festival (Glens Falls, NY). He has lectured at SUNY-Rockland (NY), Montclair State University (NJ) and Pace University (NY) on Theatre Arts and Sound Design and designed Arts in Education programming for the NJSCA. He was the Resident Sound Designer and Engineer for the Chautauqua Theater Company from 2006-2009 and composed and designed for the Stella Adler Studio of Acting (NYC) 2011-2012. Off-Broadway productions include: 100 SAINTS YOU SHOULD KNOW, FATHERS & SONS, LIKE BATMAN, MISSIVES and PRINCE HAL. New York Productions include: THREE SISTERS, HAMLET, MACBETH, TITUS ANDRONICUS, THE WINTERS’ TALE, SHANNON IN AMBIENT LIGHT, MARAT/SADE, BEYOND RECOGNITION, THE MAN WHO WAS PETER PAN, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, SAVING THE GREEKS, KRAKEN, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, HENRY V, FIXING THE CAT, SPARK, THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, NORMALCY and THE JUNGLE BOOK. Regional credits include: THE ART OF COARSE ACTING, BLITHE SPIRIT, ON THE OPEN ROAD, INVENTING MONTANA, SCOTLAND ROAD, THE INNOCENTS, BELOW THE BELT, THE WOMAN IN BLACK, THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, THE KILLING OF SISTER GEORGE, THE CHERRY ORCHARD, THE JUST, MONSIEUR SHAHERAZAD, AH,WILDERNESS!, AMERICA’S BRIGHTEST STAR and FILMING O’KEEFFE. Film credits include: ELEANOR; GODMOTHER OF AMERICAN FASHION (for VANITY FAIR FILMS), PHOENIX RISING; THE SILENT VICTIMS SPEAK, an award-winning documentary for Noblevision Productions and FETUS ENVY (for director Melissa Maxwell). SLASHES OF LIGHT is his first collaboration with The Kitchen Theatre Company.
Jennifer Schilansky JENNIFER SCHILANSKY (Production Stage Manager) is delighted to be continuing her work at the Kitchen Theatre. Previous productions include:What I Thought I Knew, The Motherf**cker With the Hat, Crooked, The Whipping Man and Brian Dykstra Selling Out. Prior to moving to Ithaca, she spent five years as the resident stage manager for Stageworks Theater in Hudson NY. Credits for Stageworks include: The Rivalry, Tomorrow In The Battle, Tennis In Nablus, The Divine Sister, The Amish Project, Imagining Madoff, Or, Play By Play, Nowhere On The Border, Car Talk, Forbidden Broadway, Falling: A Wake, Souvenir andGutenberg! The Musical! She has also stage managed Emerson High for Half Moon Theater in Poughkeepsie, La Ronde, Stage Blood, Gum, andPromenade for Bard College. As an actor, she performed the role of Killer as well as the Stage Manager for The Time Of Your Life at the Rhinebeck Performing Arts Center, Madeline Monroe in Tony & Tina’s Wedding at Proctors in Schenectady NY and numerous productions with Classics at the Point. A native of Catskill, NY, Jennifer holds a BA in Acting from Lycoming College in Williamsport, PA.

*member, AEA
**member, SDC


Below: Images  from our 2012 staged reading of Slashes Of Light, directed by Melanie Dreyer-Lude:

Photos: Durst Breneiser Photography