Locked House

march 4-6, 2011: you are invited to

a VIP series workshop production of

Locked House:
a tragicomic fairytale of indeterminate nature

written by Samantha Chanse | directed by Lisa Szolovits | dramaturgy by Jay Jaski
sound design by Greg Mailloux | projection/graphic design by Derek Chung | light design by Ryan Seelig

The Locke family has been motoring along, just minding its own business and enjoying (?) the daily routine, when a long absent daughter returns—with her not-entirely-welcome partner.  Domestic disturbances and tragicomic fairytales ensue.

Join in for an interruption of the established rhythm, and feed your craving for a kind of chaos. And other things.


Sahr Ali*
Gail Merzer Behrens*
Katie Lee Hill
David Shih*
Bonna Tek

Presented with the Columbia University MFA Playwriting Class of 2012.

Show Information & Reservations:

Location: Columbia University, Schapiro Studio, 605 W. 115th Street, between Broadway and Riverside (NYC).

Show Dates/Times:
Friday, March 4 @ 8 PM
Saturday, March 5 @ 2 PM
Saturday, March 5 @ 8 PM
Sunday, March 6 @ 2PM

Cost/Reservations: ADMISSION IS FREE.
To reserve tickets, email VeryImportantPlays@gmail.com


“You have to kill your gods to go somewhere. You have to kill your
ancestors! Because they’re imaginary! Ha Ha! I don’t have any
ancestors! I just have me! See that?”

So proclaims Lawton Locke, the larger-than-life patriarchal figure of Samantha Chanse’s new play, LOCKED HOUSE – opening this weekend at Columbia University’s Schapiro Studio Theatre. Lawton’s ideas of how one should forge his own path and define for himself who he is and who he is not, may sound extreme to the uninitiated, but this is one of the fundamental questions pursued in Samantha Chanse’s latest play: namely, what is it that defines us? And can any of us, no matter where we have come from or how far removed we are from our place of origin, ever truly transcend history’s writing upon our body? Can any of us escape the proof of who we are,  so forcefully written upon our face?  Each of the characters in LOCKED HOUSE, ultimately, must discover for themselves what is the one true thing in their lives – what it is that defines them. But they better hold on tight, for shimmering on the horizon is a familial battle where imaginary ancestors abound,  and where come the morning after, this locked house may never be the same.

See you at the theatre!
— Jay Jaski, Dramaturg



Artist bios:

Sahr Ali (Iraya): This young native Philadelphian has played leading roles in numerous Off-Broadway productions, including her critically acclaimed turn as Lady Macbeth. Her film debut, sparked the cast of the award winning feature, Divided We Stand, leading to starring roles in a multitude of independent film projects having received over 25 festival awards between them. Sahr is a member of the famed Negro Ensemble Company and The Screen Actor’s Guild. She has recently completed work on the original performance piece A Question of Faith, at the famed Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. Her most current screen work can be seen opposite Lamman Rucker (Why Did I Get Married) in the feature film, The Greatest Song. Sahr has received a Best Actor Award from NYU’s 2010 First Run Film Festival for her performance as the lead in the film Wake, winner of 11 festival awards and selected for screening at the 63rd Festival de Cannes. Sahr is thrilled to be a part of this amazing ensemble. Love to her family and and friends, and thanks to Sam and Lisa for the wonderful words to dance with! This performance is dedicated to the memory of her beloved father, Hassan “Abi” Ali.

Gail Merzer Behrens (AEA, AFTRA) (Marianne) is honored to be a part of Samantha Chanse’s Locked House, under the direction of Lisa Szolovits, working with an amazing cast. Most recently, Gail has been seen Off Broadway in Christopher Roberts’ Reflections of a Heart at the Clurman Theatre, Theatre Row.  Other NYC credits include, Ibsen’s John Gabriel Borkman – Act I  (Kate Bushman/dir – HB Studio Ensemble), as well as readings of Dirty Little Black Girls, (Michael Goldfried/dir Dixon Place), The Prophet of Borough Park, (Diana Amsterdam/dir Irish Rep) and Casting For Ruth (Blue Heron Theatre).  Regional Productions include Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (with Ed Dennehy), The Cat’s Meow (East Coast Premiere), The Mercy Seat, The Guys (with Ed Dennehy), Boeing-Boeing, Match, Brighton Beach Memoirs/Broadway Bound, Nuts and many others.  Film credits include The Plan Doctor, Loss of Hope, Cycles and Shadayim.  On television, Gail has been seen on All My Children, One Life to Live, As the World Turns and Sex and the City.  You may have also spotted her in numerous regional commercials and infomercials.  Gail is currently studying with Austin Pendleton & Ilse Pfeifer and is a member of HB Studio Ensemble.
Contact Gail at gailmb1@aol.com Web Site: www.gailmb.com

Samantha Chanse (playwright) is a writer and theater artist based in New York and San Francisco. A 2nd year playwriting MFA candidate at Columbia University and member of Ma-Yi Writers Lab, her work has been presented with FringeNYC, The Marsh, Asian American Theater Company (AATC), PlayGround in Residence at Berkeley Rep, Bowery Poetry Club, and others. Her first solo play, Lydia’s Funeral Video, will be published by Kaya Press in 2011. She worked with Lisa last fall on a reading of her short play, Fairytale Song [ahem: no relation to Locked House: a tragicomic fairytale, etcetc…], as part of the Manhattan Shakespeare Project’s Emerging Female Voices Playwrights’ Fest, and is thrilled to be working with her again; she is also thrilled to be working with the rest of the crew and cast. She co-founded Laundry Party, served as artistic directors of SF arts nonprofits Kearny Street Workshop and Locus Arts, and teaches undergraduate writing at Columbia University. More info: www.samanthachanse.com.

Katie Lee Hill (Diana) just graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (CAP21- Musical Theater program & Stonestreet- Film/TV program) with a B.F.A. in Drama. She has performed everywhere from dancing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade alongside Andy Williams, to singing the national anthem at Yankee Stadium, to dancing in a viral music video about Ray Bradbury. She recently choreographed Nine, the musical, at Tisch, as well as various music videos, and she just signed with Bloc NYC–visit www.katieleehill.com for more info! She’d like to thank Samantha and Lisa for this opportunity, and thank her family for letting her pursue a career in art. Love to her friends.

Jay Jaski (dramaturg) is a member of LMDA and specializes in new play development and new works for the American Musical Theatre. As a dramaturg, Jay has worked with the Richard Rodgers Award, Tony Award-winning director and lyricist, Richard Maltby, Jr., and the O’Neill Theater Center. More than 60,000 Chicagoans attended Jay’s recent Sondheim, Bernstein, and Gershwin concerts in Millennium Park, where Jay directed such Tony-winning and -nominated actors as Judy Kaye, Brian d’Arcy James, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Marin Mazzie. Producing work: Broadway’s CHILDREN AND ART, SONDHEIM IN THE PARK (Chicago), and TAKE FLIGHT (Menier Chocolate Factory, McCarter). Jay has worked with producers Gerald Schoenfeld, James Freydberg, Ira Pittelman, and Joey Parnes. As an actor, Jay made his Broadway debut in 2005 and works regularly in the development of new musicals, including Broadway’s 9 TO 5, Maury Yeston’s DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY, and EVER AFTER (Goldrich & Heisler). Off-Broadway: Roundabout, Public Theater, Trinity Rep, Georgia Shak. Jay has had the pleasure of working with Stephen Sondheim, Joe Mantello, Doug Hughes, Theresa Rebeck, Tom Meehan, Gary Griffin, and Graciela Daniele. Jay holds a degree in Music Performance from Florida State and is an MFA Candidate at Columbia University (MFA in Dramaturgy and Script Development).

Greg Mailloux (sound design) is an audio-visual archivist from Massachusetts.  He works in film and video as a production sound mixer and is also the producer of the interview-based podcast Manner of Speaking.

Ryan Seelig (light designer): Recent design credits include: What May Fall by Peter Gil-Sheridan (Fordham Alumni Theatre Company); Seen/Unseen by Eva Patton (Wild Project); Wild Man by Matthew Maguire (Creation Production Company); Nature of Captivity (14th Street Y); The Swearing Jar by Kate Hewlett (The Bridge Theater Company); Richard 3 adapted by James Presson (Less Than Rent Productions) and Bride by Kevin Augustine (Lone Wolf Tribe). Recent Associate/Assistant Design credits include: A World Apart (Des. Mark Barton); Flipzoids (Des. James Vermeulen); Rescue Me (Des. Benjamin Stanton); Stray (Des. Pat Dignan); Water, or the Secret Life of Objects (Des. Tyler Micoleau) and 10 Things to do Before I Die (Des. Thomas Dunn). Ryan Seelig graduated with honors from Fordham University with a BA in Theater.  See more of Ryan’s work at www.ryanseelig.squarespace.com

David Shih (Lawton): Theater: Passchendaele (FringeNYC); Sake With The Haiku Geisha (Gotham Stage); Honor (Prospect Theater); The Painters Project (Cherry Lane Theatre); Three Sisters and The American Clock (HB Playwrights Foundation); The Tempest (The Public Theater/Shakespeare Lab); 365 Days/365 Plays Week 13 (The Public/Salt Theater); Roller Derby (NYMF); Ping Pong Diplomacy (Reverie Productions); Rounding Third (Millbrook Playhouse) Television: “Blue Bloods,” “Are We There Yet?,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “All My Children,” “As the World Turns,” “Royal Inquest,” “China’s First Emperor.” Film: Petunia, Saving Face, Kung Fu Granny, Underdogs, Right Hand on Red, Missing, Cha Cha de los Chans. Videogame: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, The Warriors.

Lisa Szolovits (director) moved from Los Angeles for a directing residency at Playwrights Horizons, where she has assisted Emily Mann (Edward Albee’s Me, Myself & I) and Trip Cullman (world premiere of Adam Bock’s A Small Fire) this season. Next, she will assist Leigh Silverman (world premiere of David Greenspan’s Go Back to Where You Are) and direct a new play in the resident workshop. This fall, Lisa directed a reading of Sam’s play, Fairytale Song as part of the Manhattan Shakespeare Project’s Emerging Female Voices Playwrights’ Fest. Back in LA, Lisa directed new work with Circle X, Theatre of NOTE, and Above the Curve.

Bonna Tek (Liz) is a Cambodian-American actress who has worked in theater, film, television, commercial, industrial, and voiceover. Recent theater credits: The Living Newspaper: Google Rising (Joe’s Pub), Something Blue (Diverse City Theater Company’s Pearl Project), Sweet Karma (Queens Theater in the Park), Just Knots (Samuel French OOB Festival 2009 winner), Never Disconnected 1 & 2 (Nuyorican Poets Café), Once a Goddess (Horse Trade Theater Co.). She also works as an actor with the Emerging Writers Group at the Public Theater and as part of an ensemble for Suzan Lori-Parks’s NYU playwrights class. MFA: New School University, 2003. Alumna of the Shakespeare Lab at the Public Theater, 2008, and member of Leviathan Lab, a studio for Asian-American creatives (www.leviathanlab.com).

Very Important Questions for Very Important Plays:

What is the 2010-2011 VIP Series?
Good question. Please click here for the Very Exciting Answer.

Where are the bios for the other people involved?
That’s another good question; we’re working on that.

In the meantime, we trust that the missing pieces of information will prove intriguing to the Gentle Visitor, building an aura of mystery and suspense around the project.

What are the dates, times, and location for the performances, and how can I make reservations?
Please scroll up, or click here.

More info to be posted soon. Thanks for the visit.

* Actors appear courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association.



2 Responses to Locked House

  1. Pingback: next up in VIP series: locked house |

  2. Karla says:

    I would like to RSVP for 3 ppl….! !

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s