Rich Brown joins NYC's Blessed Unrest in their provocative MISCONCEPTIONS
In the heart of New York City's theater scene, Blessed Unrest's "Misconceptions" has garnered lauds from Gloria Steinem - "go see MISCONCEPTIONS" - and Jim Nicola - "There’s nothing better for me in a theater than to be argued with."
"Misconceptions" is the story of a woman who dares to search for answers "wherever they take her." It is a dramatic inquiry into the performance of fact and fiction; an exploration of how verbatim theater, performance art, and magical realism illuminate reality.
Professor Rich Brown, Chair of Theatre & Dance, joined the ensemble as part of his professional leave Spring Quarter 2023. "It has been a wild time to work on the premiere of a new play about a woman’s struggle to make her choice around her pregnancy"
Emmy-nominated playwright Steve Wangh ("The Laramie Project") began writing this play five years ago, well before the Supreme Court's Dobbs case that dismantled the abortion protections of Roe v. Wade.
"Steve was in the rehearsal room with us for the first two weeks, and we’d receive new pages based on that day’s headlines," Rich says. "I remember thinking, well, there wasn’t a line about Mifepristone in this play yesterday...but there is now!"
This is Rich's third time performing with Blessed Unrest, along with "Lying" (2014) and "The Snow Queen" (2017). Rich is now an associate member of the company.
"I first met Jessica Burr, Artistic Director, and Matt Opatrny, Managing Director, of Blessed Unrest Theatre in 2013 when we were all guest artists/teachers at Texas Tech University’s Wild Wind Performance Laboratory. We began collaborating immediately."
The production employs verbatim text from interviews conducted by Wangh. One of the “characters,” Francis Kissling - the former President of Catholics for Choice - came to opening night.
"For the last 50 years I have listened to women tell their abortion stories," says Kissling. "'Misconceptions' has powerfully captured those stories. Don't miss seeing this play. Your heart and mind will be touched."
Directed by Jessica Burr with Blessed Unrest’s award-winning imagination, humor, and artistic risk-taking, "Misconceptions" illuminates the personal stories which underlie the political posturing of post-Roe America.
Performances of "Misconceptions" continue through June 3 at Theatre 122CC at 150 1st Ave. in New York City. Tickets and information at blessedunrest.org
Photos by Maria Baranova Photography