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Final Show Sunday April 7th!

CAST

Quentin Gray (Barry, Pig #3, Alex): Quentin was raised in Toledo, Ohio and has been acting since 15 years old. H was a film extra in Marshall, Bashira, Crown Vic, and the first Purge. Quentin has appeared in several stage productions with roles such as Jeffrey in The Curtious Savage at the Ghostlight Theate and Randy Dexter in Curtins for The Elmira Little Theater in Elmira,NY. Quentin trained with Frank Rossi in both Method and Meisner. “I want to thank inclusive Theater of WNY for giving me this great opportunity as an actor. Juggling multiple roles is a new experience for me. So I would have to thank Aimee for giving me this part and pushing my limits as an actor.

Jessica Levesque ( Thomasina, Snow White, Mama) Active in RollerDerby until an injury ended her career, Jessica moved on to acting, something she’d always wanted to do. She has appeard on several episodes of Total Divas, and an independent film, The Secret Origin of Mojo Man. Jessica loves WWE wrestling, Anime and cartoons. She loves the beach, making jewelry and travelling. Jessica has appeard in several plays on Buffalo stages including Always October (2013), The Process (2014), An Evening of Personal Stories (2017), And Where Will You Put the Things You Save? (2018).

Colleen Ann O’Byrne (Television Man): Colleen is a long time Buffalo resident who has appeard in one previous Inclusive Theater of WNY production—An Evening of Personal Stories. She makes her acting debut in Television Man, the first short play in ITOWNY’s Festival of Shorts. Colleen has one adult son and two Bichons: Molly and Bella.

Summer Harris (Cate Blanchett, Paula, Princess Charming): A enior at The Park School of Buffalo, Summer is excited to be apart of ITOWNY’s Festival of Shorts! In the past with The Park Players she has been Mollie in TheMousetrap, Alice in You Can’t Take it With You, Banzai and a Featured Dancer in The Lion King Jr, the antagonist Cat in Honk! Jr, and the variety shows Patchwork since middle school. She also performed in The Diary of Anne Frank with The Raiders of Niagara as Anne Frank. In her spare time she loves to draw, write, sing, play guitar, ukulele, and viola.

Jennelle Torrey (Gremlin, Wolf) is a wife, mother, virtual assistant, curriculum developer, technology trainer, actor, and accessibility advocate. To me Inclusive means that everyone no matter who you are has access to be included in all areas of life, there should be no exceptions.

Rev. Christopher Wylie (Gremlin, Zombie, Television Man, Pig 2, Rumplesiltskin) Chris is a father, husband, United Methodist pastor, writer, blogger, musician, artist, actor, and disability advocate. More than anything he wants you to know that Inclusive means you are loved no matter the body in which you live.  

Aimée Levesque, Ph.D. Executive and Artistic Director: Aimée has served on the Boards of Buffalo Theatre Alliance (TABS) and Ujima Theatre. She holds Masters Degrees in English Literature and Library Science and is an adjunct professor at Buffalo State College. This past January Aimée received her Doctorate in Curriculum Design and the Science of Learning from University at Buffalo. Aimée’s daughter Jessica, a talented actress and a woman on the autism spectrum, is one of the inspirations for Inclusive Theater of WNY.

Marilyn Erentsen-Scott (Artistic Director) Marilyn retired from the stage after a well received performance in 7th grade and only returned some 50 years later, appearing in a play (The Process in 2014) with two of the actors in this production: Jessical Levesque and Chelsea Braun. Marilyn and her husband of 38 years, Steve, moved to Buffalo from L.I. almost five years ago. They have one son, Anthony, and a 2 year old Golden Retriever named Penny, who is the official mascot of InclusiveTheater of WNY. A former Registered Nurse, Marilyn received her BA in Sociology from Adelphi University in 1998 and has worked for more than 25 years as an advocate for full inclusion for people with disabilities.

Commentary · Plays

The Power of Theatre

Last night I had a theatre experience I won’t soon forget. The Kavinoky Theatre’s production of 1984 is a disturbing and imaginatively staged vision of a future in which truth is relative and ever changing, depending on the needs of the “elite” which is control of, well, reality itself. Big Brother is always watching but a man called Winston dares to dream that perhaps he has escaped observation in small stolen moments with Julia, the woman he has the audacity to love. The audience is pulled in to believing that maybe, just maybe this couple will find freedom: Freedom to think, freedom to feel, freedom from observation, freedom to have real chocolate..

Aleks Malejs gives depth to what could have been a one dimensional character–Julia– a woman who may (or may not) be just who she says she is. Chris Avery’s portrayal of Winston is something I can’t even describe–but I’ll try. Gut wrenching comes close, but other than that words fail me.

There is one heart stopping moment in that play that occurs between Winston and the audience, and it is shocking, disturbing, paralyzing and is reason alone to see the show. It’s a moment that will stay with me for a very long time.

At the opposite end of the seriousness spectrum, Inclusive Theatre of WNY’s A Festival of Shorts opens on Friday April 5th at 7:30 pm and runs until Sunday April 7th at 2pm at The Foundry, 298 Northampton Street, Buffalo. Tickets are available through paypal here.

So. Here’s my recommendation for a perfect weekend: Catch one of the final performances of 1984 at The Kavinoky Theatre at D’Youville on Porter Rd in Buffalo, and then head over to The Foundry for a little comic relief!

Here are pictures from today’s rehearsal of A Festival of Shorts.

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1984

Tonight a few of us from Inclusive Theater of WNY, along with a few friends, are going to see 1984 at The Kavinoky Theatre on Porter Rd (at D’Youville College). Friends of ITOWNY Aleks Malejs and Patrick Moltane are in this production, as well as John Profetta, who was in ITOWNY’s production of “And Where Will You Put the Things You Save?” last October at the Alleyway Theatre.

The cast of 1984 had a difficult job to do. They had fully prepared to perform To Kill A Mockingbird when the production was cancelled because Scott Rudin, producer of the version currently playing on Broadway (an adaptation of the original that is completely different than the original) threatened to sue the Kavinoky, as well as many other theaters across the country and in the UK! The publisher had given these groups the green light because the adaptation was so different, but Rudin wasn’t having it. You don’t wrestle with a 900 lb. gorilla and so these smaller theatres, often working on tight margins, really had not choice but to cancel. The Kavinoky’s manager, Lorraine O’Donnell, decided they would do 1984 instead, and although it is a difficult play to do, the cast was game.

I can’t wait to see what this talented cast has accomplished! If you can support them by buying a ticket and seeing the play, I would encourage you to do so. 1984 is as relevant now as it was in the 60s when I first read the book and saw the movie. Perhaps even more relevant. I’ll be posting my review of the show tomorrow!

In the meantime, we at Inclusive are busy rehearsing our short plays for next weeks’ opening of A Festival of Shorts! Did you purchase your tickets? You can do so here: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4205379

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A Festival of Shorts Now at The Foundry: Friday April 5 @ 7:30 pm Saturday April 6 @7:30pm Sunday April 7 @ 2pm

Holy torn ticket Batman! ITOWNY has secured THREE consecutive days at The Foundry on Northampton Street in Buffalo! You know—that incredible maker space/business incubator/event space? ITOWNY’s Festival of Shorts will be for three hilarious days. Yes! The Foundry—298 Northampton St Buffalo

Here are some pictures from tonight’s rehearsal!

Plays · Rehearsals

Behind the Scenes…Rehearsal for A Festival of Shorts

Another hilarious night of Shorts-this cast is having a great time!

A Festival of Shorts Friday April 5th 7:30 pm at The Foundry–298 Northampton Street, Buffalo. Saturday April 6th 7:30pm at The Foundry 298 Northampton St. Sunday April 7th 2pm at The FoundryT

For tickets please email inclusivetheaterofwny@gmail.com

Plays

Weekend Rehearsal for A Fesitval of Shorts

Our cast got together this past weekend over lunch to discuss their characters, go over lines, cues, and scenes. We ‘ve been encouraging improvisation in the earlier rehearsals because we saw how creative and, well–FUN–this cast is.

We will be opening A Festival of Shorts on Friday April 5th at The Foundry on Northampton Street in Buffalo, at 7:30 pm. Saturday we will be at Hallwalls (at Babeville) on Delaware Avenue at 7:30 pm. Each of these venues is unique and we look forward to performing in each. We will be posting our venue for Sunday April 7th (2pm) shortly. Watch this space!

For ticket information, email us at inclusivetheaterofwny@gmail.com

Here are photos from this past weekend:

Our fabulous cast discusses a scene over pizza.
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Help Inclusive Theater Grow!

 

A young man with Autism, a recently graduated journalism major, a 30 something year old musician and a young man with Cerebral Palsey walked into an Improv class–and surprised themselves and everyone else–with their previously undiscovered talent for improvisational comedy. A writing group started up in the winter of 2015 with five members–two “neuro-typical women, two people with Autism and one woman with Cerebral Palsey. Two years later the group is going strong: wome weeks more than 10 people are present, and this year, 2017, three regular members’ works will be published. two of these members are people with disabilities

Inclusive Theater of Western New York was begun by people whose children have experienced bullying, harrassment, and social isolation by their typical peers. The cumulative results of these experiences have led in many cases to low self esteem, PTSD, anxiety, and continued social isolation into adulthood.

Inclusive Theater of Western New York addresses the need for inclusion of men and women with disabilities who have lacked opportunities throughout their school careers. We accomplish this by providing acting classes and a writing group in an emotionally safe environment that is condusive to experimentation, free of judgement, harrassement and bullying, and one that reflects the population as a whole. As such, all our classes have a mix of people with different ethnic, religious and socio-economic and disability making up the whole.

For the people who have been attending our programs and classes, new worlds have opened up. One woman who has a developmental disability commented after a Saturday workshop in which the group made sets, wrote and acted in a play: “I never thought I could do anything like this!” Another participant, a professional actor who attended one of our acting classes commented, “I never knew what people who depend on wheelchairs went through”.

In big and small ways, Inclusive Theater of WNY is changing minds and perceptions, of people with disabilities, and people from different educational, social and economic backgrounds. Studies have shown that “inclusion” beneftis everyone.* We are seeing this firsthand in increased awareness, esteem and understanding on the part of all the people we serve.

Please consider making a contribution so we can continue to make a difference in the lives of the people of Buffalo—and beyond!

For information on how to make a donation please call Aimée Levesque, Executive Director, 716-218-8129

 

 

*Chandler-Olcott, K. and Kluth, P. (2009), Why Everyone Benefits From Including Students With Autism in Literacy Classrooms. The Reading Teacher, 62: 548–557. doi: 10.1598/RT.62.7.1
Publication History
Issue online: 9 NOV 2011
Version of Record online: 9 NOV 2011
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09620214.2011.543851

The Promise of Inclusive Schooling
http://www.spannj.org/pti/Improving_Education_Promise_of_Inclusive_Schooling.pdf
Moore, C. J. (1997). Educating students with disabilities in general education classrooms: A summary of the research. Juneau: Alaska Department of Education.
GRAPHIC DESIGN BY:
Zemelman, F., Danielson, H., and Hyde, A. (1993). Best practice: New standards for teaching and learning in America’s schools. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

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Four Days till Auditions and Monologues

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We at Inclusive Theater are truly blessed to have the involvement of wonderful people like Aleks Malejs (recently burning up the stage in Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth–Irish Classical Theatre Company). We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Aleks as well as Russ Wendell and Dan Greer and the entire board of The Lancaster Regional Players for their support and confidence in our little venture.

Inclusive Theater of Western NY is doing something new. We are creating an atmosphere where beginners and those with experience, neurotypical people and people with challenges, in short, people of all ages and ability come together to learn–about themselves and each other–in a milieu that encourages experimentation and growth: a truly inclusive and natural environment.

While there are challenges, we believe we will be creating new opportunities for people who may  have felt too intimidated to become involved in theater: people who lack confidence, people with various disabilities (physical, emotional, and learning disabilities), older people, people new to this country, etc.

There are theater companies for people with disabilities, but none are truly inclusive. Our goal is to foster growth through classes and help prepare people for auditions and roles–in ways that make them, if they have the talent–truly qualified.  We also will offer opportunities for people to be involved in all aspects of theater.

It’s been a long year of preparation and we have just begun to see the fruits of all that work. Watch this space…14729313_979571822189337_7810489217992446483_n

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Auditions and Monologues Class!!!

It is with great excitement that we are announcing that Actor and Teaching Artist Aleks Malejs returns to teach our Auditions and Monologues class. Straight from Irish Classical Theatre’s production of Sweet Bird of Youth by Tennessee Williams in which she played the main character, Alexandra, winning rave reviews for her powerful performance, Aleks is ready to pass along her acquired knowledge of acting techniques gained from obtaining a Masters in Acting degree from the New School in NYC, and the wisdom garnered from years of stage experience. These combine to offer YOU the best of both: Knowing what to do, and WHEN to do it! If you are planning to present a project at work or school, or are a teacher yourself, an attorney, or yes, even an actor (with or without experience), this class is for YOU!  Inclusive Theater of Western New York is sponsoring this class and we welcome EVERYONE: Beginner and master, all races, creeds, nationalities, and level of ability/disability. You will find yourself at home with us! Come. Learn. Live. Laugh.

WE LEARN TOGETHER! WE’re INCLUSIVE!

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