Domnica Rădulescu's "Exile Is My Home" Debuts on RCI's Studio Stage
"A hugely individual voice and great intelligence that refuses the binary, the simplistic" (Julia Pascal)
We are proud to present, in co-production with Red Monkey Theater Group, the world premiere of "Exile Is My Home", a showcase of scenes based on four plays by award-wining feminist author and educator Domnica Rădulescu, one of the most accomplished Romanian-American writers. Hailed as "breath-taking in their imaginative scope" (Christine Evans) and written with brilliant skill and wild imagination, Domnica’s irreverent and utterly original examination of immigration is brought to the stage by an energetic artistic ensemble helmed by director Rachel Tamarin.
The showcase will be presented within RCI's "Romanian American Studio Theater" program on April 8 - RSVP HERE
Both performances will be follwed by talkbacks with Domnica Rădulescu and Rachel Tamarin.
"The beautiful and welcoming theatrical spaces of the Romanian Cultural Institute and of the Bohemian National Hall in New York are perfect locations for the showcase premiere of four of my plays gathered in the volume Exile Is My Home. Four Plays by Domnica Rădulescu and I couldn’t be more thrilled about these productions. As a creative artist who arrived in the United States in the eighties as a political refugee from the then Communist dictatorship of Romania, my plays emerge largely from my experience of and obsession with the immigrant experience, loss, dislocation, uprooting, re-rooting, as well as genocidal wars, all while portraying these experiences from the perspective of empowered and complex female characters and through the lens of modern feminisms. Unfortunately, these themes and their treatment are now even more relevant given the present war in Ukraine and the general state of the world. I am particularly grateful to the brilliant director Rachel Tamarin for undertaking the difficult task of directing scenes from not one, not two but fours different plays and for her deep understanding of the universes created in these plays, for her visual and visceral directorial vision that matches my own in a very harmonious way. And of course I am grateful to all the wonderful actors and crew members who are bringing to life these strange universes." - Domnica Rădulescu, author
"In each play in this collection, Domnica Rădulescu has created a fantastical, imaginative universe, each so different, yet astutely and insightfully capturing the challenges and triumphs faced by immigrants and refugees. I firmly believe that an artist’s greatest responsibility is to cultivate empathy and a deeper understanding of the human experience within their work, and Domnica’s plays provide our cast and creative team with the opportunity to fulfill this goal, in abundance. The absurdist nature of the plays and the larger-than-life characters Domnica has created for us offer the cast and me endless opportunities to push our creative boundaries and to break out of our comfort zones. Considering the war in Ukraine and the violence that the United States continues to perpetrate against immigrants, particularly Latin American immigrants, seeking refuge within our country’s borders, these stories are sadly even more relevant than when they were first written, and more important than ever to tell. I am so incredibly grateful to Domnica for trusting me with her amazing scripts, and for offering our cast and creative team this incredible opportunity for play and for artistic growth. I hope to honor her and our audiences at the Romanian Cultural Institute and Bohemian National Hall as we breathe life into these beautiful and deeply compelling stories." - Rachel Tamarin, director
EXILE IS MY HOME. FOUR PLAYS BY DOMNICA RĂDULESCU
Directed by Rachel Tamarin
With: Steph Marie Alvarez, Jessica Carmona, Alexandra Gomez Selina Hernandez, Talia Segal, Kenneth LaBoy Vasquez
Choreography: Amy Frey
Music: Joshua Murphy with additional music by Alexander Tanson
Stage Management: Mikaela Blanchard
Lighting Design: John Silberger
Light and Sound Operation: Benjamin Tamarin
Not suitable for children under 16.
The showcase features the following plays:
Exile Is My Home. A Sci-Fi Immigrant Fairy Tale
“Told as a sci-fi, post-apocalyptic fairy tale, Exile Is My Home is the haunting story of Mina and Lina, a refugee couple from the Balkans traveling through the galaxy in search of a planet to call home. The play combines absurdist comedy, irony, and suspense to raise consciousness about the current international refugee crisis and the complexity of issues related to it. As millions of people are uprooted from their homes and swept across tumultuous seas and often unwelcome lands, Exile Is My Home highlights the importance of immigrant theater in bringing awareness about many of the challenges facing our world today.” - New York Theater Review, May 7, 2016
The Town with Very Nice People. A Strident Immigrant Operetta
In the words of award winning Australian American playwright Christine Evans, the play is a “scathingly satirical comedy-of-manners” whose flamboyant heroine Roxana, a Romanian writer living in a small southern bigoted town, attempts to recreate the town into a space of diversity and tolerance. “In The Town with Very Nice People. A Strident Immigrant Operetta, Radulescu dares to critique feminism as a religion which shames other feminists who do not follow the party line. Again, there is this sense of a hugely individual voice and great intelligence that refuses the binary, the simplistic and the politically correct.” - Julia Pascal
House in a Boat with Food and No God
A dystopian ecofeminist play that takes place on water and whose characters, the mother daughter pair Nermina and Sinistra, struggle for survival as well as attempt to reinvent the world by piecing together the massacred body of the original Goddess, mother of the universe. “In House in a Boat with Food and No God. A Nomadic Dystopia on Water[Rădulescu] creates a scenography that is on and under water. It is cartoon-like in its playful toying with the grotesque. A parthenogenetic child is a tomato or a potato and therefore food is always present. A woman has a hundred vaginas because God, ‘a racist, atheist and a vampire pig’ has killed so many children and she must make up the loss.” - Julia Pascal
Crossings: A Play of Immigrant Voices
A play dedicated to those who cross borders every day, to those who survive and persist, to those who have perished and continue to perish in their strenuous crossings. “Crossings: A Play of Immigrant Voices showcases a different register of Rădulescu’s voice. Her outsider’s eye, empathy and rage at injustice are channeled into an artful polyphony, drawn from interviews with immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras who now live and work in Virginia. Rădulescu orchestrates their border narratives of terror, love, loss, and reinvention into a bilingual choreo-poem that retains the specificity of each voice, while creating resonance between them through the interwoven elements of narration and chorus.” - Christine Evans
DOMNICA RĂDULESCU is an American writer of Romanian origin, living in the United States where she arrived in 1983 as a political refugee from the communist dictatorship of her native Romania. She settled in Chicago where she obtained a master’s degree in Comparative literature and a PhD in Romance Languages from the University of Chicago. She is the Edwin A. Morris Professor of Comparative Literature at Washington and Lee University. Rădulescu is the author of three critically acclaimed novels, Train to Trieste (Knopf 2008 &2009), Black Sea Twilight (Transworld 2011 & 2012) and Country of Red Azaleas (Hachette 2016) and of award-winning plays. Train to Trieste has been published in thirteen languages and is the winner of the 2009 Library of Virginia Fiction Award. Rădulescu received the 2011 Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. She also published fourteen non-fiction books, edited and co-edited collections on topics ranging from the tragic heroine in western literature to feminist comedy, to studies of exile literature to theater of war and exile, refugee art, and two collections of original plays. Two of her plays, Exile Is My Home and The Town with Very Nice People were runners up for the Jane Chambers Playwriting award in 2012 and 2013. Dream in a Suitcase. The Story of an immigrant Life is her first memoir, and it was released in January 2022. Domnica Rădulescu is twice a Fulbright scholar and the founding director of the National Symposium of Theater in Academe.
RACHEL TAMARIN is a fourth-generation immigrant, fiercely proud of her Jewish identity. Rachel hopes to lend her artistic talents to contribute to her family's rich history as educators, influencers, healers, and activists. Recent directing credits include: Then & Now, Hedda Gabler, Water by the Spoonful, Stop Kiss, and Dead Man's Cell Phonewith Red Monkey Theater Group, and looks forward to directing their upcoming production of Insignificant, by Sean Michael Welch, next season, and to playing Dorcas in their upcoming production of Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles, this June (tickets and info available at www.redmonkeytheater.org). You may also recognize her from onstage appearances as Fiona in Then & Now, Rachel Howells in Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual with RMTG/M&M PAC at Bartow-Pell Mansion and Stella in The Good Cop at The Davenport Theatre.
STEPH MARIE ALVAREZ grew up in San Francisco, California, as a first-generation Mexican American. She is an actress and writer. In 2012, she ventured into writing, producing and performing in an immigration play, Border Sweet Border, based off interviews with lawyers and immigrants from various countries. Through this artistic venture, she became a board member of the former Maura Clark Ita Ford Foundation. Steph is a proud member of Brazen Giant Ensemble. She is also a graduate of the One Year Conservatory at the Terry Schreiber Studio and Theatre, and she has a Bachelors in Communication Arts from Marymount Manhattan College.
JESSICA CARMONA is an award-winning Actress, playwright, educator and producer of Afro- Puerto Rican descent. She is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where she received her BFA in Acting. Most recently, she appeared on New Amsterdam (episode 409), and also starred as Rosie in the new play Pecking Order by Robin Rice, and as Zoe in Black Mexican by Rachel Lynette. Previously, she appeared as Odessa/Haikumom in Water by the Spoonful at the Red Monkey Theatre Company (directed by Rachel Tamarin), Antonio in Twelfth Night at the Red Monkey Theater Group (directed by Tal Aviezer), Samana in Platanos and Collard Greens, Maddie in Nickeled and Dimed at Blackfriars Theater. She has also worked with Pregones/PRTT and R.Evolucion Latina on a production of The Tempest. Her indie film, Millie and the Lords, won her the Best Film and Best Actress Award at The People’s Film Festival and the Viva Latino Film Festival.
SELINA HERNANDEZ is a writer and performance artist who uses theatre arts, spoken word, and song in her work. The pieces she writes tend to focus on her life experiences as a Latina woman, a mother, and as a New Yorker. Selina was born and raised in New York City. Her recent projects include writing and publishing her first young children’s book: I Like Pink! A Story About Self-Acceptance inspired by her son and a film version of her poem Am I Buggin’, directed by Cathleen Campbell. She has studied and performed at LaGuardia HS of the Performing Arts, Hofstra University, and The Puerto Rican Traveling Theater. Some of her past projects include: being a cast member for the acclaimed 2018 Mile Long Opera at the High Line, writing and performing a series of monologues from an ongoing project entitled Pick A Struggle at JCAL (Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning) in March 2019, hosting a reading of her play The Holidays 101 at Taller Boricua Gallery, and being invited for the 4th consecutive year to have her poem featured in the 2021 installation of “Women in the Heights: Art in our Time” an exhibition featuring work by prominent female artists of Northern Manhattan.
ALEXANDRA GOMEZ is a Colombian actor, writer, director, singer, and producer. Together with Federico Mallet, she co-founded Quemocion in December 2020, a production company created by and for Latinx artists that seeks to empower the Latinx community's most overlooked voices. Recent theatre credits include: StartUp (SheNYC Fest August 2021), Terremoto (directed by; Kraine Theater October 2021) and Troilus and Cressida (co-directed by; Barefoot Shakespeare 2020 Season).
TALIA SEGAL is a multi-hyphenate artist originally from the Washington, DC area. Recent credits: Fells Point Corner Theatre: Maricela De La Luz Lights the World (Ofelia/Ensemble), Capital Fringe Festival: Dreamer/Seeker (Brenda), Rockville Little Theatre: The Spitfire Grill (Effy Krayneck), Lo Notes Productions: Ponzi! The Musical (Rose Ponzi), Landless Theatre Company: A Christmas Story (Mother), Assassins (Squeaky Fromme), TSI Playtime Series: Being (Sordid). Upcoming: Her, Across the River at Rapid Lemon Productions. Talia has released 5 albums of original songs, which have been licensed to various film and television networks.
KENNETH LABOY VAZQUEZ, born and raised in Puerto Rico, now lives in Queens with his immensely supportive uncle. Kenneth was recently seen in Red Monkey's site-specific play Then & Now. He has also appeared in Sun & Seaat BAM, as well as Red Monkey's production of Water by the Spoonful, Elmwood Playhouse's Our Town, and as Larry in Studio Playhouse's Boys in the Band.