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Livestream: Kate Feiffer, Morning Pages and Its Play-Within-a-Novel, with dramatic readers

Thursday, May 16, 2024 - 6:00 PM | Livestream | open to the public | $10 per person | registration required


When her professional and family life collide, a playwright starts journaling every morning to push through her writer’s block in this laugh-out-loud and fresh take on family, friendship, and the chaos of midlife. Elise Hellman was once heralded by audiences and critics as a “playwright to watch.” Then they forgot all about her. When a prestigious theater company unexpectedly offers her a generous commission to write a new play, she has an opportunity to turn her career around. With sixty-five days left until her deadline, Elise starts scribbling a few pages of stream-of-consciousness first thing every morning as a way to get over her writer’s block—a technique called Morning Pages, popularized in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. What emerges is a witty confessional in which Elise chronicles her life with her teenage stoner son and her overbearing and eccentric mother, who is losing her memory but not her profanity. She writes about her lingering feelings for her ex-husband, her best friend who is acting oddly, and the confusing encounters she has with a handsome stranger in an elevator.

As Elise writes, the marked-up scenes from her play, Deja New, are revealed, as a story within the story. This one-of-a-kind event features actors Jenny Lyn Bader, Eliza Foss, and Jonathan Lipnick presenting scenes from the play within the novel, with commentary from the novelist, Kate Feiffer.

Morning Pages is about what life throws at you when you’re trying to write. It is both a humorous exploration of the creative process and a relatable coming-of-age tale for the generation sandwiched between caring for their parents and caring for their kids.

Kate Feiffer is an illustrator and author of eleven highly acclaimed books for children, including Henry the Dog with No Tail and My Mom Is Trying to Ruin My Life, which was adapted into a staged musical. Kate illustrated the 2023 book of poetry The Lamb Cycle by David R. Ewbank. Her illustrations and writing have appeared on CNN, NPR and in numerous publications based on Martha's Vineyard. She is also the event producer for the writer's festival Islanders Write. A former television news producer, Kate wrote and produced the award-winning documentary film Matzo & Mistletoe. Author photo by Megan Weeks

Jenny Lyn Bader is delighted to return to the New York Society Library, where she first performed her solo play Equally Divine: The Real Story of the Mona Lisa ("Best Documentary One Woman Show" award/United Solo Festival). Her other plays include Manhattan Casanova (Edith Oliver Award, O'Neill Center), In Flight (Turn to Flesh Productions), None of the Above (New Georges), and Tree Confessions (TINATC), an audio play streaming in English (w/ Kathleen Chalfant) and Spanish. Jenny Lyn voices a role in her audio drama International Local (“Subway Plays" app) and has a cameo in her one-act Communal Table, now out from Gather by the Ghostlight (Broadway Podcast Network). Her play about the arrest of Hannah Arendt in 1933 Berlin is coming to Off-Broadway in October. Photo by Lia Chang. jennylynbader.com

Eliza Foss's work includes Admissions and Ten Unknowns (understudy) at Lincoln Center. Off-Broadway, she has performed in The Lucky Star at 59e59, Enemy of the People and Pentecost with the Barrow Group, Heart of the City at Urban Stages, Beau Jest at The Lamb’s Theater, and Coriolanus at The Public. Her regional appearances include Our Town at New London Barn, Dinner with Friends at Hartford Theaterworks, The Road to Mecca at Portland Stage, The Diary of Anne Frank at Cleveland Playhouse, and Airport Angel at Williamstown Theater Festival. She has been seen in films including Indignation, The Lennon Report, Split Ends, and Chutney Popcorn, and her TV appearances include Gary the Dog, Georgetown, Law & Order, and Law & Order: SVU. Eliza is also a writer and director. She directed the short film Consider the Sparrow.

Jonathan Lipnick's extensive work in theater includes The Buffer, Crown Cork Cafeteria, Till Then, Working Theater, founding member; The Writer, Actor’s Studio; Fifty Flat, New York Theater Festival; Bloomsday on Broadway, Symphony Space; The Room Where I Was Held, Billy Baloo, Martha's Vineyard Playhouse; Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, The National Players; Comedy of Errors, D.C. Shakespeare Festival. His film and television credits include Fleishman Is in Trouble, The Naming of the Things, Once Upon a Bookshop, Trophy Boys, The Chosen, and Ryan's Hope.

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