New Works! Classics! Culturally Specific and Non-Traditional Casting! What matters to me is compelling storytelling, smart language, an emotional connection and an empathy that crosses societal borders to connect audiences with powerful, quirky, complex human narratives in imaginative, moving and entertainingly unexpected ways.
IN THE FIRST: I play "The Chrysler Building" (that gorgeous iconic art-deco building!) in the world premiere of Matt Schatz's Award-Winning Play, THE TALLEST BUILDING IN THE WORLD. (NY Times clip)
IN THE THIRD: I play "Honey Harlow" opposite Nathan Darrow (HOUSE OF CARDS) in THREE GIFTS FOR LENNY BRUCE, written by Jim Knable (The Orchard Project, 2015!), and directed by Susan Hyon for Target Margin Theatre's Yiddish Lab Series.
AND IN THE MIDDLE? I am "Diana Sands," whose life and art gather the pieces in one glorious figure of possibility: new works, classics, stage, tv and film! (read Backstage review here)
One of Diana Sands' early roles was with NY's Yiddish Theater. It's where she first worked with Ruby Dee, thus landing Diana an audition for RAISIN. When I played her in May 2012, how could I have known in 2013/14 (just back from Stratford Festival), I'd be cast in two Target Margin Theater Yiddish Labs: THREE GIFTS FOR LENNY BRUCE pictured above; and CELIA based on the avant-garde poet Celia Dropkin, in which I performed one of Dropkin's poems entirely in Yiddish! I am deeply grateful for my fellow actors, writers, directors, artistic directors and producers, and most especially audiences who deeply believe our rich human diversity can and should occupy the same frame.
Nehassaiu spoke on TFANA's Panel exploring race, color and casting in contemporary American Shakespeare, with actors John Douglas Thompson and Jacob Ming-Trent, and scholar Ayanna Thompson.
featuring Edie Falco, Frank Wood and Bobby Cannavale! December 11 - 13, 2015.
I love volunteering for 52P. In the past few years, I've been part of the Poetry & Performance and Dancemaking New Platform Programs and I directed a Playmaking Show in 2014, so it was great to act in a Playmaking Show again. This time, I played "Felicia" a social media app whose greatest fear is being lost in the space-time continuum! Will my conscience "Sharisa" (Mallory Portnoy) help me make the right decision!?
"The Internet Is In Your Mind" by brilliant kid playwright, Lily Kuzminski, was directed by Rebecca Martinez.
9 Plays in 2 hours of "supersized" fun.
Link to the Broadway World Press Release!
For my foray into Stein's exquisite strangeness, I assembled a fearless cast and invited Dancer/Choreographer Pilar Castro-Kiltz, Composer Janice Lowe and Lighting Designer, Megan Lang to join my team.
FIVE HISTORIC CHILDREN WHO ARE NOT ran at The Bushwhick Starr in January 2015.
Stage Managed by Liz Nielsen. Production Manager: Ann Marie Dorr.
Lead Artist: Nehassaiu deGannes
Cast: Amanda Dolan, Shykia Fields, Mariam Habib, Bryce Johnson, Tuck Milligan, Ravin Patterson, Sarah Pierce, & Carsey Walker, Jr.
Photos by Erik Carter.
"Five Historic Children Who Are Not"
Target Margin Theater's Gertrude Stein Lab @ Bushwick Starr
The Result? FIVE HISTORIC CHILDREN WHO ARE NOT pictured here:
@ The Bushwick Starr
Door of No Return
Door Of No Return, Nehassaiu's one-woman show, was introduced to NYC audiences in 2011/12 with staged readings at RACCA's Seaport Salon, Artistic Director, Imani Douglas, & The Seaport Museum.
Originally produced at Rites & Reason Theatre, Brown University, Door of No Return has been performed at Portsmouth Abbey,RI, Wheaton College, MA, Goddard College, VT, APAP in New York, The GAMM Theatre/ "Freedom Festival", and the Historic Y Theatre in Cambridge, MA . In 2009, a bilingual French/English translation of Door Of No Return was commissioned by Montreal's PROJET LEVIER/ Engrenage Noir and completed by Canadian spoken word poet and translator, Ingrid Joseph aka "Oni, the Haitian Sensation."
For more information & bookings: Door of No Return Info
Confirmed Presenters (click here)
photo credit: donna maria bruton
Rigidigidim De Bamba De: Ruptured Calypso
And how! These women are sublime.––– The New York Times
Caryn Hodge & Nehassaiu deGannes in "Windrush"
photo: Paul Kopecki, courtesy of The Painted Bride and COCo Dance Theatre
–––Robert Nesti, The Boston Herald
“… it’s deGannes who’s a delight to watch, as she changes gears so easily and confidently from adoring daughter to uneasy lover and testy sibling.” –––Channing Gray, The Providence Journal
“deGannes draws your attention from the first moments with her vibrancy, compassion and quickness, all wrapped in a cloud of vulnerability. That’s a good trick, and she does it well.” –––David Howard, The Seekonk Star
A Preface To The Alien Garden
–––Carolyn Clay, The Providence Phoenix
photo credit: T. Charles Erickson