Thank you to everyone who came out and supported HERSTORY last weekend. You all help make this work possible. We had a full house on Friday night and a sold out show for Saturday! We can’t wait to celebrate more amazing women and female artists over the rest of 2019!
We hope you’ll celebrate with us this weekend by coming to see HERSTORY 3: JOURNEY WOMEN at the Institute Library.
Thank you to the following organizations for helping to make this years Festival a success:
If YOU would like to be a sponsor, there’s still time, BUT HURRY! The deadline is tomorrow at noon. Click here.
Amy Oestreicher discusses her new play WE RE-MEMBER, part of HERSTORY 3: JOURNEY WOMEN, a festival of new work by emerging female writers. Interview by Natalie Osborne.
Q: How long have you been with 365 Women a Year?
A: I have been with 365 for one year – It’s my first time being involved with such an amazing group of women, and it’s been so wonderful to be a part of this community and see these stories come to light!
Q: Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind We Re-Member?
It definitely started with my Grandma, who was an amazing seamstress. I knew that as a child, because of the beautiful coats and garments she’d make us for temple. Later I learned that she was also a holocaust survivor from Czechoslovakia, which explained her accent. Even later I learned she had survived the death camps of Auschwitz through her sewing, which put her fabrics and garments in a different light. When my grandma passed, I wanted to know more about her story and remember her.
These two sisters in We Re-Member are conflicted, asking the question: how do we wear our past?
Jessie and Sam are sisters who discover boxes left by their grandmother, a Holocaust survivor who immigrated to the Lower East Side after the war, and with her husband, started one of the most successful sewing corporations in the Garment District. Sam, the older sister striving for uniqueness, and Jessie, the younger sibling longing for memory, are drawn towards piecing the fabric together in conflicting ways that threaten to tear them apart.
My grandparents, HANNAH and IRVING STOCHEL, after arriving on the Lower East Side by ship after the holocaust, founded the MYRA Corporation, one of the most successful sewing corporations on the Lower East Side. I’m doing a TEDx talk on their story in April!!!
Q: What were some of the challenges you faced while writing this play?
A: I knew I wanted to honor my grandma but I wasn’t sure how to do that. Little did I know that these sisters’ disagreement of whether to preserve the fabrics as they are, or deconstruct them in order to reassemble them differently, a conflict of philosophies, was really a battle I was going through myself – What will allow their grandparents’ memories to flourish? Is a legacy more valuable once it’s broken apart and repurposed, or kept as is? How do we re-member the pieces of our lives and honor those who came before us? So I battled with how to get all this down to 10 minutes!!!
Q: In the title of the piece, you describe We Re-Member as a “10-page Forget-Me-Not Play,” can you tell us more about that?
A: The play is about the struggle to preserve, to not forget. I think the lesson is that there is no wrong way to remember, as long as it is in our hearts.
Q: You’re also a performer and a visual artist, how does your work in other media influence your writing and vise-versa?
A: Extremely visually! Especially because I discovered art as a way of healing and expressing what I couldn’t capture through words – I’m actually working on a new piece which incorporates live painting on Stage – eventually, I want to expand on this play, and have the two sisters, who first fight over the best way to put their grandmothers memory together, in order for it to live on, in an actual quilt or tapestry.
I always consider myself foremost a performer, because that’s what I grew up living and loving – musical theatre! As a playwright, it definitely has helped give me perspective on conveying emotions, conflicts and dynamics onstage. I still perform Gutless and Grateful, my one woman musical, all over the country, and writing that was really my first experience performing my own work!
Q: In the play the Grandmother is an immigrant, and a Holocaust survivor. Why do you think stories like this are important based on what’s happening in our country right now?
A: Because we have to remember, in all of this political tumult and conflict, that these stories we hear about in the news, of families being torn apart, these are really people, sons, daughters, wives that experience heartbreak and loss like every one of us. The breaking apart of families, the loss of loved ones, is something that we can’t continue to happen unnaturally.
My grandparents, came here and started a successful sewing corporation as immigrants. They contributed to society passionately, wholeheartedly, and were an inspiration to all they knew. I think it’s important to honor this, with the debates on Immigration in our country right now.
Q: What would you like the audience to walk away with after watching your play?
A: I want them to think about a relative, or someone, something they’ve lost in their own life, and make a decision that’s best for them – because there’s no right way to connect and honor a legacy. There’s not one way to pass on a story. It’s however we feel that we can bring their stories to light. There are many ways to sew, to re-stitch and re-member.
Q: Are there any thoughts or pieces of advice you’d like to give to your fellow writers or the theatre community at large?
A: Find what your passionate about and just start writing – from anywhere – later but figure out what speaks to you right now. Don’t think about what you should be writing. Honesty is what makes art. Or at least it’s the building blocks!
You can see We Re-Member during the HERSTORY Festival, March 9th and 10th at the Institute Library in New Haven. You can reserve your tickets ahead of time here. Tickets will also be available at the door for a $10 suggested donation. If you would like to support HERSTORY by making a small donation, click here or visit our Cafepress Store.
Would you like to play a part in making HERSTORY 3 come to life on stage?
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We couldn’t do this without all of you. Thank you for your continued generosity and support.
HERSTORY 3: JOURNEY WOMEN
Now more than ever, it’s important for women to tell our stories and make our voices heard. NOplays is proud to present: HERSTORY 3: JOURNEY WOMEN, two evenings of new plays celebrating the strength and bravery of unsung heroines.
About the Project:
HERSTORY 3: JOURNEY WOMEN; is NOplays third HERSTORY Festival. The goal of this project is to continue shedding a light on the untold stories of women in our country, both in our history, and on our stages. HERSTORY 3 features the stories of two sisters attempting to reconnect with their late grandmother, a painter exploring her sexuality, a saint fighting for the recognition she deserves, and an activist on a quest to restore hope for herself and her country. All of these women, from all parts of the globe, are on a journey to discover their true selves and embrace their destinies.
The plays featured in HERSTORY are part of 365 Women a Year. This international playwriting coalition involves over 200 women across the world who have signed on to write one or more one-acts about extraordinary women in history. The project’s ambitious yet focused goal is to write women back into the social consciousness as well as empower and promote female playwrights, and plant seeds of herstory around the country.
HERSTORY will take place at the Institute Library in New Haven, CT, March 9th and 10th at 7pm. Plays include We-Remember written by Amy Oestricher and directed by Ingrid Oslund, Frida Kahlo: Heartbreaker written by Lylanne Musselman and directed by Teresa Langston, The Astonishing and the Lily written by Kendra Augustin and directed by Keith Paul, and The Legend of Sigridur Tomasdottir written by Natalie Osborne and directed by Moira Malone. There will be a raffle with gift cards to local business and other fabulous prizes. Refreshments will be served free of charge. There is a $10 suggested donation for entry. Tickets are available at the door or at https://institutelibrary.z2systems.com/np/clients/institutelibrary/event.jsp?event=1203
We hope to see you there!
NOplays is proud to be presenting our annual festival of new plays based on unsung heroines. If you have a short play (10-15 minutes) about a historical women you would like to submit, email firstname.lastname@example.org before 11:59am on January 16th.
HERSTORY is our biggest event of the year, right in the heart of New Haven. All writers will receive a stipend.
We look forward to reading your work!
Thank you to everyone who came out and saw HERSTORY this weekend. We’re so grateful for your support! Because of you, NOplays is one step closer to creating gender equality on the stage and in the pages of our history books.
Theatre can’t exist without audience members to see it and a community to support it, so if you enjoyed the performances this weekend, go see some more theatre! There’s so much amazing work happening all over Connecticut, and you can make sure there will continue to be so for generations to come!
Thank you again and we look forward to seeing you at our next performance!
The Inzalaco Family won our first doorprize, a $50 Gift Card to Cloud 9 Day Spa.
The Culla Family won a poster signed by the cast.
And we said good bye to three beautiful plays.
Congratulations to everyone involved in the project on a job well done.