Banes and Elbrick Star in Feminist Thriller for FringeNYC

News   Banes and Elbrick Star in Feminist Thriller for FringeNYC
Two actresses — Obie Award winner Lisa Banes and Tony Award nominee Xanthe Elbrick — play multiple roles in the world premiere of The Alice Complex, a drama of clashing feminist notions, at the New York International Fringe Festival.
Lisa Banes and Xanthe Elbrick
Lisa Banes and Xanthe Elbrick Photo by Nelson Hancock

Peter Barr Nickowitz's play, presented by Tall Story Productions, plays Aug. 8-21 at the Cherry Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village.

Bill Oliver directs. According to production notes, "Sally Keating, a professor of Women's Studies, is preparing for a dinner party when one of her students, Rebecca, arrives carrying a white box. Rebecca tells Sally that she has been raped and hands her the box, which, she insinuates, contains her attacker's penis. Horrified, Sally tries to call the police, but Rebecca intercedes and ties her up. Rebecca idealizes Sally for having written 'The Alice Complex,' a seminal book of 1970s feminism, but Sally no longer believes in her former revolutionary ideas. Feeling betrayed, Rebecca interrogates Sally to find out why she's turned her back on her beliefs. What's really inside the white box, and what's the real reason Sally doesn't teach 'The Alice Complex' anymore?"

Banes (Broadway's Rumors, Arcadia and High Society and Off-Broadway's Look Back in Anger, My Sister in this House and Isn't It Romantic) and Elbrick (Broadway's Coram Boy, Off-Broadway's The Beebo Brinker Chronicles) play 11 different roles, including Margo and Quinn, lovers about to perform together in a play for the first time. "Past, present and future collide in this darkly funny, psychological thriller about inspiration and betrayal between two women of different generations."

Nickowitz is a playwright, screenwriter and poet. The Alice Complex was workshopped at Dixon Place in New York City and at the Blank Theatre in Los Angeles (it featured Harriet Harris and Kate Mara). His play Backgammon at the Louvre was also produced at the Blank under the direction of Bill Oliver. "Lulu," the screenplay Peter co-wrote with Bill Oliver based on the life of silent film star Louise Brooks, was selected for the FIND/LA Screenwriters Lab and optioned by Neve Campbell's First Snow Productions. Their latest screenplay, "The Obit Writer," is a contemporary noir thriller that is being produced by Susan A. Stover and HeadQuarters. He is a graduate of Brandeis University and New York University. In 2008-09 he will be the Harold Clurman Playwright-in-Residence at Stella Adler Studio of Acting in NYC.

Shiraz Biggie produces The Alice Complex with sets designed by Tania Bijlani, costumes by Tilly Grimes, lighting by Joyce Liao and sound design by Dina Alexander. Lindsay Stares will stage manage the production. Performances are Aug. 8 at 4:45 PM, Aug. 12 at 7 PM, Aug. 15 at 4:45 PM, Aug. 16 at 9:30 PM and Aug. 21 at 9:30 PM at the Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce Street (between Seventh Avenue and Hudson Street).

All seats are $15 and available via (866) 486-7619 or at

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