Rattlestick Playwrights Theater's 25th anniversary season will feature two world premieres. Following last year's workshop production helmed by Artistic Director Daniella Topol, Cusi Cram's Novenas for a Lost Hospital will kick off the season with Tony winner Kathleen Chalfant reprising her performance. Also in the 2019–2020 lineup is Ren Dara Santiago's The Siblings Play, directed by Jenna Worsham.
In the fall, Rattlestick will present the official world premiere of Novenas for a Lost Hospital, celebrating the life and legacy of the now-closed West Village landmark, St. Vincent's Hospital. Chalfant will play the role of Elizabeth Seton of the Sisters of Charity, with Topol returning to direct.
“Cusi Cram is making a memorial worthy of the immense importance of St. Vincent's Hospital to generations of New Yorkers,” says Chalfant of the play. “St. Vincent’s was a place to be healed in both body and spirit, and for those of us who were touched personally by it, the loss of the hospital is a great tragedy. I hope our work on the project will make the place alive again.”
The play begins with a prologue at St. John’s in the Village and culminates with an epilogue, created in partnership with The Stonewall Chorale, in the streets of the West Village and ending at the AIDS memorial on the former site of St. Vincent’s Hospital. These have been created by architect Norman Scott Johnson, director-creator James Scruggs, choreographer Irving Amigon, and composer-designer Serge Ossorguine.
Novenas for a Lost Hospital will be presented in partnership with Village Preservation, NYC AIDS Memorial Board, and St. John’s in the Village. Guy Lancaster is the dramaturg.
In 2020, Rattlestick will partner with piece by piece productions and Rising Phoenix Repertory for the world premiere of The Siblings Play, directed by Worsham (The Climb, Agnes). The new work delves deep into the psyche of a teenage girl and her two brothers left to raise each other in their parents’ absence.
“The Siblings Play is a coming-of-age tale most don’t see,” says Santiago. “I grew up with kids who did the parenting in their families. We cooked the meals for our siblings. We innovated ways to generate income. We did so at the expense of our education. We rose earlier and fell to bed last so we were often tired in class. I know those kids. And for them, I want to be a resource. With this production of The Siblings Play, I want them to hear: you are visible and your value can never be wasted.”
The Siblings Play has been developed through Cherry Lane’s Mentor Project and the Ojai Conference. Santiago is co-artistic director of Rattlestick's Middle Voice apprentice company.
Dates and creative teams for all events will be announced at a later date. Visit Rattlestick.org for more information.