Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Planet Connections Festivity: Theatre for a Cause, Part 2

As promised, here are more statements from participating artists in the Planet Connections Festivity, telling our readers about the causes and organizations their work in the festival will support, and why.

(The questions I asked each of the artists are: (1) What's your name? (2) What's your show? (3) What cause are you supporting at Planet Connections; and (4) Why?)

Duncan Pflaster, Hate Myself in the Morning
Cause: Amnesty International
Why: Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights to be respected and protected for everyone. Since my play has a lot to do with political prisoners, I thought it would be most appropriate. In college I did a production of Harold Pinter's One for the Road, which has similar themes, and our director donated a portion of the proceeds to AI as well.

J. Stephen Brantley, The Jamb
Cause: Raising Malawi / Raising Malawi Academy For Girls
Why: Educating Malawi's daughters today empowers its mothers tomorrow. By creating a strong and independent female leadership in the developing world, girls' education will save this planet.

Aliza Shane, The Imaginary Invalid: By Prescription Only
Why: My grandmother was diagnosed with cancer and given a few months to live. As she was in her 90s she chose to stay at home with my family rather than go into the hospital. Thanks to the amazing people at Hospice, not only did she live two more years, but she was cared for and loved 24 hours a day by nurses and day care workers who became a part of our extended family. The amazing work Hospice does is selfless and incredible and I am blessed to have the chance to give back to this amazing organization.

Ashley Jacobson, Hers
Cause: Sanctuary for Families, the largest nonprofit in New York State dedicated exclusively to serving domestic violence victims and their children
Why: My play is a feminist play, talking about how women, especially in families, need each other. I believe that fighting violence against women is not only something women should care about, but everyone on this planet. It is a dark secret of our American society that too often goes unexamined, unexplained, and grossly un-punished. My aunt, Patrice D'Onofrio, was a victim of domestic abuse this year, and lost her life. The fight is far from over, and Sanctuary for Families is doing amazing things for women in this area, and is changing the stigma of "victim" for women forever.

J.C. Svec, A Play on Words
Cause: City Critters
Why: My little girl is a cat lover and dreams of someday opening a shelter of her own. I've always believed in "giving back" when I am able. When I told her that Festivity participants were to be partnered with a charity, and the importance of charitible work, her first response was to team up with a shelter. I was lucky to have City Critters on our list of possibilities.

Glory Bowen, The 40 Foot Tall Jesus Statue
Cause: Amnesty International
Why: Amnesty International is an important organization to me because of its work to end the crisis in Darfur, its campaign to end human rights violations committed by the US government in the name of fighting terrorism, and its campaign to end violence against women. For more than 45 years, Amnesty International has come to the aid of prisoners of conscience and other individuals at risk of serious human rights violations. They work to protect victims of disasters like Hurricane Katrina. They also work to protect LGBT human rights, the rights of children, and the rights of all US citizens. You can help too! Please visit to learn how you can get involved.

Amber Gallery, The 40 Foot Tall Jesus Statue and Hate Myself in the Morning
Cause: Amnesty International
Why: Human Rights is something we all have a personal investment in. In Hate Myself in the Morning, the issues of the torture of POWs by American soldiers is brought our attention. The mistreatment of human beings affects not only the receiver and giver, but it also has an impact on whoever each comes in contact with for the rest of their lives. It is important we all work together to stop cruelty and cut off its ripple effect.

You can learn more about the Planet Connections Festivity in's exclusive festival preview.

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