Monday, June 8, 2009

Planet Connections Festivity: Theatre for a Cause, Part 3

Last week I told you about Planet Connections Festivity and how each of the participating artists are supporting a worthy charitable cause or organization via their work in the festival. These dedicated artists are taking time to tell readers of the Good News Theatre Blog about their particular causes and why they chose them.

Well, the responses from the PCF folks keep on coming in! Here are some more. (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?)

Hannah Wolfe, HER KIND: The Life & Poetry of Anne Sexton
Cause: Safe Horizon
Why: Safe Horizon is a women's shelter just down the street from the theatre. HER KIND is about the confessional poet Anne Sexton, who used poetry as a means of escape from harm, her personal utopia, just as Safe Horizon is an escape for women from harm and a form of utopia for at risk women of New York.

Maureen Van Trease of Third Eye Theatre Company, Those Whistling Lads! The Poetry and Short Stories of Dorothy Parker
Cause: We are working with Safe Horizon Shelter for Women and Children, Suicide Prevention International, and the Actors Fund. All box office proceeds are being donated to the charities, and we are collecting toiletry items (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, etc.) for the Safe Horizon Streetwork Program for homeless teens.
Why: Safe Horizon and Suicide Prevention International both work toward helping those affected by abuse and suicide, two themes that are addressed by Those Whistling Lads. Dorothy Parker endured many abusive relationships and attempted suicide four times. The Actors Fund support is important to me and my cast as members of Actors Equity. They were instrumental in helping members make ends meet during the last strike and they really need to raise some funds.

Peter Dagger, Wait of the World
Cause: Gynecologic Cancer Foundation
Why: In memory of Ellen Weissbrodt Dagger

Andrew Rothkin, Meredith's Ring
Cause: CEDARS Home for Children
Why: Because of the nature of Meredith’s Ring -- a love story between two young people, one very troubled, both going through the temptations, fears, and troubles of being adolescent in this not so perfect society – I was very passionate about finding the perfect organization that helps youth in times of crisis. I spent weeks researching charities on line, and none spoke louder or clearer to me than that exceptional work done by the counselors and staff of CEDARS Home for Children. Not only does the caring staff provide support, assistance, and homes for over 3,500 children and youth each year, but a staggering 89% of their expenditures go directly to service for children and youth – by far the highest number I found within the dozens of charities I researched. It is no wonder that CEDARS is a "Better Business Bureau Accredited Business," nationally accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) and National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and a 2005 BBB Integrity Award winner. Above all, CEDARS helps children in need. Who could be more deserving?! If you are still not convinced, check out and read the true stories of some of young people whose lives were turned around because of the care and commitment of CEDARS home for Children.

John Patrick Bray, Hound
Cause: RAINN (Rape Abuse and Incest National Network)
Why: Sexual assault is one of the most horrific weapons at the disposal of cowards who haunt the world. My belief is that those who have suffered sexual assault need to know that help (quiet, anonymous, and brave) is always close, and always available.

Maria Alexandria Beech, Designer X, Your Face or What are you doing Here?
Cause: SOS Children’s Villages: Venezuela
Why: I grew up in a small Venezuelan town. My father spent every afternoon at an orphanage behind my house. Beaten and abandoned children often landed on our doorstep. Early on, I understood that children are always the victims of mismanaged homes and mismanaged countries. In 1999, President Chavez promised that during his administration, "children would no longer sleep on newspapers on the street," a promise that vanished in the wind. Today, an estimated 15,000 children live on the street, according to the human rights NGO For the Rights of Children and Adolescents. These children become addicted to glue and other substances as their teeth, bodies, and minds rot. Children aren’t disposable; their welfare is everyone’s responsibility. I’m not a success if a child lives outside my window; and my government isn’t a success if there are children living without roofs and walls. As long as I write plays, I want to defend homeless children.

Carly Robins & Molly Rydzel, Everybody Dies
Cause: Play For P.I.N.K (Prevention, Immediate diagnosis, New technology, Knowledge) a grassroots organization dedicated to raising funds to fight breast cancer, and creating and promoting awareness of breast cancer through sporting and lifestyle events including golf, tennis, swimming, card games, men's tournaments, equestrian events, shopping benefits, spa days, school activities, and wine tastings.
Why: This cause is near and dear to our hearts because the writer and co-founder of EdibleBrains Productions Molly Rydzel's mom is a breast cancer survivor. Her mom is actively involved with this organization and we felt it was a perfect time to combine efforts and reach a younger different demographic because breast cancer can also affect women as early as 20-30 years old. In addition, cancer is very prevalent in both our families and we felt a strong need to choose a cancer foundation to support.

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

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