Summer updates

It's been a great summer! I traveled, learned new music in Ukraine with my choir Ukrainian Village Voices and sang a sold-out show in Kiev, participated in a Mac Wellman workshop at The Flea, rehearsed for the upcoming Mile Long Opera (by David Lang, Anne Carson, and Claudia Rankine) on the High Line, got invited for the fourth time to perform an excerpt of my solo show Polylogues at Judson Church, and generally refreshed myself with exercise and sun.

Now, I'm thrilled to head into the fall with another opportunity to perform an excerpt of Polylogues on Sunday, September 9th, at 5pm at Bizarre Bushwick. This is the second time the group Undiscovered Countries has invited me to share from Polylogues for their monthly curated night of performance.

And...there's even more exciting news regarding the full show of Polylogues...but I'll hold you in suspense and save that for my next update! Hope you all are well.

Performing an excerpt of Polylogues at Caveat in May 2018. Photo: Rachel Hamburg.

A research trip to Ukraine

I'm so excited to be preparing for a trip to Ukraine this summer with my choir, Ukrainian Village Voices. We'll be doing ethnomusicology research as we hop from village to village, learning traditional songs from (and sleeping on the floors of) the village elders, or "babas." It will be our first group trip to Ukraine, and we'll be coming back filled to the brim with new (old) music, which we'll share publicly in a concert at the Ukrainian Museum in the East Village this fall.

 Xandra performs with Ukrainian Village Voices at the 2018 Zlatne Uste (Golden) Festival at Prospect Hall in Brooklyn.

Xandra performs with Ukrainian Village Voices at the 2018 Zlatne Uste (Golden) Festival at Prospect Hall in Brooklyn.

Closing of LOCKED UP BITCHES

We closed! LOCKED UP BITCHES, Catya McMullen's hip hop musical parody of Orange Is The New Black, had a solid run from February to April at The Flea, and we closed out with a bang, a meow, and a bark at the end of April. It was a fun, wild ride! Thanks to all those who joined us at Bitchfield Animal Shelter.

Production photos for FILL FILL FILL FILL FILL FILL FILL

It was so exciting getting to step into my understudy role last week! I performed as Lisa in Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill at The Flea, written by Steph Del Rosso and directed by Marina McClure. We had less than seven hours of rehearsal, which was a crazy whirlwind, and the show went amazingly well. Having pulled off a successful performance of such a vocally and physically demanding role after so little rehearsal, I feel like I can now take on any role. So...come at me with your challenging characters and understudy roles!

Check out our production photos, taken by Marina McClure.

Upcoming performances at The Flea

Xandra performs an excerpt of Polylogues at Bizarre Bushwick for Undiscovered Countries in Sept. 2017. Credit: Elizabeth Rogers Photography.

Happy February! I've been rehearsing for two new plays the past couple of months, both at The Flea. I'm an understudy in Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill, a fast-paced comedy about a breakup by the incredible Steph Del Rosso. It has already opened and is selling out!

Get your tickets for Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill here: http://theflea.org/shows/fill-fill-fill-fill-fill-fill-fill/.

And I've got a singing, dancing, meowing role in Locked Up Bitches, a rap musical parody of Orange Is The New Black featuring dogs and cats in an animal shelter, by the always-hilarious EST Youngblood Catya McMullen. That one opens in just over two weeks, on February 21st!

Get tickets for Locked Up Bitches here: http://theflea.org/shows/locked-up-bitches/.

When I'm not rehearsing for these shows, I'm hard at work on my solo show Polylogues. There now exists a full script draft (!!), and I'm working with badass director Molly Clifford to develop the show into a production this year. Stay tuned for more on that as the year goes on! Very excited to share it with y'all soon.

I'm a Bat at The Flea!

This fall, I got into a new performance series at The Flea Theater called Flea Fridays (it takes place once a month during happy hour on Fridays). This means I am now a member of The Bats, aka the Resident Acting Company at The Flea! Very excited to be embarking on this new adventure.

I've already performed in two Flea Fridays (in September and October), and tomorrow I begin rehearsals for my first dive into Serials, the late-night play competition at The Flea. It runs Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 11pm. See you there!

Interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates

One of my life dreams has been accomplished: I met Ta-Nehisi Coates! I got to record an interview with him last week for The Atlantic, which became material for this Radio Atlantic podcast episode. It was a backstage interview before an event (which I also recorded) at the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn to celebrate the launch of Coates' new book, We Were Eight Years in Power. I am perpetually awed and inspired by this man's words, and it was such a gift to get to meet him in person.

Summer projects — a play, a solo show, a pilot, and readings!

Xandra Clark performing excerpts of POLYLOGUES at The Green Room, August 2017. Photo: Andrew Otto.

It's been a busy, busy summer, as I've been keeping positive and active amidst the chaos in our country and world. It feels more necessary than ever to devote myself to creative work that matters. So I've spent the majority of my time offline, writing and performing my own material around the city!

I finished writing a new draft of my play EVERYTHING YOU'RE TOLD, and I love where it's going. I took a thread of a story from the version developed at The Tank last year and zoomed in. The play now centers around two characters with very different ideological viewpoints who meet on the phone and then try to love one another. Obviously very relevant right now... We had a table read of the play last weekend, and so many diverse and messy thoughts and feelings arose in our conversation afterwards. It's feeling real!

I'm also developing a solo show of verbatim monologues developed from interviews I'm doing with a wide range of folks about their experiences with nonmonogamy. It's been a fun, hilarious, revealing, weird, and thought-provoking adventure, and feels good to laugh right now! I've already performed excerpts of it at Judson Church, Theaterlab, Queer Abstract, and The Green Room and am building it into a full-length show. Working title (pun and all): POLYLOGUES.

This week, I also got the chance to perform in a reading of Juilliard playwriting fellow Jessica Moss's new play CAM BABY at The Dramatists Guild Fund, directed by Molly Rose Clifford. Such a fast and furious play!

And on top of it all, I'm writing a TV pilot...but I can't say any more about that right now!!! It's a secret! Stay tuned....eee!

Enjoy the rest of y'alls summers, and keep on doing the good work.

Xandra Clark performing excerpts of POLYLOGUES at Queer Abstract, July 2017. Photo: Simone Davis.

We won the Best Original Web Series award!

The votes are in for the 2017 WhoHaHa Comedy Awards...and Period Piece won Best Original Web Series! All of us on the team couldn't be more delighted. The other two awards for which we were nominated were won by Amy Schumer and Melissa McCarthy—two badass women with whom I am honored to share the comedic glory!

Nominated for Comedy Awards -- alongside Melissa McCarthy, Amy Schumer, and more!!

Y'all, I'm so excited to announce that Period Piece, the web series I'm in, is up for all kinds of comedy awards from actress Elizabeth Banks's site WhoHaHa, alongside folks like Melissa McCarthy, Amy Schumer, Mindy Kaling, Kate McKinnon, Anna Kendrick, Issa Rae, and more! 

We were nominated for the following awards:
-Best Original Comedy Web Series
-Favorite Parody (for TWO episodes!)
-Best Impersonation

Check it out here: http://whohaha.com/awards/vote/. Winners will be announced soon...!!

(In the meantime, you can take a sneak peek at my blood-stained booty in the accompanying image to this post, taken from the "1800s Germany" episode.)

Working with Colt Coeur

Last week, I had the honor and the joy of serving as a Teaching Artist for the incredible theater company Colt Coeur's annual education initiative. I got to help design and teach a week-long spring break theater intensive for NYC public school students ages 10-15.

My fellow teaching artists were director Adrienne Campbell-Holt, playwright MJ Kaufman, filmmaker Anna Loyd Bradshaw, actors Genesis Oliver and Eden Marryshow, and lighting designer Grant Yeager.

Our students wrote some hilarious and fantastically strange plays! You can see us all perform them on Sunday, April 23rd, at JACK in Brooklyn, 6:30pm.

Our band at Mercury Lounge

A March highlight: our band The Year of the Hare played at Mercury Lounge, a NYC venue I've attended countless times to see musicians I admire perform. It was a dream!

Also, I got cast in a film... More on that to come! For now, some photos from Mercury Lounge:

Reflections on Privilege, parts I-IV

All four of the essays in my series on privilege, the arts, and identity have been published this month by the Theo Westenberger Estate. I've gotten some really interesting responses — keep 'em coming!

Here are the links:

"Reflections on Privilege, Part I: Ethnically Ambiguous"

"Reflections on Privilege, Part II: Thought Experiment"

"Reflections on Privilege, Part III: Waiting to Belong"

"Reflections on Privilege, Part IV: Make American Democracy Possible (Again?)"

Guest panelist at Stanford, and some new essays

 Illustration by Kristen Rosa for Xandra's essay, "Reflections on Privilege, Part I: Ethnically Ambiguous."

Illustration by Kristen Rosa for Xandra's essay, "Reflections on Privilege, Part I: Ethnically Ambiguous."

The past couple months have been busy, busy, busy! In October, the staged reading of my play Everything You're Told went incredibly well, with an audience that laughed and cried and gave us some great feedback. I'm working on revising the play now.

In December, my alma mater brought me out to be a guest panelist at a Stanford Arts event for a series called "Art Is My Occupation." The students asked such compelling and thoughtful questions on how to begin making a career in the arts. I hope I told them some useful things!

Also in the last month or so, I've written a four-part essay series on privilege and the arts. The Theo Westenberger Estate is publishing the series, and the first article is out today! Check it out here: http://bit.ly/2jafj8e.

Colt Coeur readings, FiveMyles installation, and upcoming show at The Tank

It's been a busy six weeks or so since my last post! I participated in two new play readings at HERE Arts Center for Colt Coeur's annual Parity Plays Festival:

  • Flee by Stephanie Del Rosso, directed by Sash Bischoff, and
  • Flat Sam by Antoinette Nwandu, directed by Danya Taymor.

Both are amazing, fiery new plays that were incredibly fun to work on.

I put up a telephone installation on the sidewalk at FiveMyles, a very cool exhibition space in Crown Heights. You can pick up the phone and hear audio stories of people from the neighborhood with music. It's up September 10 to October 9. Read more (and listen to the audio if you miss the installation) here.

And I've been busy busy busy writing a new play! I shared an excerpt at Judson Memorial Church in September for their monthly curated Bailout Theater night, and I've got a reading of the full play, Everything You're Told, at The Tank in just two weeks! My collaborator, composer Ryan Hopper, and our band will be playing live music. I'm very excited!! Read more and buy tickets here.

P.S. I also had fun last week recording an interview for the BBC with one of the early female graffiti artists in NYC, Lady Pink, truly a cult figure in the 80s hip-hop/subculture scene. Gotta love a badass lady!

Anthology: Crown Heights — grants and online launch!

Anthology: Crown Heights, the performance project I'm creating with an ensemble of Crown Heights-based artists and in partnership with Weeksville Heritage Center, is going up at the end of April! I'm thrilled to have received funding from Brooklyn Arts Council through New York State Council on the Arts, Weeksville Heritage Center through Brooklyn Community Foundation, and a Stanford Young Alumni Arts Grant, and to have rehearsal space donated by the Brooklyn Children's Museum!

We launched online this week: check out our Facebook page and event!