a new developmental series at The Commons Café

388 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
(between Hoyt & Bond)

Uncommon Voices is an intergenerational series for art, activism, conversation and community, which occurs (usually) on the first Monday of each month. Since launching in January 2019, we’ve presented dozens of playwrights, directors and performers whose work is at the intersection of art and social justice. Artists that have been featured in Uncommon Voices are grappling with subject matter that has ranged from the issues of teaching teens at Rikers; misogyny and #MeToo; the climate crisis; and xenophobia. Scroll down for past Uncommon Voices events and online playbills.

Next Up

Monday, January 6th, 2020

RUNNING

Danny Pudi

Written and Performed by
Danny Pudi
Directed by
Arpita Mukherjee

“Where are you from? Like from, from?” Danny Pudi has spent his whole life never knowing how to answer that question. Raised by his Polish mother, Danny has only ever been able to see the face of his Indian father in the mirror, the man who left them.

After running from his own reflection for decades, a series of chance encounters and becoming a new father lead Danny to reconnect with his own. But when the hope of a new beginning is cut short by his father’s sudden passing, Danny finds himself in his estranged father’s apartment piecing together objects, memories, and the puzzle of a father he never knew. 

Inspired by the discoveries unearthed in the journey launched by his father’s death, RUNNING is a story of a Polish-Indian son at the crossroads of his adult life as he asks, “Where did I come from? And who am I now?”


Past Uncommon Voices

Mfoniso Udofia’s
Lena: A Moment with a Lady

(12/2/2019)

Lena: A Moment with a Lady uses powerful vocals and a rich storyline to share the most pivotal moments in Lena Horne’s life. In the 1940s and 50s, Ms. Horne topped the charts with hit songs like Stormy Weather and The Lady Is a Tramp, as well starred in numerous films. Recognized as an influential African-American pioneer in entertainment, she broke new ground when she signed with MGM studios and became one of the first artists to break the color line.

Annabelle Gurwitch’s If You Lived With Me You’d be Home by Now
(11/17/2019)

photo credit: Dave Stewart

“The first few nights the strangers spent under my roof I couldn’t sleep. I stashed a rusty hatchet under my bed. What was I thinking inviting a homeless couple — and their pet rabbit — into my house?”

Moth storyteller, New York Times best selling author and activist Annabelle Gurwitch reconsiders the meaning of home and confronts her implicit “otherizations” during the month in which she volunteered to open her home to house at-risk youths experiencing homelessness. This project is receiving underwriting from  the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.

If You Lived With Me You’d Be Home By Now is based on her Los Angeles Times Essay with participation from The Urban Voices Project and members of A Safe Place for Youth.

Nadine Malouf

(10/10/19)
by Miranda Rose Hall
featuring Nadine Malouf
Commissioned and developed by LubDub Theatre Company

by Miranda Rose Hall
featuring Nadine Malouf
Commissioned and developed by LubDub Theatre Company

About the Show: What has happened to the little brown bats? To the spotted tree frog? What will happen to Homo sapiens? Join us for an in-process look at a new solo performance that grapples with being a human in a time of mass extinction.

A Fandango with Sinuhé Padilla
(10/7/19)

A fandango is an immersive celebration of music and dance that hails from Veracruz, Mexico. Sinuhé Padilla and his band of musicians have travelled around the country hosting fandangos everywhere from Brooklyn to the border. Our production of FANDANGO FOR BUTTERFLIES (AND COYOTES) by Andrea Thome will be premiering at La MaMa in mid-February and touring all five boroughs. Come hear the music and watch the dance that has inspired the form for this magical show about undocumented Latinx immigrants living in New York.

A Hill On Which To Drown
(9/9/19)

By Kevin R. Free
Directed by Zhailon Levingston
Performed by TONY-winner André De Shields (Hadestown)

At the dawn of the 21st Century, Ikoode, on his death bed, leaves his legacy by staking claim to his own history.

Threshold
(8/5/2019)

written and performed by Amy Brenneman
directed by Sabrina Peck
music by David Van Tieghem
Actors: Kellie Overbey, Cate Woodruff
Dancers: Jennifer Chin, Erin Gottwald, Sherri Hellman
Production Assistant: Luana DeBorst

Amy Brenneman

Threshold brings us into the home and heart of Amy Brenneman with the discovery of her daughter’s disability. We are fellow travelers on her journey as she grapples with what disability means and doesn’t mean, the rich, fertile world of those who experience life differently and the gifts that this perspective can offer all of us.
Created and first performed at The Yard, an artist residency and performance center dedicated to contemporary dance and related arts, as part of the 2019 Off-Shore Creation Residency.

$#!THOLE COUNTRY CLAPBACK
(7/8/2019)

Pascale Armand

written and performed by Pascale Armand (Tony nominee, Eclipsed)
directed by Patrice Johnson Chevannes

A rebuttal to Donald Trump’s comment about allowing “people from shithole countries” entrance to the United States and a chronicle of the playwright’s family’s journey to American citizenship.

Music Lessons (6/10/2019)

written and performed by Ed Napier
directed by Anne Hamburger
Peter Muir, Pianist
Laura Goldberg, Violinist
Kristen Norwark, Soprano

Music Lessons tells the story of Ed Napier’s journey from the backwoods of West Virginia to the halls of Columbia, HB Studio and Juilliard in New York in pursuit of becoming a playwright and opera singer. Through story and song, we come to learn and love his opera and playwriting teachers, larger than life as mentors and idiosyncratic as hell.

Rage Play (5/6/2019)

by Nandita Shenoy
directed by Lori Elizabeth Parquet
commissioned & produced by Flux Theatre Ensemble

In Rage Play, three women find themselves standing over the man they’ve killed. Yet in their own theatrical version of Russian Doll, he keeps coming back. Again and again and again. Inspired by the #MeToo movement, Nandita Shenoy’s outrageous black comedy explores the cost women face in fighting back against misogyny and patriarchy, and how they might be complicit in these systems. Through their purgatory, the women aim for liberation…and maybe even a little sweet revenge.

Tar Sands Songbook (4/1/2019)

written, composed & performed by Tanya Kalmanovitch
dramaturgy & direction by Katie Pearl
with Andrew Boudreau on piano

Tanya on the road

My name is Tanya Kalmanovitch. I am a violist, a fiddle player, and a writer. Tar Sands Songbook is a performed reckoning with my hometown of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada — an oil boom-town located in the Athabasca Oil Sands, the largest reservoir of crude bitumen in the world.

A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction (3/4/2019)

by Miranda Rose Hall
featuring Nadine Malouf

an evening of interactive, interspecies storytelling

Developed by LubDub Theatre Company, this new work-in-progress asks–through story, song, and movement–how to be a human in an era of man-made extinction. 

Miranda Rose Hall
Nadine Malouf

Truth and Reconciliation of Womyn (2/4/2019)

An Evening of Ten-Minute Plays
Curated by Tonya Pinkins

with stories by Glory Kadigan, Tonya Pinkins, Kristine M. Reyes, Carmen Rivera, Lucy Thurber
& stories and songs by Angela Sclafani & Julie Brown
Moments in history you may not have known.
New ways of seeing the world and each other.

Jane Summerhays, Tonya Pinkins, Ako Dachs, Akiko Hiroshima and Julie Brown

Down the Rabbit Hole
by Liza Jessie Peterson (1/7/2019)

This extraordinary writer, activist and performer tells stories from her experiences teaching teens at Riker’s Island.

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