Problems Between Sisters

MAY 8, 2024 - JUNE 16, 2024

BY JULIA MAY JONAS
LOCATION MEAD THEATRE
DIRECTED BY SIVAN BATTAT
WORLD PREMIERE

Two pregnant sisters—one visual artist, one con artist—converge on a remote family cabin in Vermont. Jess races to finish her long-awaited solo show; Rory sees a new audience for her latest scam. When Rory hatches a plan for an art project of her own, the problems between the sisters flare into a collision of family baggage, personal morality, and artistic taste. A response to True West, Sam Shepard’s surreal psychodrama about brothers with problems, Problems Between Sisters is a funny and savage take on domestication, creativity, and the elusive demands of the Primal Female.  

This world premiere is a part of Julia May Jonas’s five-play ALTAS cycle (“All Long True American Stories”), in which she reimagines canonical 20th-century American male-experience plays as they’d be experienced by other people, mostly women.

SHOW INFORMATION

Runtime: Approximately 100 minutes with a 15-minute intermission.

Read the program.

In the interest of welcoming people with a wide range of needs and life experiences, Studio offers a bit of information on what you will encounter in the play.
Use this information as it is helpful to you.

Environment Warnings: This production of Problems Between Sisters includes loud noises, haze, the use of actual hay, herbal tobacco, and simulated blood and other bodily fluids.

Please note late seating will be determined at the discretion of House Management.

Problems Between Sisters is generously underwritten by Joan & David Maxwell and Teresa & Dan Schwartz.

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Multimedia

The Artists

Cast

U/S JESS

Brenna Horner

Brenna Horner is a DC-based actor and Maryland native. Previous roles include Tender at Transformation Theatre; Picasso at the Lapin Agile at Keegan Theatre (u/s); Metamorphoses at Everyman Education; Pride and Prejudice, Julius Caesar, Oedipus, and Men are Dogs at the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts; and Romeo and Juliet at Compass Rose Theatre. Brenna also works as a teaching artist in the DC metro area, is a 200-hour Certified Yoga Teacher, and is Vice President of the Board for Transformation Theatre Company. She attended The University of Maryland, College Park, as well as The National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts. 

U/S RORY

Rebecca Ballinger

Rebecca Ballinger is an actor and comedian in the DC area. She was last at Studio understudying Teresa in Heroes of the Fourth Turning. Other credits include Desperate Measures at Constellation Theatre; The Honey Trap (Helen Hayes Nomination: Supporting Performer) and The Playboy of the Western World at Solas Nua; The Outsider (Helen Hayes Award: Ensemble) and Shakespeare in Love at Keegan Theatre; The 39 Steps, Every Christmas Story Ever Told, and Beehive at NextStop Theatre; A Civil War Christmas and The Member of the Wedding at 1st Stage; Mouse on the Move at Imagination Stage; and Make Way for Ducklings at Adventure Theatre. Becca has a B.A. in Theatre from the University of Maryland. RebeccaBallinger.com 

U/S ANITA

Melanie A. Lawrence

Melanie A. Lawrence (she/her) is thrilled to be appearing at Studio, as she considers it the place where she truly began her professional journey. A proud DC native, Melanie is an actress, teaching artist, and costume designer whose recent credits include The Bluest Eye at Theater Alliance, New Kid at Imagination Stage, and A Raisin in the Sun and A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the National Players at Olney Theatre Center. Other credits include Love’s Labor’s Lost at Folger Theatre, The Quadrant Series at Theater Alliance, The Laughing Club in Klecksography at Rorschach Theatre, The Crucible at Silver Spring Stage, and Milk Like Sugar at Adrienne Theater. Her TV credits include Hulu’s The 1619 Project. She has a BFA from Temple University and trained at School at Steppenwolf and Studio Acting Conservatory. She thanks her friends and family for their love and unyielding support, and the ancestors for paving the way to make this dream possible for her. IG: @Melohdramatic 

U/S AUNT BARB

Alison Bauer

Alison Bauer (she/her) is an actor based in Washington, DC. Her theater credits include At the Wedding at Studio Theatre (u/s), The Vandal with Edge of the Universe Players, Thrush and the Woodpecker at the Source Festival, and Airswimming, self-produced at the DC Fringe Festival. Alison can also be seen in independent films including Gloria’s Birthday and Bridge. Alison is a graduate of the Honors Acting Conservatory at the Theatre Lab School of Dramatic Arts.   

Production Team

SET DESIGNER

Emmie Finckel

Emmie Finckel is a queer, Asian-American scenic designer. Recent credits include Becoming a Man at American Repertory Theater; The Hot Wing King at Hartford Stage; Sanctuary City at TheaterWorks Hartford; The Comedy of Errors at The Public Theater: Mobile Unit; the ripple, the wave that carried me home at Yale Repertory Theatre; As You Like It at La Jolla Playhouse; 53% Of at Second Stage; In the Southern Breeze at Rattlestick Theater; The Watering Hole at Signature Theatre Company; In the Penal Colony at New York Theatre Workshop Next Door; Athena at JACK; and

Riot Antigone at La MaMa. Associate design credits include many productions with Gabriel Evansohn, including KPOP on Broadway
and
Empire Travel Agency, as a member of Woodshed Collective. Emmie holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University and an MFA from the Yale School of Drama, and is currently on the faculty of the Playwrights Horizons Theater School at NYU. efinckel.com. 

COSTUME DESIGNER

Helen Q. Huang

Helen Q. Huang is an award-winning costume designer whose credits include Quixote Nuevo at Denver Center, South Coast Repertory, Seattle Rep, and Portland Center Stage (Henry Award); Pacific Overtures at Signature Theatre (Helen Hayes Award nomination); The Chosen at Milwaukee Repertory Theater; Next to Normal at Round House Theatre; The Far Country at Berkeley Repertory Theatre; The Murder of Roger Ackroyd at The Alley Theatre; and The Tempest at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Helen is a professor of Costume Design at the University of Maryland, College Park. helenqhuang.com.

LIGHTING DESIGNER

Colin K. Bills

Colin K. Bills (he/him/ his) returns to Studio where he previously designed Clyde’s, Cock, An Iliad, Lungs, Circle Mirror Transformation, The Year of Magical Thinking, Stoop Stories, Radio Golf, Contractions, POP!, That Face, Autobahn, The Death of Meyerhold, The Who’s Tommy, Four, and Bat Boy. He is a Company Member and Board Member at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company where he has designed over 55 productions. He was a founding member of the devised theater troupe dog & pony dc, serving as director, writer, actor, and designer for a dozen new works including A Killing Game and Beertown. Colin is the recipient of a Princess Grace Award and three Helen Hayes Awards. He has taught design at Howard University and is a graduate of Dartmouth College.

CO-SOUND DESIGNER

Daniela Hart

Daniela Hart is a New York City-based sound designer and composer with an MFA in Sound Design from the Yale School of Drama. Selected theater credits include Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express at Syracuse Stage; Munich Medea: Happy Family at WP Theater and The Play Company; Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill at Baltimore Center Stage; Tiny Father at Barrington Stage Company and Chautauqua Theater Company; black odyssey at Classic Stage Company; Espejos: Clean at Hartford Stage and Syracuse Stage; the ripple, the wave that carried me home at Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Goodman Theatre; Queen at Long Wharf Theatre; Choir Boy at Yale Repertory Theatre; Fires In The Mirror at Baltimore Center Stage and Long Wharf Theatre; The Juniors at Colgate University; and How to Save the World in 90 Minutes at Cherry Lane Theatre. Daniela is also a producer, editor and sound supervisor with her company UptownWorksNYC.com. On social media at @uptownworks (Instagram).

CO-SOUND DESIGNER

Noel Nichols

Noel Nichols (they/ she) is a Los Angeles-based sound designer. Select recent credits include I Hate it Here at Studio Theatre, Uncle Vanya at Lincoln Center Theater, and I Love You So Much I Could Die at New York Theatre Workshop. Select sound design highlights with UptownWorks include Avaaz at Olney Theatre Center and South Coast Repertory; Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill at Baltimore Center Stage; Which Way to the Stage at Signature Theatre; Today is My Birthday at Yale Repertory Theatre; First Down with Noor Theatre; and the ripple, the wave that carried me home at Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Goodman Theatre. They are a professor in Sound Design at the University of Southern California and hold an MFA in Sound Design from the Yale School of Drama. noelnicholsdesign.com. On social media at @noelevision (Instagram).

CO-SOUND DESIGNER

Bailey Trierweiler

Bailey Trierweiler (Co-Sound Designer) is a New York City-based sound designer and engineer. Select design credits include Dangerous Days at Miami New Drama, The Slow Dance at 59E59, FIVE: The Parody Musical at Theater 555, To The Ends Of The Earth at JACK, The Singularity Play at Harvard University, Concord Floral at Hamilton College, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill at Baltimore Center Stage, black odyssey at Classic Stage Company, Chicken & Biscuits at Asolo Repertory Theatre, and Fires In The Mirror at Baltimore Center Stage and Long Wharf Theatre. Select associate credits include The Welkin at Atlantic Theater Company, Mad Hatter the Musical at Herberger Theater Center, The Comeuppance at Signature Theatre (NYC), KATE at the Connelly Theater and Pasadena Playhouse, and Flex at Lincoln Center Theater. Bailey received an MFA in Sound Design from the Yale School of Drama. btsounddesign.com.

PROPS DESIGNER

Luke Hartwood

Luke Hartwood is a queer and disabled Asian-American multimedia designer and activist working on unceded Nacotchtank land. Recent credits include Through the Sunken Lands and The Dragon King’s Daughter at The Kennedy Center; Off the Page at Arts on the Horizon; Las Hermanas Palacios, Baño de Luna, and Kumanana! at GALA Hispanic Theater; The Mountaintop at Round House Theatre; The Chosen at 1st Stage; and Angel Number Nine at Rorschach Theatre. lukehartwood.com. On social media at @lukehartwood (Instagram).

PROJECTION DESIGN

Zavier Augustus Lee Taylor

Zavier Augustus Lee Taylor is an experimental multi-medium artist with a focus in video and projection design. This is his fourth production with Studio Theatre, having served as projection assistant on White Pearl; projection associate on People, Places & Things; and projection designer for English. Zavier’s Off Broadway media design credits include Malvolio at the Classic Theatre of Harlem and The Blues and Its People at the Apollo Theater. Zavier has also worked regionally across the nation on projects like Having Our Say at the George Street Playhouse; Bonez at People’s Light; The Mountaintop at Round House Theatre; The Wilting Point, Push the Button, and The Amazing Adventures of Dr. Wonderful (And Her Dog!) at The Keegan Theatre; Poetry for the People: The June Jordan Experience at Theater Alliance; Rhythm Is Our Business at The Kennedy Center; Intimate Apparel at Theater J; and The Talk at Bulldog Ensemble Theater and StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance. zavier.myportfolio.com.

FIGHT AND MOVEMENT COORDINATOR

Ashleigh King

Ashleigh King is a DC-based director, choreographer, and performer. She is the associate director for the national tour of Jenn Weber’s The Hip Hop Nutcracker. Her regional credits include choreography for ’Bov Water, Spring Awakening, and Spamalot at Northern Stage, and Mamma Mia! at Virginia Rep (Richmond Theatre Critics Circle award). Among her DC-area creative credits are Which Way to the Stage at Signature Theatre (Helen Hayes nomination); Grace at Ford’s Theatre; Teenage Dick and Fairview at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company; The World Goes ’Round at Olney Theatre Center; Seussical and Legally Blonde (Helen Hayes Award Winner) at Keegan Theatre; Nate the Great at Imagination Stage; and Make Way for Ducklings at Adventure Theatre MTC.

DRAMATURG

Adrien-Alice Hansel

Adrien-Alice Hansel (she/her) is the Literary Director at Studio, where she has dramaturged the world premieres of Good Bones, John Proctor is the Villain, I Hate it Here, Queen of Basel, No Sisters, I Wanna Fucking Tear You Apart, Red Speedo, Dirt, Lungs, and The History of Kisses, among others, as well as productions of At the Wedding; Love, Love, Love; Fat Ham; Fun Home; English; Heroes of the Fourth Turning (also with Sivan Battat);
Flow; 2.5 Minute Ride; Curve of Departure; Wig Out!; and New Electric Ballroom, among others. Prior to joining Studio, she spent eight seasons at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, where she headed the Literary Department and coordinated project scouting, selection, and development for the Humana Festival of New American Plays. She is the co-editor of eight anthologies of plays from Actors Theatre and editor of 12 editions of plays through Studio. Adrien-Alice holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama.

PRODUCTION STAGE MANAGER

Joey Blakely

Joey Blakely has been a stage manager in the DC area for ten years. Selected highlights include Ragtime, Sweeney Todd, No Place to Go, The Upstairs Department, RENT, Gun & Powder, Escaped Alone, Assassins, Blackbeard, Billy Elliot The Musical, Passion, The Scottsboro Boys, Light Years, A Little Night Music, Jesus Christ Superstar, Titanic, and The Fix at Signature Theatre; The Lehman Trilogy and Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare Theatre Center; Acoustic Rooster’s Barnyard Boogie: Starring Indigo Blume at The Kennedy Center; and The Jewish Queen Lear, The How and the Why, The Last Schwartz, Body of an American, and Sons of the Prophet at Theater J.

CASTING DIRECTOR

Claire Yenson

Claire Yenson is the resident casting director at New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW) and The Playwrights Realm. Her theatre credits include Merry Me at NYTW, Mary Gets Hers at The Playwrights Realm, Hello Kitty Must Die at Edinburgh Fringe, Jane Anger at Shakespeare Theatre Company, plus The Public Theater, The Alley Theatre, and The Donmar Warehouse. Film and Television credits include XO, Kitty on Netflix; Pachinko on Apple TV+; Fleishman Is in Trouble on FX (Emmy Nominated for Outstanding Casting); Sharper for A24; and Modern Love on Amazon. Originally from the DC area, she is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University.

Press

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